Tag Archives: love

All We Need Is Love. No, Really.

(This is not a posting about politics, or the Democratic Convention, even if it starts out talking about that for a second, so bear with me.)

After last night’s Democratic National Convention speech, Michelle Obama’s gotten a big spotlight around the world for bringing a topic up that we don’t often treat with the respect it deserves — love.

Her speech last night played on the heartstrings about the idea of love. Love for a parent, for a family member, for those who sacrifice, for heroes, for idols. Love. Love for each other.

It’s an emotion we all feel, or it can be replaced by its antitheses — hate, anger, sorrow.

For a few minutes, though, Michelle Obama talked about this love idea. This thing that, once upon a time, we’d maybe feel for those around us. We’d fight for it. We’d protect it.

Love. This many-hallowed thing of ages long forgotten. The one emotion that probably transcends every culture, and even every species.

I watched an episode of PBS’ Nature last week in which a mama grizzly was frantically running all over an Alaskan wilderness reserve searching for her cub. After a few minutes’ footage of this heartbreaking search by a mother for a child, she found it, and the joy was indescribable.

Love is a product of biology, not humanity.

So we like to think we’re all about love as a society. We’re pumping out music about it, movies that claim to be about love, and we exalt things like marriage and parenthood because they’re based, in theory, upon love too.

But we’re kidding ourselves.

We’re not about love.

If it bleeds, it leads. Be scared. Be very, very scared. Long for yesterday. Blame someone. It wasn’t me. Don’t trust anyone. Lock your doors. Don’t talk to strangers. Keep outsiders out. Money talks.

In the media today is this evil, awful loop of distrust, fear, hate, and judgment that keeps spinning and spinning and spinning.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I say “in the media”? I meant spinning, period.

I’m on the internet. I see the rhetoric playing out in reality. I see the lies slung, the hate bounced, the judgment passing. By people, not media.

If you think all our problems are born in the media, you got another think coming. They’re just the mirror in front of us.

I wish it were easier to see the beginning of it all. People say Hard Copy was the beginning of the journalistic decline, but Ayn Rand wrote a whole book around the concept of bad journalism and what it says about us. See that “evil” book The Fountainhead for her look at Ellsworth Tooey and pandering to the masses. That’s seven decades ago.

Did debased journalism begin, then society crowd around it like a mass of hungry onlookers at an accident scene? Or have we always been that shitty?

We obsess over celebrities. Oh, they’re famous and pretty and rich, so therefore they’re wonderful. Quick, cut them down with gossip and mockery!

Like children building with blocks, when it comes to societal successes, we look for the quickest way to disassemble that which we just built up.

Yet we’re better than that.

This same awful race who lives and breathes the TMZ religion and who conceived the inequities which plague class divisions the world over is the same race that has done everything from putting a man on the moon to discovering penicillin.

When we’re not confronted with imminent threat, we forget that we’re all in this together. We lunge at each other and bring words and weapons to spar with.

I recall Bush saying “You’re either with us, or you’re against us” and suddenly it seems we’re all living life in much that way.

In the hours after 9-11 occurred, for one brief, eerily shining moment, nearly the whole world was united in a feeling of love and empathy. I don’t think Americans realize that. The whole world felt the pain of that horrible, horrible day, and I think anywhere you were, this wave of despondency hit because we realized we’d just seen the worst that humanity had to offer.

And from that place, in the dust of the hours in the days that followed, this overwhelming feeling of love and community came out of it, because everyone needed to feel together for a while. We needed to feel like we were more than just hatred.

That’s what I remember of those days. This inexplicable juxtaposition of feeling the most hate I’d ever felt, the most anger I’d ever known, and at the very same time feeling this outpouring of love and empathy I only wish I could carry with me every day.

While we are both these things, we are more often the worst of ourselves.

Last night, Michelle Obama reminded us of some of the things that are the best of who we are, who we could be. She reminded us of those who are great who walk through the door of opportunity then hold it open so that others may also experience greatness.

But this isn’t who we are now. Not often. Not anymore.

Instead of achieving greatness by surrounding ourselves with greatness, we’re often looking for ways to tear down others. We look for failings. We protect ourselves and attack everyone who isn’t like us.

We’re the Youtube generation. Everybody point and laugh.

We have been better than this before. We can be better than this now.

