I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. Big word, love. A four letter word, even. Not an easy topic for me, especially. I don’t think that I’m really qualified to be talking about this since I basically hate most things on this planet, but I’m what you get. Sorry in advance.
So let’s talk about this thing called love. What is love?
Love boggles me. First of all, there are like a million different types of love, right? I mean there’s the love you feel for your mate, there’s the love you feel for your parents, there’s the love you feel for your children or siblings, there’s the love you feel for friends, and then there’s everyone else.
Now, if you’re like me, these do not intermix and . . . let’s be honest, they barely exist for most people. I don’t even really like most of my family – sorry guys. And friends? Hah! Friends would imply a level of trust and commitment to openness that I simply do not have. And maybe that’s what it all comes down to – trust.
I recently heard one of those stupid morning show crews going on and on about the L-word, and how they wouldn’t say it first, and how they would break up with any girl who did. The one obligatory female on the crew asked why they felt that way, and if they had ever been in love. All these puffed-up dudes professed that yes, they had. So she followed that with, “Well if you feel it, why not say it?” The unanimous and immediate response was “Oh my God, the power that gives them over you!”
I have to agree. It does give a lot of power to tell someone you love them – but since loving them gives them that power in the first place, damage done. Loving someone gives them license to – even unknowingly – tear your heart out. If you ask me, more damage has been done in the name of love than in the name of hate. I theorize that’s because damage from hate is superficial. You know that the hate is there, and you expect damage, so you build your defenses accordingly. When someone loves you, though, or you love them, that shit blindsides you, and cuts to the bone. That’s why I keep everyone at arms distance with a fireplace poker. Problem solved, right?
No, because now I have an entirely different problem. Loneliness. It’s safer. It’s much safer than loving someone and giving them free reign to do a Mexican hat dance on your heart, but. . . it’s cold. Empty. I succeeded at my goal of keeping people from hurting me and now I am completely safe and comfortable and alone. Problem not solved.
So what is one to do? Jesus himself said “love one another.” And even professed love as the greatest commandment, basically boiling it down into, “Dude, don’t be a dick.” (Mat 22: 37-39 Brandi Translation) But since no one follows that tenant, following it becomes dangerous. No offense here, but I mean no one, folks. Everyone hates someone – or if hate’s too strong a word for your delicate palettes, try “discomfort to the point of exclusion”. Everyone does it. I’m not trying to point fingers; I’m actually asking . . . why we do this? Why do we take this simple commandment of loving one another and put in nice little boxes that fit within our comfort zone? Why do some churches spend more time preaching about burning in hell for your imperfections than they spend volunteering in a soup kitchen where they can feed the hungry? Why do we hide away our love out of fear of the possibility of getting hurt? It’s a real possibility I know, but not a definite by any means. So why do we do it?
God has recently been dealing with me directly to put down Li’l Bashy and let people in. I cannot describe in words how uncomfortable this makes me, but I’ll give you a hint: think the back of a Volkswagen.
Still, God says, I try my hardest to do. So I tentatively put the poker down, but kept it close by. You know, just in case.
Something wonderful happened. I made a friend. Someone I would consider a real friend. I say that not because she’s done anything physical for me, like feed me or give me money. . . but she drinks with me, and affirms when I’m awesome, and tells me when I’m being a dick. She’s someone I can go to for shit that doesn’t matter, when I just feel like fucking around with nothing real, and she’s someone who doesn’t brush me off when I’m actually having a problem. Talking to someone about me having a problem is liberating enough, but she actually gives me good fucking advice! Crazy, right? I mean, who does that? She’s helped me sift through some of my shit, and I’ve, hopefully, helped her compartmentalize some of hers. I’ve never had a relationship like the one I’m building with her, one of understanding and completely free of judgment. I would never have accomplished that without listening to God and letting myself love someone.
Does this mean I now love everyone and walk around like a weepy vagina with my heart on my sleeve? Absolutely not! There are people who I know care about me, but because I care about them I don’t show them these things because I know it would destroy a) their opinions of me and b) their minds. What it does mean is that I can bring myself to understand that love and openness can be good things.
I heard someone say, “Hating someone is giving them license to live, rent free, in your mind all the time.” And another person said, “Bitterness is the poison you drink hoping someone else will die”. That is some shit right there. Some deep shit. Hatred was killing me. Slowly, painfully, burying me alive. I’m learning better ways, and they all revolve around that scary fucking L-word.