February 15, 2013 by NowhereButPop
“When I was sixteen, I made the discovery – love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding on something that had always been half in shadow, that’s how it struck the world for me.” –A Streetcar Named Desire
I’ve never been in love before, and to be honest I don’t think most people my age have been; at least in a true and sincere way. I’ve liked, crushed on, lusted, and had been made smitten, but I’ve never been in love. Like many people I too am fascinated and confounded by this, the strongest emotion of all. Love is so profound, that we need to commercialize it and make a holiday for it. Think about it, there’s no anger day, or day of depression, but there is as day dedicated to love; that day is today. As such I can only try to quantify and qualify something so elusive, intangible, and wildly desired.
What does it mean to be in love? What does it mean to be loved in return? How can you tell that you are in love? How can you tell that someone loves you in return? There’s no physical truth; you just have to trust the other person with yourself, and your feelings, as they have done. That to me is absolutely and irrevocably terrifying.
The way I view being in love is like being a part of the European Union. While there are obvious benefits to both, there is also one major downside. What members of the Euro lose in exchange for a more stable currency, no exchange rate costs, lowered interest rates, and a more flexible currency, is the inability to control their own money supply. Because the Union controls how much money is printed, individual countries cannot counter inflation or deflation by manipulating how much money is circulated. This is one of the more paramount reasons why Greece is not a fun place to go anymore.
Being in love, I would assume, works in a similar way. While people are probably happier, more open, and have someone to care for and care for them in return, one major flaw is created. They lose control over their own ability to control their emotions. Basically what this other person does is control how you feel by their own actions. I’ve seen people who are in love get in arguments over not calling back soon enough, or for not caring enough about something. To single people, these are non issues, but because you are linked to someone, what they say and do begins to influence how you feel. It’s nothing short of fascinating that we give the same person the power to make us feel both incredible and miserable. Maybe I’m crazy but I see that as a sort of infringement on the self.
Don’t think that I don’t believe in love; that’s completely false. I’m just astonishingly cautious when it comes to love and the onset of a relationship. I just don’t want to be one of these people that deludes themselves into thinking that they’re in love every time they get into a relationship. If I have one gripe with love, it’s that it’s so powerful that it makes people desperate for it. People will do anything to convince themselves that they are in love. That is beyond an infringement on the self; it is a betrayal of the self. I think the biggest reason why people want to be in a relationship is a noble and honest one in itself: to be happy. What nobody realizes though is that no one is going to make you feel happy. To be in a loving relationship, I really believe that both parties have to be happy with themselves independent of the other person. It’s very sad that people try a use each other as a crutch in an attempt to find love. You shouldn’t feel like your life is emptier because you’re not in love.
I’m letting my naivety and my closeted idealism seep through a little bit, but I do very much so believe in love, I just have a very stringent definition of it. Like I said, I’ve never been in love, and I really don’t think anyone has ever been in love with me before either. People mature at different paces, and frankly, I don’t think I’m mature enough to handle being in love right now. I like my own space too much. I prefer not to hold hands in public so as not to feel confined or tied to someone else. So if I’m not one to walk around the street hand in hand with someone I like, I don’t think I’m ready to be in love.
Enough soul searching Andrew. Anyway, that whole mentality of just wanting to be in love is counterintuitive and antithetical to the very notion of love. But I think that is a testament to the power that true love possess insofar as those who aren’t in love see what it’s like and desperately crave it. I don’t know if I heard the phrase “I just want a girlfriend/boyfriend” more in high school or college. That’s a very silly thing to say, as if simply by virtue of being with another human being will make everything so much better than they are now. Even being in love is not perfect; it takes work and honing for love to succeed. Love isn’t flawless or invulnerable, in fact, it’s because it’s so fragile and sensitive that everyone wants to be in love. Because being in love, true love, actually means something. At its purest it means that another person wants you to not only be a part, but to have a part of their lives in spite of your flaws.
The greatest description of love I’ve ever heard came from Tennessee Williams in A Streetcar Named Desire. He equates finding love with a blinding light. I guess I’m still in the shadows then. But that’s alright, I don’t mind being nocturnal for the time being.