Have you ever been in love, and not the puppy or butterfly type of love? I learned very early that I get butterfly love for good food and good books, so I don’t equate that to true love. I mean the human type, the type that lets your whole being exhale into the universe-that type of love. Not the “Oh he is so cute” or “Oh I love her curves.” And I am not talking about the real superficial, but quite often heard, “I love his/her money and their connections,” or “I am sure I will get a lot from being with him/her” kind of love […this one bothers me a lot, but that is another blog post by itself]. I’m talking about Love…Love in its true and muddled form, where you have surpassed the infatuation stage and where lust, if you are fortunate, does not even come into the equation.
For many of us, we have all experienced moments of like, infatuation, love and, if we are honest with ourselves, heartbreak…. If at this point you are going to say that you have never experienced heartbreak or pain as a side effect of love…. go to the doctor right now…. you may not have a heart. The thing is, we all grow up reading about [for those of us who loved reading] and watching on tv, characters who had fairytale love. They would meet each other one day, spend time eating ice cream or dancing in the rain, and by the end of the night they would be in love. There would be some conflict with a villain that would last a day or two, but by the end of the week they would be together again-married-and probably pushing a baby carriage. Then as we got older, our books and movies changed a bit, and instead of eating ice-cream, it went from “Hi my name is Becky” [I swear a random name] …they have sex …villain moment and then they are back in bed again. I don’t think I am over reacting. This is just how most love moments seemed to me as I was growing up. This was just what I saw and it messed with my logic as a kid.
Being an outwardly quiet child, I was able to observe and absorb a lot without much interruption, and these were not the love scenes I was seeing play out in real life. As teenagers, I saw school mates fall in love today, and the next week fall out of love for some trivial reason…then the next week fall in love again with that same person or someone else. And they were no different from teenagers elsewhere, they reflected the overall movement in society. Oh dear, I just realized my pronoun use for this paragraph was made in error. I did not mean them, I meant us/we. There’s no judgement on anyone as I was guilty of the same.
As we grew older, well that became a total mess, and it still surprises me that people make it out of their twenties with any piece of their heart intact. The theory behind the actions remain the same, but the damaged hearts and emotions that lay in the waste grew higher as the techniques to hurt and betray had matured-it was no longer just your ice cream that was being shared. Now in my late thirties, I know many people who have not made peace with the hurt of their twenties, but have instead evolved a new walled emotional skin, which to the untrained eye appears happy and at peace. Being a lifelong romantic, this hurts me as I see people turn their backs to love and move through life contented to use lust or infatuation as ineffective replacements.
I am not saying that people should throw logic to the wind and throw their fragile hearts to every undeserving person that smiles at them…I don’t think that our hearts were made for such vigorous activity. But I do believe that when we first discover who we are, we can then see love clearer and for what it truly is. I believe that you can’t fully love someone with your full being, until you find peace with yourself and love who you are, as well as who you may become. I mean, think of it logically…how can you really get to know and love someone when there is so much of you that you don’t know? If you are not even sure of the person you are looking at in the mirror, how can you be sure of the person whose hand you are holding? You can’t even read your mind and you think you can read theirs?
What I think I am trying to say is that love isn’t a game or a sport. It’s not something we should enter into lightly. Just as we have no right to play around with people’s property, we shouldn’t use people’s emotions and bodies [and our own] as our new play toy or video game. Toys get worn out and broken, and when love is not used in its true form-which is to build, encourage and cherish-it can be dangerous. Would you give a child a weapon to play with? Well, that’s what putting love in an unready heart and mind can do. We gain maturity and readiness by first learning who we are and how to love ourselves; we learn to love the earth; we learn to have empathy for other people. After we have practiced, perfected and figured out our own quirks and worth…that’s when we can jump into love. This does not mean that we won’t fall over a cliff and get cut and bruised with love. We are all human and sometimes, though we may be ready, the next person still has their own demons to face in their path to self-development. What our preparation does give us, is a road map to know what can and what shouldn’t work for us….and it gives us a parachute and repair kit, so that, just in case that next person turns out to be a total emotionless fool [I am working on my vocabulary, but some days I call it as I see it], then your fall won’t be ass hard, and your recovery period won’t be as long. When combined with prayer, I think that this is the best way to approach love, and just maybe the next time someone asks you if you ever been in love, you can stand with a smile and say: “Yes, I have and I am.”