I’ve found myself so often watching this year’s election process down south and feeling rather brokenhearted. I am so saddened by who we have become. I’m tired of divisiveness. I hate the blame game. But this disease keeps spreading. We glom onto hate and fear like leaches sucking a bloated carcass.

Maybe it’s because everyone’s so financially stretched and the future seems bleak. Maybe everyone’s so tired of the struggle to keep our heads afloat that we see others as a threat to our security. Maybe we’re tired of being so aware of our personal failings that we need to spotlight others’.

I don’t know.

That’s who we are, six days a week, on a public level. Maybe at home with our families and our closest friends, we’re better people. In fact, I know most of us are.

But when it comes to being inclusive in society, when it comes to thinking big-picture about our nations and our places in the world, that’s where our humanity evaporates and many of us slide into a place we shouldn’t respect ourselves for in the morning.

And for a brief little while last night, a great speaker reminded us that we’ve been more. In times like the Great Depression, we were motivated by love for others, a belief of being in it together, and an aspiration of communal greatness.

We have had our moments of being something amazing.

Unfortunately, electing a guy into an office and telling him to fix everything, and then going on with life as usual for four years isn’t how amazing happens. Amazing happens when we all remember we’re a part of something bigger. It’s when we all give back with volunteering, generosity of spirit, by helping our fellow man, and looking for the best in every situation.

That’s how greatness happens.

And for a time, I’ll be hoping people are reminded of that for the remaining weeks in this American election.

We need to remember we can be great.

And then we need to become it.

Love is a very good place to start that quest.

Lightning Strikes: Over in a Flash

A friend posted this tragic story on Facebook yesterday. Another friend commented about how/why bad things happen to good people. I found the whole exchange fascinating and full of questions and observations.

The most obvious observation, of course, is that it’s a terribly sad story. The gist?

“A man’s plan to propose to his girlfriend on a mountain in the US ended in tragedy when the pair were struck by lightning, it was reported today.

Richard Butler and his girlfriend, Bethany Lott, both from Knoxville, Tennessee, were hit as they hiked in the North Carolina mountains. Lott was killed, while Butler suffered third degree burns.

Butler, 30, had driven Lott, his partner of a year, to Max Patch Bald, near Asheville, saying they would be going for a stroll.

He had planned to present her with an engagement ring at the top of the mountain.

When they reached the peak, lightning struck three times, with the third strike hitting the couple .”

The tragedy bleeds humanity and irony to me. If you go on to read the story through, it ends stating her last words were: “Look how beautiful it is.”

Can you imagine that being the last thought, the last feeling you ever have? To die in that state of grace?

That’s a gift, that.

For him, of course, well, the horror of it will probably never be erased.

To live knowing that a moment of perfect beauty can be shattered forever in such a finite and reckless way? To know that a moment of perfect hope filled with dreams of the future can be split by a flash and turned into what then seems an endless nightmare?

Yeah. That’ll fuck him up for a while.

But then it comes down to the what if’s. What if he was about to propose and she would have said no? What if then their lives would have split and he had to watch from afar on Facebook or some shit as she found a new love, lived the life that should have been his, all the while wishing for that moment back when she said “Look how beautiful it is” before he popped the rejected question?

Or maybe she would have said yes, and they’d have gone the way so many others go — from an idealized love of “we likes stuffs”, where you’re young and in the same places, so a life together makes sense, to the eventual realization that you knew shit about life and even less about the kind of lover you needed for the longterm. One day that divorce comes, and presto, just another statistic. What if, indeed.

A life lived after “Look how beautiful it is.”

Or not.

The irony, of course, is that that moment probably never had a Happily Ever After in the first place. Statistically speaking.

But it had the possibility. It had the possibility of sunshine and roses, picket fences and breakfasts in bed. It had the possibility of rockers on a rickety porch and their fallen grey hairs mingling on pillows. It had the possibility of a life together, the dream of forever.

Sometimes, we’ll trade a lifetime just for that moment of possibility.

The chance to love forever, to be a rockstar, to be immortal, to have everything we want — just so long as we had the chance.

It really is an epic sad story. Love ended on a mountaintop by a freak lightning storm, moments before a marriage proposal. It sounds like a 14th-century ballad or something. Stories wistful mothers tell sad-faced romantic daughters.

