I’ve written about this before. Maybe you saw it, it was supposed to start a series on the meaning of life. I didn’t think I had it figured out, but I felt good enough about it that I wanted to share it with the world. Did my research, had my notes, and started my paper.
Then it felt fake.
I put that series to the side and didn’t write again for a while. I tried too hard. I love to write. But that time I did it for the wrong reasons, and that messed me up. Unfortunately, if I don’t do it all, I feel deprived, useless, another sheep in the herd. Writing makes me feel like the person that I am.
Is that love? Hell if I know. Maybe. It’s passion. It’s self-loathing. It’s a brighter world. It’s the darkness that keeps me awake at night, arm under my pillow, looking up and wondering, what is even the point if I don’t do this one thing?
So I’m back at it. I get back at it, and I’m that phony again. I say what I think, but I say it with this voice, this mask of a person I’m not.
I did this a few times. Did I mean well? Yeah, I truly believe I did, but I also transformed into this being I am not. This being I thought the world wanted, that it needed out of me. It was my desire to be loved. To be respected as a clever guy. Kind of disgusting, but well, a part of me is that douchebag.
What do I have to say about love? Love is so many things on so many levels. Can I get any vaguer? I could try, but I won’t. I had a book worth of notes before I threw it out the window to start this one. Defenestration. History and all. But let me point out a few here.
We have family love. Some of it is genuine and unconditional, like a mother to a child. Agape, the Greeks called it, and later the Christians borrowed it to mean God’s love. I can’t claim to be Christian anymore, I gave up on that idea long ago, but I still will refer to an unconditional love, an unselfish love, a love without expecting to be loved in return as God’s love. Given that is a bit silly of me considering how conditional and demanding God’s love seems to be in the Occident.
But as long as we are all speaking the same language, you know what I mean. For the most part, I just refer to ‘God’s love’ as true love. Whether it’s the love for your cat or dog. For you daughter or son. For your significant other. If you love them no matter how often they shit on your floor and expect you to clean it up, that is true love to me.
So what about sex? And work? And friends?
Well, sex be good, my friend. If you can have sex with true love, you’ve got something to run away with. Art and non romantic human love are still love too. Whether you are that guy staring at a photograph and writing poetry for a woman you’ve never met, or a guy holding a flower in front of a tank in a stop-war-for-peace kind of love.
Is love the way my dog loves me? Or is that an illusion of love because the truth is he only sees me as his provider of food? Is love compromise? Accepting or even adoring the faults in our lovers or friends? Or just accepting that they will never be perfect, never able to provide all the sex, affection, material security, personality, and family we so much desire?
Maybe the science-inclined are right. The ones that say it’s just a chemical reaction in our brains that was created by evolution to help prolong the human race. We kiss, I taste your antibiotics and see they complement mine. I’m attracted. I’m turned on. Your bacteria taste so sweet and necessary to my being. My existence. To the survival of my unborn offspring. Nice, let’s have a baby. With that baby and your young, sexy self, I’ll love you for about five years or so and then the baby will be a child and no longer need two caretakers so I’ll stop loving you and move on to the next attractive baby-carrier.
Maybe the religions are right. Jesus (or your preferred prophet) is pure love. We should embody him in everything we do. What would Jesus do? But that is trying to wag the dog with the tail. Religion tries to make the rules to define this divine love, but is that what love is? God’s love, remember?
Maybe all these are love. Maybe there isn’t one definition. Maybe love should stop being defined and start being seen as a light. Particles and waves. A spectrum. We can see the different colors, and yet we know there are so many we can’t even see, only know are there.
The 23 minutes of passion from that fatal attraction. The happiness your dog has in his eyes when you walk through the door. That special person that sacrifices her desires for yours. Maybe it’s the flowers. The wrapping our arms around each other. Holding hands or bisous to a friend or stranger.
Maybe it’s the tears, the waves that hit our ears and become ‘music’, the taste of another’s flesh; her lips, her neck, the inside of her leg, her sweat, her hair, her shoulder, or just your hand holding her calf as you are both transfixed on a mutual interest.
Hell, maybe it’s drugs, man made and god-given. Maybe it’s drinking old fruit or grain. Maybe it’s art. Your job, career. Money. The pursuit of knowledge.
(I don’t know what love is, but if it stops, just blow and it will work again.)
Maybe I’m going a bit too deep. Maybe I can’t fathom how deep we must go. Maybe it’s just me, writing, and you reading this. Breaking the barrier of time and consciousness as you enter the past and into somebody else’s mind, forever connecting us beyond any measurable understanding.
It’s what we live in. It is what we are made of on a level we don’t yet understand in many ways. It’s what we live for and sometimes die for.
It’s what we need it to be.