While I’m not the first person to think that Love is a four letter word, and many others have waxed poetic for centuries on the topic, I feel like putting in my two cents. I feel proficient in the topical use of four letter words. I was pondering a George Carlin skit (link is below) and thinking about snow (another dreadful four letter word) and ended up attempting to have a discussion with someone about love. I didn’t feel like I was able to get my point across, and as such I’ve been ruminating on the topic ever since. I like to consider myself a romantic. I subscribe to the fantastical ideal of love the way it is depicted in songs and movies. I hold onto the hope that this type of love is attainable; that there will be that one time when love strikes me like lightning and imbues me with a sense of rightness. As such, I jump into relationships with both feet and rose colored glasses, hoping against hope that this is the time that everything will fall into place. I am perpetually disappointed. I have had people that I could not take my eyes off of. People that consumed my thoughts and caused me to obsess. People that made me think about the future and build elaborate fantasies around what could be. I am unsure if these types of feelings have ever been reciprocal. I know I’m looking for a love that takes me the way I am and loves me anyway, flaws and all. I know I often look past any flaws that someone might have and dig around for all their good qualities. I’m willing to overlook a lot if I feel like I love someone. That is what turns love into a four letter word, the willingness to sacrifice yourself for someone that doesn’t feel the same way about you.
Love is a double edged sword. Loving so deeply that you lose yourself is a dangerous thing. I’ve been down that road before and sacrificed far too much of myself to ever willingly slip down that slope again. I caution myself at the beginning of every new relationship to take things slow. I am so inpatient, and so enthusiastic, that I have a hard time justifying applying the brakes. I hold out hope that there will be one person one day that feels that way too and will actually be worth going downhill at full tilt, to hell with the consequences. In the beginning of any relationship, it is so easy to be confused by another four letter word, lust. It is difficult to sort through the miasma of endorphins and newness and determine what you’re actually feeling. Yes, this is the honeymoon phase, but I think it differs wildly in its duration for everybody and every relationship. You hear all the time about crazy people who get married after dating for a month (or less), and some of them don’t even have the excuse of being drunk or in Vegas. There are people who move in together way too soon and discover some kind of quirk about their partner that they just weren’t expecting. I generally believe that all these people are really thinking about is the endorphin rush they’re getting from all the newness (or the all the sex they’re having.) Of course, there are cases where long lasting relationships have resulted from these quickie marriages, but those seem to be happenstance. For every sixty year marriage that started in Vegas there are more than a few dozen that end in annulment or divorce.
So why do I still believe in LOVE? How can I say with absolute certainty that I know what love is? I know I’ve been IN LOVE. Deep, holy cow, I love this person so much I’d do anything for them, LOVE. It’s powerful. I can’t say with any certainty that anyone has ever felt that way about me. How can you know that? Love can be ephemeral and illusive. Love can be deep and abiding. Love needs to be felt and even then it can’t be explained. There is no one explanation of love. There are so many facets to this feeling, so many types and ways for one person to love another. Unconditionally, wholeheartedly, unreservedly, passionately, quietly, slowly… the kind of love you feel for your special someone is so different from the love you feel for family. I have people in my life right now that I would die for; family and friends alike. The people I would wake up at 3am for because they need me. The people I would drop everything for and do anything for; my constants. I know without a doubt that these people feel the same way about me. But to have that one person, that once in a lifetime person, that maybe this is my soul-mate person, seems like the ultimate, quite possibly unattainable, goal that I keep searching for. Even after all these years of looking I still hold onto the hope that this exists; that this type of all consuming love can be a mutual thing. That there is some kind of harmonious symbiosis that can happen between two people that makes them both think, “Yes! THIS is it!” I don’t want to be burned up and spent; I want to be ignited and kept aflame.
My favorite poem about love is this:
The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud, With a flush on its petal tips; For the love that is purest and sweetest, Has a kiss of desire on the lips. – John Boyle O’Reilly
To me, that sums up what I am looking for. An abiding passion that sometimes is stoked into flames, but always simmers and flickers, keeping each person warm. So yes, Love is a four letter word. So is Lust. Take a step back and try to clean the rose tint from your view so you can see clearly what you’re dealing with. Let things run their course and see where the road takes you. If it’s really love, truly love, you will either be left with an abiding friendship, or a friendship that’s on fire. I can’t help but keep trying. My hope hasn’t been quashed. No matter that Love is a four letter word; I’m quite comfortable uttering those.
Love is a Four Letter Word, Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Is_a_Four_Letter_Word_(album)
Love is a Four Letter Word, Album playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=ALGLx1orRGw4X0qhxAKLjDPNDMWIF0-ATh
George Carlin, 7 Dirty Words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbZhpf3sQxQ
Hormones and stuff: http://www.youramazingbrain.org/lovesex/sciencelove.htm