An interesting look at the word " love "
I HAD been after enchanted romances all my life. I wanted to be lost in the magic of love, to melt in it, to disappear in it. I wanted to spend my time thinking about "the one" for hours on end, to transfer her into my world and keep her there, alive, to burn for her. To unite her existence with my own. And once was not enough. I don't know how many loves I lived in my mind, how many people I dreamed of loving, how many imaginary worlds I created with others, only to destroy them later on, and be left stranded among the ruins. The possibilities were endless. The mind conceives of as much as it can. The heart is never satisfied, it never says "please, don't love me anymore," but is always after more. Love knew no limits. One after the other, determining the colour of the world and the colour of my world.
The magic of being in love was so enticing. Love, romantic love was the biggest weapon against loneliness. It was the one branch I could catch hold of as I was falling down into a bottomless pit. The moment I was left alone was the moment life lost it's meaning. My feelings got hurt, the world came crashing down around me, there was no reason left to live. Like a drug that eased the pain, love was an ointment for the heartache. It was impossible to live without an incentive for living. And so love came to the rescue. One wanted someone to be there. Someone to whom we could say "you are in my dreams, you're the only one for me". This had to be someone who was the only one who could make our hearts pound, the only one who could arouse our excitement. I wanted to make them feel special. I wanted to say " you are the only one who can excite me, who can make me feel the way you do. What I feel for you is very special". And I wanted to hear the same reply. Someone who belonged to my world only. Saying these things changed my world. Life became easier, gained meaning, gained colour. You knew that now, she was thinking of you. You were on her mind. She was dependent on you. She thought you were important. You gave meaning to her life. The "emptiness" you felt inside disappeared. Your existence was acknowledged, recognised, valuable. At last, you existed.
When someone would tell me that they were in love, I would feel jealous. Jealous of the one in love and the one loved. I wanted to be the one who loved and the loved one. To me these people had conquered life. The path to nothingness had been blocked and emptiness was a problem no longer. They had found a branch to hold on to. As for me, I was like one groping around in vacuity.
I am no longer jealous of the lovers and the loved ones. This has nothing to do with my unrequited loves or to my being abandoned. It’s due to the hundreds of love stories I’ve heard first-hand. If love was enough in itself to bring happiness and peace to people, then the planet would be free of pain, heartache and distress. But I have seen the opposite happen. I have heard lovers tell of their love and the pain they have felt because of it. Hundreds of people have told me of how their love stories have ended in heartache. Love left pain in its wake. Something was not right somewhere.
I no longer trust love. I am no longer jealous of lovers and their loved ones. Loving, being loved, falling in love tired one. It even frightened one.
I used to think that falling in love meant loving another person. I thought that the heavy burden of life would disappear with loving, with being loved, with romance. But I now no longer trust love. Loving, being in love, falling in love and having someone fall in love with you, carried as heavy a load as life itself. Loving and being in love, falling in love and having someone fall in love with you, is a heavy weight placed upon our emotions.
For years I wore myself out with my efforts at loving and being loved. I didn’t recognise the problem within my own self. What could be wrong with love? It was only an innocent emotion I was in search of. And, anyway it was out of my hands. Loving and being loved couldn’t be wrong. But why did it carry such heartache with it? Why did it tire one so? Why couldn’t we always have what we want? Why weren’t innocent loves requited? Why, when love was reciprocated did it last the life-span of a soap bubble?. For years who knows how many times I experienced the same thing. Those who I wanted to love, didn’t love me, and those who loved me, I couldn’t love. I couldn’t understand them, or myself. But my faith in love continued still.
I felt my first disappointment in love on listening to love stories, told by lovers who had loved and then parted. As I listened to their tales of love I realised that these stories were my stories. In every word, in every sentence, in every emphasis, I saw the impasse of love. It was like they were talking in my place. This wasn’t their story, it was "our story". This wasn’t their impasse; it was "ours".
There was one question I couldn’t resist asking someone in love after they had lost their loved one. I would wait impatiently for them to tell their story. As soon as they had finished I would ask that crucial question: "What does it mean to you to be loved by that person" ? The replies to this question always managed to shock me. How could these words come out of a person’s mouth? How could a person say such things? How could a person fall to such depths? How could a person exalt another in such a manner? And how could I have done the same thing?
The replies would begin something like this: " She was my everything". " I can’t live without her. She was my only support in life. My life had meaning with her. I lost everything after losing her. I have nothing left in the world. I am all alone. I’m living in a deserted universe. You couldn’t really call it living actually. Because the meaning in my life has been taken away."
The replies were frightening. Whenever I hear these replies, the words float about in my mind; "my everything", "without him", "meaning". "She was my everything". A shocking expression. The load placed on another creature was too heavy a load for that being to bear. "I can’t live without him". Wasn’t this a lie? Did we come into being with "him"? Was "she" the one to bring us out of the darkness of non-existence into the world of the living? "My life has no meaning now" is a meaningless statement itself. How can someone who played no role in our creation be the meaning of our lives? These were the mistakes in love I had made all my life. People were not worthy of these statements. None of us can carry such a burden. Nothing can be our everything, nor can we be somebody else’s everything.
The replies given were my replies. For years I had lived without realising this. For years I had lived a lie. On saying "I love you", I had used my love and my loved one. Those who told they loved me were, in fact, using me and their love. The things we said to each other! The things we wrote! And we added things that we didn’t believe ourselves. We amplified what we felt. We tried to impress. And we wanted to be impressed ourselves. We tried to bind them to ourselves. We expected to be worshipped by them. We wanted them to tell us that they couldn’t live without us. We exploited love. In order to be admired, we told them how much we admired them. Lies! What we were really saying was, "please idolise me".
These were tainted loves. Because they were surrounded by lies. We elevated the ones we said we loved. Because there was the possibility that they would love us and elevate us in return. Thus we were trying to satisfy our need to be loved by an exalted being.
To be the meaning of someone’s life. "You’re the most important part of my life. You’re the one that binds me to life. Without you life has no meaning. You’re my everything." These words tickle our ego. We are flattered. We wanted to be worshipped. Like prostrating oneself before an idol, we wanted to be prostrated to. And it was at this point that we lied. We were using love when we said that we loved. No, this was something more like the desire to be adulated. How could we be someone’s reason for living, when we played no part in that person’s coming into being and for whom we have no role in the continuation of their life.