But, for one guy out there, it’s not a story. It’s not a hypothetical. It’s a sick and twisted new chapter of his life, his waking surreality. Love-of-a-life snuffed by lightning moments before his asking her hand in marriage, story at 11.

So sad and unlikely, it’s almost funny.

The journeys we all walk, man. Everyone’s got a trip to take. Pack some glue or duct tape, ‘cos your heart’s gonna get broke time and time again on those travels. Maybe not with such drama as our mountaintop friends, but it’ll happen.

If that errant lightning can find them in that moment, never question the tragedies that can find you. Or when.

What a thing: Chance.

I don’t know what terrible instances lie before me. I don’t know how I’ll go out.

All I know is, I hope it happens in that split instant after a smile spreads over my face when I look at something amazing and whisper “Look how beautiful it is.”

That’d be all right with me.

Valentine’s Day: All My Thoughts

390242855_a107ca92ceValentine’s day looms and I’ve deftly avoided the topic by not posting new stuff lately. Brilliant!

But I guess it’s time for my annual rant against the Big Machine and the perpetuation of the belief that, hey, if it’s love, it’s worth going broke for.

I know men buy gifts because they feel obligated. I know women usually like receiving the gifts. I just wish both sides of this equation would get over the bullshit and just accept it’s not really doing a lot of good for either of them.

Relationships die because either people change or they just don’t want to work on the relationship anymore. Not because a diamond ring wasn’t forthcoming soon enough. Continue reading

The Daunting Power of Love

Our young protagonist, involved in an unlikely affair with a considerably older woman, one that all outsiders would state an “obvious fail”, just shrugs at his dubious confronters and says, “I know what I’m doing. I’ll be all right.”

skeletonsdm060207_228x304And me, there on my sofa, I scoff and chuckle, “Oh, sure you will.”

Because I know. I know that, no matter how old we are, love makes bitches of us all.

Whatever your age, power status, social stature, or financial means, when love comes knocking and your heart starts racing, almost every one of us knows the cloying struggle between terror and exuberation.

My god — someone I like? Someone I need to be vulnerable for? Someone who’ll require me breaking free of my thou-shalt-not-enter comfort zone? Someone else to be responsible to?

I know all about the terror and the desire to run. Been there, done that. Yet it happens every time.

Why? Because I’m too fuckin’ smart for my own good. Continue reading

Stupid Over Love: The Human Condition

If there’s anything that’ll make me sick of Twitter in a hurry, it’s the endless drama regarding relationships and people’s moods. Some days, life’s too short.

That’s not to say that I don’t get it when people need to vent. Oh, do I. I get it.

Last night someone complained on Twitter, “Oh, I hate when I get stupid over a boy.” So I replied, “For thousands of years, all the best dramas have been about two things: Love & War. Do the math. We’re all stupid about it.”

I wonder sometimes how many people realize this. We’re all so self-punitive when wrapped up in turmoils of the heart. We damn ourselves and scowl about being so weak. But, are we? Continue reading

The Great Divide: When Relationships Falter

I read one of my reader’s blogs this weekend and found myself thinking about it afterwards. Now, there’s two takes on this posting of his, and this is the first of them. The other I need to write, and it’ll probably be shorter. Since this posting, he’s had awesome sex with the wife and things are looking more promising. (Again, two words: Cock ring.)

He said the following:

Lately my wife has a new habit of staying up as late as I do. She falls asleep early often, but it is on the couch, refusing to go to bed until I do, which is funny since we all know nothing is going happen there. If she goes to bed, she wants me to use the computer from the bedroom. It’s like she’s making sure I have no life to myself, that everything about me must belong to her.

I am married, not owned.

The last line really hit me. No, he’s not the first to say it, but it’s a powerful statement any time it’s spoken. We are not possessions. We are not commodities. We need air, space, trust, and faith. We cannot consciously be shown on a constant basis that we are not trusted, or not only will the fabric of the relationship shred, but so will our self-esteem.

When self-esteem goes, so does any hope of a genuine relationship. It’s a vicious fucking cycle, and one that’s often created out of the insecurities of one lover not trusting the other. Often, it’s simply communication issues, which I’ll talk about next time.

That previously mentioned distrust can be valid. Very. Infidelity isn’t some urban legend that wives whisper about around the water cooler, in daunted tones like they’re talking about the relationship equivalent of Boo Radley; it’s a pressing concern for many relationships, and something both parties need to work very, very hard to avoid.

