But seriously, when you boil down the motivating factor behind every single behavior you have, it always comes back to love, love, love. We want to be loved, we want to love, we want perhaps most of all to be HAPPY, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that happiness is an impossibility in a loveless environment. So why do I feel the need to remind you that LOVE STINKS? Because that’s the rub: you can’t be happy without love, but avoiding love is the ONLY way to avoid pain. The ironic duality. The stinking mess.
Anyone who has ever truly fallen in love can tell you this: love is an involuntary reaction. Forget all the ideas you had in your head of what Prince (or Princess) Charming would be like…love is a tsunami that destroys all reason and rationality in its path. “Love is blind” is absolutely NO JOKE. This is another of love’s delicious ironies. We all believe that to find “true love” we need to perfect our look, our personality, our life…we need to lose weight or dress better or smell better or have a tan…what a joke!
My Father, who was demonstrably in love with my Mother for over 50 years, once launched into a rhapsodic monologue about the cute little “dimples” on my Mom’s butt…much to the horror of my sister and I. When he finished I felt the need to inform him that the “dimples” he found so charming were actually an undesirable condition called “cellulite”; his response to this was a shrug, a smile and “Is that what they’re called? They’re so cute!” AHEM.
When you have fallen head-over-heels, there is NOTHING that cannot be construed as beautiful, charming, alluring. Your beloved becomes your personal true north, with every molecule of your being keening to be closer to that body, that soul, that mind. You want to read all of their favorite books, watch all of their favorite movies, know all of their favorite songs...you will leave no stone unturned in your efforts to merge closer to this being.
The things we do for love know no limits...raise your hand if you've ever cleaned up a loved one's puke (kids don't count)!!! Testify if you have ever melted over someone's crybaby tantrum (again, no kids)!!! Fall to your knees if you have ever forgiven frankly unforgivable behavior in the name of love!!! Can I get an AMEN, somebody???
Love can rattle you to your core, make you foolishly brave, turn you into sentimental fool. Love can leave you high and dry when you least expect it; it can also sneak up on you in the most unexpected places. Love is unpredictable, undeniable and terrifyingly vulnerable. Love can bring you to the highest heights and the lowest lows, love can crack you so wide open there is no place left to hide; love can leave you for dead at the side of the road…love stinks.
And conversely, if somebody does love you? Go ahead and puke in their car. Ha. Seriously, though, this is the secret of love that nobody talks about. You can’t help who you love and who you don’t. The only “choice” in love in whether or not you demonstrate it and how. Sometimes you love someone who doesn’t love you back, or vice versa. No one “chooses” this experience, at least not consciously. But we do choose how we deal with it, and whether or not we let it take us down.
Sometimes love can last forever; more often the shelf life is a bit shorter, because the world and people are ever changing commodities. We grow, we explore, we move, we work, we evolve and it is very difficult to keep doing all of these things in reasonable tandem with another person for an indefinite period. So there are endings, transitions, changes and sadness. But what is life without it? To paraphrase M. Scott Peck—Love stinks. Once we see this truth, we transcend it. Once accepted, the fact that love stinks no longer matters.
Because love is all there is.