Love Love

Truth - There's a big difference between being in love, and loving someone or something. Oftentimes the two seem to conflated as one in the same but there is a nuanced distinction to be made. Love is not just a feeling but also action, thought, and belief. Love is the ways in which you treat certain people because of and in spite of the love you have for them. Love is more than picturesque imaginations of romantic-comedy style dates, bouquets of overpriced sweetly fragrant crimson red roses, or decadent boxes of silky smooth assortments of chocolates. Love is dynamic. Love is powerful. Love is timeless. Love is an unwavering belief in someone else. So ask yourself, do you love love, or love someone?

"True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen"
 Francois de la Rochefoucauld

The millennial generation has garnered a reputation for our apparent lack of commitment to just about anything and everything. We're critiques as being incapable of sticking with it, following through, or persisting but those are some gargantuan generalizations. There may be some substantive sentiment in all the inter-generational ageist rhetoric. Why does it seem like young people are getting together and breaking up just as quickly? What ever happened to the sanctimony of the all-powerful Facebook relationship status. Millennials receive flack for being seemingly so frivolous in the transience of our relationships. I'd argue though that unlike our predecessors we may not be willing (and rightfully so) to sacrifice our happiness, potential, or entirety of our selves for others. Maybe we don't want to be taken over by love, or better yet not live in regret wondering what could have been because we were sidetracked by love. That thought process has some duality to it. In some ways we're focused on our passions, causes, and beliefs of how we can change the world which is exactly what life is about, but in doing so we may not give ourselves the time, space, and openness we need to experience the most important happening of all - love. As with everything, it seems we want the best and have no intention of settling for less. Others came before us so we could not only strive for that but attain it. The challenge though remains of how do you know when you've found "the one," and what if there are multiple ones. Can you love more than one person ... and simultaneously?

Sometimes I wonder if people are love people wholeheartedly or conversely are in love with the idea of a person. They might just even be in love with love itself. A warm gentle caress, nervous fluttering butterflies freely floating in your stomach, and the longing looks where the intricate details of the face of another are memorized - love sounds amazing. Maybe we've seen to many romantic comedies or have unrealistic expectations. Is it wrong to hold out for that special person? Why can't we redefine love as this process of waiting for someone to complete you but rather knowing that you are always whole but can have the best brought in you by someone else? Can we go for a test run and love for a while before picking out another? Whether we meet in a library, in the park, or on some form of social media, what does it matter? Maybe love is instagram pictures of partners leading you on globetrotting adventures just as much as it's clasped hands when you're recovering from an illness. Maybe love is showering another with gifts just as much as it is giving the clothes off your back or sacrificing a meal to ensure the one you love is taken care of. Maybe love is passionate romps between the sheets just as much as it is falling asleep to the sound of another's voice thousands of miles away.

I don't know about you but I don't want to ever think of love as settling. That's not something where I am willing to compromise. There are no negotiations to be had when it comes to matters of the heart. I never want to have to convince myself that I love someone. I want to know it like I know the lines etched into my palms, the syncopated easy rising and fall of my chest, and the resounding heartbeat that booms inside me. I want to be sure and I want whoever I end up with, if that ever happens, to feel the same. I also think am okay with intimacy in all its forms. I can love my family and friends deeply just like I can love a partner. I can find fulfillment in myself just as easily as I can find it in someday being a dad. I can love me so personally. I can love love and never love. Love comes is may different renderings all of which are valid. Love does not and should not look the same for everyone. That's why we can all love love.

Love for me has changed so much these past few years. I know deep down I still hold on to the ideal normalized concept of two people selflessly loving one another. I think of my parents and so many others who go through the ritual of marriage and build an awe-inspiring lifelong story together. I want that but have come to consider that yearning for love can be quelled in so many other ways. I think for me even more so than a partner I want children to be responsible in loving. The only thing more profound than my parent's love for one another might possibly be their love for all of their children. They would move mountains, cross oceans, stop time, and give their lives for us. I solemnly swear that their unconditional love is the stuff of legend. It's ferocious, magnanimous, and inspirational. I want to love my children in the same ways I have been loved. Could I be a single dad? I think I'd be more than okay with that. Being a foster parent, or adopting children domestically are both endeavors that I have been thinking more and more about. I don't think I'll ever give up on the classic notions of love but I always realize it is the not the end be all.

For my generation, I say you have to come up with your own understanding of love. This is the world we have inherited but we have the right and obligation to make it our own. It's okay to be afraid to fall in love. We shouldn't have to lose ourselves to gain someone else. Why can't we love someone else and ourselves simultaneously? Love for another doesn't necessarily have to be the entirety of who we are. Love can happen multiple times and with various people. Love can be with another person and/or what we do for the world. Love can be bigger than us and yet not all we contribute to the world. We can love love, be in love, and love all at the same time.

Our love is unique to us. Our love can be heteronormative and traditional. It can be queer as hell, interracial, and interfaith. It can be hot and heavy and/or soft and sweet. It can be picture perfect and/or organized chaos. It can consume us and/or be just another aspect of who we are. Whatever our love may be, we will be the ones to pronounce what it is and it is not. We have that prerogative and duty by/to ourselves. X


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