[Theme song for this post*: “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” – The Darkness]
Despite my current trials and tribulations, I continue to believe in the importance and necessity of love. As my cat has just proven, love, unconditional love, is about forgiveness (he needed a bath… It was not fun for either of us, but we are good now because I fed him afterward).
Because of my current struggles, I have had friends ask if it’s too painful for them to talk to me about the good things happening in their lives, particularly all of the ways in which their love lives are thriving. I want to make something clear to the world: just because the playground bully that is life has turned me upside down by my ankles and shaken me until all of my personal and private pocket-dwelling things have been exposed to the public eye, does not mean that I want it to do the same to anyone else. I wouldn’t wish these thoughts, feelings, and experiences on my worst enemy. I want everyone I know to be as happy as they can possibly be because it’s times like this that serve as a reminder that the good times don’t always last. At the risk of being too sappy and cliche, we should appreciate the crap out of the good times because sometimes they get taken away for no damn good reason… And in those moments it’s the good things you have to hold onto in your memory, just to get you through.
Love is… Beautiful. I may have been “unlucky in love” so far, but that’s only where romantic relationships are concerned. My first love believed that polka dots were boring. I should have ended it at that declaration, but I was smitten (I am obviously kidding, he was a lovely man, and I miss his friendship, but life got in the way). My second, and only other love, “Said Person,” is who got me here… Despite these failures in my romantic life, I know I have real love in the form of my friends – and I have seen romantic love flourish and endure among those around me. A failure in my own life does not constitute one for the entire institution.
Love can move mountains and overcome the most taxing of hardships. The love two people have for each other defines their lives and histories. Love is… all around, all you need, patient, an ever fixed mark, blind, a battlefield, friendship caught fire, an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired… So many better writers than I have formed their own, beautiful and moving, definitions before… But we continue to write about love because it still elicits such a visceral response that varies, if only slightly, from person to person. It is an emotion that cannot be put into mere words, despite our best efforts. Love is life… and I love life.
There are however, within the realm of love-associated beliefs, two things with which I do not agree. The existence of “the one” and the jilted female operating theory that “all men suck.”
My first point is a simple one: There are nearly 8 billion people in the world. It is statistically impossible that, in all of those people, you can’t find more than one who makes you happy, who fulfills you. Relationships are hard, they take work and maintenance. You will never just one day find “your other half” and be set for life, no work required from there. Sometimes finding your person is like getting into your skinny jeans after the holiday season, you have to force some bits to fit (I am not saying shove that XL into a Small… Just that, sometimes you have to wiggle a bit for the perfect fit)…
There is never going to be one person who complements and completes you entirely, and even if there was, they would be BORING. Everyone needs someone who challenges them, who introduces them to new things and opens up the closed doors in their life. There is no progress when you align yourself with someone exactly like you. We are not puzzle pieces seeking out our exact right fit in a predetermined pattern, we are Kintsugi works of art, filling in our mismatched cracks with gold… More beautiful for having been broken in our own unique ways, and helping mend each other so that we may shine all the brighter.
As for my second point, I hear this theory a lot. Women, in an attempt to empathize with my predicament, spout this stereotype with little regard for the men sitting around us, listening patiently. All men do not suck in the same way that not all women are terrible drivers. Having actually spoken to my ex on this specific topic, I believe it’s the female equivalent of a recently single man claiming how “crazy” his former lover is… I know that a woman is not crazy simply for not having put up with some dude’s baloney, therefore all men do not suck because one man hurt me. Suckage is not a gender specific trait. It’s a choice. One that hurts, and disappoints, and maybe jades the injured party – but it cannot apply to everyone identifying with the injurer’s gender. Everyone sucks at some point, myself included.
Despite my hurt, and despite my reticence to open myself up in the same way again (at least at the current moment), I have a plethora of shining examples of men around me. From the neighbor who lent me his truck so I could move, to the friends who have held my hand or given me a hug and said they are there for what I need… from two of my favorite gentlemen who let me crash in their guest bedroom when I just needed to get sloshed, to the coworker who joked with me about my possibly imminent need to up my anxiety medication for a while, just to get me to crack a smile (though thankfully I did not) I know I am surrounded by good men who won’t hurt me. Not perfect men, not infallible men, real human beings who have chosen to be kind. A choice that makes them even more special, in my opinion, because they are actively working to do what they can to make my heart hurt less.
Most specifically, I’d like to laud my dad and my brother for the support they have offered, so unselfishly, in the past few months. My family, as a whole, is an amazing one. They are supportive while also being no-nonsense… Traits I have always striven to emulate. They have proven, time and again, that they are happy to tell me when I am in the wrong. But my dad and brother continue to serve as prime examples of the men in my life who prove what being worthwhile looks like. In the week following my dramatic and devastating life change, my brother flew up from North Carolina just to help me move and make sure I was ok following the worst thing I have experienced in my life so far. My dad would grab my face as I sobbed into my hands, and force me to look at him in my worst moments. He’d make sure I looked him in the eye as he told me that, despite my current feelings, I am actually worthwhile; that I am not, in fact, some scum of the earth who is not worth loving or even thinking about.
Two, largely calm and unflappable men, exhibiting moments of intensity to drive the importance of their words and actions home. I will never forget what they have done for me. I thought I couldn’t love and appreciate them more than I already had, but it seems I can (Mom, don’t feel left out, you are amazing and have been a source of great strength for me… you have been a rock upon which I have built my new house of healing. The same thoughts and feelings apply to you, you just don’t happen to be a man ❤).
So What Have I Learned?
It seems that I am actually lucky in love… And I have to hold out hope that the fact I am loved by others means I will, one day, end up lucky when it comes to romantic love.
Therefore, in the end, don’t ever let a disappointment in love disillusion you to the whole concept. You have love in your life, despite what you think. That love may not be exactly what you want at the moment, and it won’t take the hurt of loss away entirely, but it’s there for you in ways you can’t even imagine… And it will help you in ways you’ve not yet begun to fathom.
Hell, I love you. I love you because even if I haven’t met you, we shared a few moments together in these paragraphs. I love you because you haven’t given me a reason not to (and let’s face it, I give people A LOT of chances to redeem themselves anyway). Most importantly, I love you because I know that you have had times of pain much like mine, because life is inherently painful, and who are we to deny love in our worst of times? I believe in you and I am here for you. So, “KBO” you beautifully broken little human – and don’t ever stop loving.
*As I said before, music is an integral part of my internal makeup. I rely on music to round out the sounds of my day, music can make me feel joy or move me to tears, hell, I wake up with a song in my head every morning – anything from a commercial jingle, to that pop song I hate, to an instrumental classic. So why not define my posts accordingly as well? That’s what I plan to do moving forward. Why not encourage you, my lovely readers, to sway, bump, boogie, jive, head bang, and fist pump along with me?
Photo: E. Campbell (2017)
Independence Park, Philadelphia, PA