To my fans – the one, two, possibly three of you – you may have noticed my long absence from the love blog, if you will. In my nearly three-month long hiatus, I became witness and participant to a barrage of romantic entanglements. While I’d like to end the suspense with a heartwarming resolution over all the emo-charged hoopla we put ourselves through, I can only offer a bit of commentary that comes far short of climactic: love makes no sense whatsoever!!! In the literary world, it’s a faux pas to use multiple exclamation points but that’s the bare bones default of that statement. That’s how ridiculous love is – it comes with three exclamation points whether you want it or not! I’m even compelled to follow up with “Seriously? Honestly? WTF! @#$%!” Dude, if there was an emoticon to encapsulate this feeling, it would be a face so contorted by utter confusion and frustration only to look permanently constipated (my friends know I can easily imitate this face).
While those who know me would unanimously agree that I am a hopeless romantic (and hope to remain one even after this defeating conclusion), the last three months did very little to renew that endless store of romantic optimism. In fact, it did more to challenge it head-on. So challenging was it that I was literally forced immobile and mute for three entire months, preventing my readership from growing (hopefully) and my heart from opening up to possibility.
It depresses me to list the love stories – if you can even call them “love stories” – I witnessed because the stories are of you, you and you: A young female friend of mine settled for her significant other. Knowing she deserved better, she refused to throw herself back into the singles market. She jumped into his arms and over the threshold (probably with her eyes shut so tightly it hurt…and her fingers crossed). She’d rather have someone than no one. A friend’s fiancé left him months before delivering their first child. She claimed to have miscarried the baby and wanted out of his life. This was news to him. A friend finally confessed his love to another friend, only it was too late. She was hardly interested and had bigger fish to fry than deal with a man who required nearly half a decade to realize he might actually love her. A perfectly happy couple faced questions of “the next step” after a double-digit year anniversary –a dating anniversary, that is. They didn’t desire marriage or children. If there was no goal to work toward as lovers, need they be together? A friend reencountered a past lover, not the most memorable one, one who now had more potential than ever but she hesitated, fearing a repeat of the same mistakes.
Oh the agony! Here are all these perfectly sane individuals crawling over broken glass and nails, all for the sake of true love. The problem is there’s still a miles stretch of the really sharp, pointy agony and someone is about ready to call it quits. What to do, love gods? It all just makes me ready to pop a vein or two because as humankind has experienced time and time again, when one has the freedom to choose love, one has the freedom deny, reject, end and muffle love to a slow, agonizing death. So, in fact, you might just jump from one broken-glass road to another. Oh the horror! Yes, I am being melodramatic but you know what I mean!
It all makes for one great sob fest because only a handful of y’all will actually get it right! Oh Lordy! And those who get it right will only do so not only because you bust your ass to make it work, but because sheer luck just happened to be on your side. Is that depressing or what? What’s all the big deal about finding a mate, a soul mate, a second half if we’re gonna kill ourselves trying, if we’re gonna be wrong 90% of the time? Because it makes us happy to work that hard for something that we think will make us happy? Because we love the thrill of falling in and – on some perverse level – of falling out of love? Because it’s just life? If those answers suffice you, I’m glad you have some peace of mind.
I realize that I’m not being particularly smart about my approach to uncovering and inspiring love in its many forms (I mean, look at how depressing this article is!). A friend once told me: “concentrate on quality, not quantity.” Sure, there are an infinite number (maybe not “infinite” but too many to count) of failed relationships, but those relationships that are thriving do so in just as many (infinite!) wonderful, nuanced ways, ways that trump those broken hearts, families and hopes.
I’ve also been advised to stop concentrating on the events draped in red neon lights when it comes to relationships. In other words, stop looking so much at the extreme low and high points of relationships. Love has its boring, mundane, watch-paint-dry moments too. It is often in those moments – a habitual caress during a car ride, eyes connecting on a shared joke, harmless quarreling to see who changes the baby’s diapers when he’s been having mad diarrhea – those moments serve as the strongest bonds to the most rigid, loyal kind of love out there.
Quality not quantity. Even everyday boring too. So it is now my goal to somehow find a poultice, a remedy for this little hurt I’ve accrued, this depression over love’s not-so-great success rate, to bandage and kiss the pain away, to see that curious, relentless need a-hopping and a-skipping out into the world to give love another shot. Because we all deserve the amazing things that flourish when love is the driving force. I will try my best to dedicate my articles to love stories that have stood the test of time, adversary, heartbreak and even not-so-dramatic, everyday boring obstacles. “Love is kind, love is pure…” Until next time (and I promise it won’t be another 3 months).