what’s love. really? i think about it all the time. write about it. listen to sappy songs about it. see movies about it. theorize about it. experience its physical form. read trash novels about it. read good literature about it. talk about it. and chase it, god knows i chase it. but what’s this elusive, undefineable, indefinite, abstract concept that i’ve come to shape my life around?
is love the cheerful annoyance with which i bear the antics of my family — allowing the knowledge that they have only my best interests at heart mitigate the aggravation their actions cause me? or is it the joy i find in sharing memories with my childhood friends, believing that the fact that they have seen me grow (not heightwise!) and change means that the bond we share is loftier than any i have with others? or is it the visceral reaction that hits me in the gut when i meet a cute, well dressed guy who can do things like… name the national anthem of a foreign country, land a decent punch, appreciate fine cuisine, and keep up with my sense of humor? what about the comfortable ambience that comes after people have become accustomed to each other’s company, is knowing someone very well love? is love finding someone who can finish your sentences for you and read your mind, is it the sense that you and your lover are the only two sane ones in a world full of crazies, is it believing that you’ve finally found someone who understands you?
as usual, i don’t know. i haven’t the slightest as to how to go about defining love. i guess i doubt that it exists sometimes. it worries me that i can have hour long conversations with a large variety of people. i get thrown off when i have a phenomenal time with people i’m not very close to — it’s as if i should only be able to really enjoy myself to a large degree with the people i love. i suppose i’ve grown up thinking that love isn’t free, but that it’s finite, rare and to be valued. i don’t want to love everyone, i’d much rather feel a significant emotion for only a select few people in my life. it scares me to think that all relationships are equal, that all things and people are equal — that none of my friendships are any more “loving” than others. because, if that were to be true. . . why bother developing close bonds with people, if they can be so easily trumped, or at the very least, matched by quick, superficial ties.
my friend ann always says that it’s possible to fall in love for a moment, in a moment, and for that outpouring of emotion to be contained within that moment. i never wanted to believe that, i always thought that was an easy way out — i guess it seemed to me, the flighty response of a girl who was very much immersed in her high school fling type, friends with benefits relationships, rather than someone who was experience a mature, heart stopping, love. i don’t think that way anymore. i think it’s very, very possible to fall in love for a moment. i also, though, think it’s possible to fall in love again and again, essentially every moment. and i think, too, it’s possible to fall in love after an hour of loveless moments.
i think the first sort of love is chemistry. it’s a shared love of the gin blossoms. it’s admiring someone’s intelligence, good looks, talents, wit or charm. it’s having your first conversation last for hours, well after the coffee grows stale and you’re late to wherever your were supposed to be. it’s enjoying an evening out in someone’s company. it’s a good kiss. it’s a tilliating flirtation. it’s possibility. i’ve had flashes of that at leadership conferences with people who i felt just…understood me in some integral way. or at speech meets when i was stuck for hours in dingy high schools with the same people — i’ve coming out of those days feeling like i knew my new comrades intimately. i’ve had it with that cute guy at the bookstore who i exchanged a few supercharged flirtatious lines with. it’s that sense of connection, the sparks that fly. it’s usually instantaneous. it’s not exactly common, but neither is it uncommonly rare. i think that’s what ann was talking about when she said you can fall in love in the moment and for the moment.
the last sort of love is intimacy. it’s the development of feelings. it’s the sort of love you have for your childhood friends. or for your parents. it’s the sort of emotion that develops in arranged marriages. it’s knowing that your friend takes their coffee black and that they love the orioles baseball team. it’s remembering that they are afraid of spiders or loud noises at night. it’s knowing that they snore at night and tossing a pillow over your head and getting some sleep. this sort of love is a panacea for loneliness — it’s companionship, comraderie, and growing old with someone else. it’s slow and gradual, but it’s solid too, because it isn’t based upon any one thing, but rather the acceptance of another person, or perhaps, the acceptance of the fact that the other person is part of your life whether you like them or not.
the middle ground isn’t mundane or a happy compromise between two unthinkable extremes. instead — it transcends either one of its associates by a significant amount. it’s not a settling for either, or… but rather, it’s both. this sort of love is having chemistry, but developing that chemistry. to a degree, i guess i believe that the pinnacle of love is neither some sort of flash in the pan fatal attraction, nor the product of effort and consciencous work — it’s some of both. love, as i aspire to it, is what is found when a genuine connection is actualized. when it is borne to fruition.
that, to me, is love. and it’s love as it’s applied to friendships and relationships, familial and sexual types of interactions. in it’s application, love may vary, but i think, to a degree, that at its core — it remains essentially unchanged.