I know the vast majority of people have a natural response to pain, avoid it at all costs. It’s an ingrained evolutionary feedback loop … get hurt, learn what caused the pain and avoid it in the future. It’s driven by millennia of Darwinian natural selection. Fire burns, learn to avoid fire or die before passing on the fearless genes. Touch brightly colored frog, wake up naked in a cave chewing on a rock two days later … refuse to touch frogs ever again. Such is the natural progression of our species. It worked out really well for us too. But then one sloping forehead grew attached to another and we’ve been fucked ever since. Because sometimes it’s not mutual, sometimes people leave or die and it hurts. We want to avoid going through that again.
But I don’t think we’re fucked at all. I don’t care how much it hurts or what complications it creates. It’s all worth it.
Love is worth it.
Sure, there’s a downside. You’ve probably experienced it the same as I have. There are few agonies in the world more difficult to bear than that of loss, or more specifically lost love. It’s never simple either. There’s always confusion, possibly even the internal battle of wits between your Hopes and Dreams and your Insecurities and Fears. The devastation that follows any and all of these things can only be described as debilitatingly visceral. It’s hard to make sense of or see that there’s any point to it when you’re standing amid the shattered flotsam and jetsam of your life.
It causes people to behave erratically, to lose all rational control, to hurt not only themselves but their own friends and family, it even brings some people to murder or senseless violence.
But that’s not all there is to Love. I want you to consider something for me.
What are some of your favorite scents? What is the history of each? What is the best feeling you’ve ever felt? When have you been happiest? Most comfortable? Most at peace with yourself, who you are, and how you fit in the world? Have you ever gotten to the point where you and your own life isn’t the most important thing to you? I mean deep down … where you and I both know you’re being honest.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager that most if not all of those can be tied back to a time when you were in the company of a loved one, warmed by the embrace of true acceptance and belonging.
This is what love represents to me. Love breaks open your world and makes you see that you’re not alone. Not only that but there might be something, or someone out there who is more important than you are. Whose very existence gives your life meaning.
Love drives people to wild and unimaginable ends. It compels them to discover cures for disease, find food and shelter for the needy, help random strangers obtain an education, and intentionally put themselves in harm’s way. It’s raw. It’s powerful and it’s all consuming. Its positive influence far FAR outweighs the negative.
Once I have that sensation of belonging I never want to lose it and I can hardly remember the pain. I never want to go back to being alone and putting myself first. I want to live forever in the shared moments where the world ceases to exist around us. I want to stay in the embrace, never stop dancing in the kitchen, and never stop wandering the streets arm in arm. I never want to lose the smells that take me there and I don’t care what I have to go through to get back there again.
This is love and it’s more than worth it. How can it not be?
I don’t know how to explain it other than to paint a picture for you.
I have this image in my mind, from when I was younger, of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude (stay with me on this one) … the image is of a small clustered crystal outcropping, visible by itself but surrounded by darkness. Each crystal has a dull glow to it of one color or another. I see myself as that cluster, or rather I see that cluster deep within me. I had random interests and hobbies. Things I spent my time on. I was blissfully unaware of anything beyond the confines of my crystal fortress.
And then I fell in love.
… and the crystals have been shorn as though by a blade in one clean angled stroke. And instead of being shattered … what originally looked to be a muted and dull glow from within is now the most brilliant myriad of light pouring forth into the darkness. My horizons expanded with it, and with them my view of the world was forever altered.
Every time I meet someone and have the first breathless joy of discovery, the lights within pulse and expand again … and the world is illuminated once more.
There is no pain. There is only light and the darkness waiting for it.