Something occurred to me the other day, whilst walking*: I’m not un-fall-in-love-able-with. Or un-fall-in-love-with-able. Either will do. The point is, I’m not. Probably.
Here’s the thing…
The people who have fallen in love with me (and actually told me about it) both behaved reprehensibly towards me at/around the point of revelation. I didn’t invite their (romantic) love, nor did I encourage it.
Neither of them was the person I married, who I don’t think fell in love with me, or (at the time of knowing) would have known what falling in love was if it bit him on the nose. I wasn’t in love with him either, and we doubtless both added to our own not-inconsiderable lists of mistakes regarding the other, when we tied the knot. Mea culpa.
That’s beside the point. The point (behaving as it so often does, like smoke one attempts to pin to a wall) is this: I don’t know what to make of it – of me, and the capacity to be fallen in love with.
It’s clearly there, as long as I don’t measure it by the calibre of person who’s done it. Or;
It’s not there, and I can hold the calibre of person who did it, responsible for their falling. Or;
Because of the calibre of person who did it, it wasn’t really falling at all, and the wondering is moot. Or;
I can decide there’s insufficient data to make any kind of sensible extrapolation, and surmise I should infer nothing, but continue on my merry way, being on the lookout for potential emotional gin-traps.
[disclaimer – I never said the original ‘something’ made any sense]
I’m not unfamiliar with love, in many of its guises. Lucky me!
Affectionate, familial, playful loves – those I enjoy with my friends-and-relations, and am constantly delighted to have in my life – one of the wonderful situations where more is more is more.
Selfless love is probably not something I can be objective on, and can only say I try my best. If it means things like emptying the dishwasher so my mum doesn’t have to, or depriving myself of sleep to make sure Neff gets his inhaler, I can think of any number of examples. If it’s deeper or bigger than that, there are probably painful (and painfully stupid) instances I could dredge up but simply don’t want to.
Enduring love again seems ever so subjective, but really, I’d like to think so.
Obsessive love…well, I’ve had ridiculous crushes, so maybe yes, but I think I’ve also been able to see the lack of realism in my ridiculous crushes, so also maybe not. Not really one I want to dabble with, to be honest.
Self love (not that kind!) is something I’m working on and finally making progress with. Didn’t think I ever would but there you go – what is life if we can’t surprise ourselves sometimes!
Erotic love I experienced best once all that horrid marriage business was over and done with, and I found someone who showed me what it was really all about. All I can say is wow. WOW! And…if it could ever happen again, sign me right up.
But falling in love? I couldn’t even begin to imagine what bits of each of those categories it would fall into! Some of almost all of them, I should think! Elements of all of them would be necessary to fall in love, be in love, continue being in love with someone…and the chance of them reciprocating? It astonishes me I know as many couples as I do, whose love seems to represent the best of those categories.
As we finally drag ourselves from 167 days of January and get into the swing of RED AND PINK HEARTSVILLE February, the pervasive mood doesn’t seem to be doe-eyed or dewily coy; it seems to be trudging. The people I know who are most excited about Valentine’s day are singles, who are making the day all about them, and indulging in some self-care, time out, and treats they choose for themselves, to enjoy BY themselves, thankyouverymuch.
I get it, I really do.
In the face of the international political landscape, how can we possibly have time for something as saccharine and commercial as love? In the face of the ecological disaster we’re beginning to reap the whirlwind of, how can we justify spending on throwaway tokens of affection? In the face of social media telling us, insistently, what and how and why we should celebrate, what good does it do us to comply?
In the face of love and its inherent terminality, why even bother?
Life is like all kinds of things (I’m going to work my way back to the point, I promise) – a box of chocolates, riding a bicycle, a journey, a bumpy ride, a blur, a rollercoaster – we can throw any number of cliches at it to try to encompass the magnitude and bizarreity** of the whole. We like to try to box it into nuances we understand – break it down into manageable chunks, but it’s just not possible.
Like love, life is more enormous and comprised of more seemingly incompatible parts than we ever thought possible. It waits til we think we’re on the right track, then something shifts, we trip, and suddenly get side-swiped to next Tuesday where we just have to sit for a while, still reeling, and wonder what on earth was up with THAT!?
It doesn’t make sense. Life, love, any of it.
But we know from the elevation of love to LEGENDARILY IMPORTANT levels, that it’s something absolutely worthwhile. In whatever guise, we chase it, we cherish it, we want more of it, and we’ll move mountains to get it. It makes us silly, it makes us dangerous, it makes us whole.
Love runs the gamut of life, and if we’re lucky, we get to go along for the ride. We need to be open to it, need to be ready for its shattering unexpectedness and overwhelming banality. We need to seek it out, find it where it already exists, and make sure, whatever else we do, we damn well celebrate it in all its proper forms.
Love gets so tangled up into things which aren’t it; things which resemble it but turn out to be poison; things which we were told were it, but were just stories; things we didn’t realise were it, and discarded, that when we do find it, we’re lucky if we know it.
There are places I know it, and I’m ever so very thankful for each of them.
And that’s really quite something.
Now get on out there, and LOVE.
*Because for some reason, all the best thoughts seem to occur whilst I’m doing something other than writing, especially if it makes writing nigh on impossible at the time (e.g. showering) perhaps so I need to employ a great deal of deliberation and second thought to even remember what I was thinking about and why I thought it was so good, before I get to the stage of writing it down for anyone else to peruse. Anyway…
**It is a word. Must be. I just wrote it.
Thanks HUGELY for the above image, made for me and this piece by the wonderful Kitt O’Malley ❤