“What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me no more.” ~Haddaway
We are all fragile when it comes to love, an emotion so intense it can lay the highest low, and change the course of the world. It’s love that frightens more people from day to day than just about anything else, because it’s love that has the propensity to hurt the most. From unrequited love, to lost love, to just the daily growing pains of love as it develops, it’s the one emotion that causes the most dismay, and makes us shed the most tears.
Love is magical. It draws people together who may be entirely different except for sharing that one peculiar emotion. It can slide effortlessly between class lines and unite those who previously seemed to have no connections with anyone else. But love can also make people hate themselves, or hate others, in its circuitous process. Because we can’t really choose who we love. Love takes that control away from us and leaves us out on the ocean without a paddle. We can only hope that it creates waves to bring us back to land eventually.
We all have stories of how love was cruel, of how it was ironically bitter when we needed it to be sweet. Sometimes love leaves us wilting in the sun, vulnerable to anything and everything because it requires every ounce of our souls, every fiber of our beings. We long for love so much that we often see it in shadows of other emotions when it’s not really there. We complain about it when it’s not around, but we also take it for granted when we have it.
The idea of love is mythical, but the reality is that love takes hard work and commitment in order to take root and flourish. Love is more than the sum of its parts, but it needs that parts in order to operate. Love is butterfly kisses and summer days, but it’s also holding back hair when we’re sick. It’s weathering the storm of life together instead of drifting apart. It’s forgiveness and understanding. It’s everything and nothing like it’s portrayed through the media, but also everything and nothing like we see it in others.
Because love is personal. It breaks us down and lifts us up, but it’s one-on-one. Love is what we make of it. It adjusts itself according to our own understanding of it. It reflects our own neuroses and our own affections so we can see them up close and in living color. Love means being vulnerable, opening ourselves up to a feeling that is so much bigger than ourselves, and letting it breathe.