Reader: "So What’s Your Take On Love?"

So a reader sent me a left hook in the ol’ email bag recently.

You used the quote “Love is full of stupidity” and said how true that was but in many of your postings – I can’t say all since I haven’t read them all – I don’t see any references to, or definitions of, love. There is sex and dating, friendship and loving yourself, although predominantly the difficulties with that, but there is never a clear understanding of love. So I would be indebted to know how you are using that word and how you are consistent with applying that definition to sex, dating, friends, yourself.

Oy vey. What, you trying to make me work for a living?

Unthinkable.

You know, I don’t write about love. You’re correct. Je n’écris pas au sujet de l’amour. That’s the easy part. It’s the why that I’m not wanting to get into, but fuck it, here goes.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been in love. Some days I wonder if I’ve ever experienced it. Lust and deep caring, yeah. Double-yeah on the lust bit. Love? I don’t know that anyone has ever truly laid claim to this ol’ heart o’ mine. I haven’t really even had unrequited love love in god knows how long, either.

My social wheels are back on track and dating really actually looms again, but whether any will connect on that level’s really dubious. Trust has always been a challenge for me, the giving of it. I’ve been burned far too many times in this life of mine, but I keep thinking how playing with fire’s just too damned fun not to give it another go, sooner or later. I’m better at trusting now, but I’m still highly skeptical of… I don’t know. Life? Fate? Destiny? Yeah. Them.

I’ve come close to love, though. I know what to expect. I’m positive I’ll find it. I’m optimistic it’s out there, I’m just not entirely sure now’s the time of my life it’s going to get found in, you know? I’m not in the biggest hurry, but I’m beginning to be impatient.

What’s my take on love, then?

Usually, when I’m using the word, I tend to mean in a general sense. Matters of love. Affairs of the heart. Elements of lust. All of that. It’s not a weighty word for me. Perhaps it ought to be. Contrarily, it’s a very weighty word for me in relationships. I’ve used it with one man. Ever.

Part of me believes in the love of a lifetime, that one person who makes you swoon and falter with a mere part of their lips. The other part of me believes it’s more a biological and psychological pairing than it is that of any profound happening. Meaning, we’re all bound to latch to someone for whatever psycho-social reasoning, that it’s not some cosmic clicking of our tickers that’s making our hearts beat and pulses race. I’d rather believe in the once-a-lifetime love of no compare, though. I’m a passionate woman and I want my choices to be governed as much as a matter of the heart as it is of the mind.

Sometimes it feels like relationships are like jeans. You keep tryin’ ‘em until there’s one that fits oh so right.

Still, I’m looking for love. I’m looking for earth-quaking, knees-shaking, heart-aching love that hair bands sing about. I’m sure that if anyone can find it, I can.

Y’know, I was watching a rather bad movie and saw one good scene. The guy says to the girl something to the effect of, “When you love someone, when is enough finally enough?”

She sputters some long-winded blah-blah and he tells her she’s wrong. The answer, he says, is “Never. It’s never enough.” I’ve been thinking of that lately, and how every guy I was ever really serious about made me put a shelf-life stamp on how long I’d let it go bad before enough was enough. Those shelf-life expiration dates were never very far off for me. Looks like my threshold is low. Or maybe they were just not of the never-enough variety in the world of Steff.

When I tell a man “I love you” again, it’ll be said with a world of different emotion, I suspect. I’ll be keeping that phrase to myself until I really feel it to be true. When I think of “love” love, I think of Johnny and June Carter Cash. I think of Catherine the Great and Potemkin. I think of Casablanca. I think of Tristan and Isolde. I think of looking in someone’s eyes one day and knowing without asking that he’d do anything for me, and I’d do the same, as cliché as it sounds.

Because I believe in that.

I don’t think I’ve never found a guy I could love, though. I’m sure I’ve had a few. What I never had then that I have now was this self-love that comes only through certain self-defining moments in each of our lives. I’ve had a lot of them in the last five years and I feel down inside that I have a hell of a lot to offer as a person. I finally know my value. I think that, when we don’t know our value, when we don’t truly love ourselves, our relationships are untrue as a result. Who we think we love when we don’t love ourselves is an entirely different calibre of person than those we fall for when we’re at our personal best.

I dunno that I’m at my personal best yet. I’m pretty sure I’m far from it. But I’m closer to it than I’ve ever been, and I know I’ve got some road before I get there, but at least I know GPS system’s finally tracking again and my destination’s on my horizon.

These days, I know I deserve love. What’s more is, I finally have it in me to give. Before, I never thought I was worthy. Now I believe I shouldn’t settle for anything less. Hell, I know I’ve earned it.

I’m not sure that I’ve answered your question, but feel free to kick the can again if you want me to try another take on this.

[Photo’s by Alexia Berry, found here.]