Creating an atmosphere of distrust when you have no proof, when it’s just you being insecure or having a bad time of it, is dangerous. You’re creating a bell-jar effect for your relationship. Meaning, you’re conjuring a sense of psychic disconnection from your lover by forcing them to be guarded, defensive, or even secretive.

In talking about the article in question, my loverman and I were discussing how, technically, Haaaaa’s blogging manner is an act of defiance and untrustworthiness simply because he’s airing the dirty laundry without seeming to be working on it with his wife, but that’s arguable, considering that she doesn’t seem to be talking, and just pointing fingers. I commented that I felt he was doing the lesser of all evils; he either blogged about his anger and disconnection in a way to get to the bottom of it or would find some commonality with others out in the world, or would instead find himself an outlet or Band-aid out in the world, via an inappropriate relationship with a woman, or some other negative stopgap.

Let’s say this loud and clear: You do not own title on your lover. You simply have lease on a part of their lives, whether you’re married or not. It is always, always, always in your best interest that your lover maintain some of their privacy and “me” time.

Clichés are true for a reason; the law of averages states that, more often than not, that is the truth in that given situation. Such as, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The more you see a lover, the more chance you’re running out of time for yourself. The less time you have for yourself, the more the likelihood that your thoughts are getting drowned out in your mind.

You may want to be with your lover every day, but it’s just not entirely healthy. Time alone needs to be had, not just by you, but by them. Men, in particular, need that time alone. Manhood is a fragile thing, and when men get too embroiled in their women, they can lose touch with part of themselves. It may not be an immediately pressing issue, but it will eventually become a problem for both people in the relationship. Women need to be more possessive about their alone time, too, because it’s far too easy to find “self”-worth through a relationship – also a very detrimental thing, and something all too common with chicks.

Personally, alone time is absolutely essential to who I am. I can do without a social life, but I cannot, WILL not, do without time alone. To do so would be to destroy who and what I am. To do so would mean you’d get no fodder to read.

Marriages, I presume, eventually have phases where things get a little crowded. We’re told that, because it’s a marriage, it’s a “partnership” and everything is co-owned and shared, etc. In the end, though, it can’t be. I’ve quoted Grandma Death from Donnie Darko before, and I’ll do it again now: “In the end, every living creature dies alone.”

Between now and your death, make certain that the person who finds their way into that pine box is a reflection of the person you’ve always been. Keep your passions, keep your loves, and allow your lover the time to maintain their own. Healthy people make for healthy relationships.

Each partner must be able to indulge in passions and enjoyments on their own, or soon, they will lose some of their sense of selves, and while the relationship may continue to seem decent in an average kind of way, it’s not going to be same as it once was. Ever. Instead, the relationship becomes a tug-of-war, or worse, routine. Never, ever settle for the routine, and tug-of-wars aren’t worth the energy expended on them.

We can easily forget about the things that make us tick. Face it, life is designed to distract us from unhappiness. Not thrilled with life? The new Audi will solve that problem. Things getting too difficult? The airline has a 2-for-1 deal on flights. Insecurities getting you down? Bedhead’s got great hold in their hair products, and they smell nice, too!

When we’re unhappy in relationships, in life, we fill the gaps with things, with television, with sleep, with food. We do everything we can but face the problem itself, fearing that the cure is worse than the illness – which is often anything but true. Talk to your lover. Trust them. Give them space. Go listen to Sting’s “If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)” and remind yourself that the song’s just echoing an eternal truth. Love comes back to you. And if it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with. Again, clichés are true for a reason.

Why it takes so long to leave an unfulfilling relationship is that we can sometimes forget what it was like to be single, and we forget the sense of fulfillment we can take from ourselves. It’s scary, the notion of being alone versus being unhappy and together. The devil you know, etc. Relationships have a way of falsely making us feel whole – until the relationship’s flaws begin to become evident and we remember that, once upon a world, we were a different person with different needs and somewhere, somehow, who we were began to murkily assimilate with who our lovers were, with the lines dissipating in the dark of it all.

We are not possessions. We are flawed, imperfect beings who sometimes need the space to remember ourselves, for our lovers’ sakes. But, mostly, for our own.