Saturday, January 9, 2016

Is This Love?

I've had a hard time writing lately.  Not just here on my blog, but even in my journal.  All I seem to be able to do is recite a litany of events and not much else.  And that is colossally boring.  But, I appear to have caught a small writing bug, incited by the prodding of my gentleman companion and by some reading and thinking I've been doing.

I've been reading Outlander.  I know, I know, it's a bit of cheap fiction with a huge and slightly silly fanbase, but it has some moments.  Aside from the romance and action and fantasy and violence, I think the author touches on some important points, or at least touches on things that make me think about important points.  The big one for me is love.  I'm not specifically talking about romantic love, although that is certainly the aspect that is explored most...fervently, shall we say? the novels, but many different types of love.  And, I've been wondering, is the kind of love she describes real?  Is it possible?  I know we all get our ideas of romantic love from Disney or the BBC or wherever, but where did that come from?  If it doesn't exist, why do we yearn for it and want it so?  Is this a good thing?

I had a difficult Christmas this year, for a variety of reasons.  The primary one being that I was alone Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (most of it).  I was disappointed and hurt by some events that had occurred earlier and was feeling decidedly lonely.  My little daughter, having spent the entirety of Christmas Eve day with me and my family down at my dad's, had gone to her dad's house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and the absence of loved ones, particularly one's own best loved one, makes Christmas damn depressing.  I was feeling sorry for myself and considering going to bed when I got a call from my dear friend, he being somewhat worried about me.  We talked for a bit about why I was upset and what I might do about it and one of the things he said was that it would get better, that I would get used to being alone and finding my own way and that it would be ok.

Now, here's the thing.  I don't know that I want to.  I mean, I DO, because crying in your bed from loneliness on Christmas is pathetic and I don't like it.  But, on the other hand, is learning not to need the company, the love, a companion what I want to do?  Would I be better off that way?  Is ANYONE better off that way?  Goodness knows, it's easier to be content by oneself, and for the most part, I am very content by myself.  I enjoy solitude.  I enjoy my own thoughts and activities.  To quote another friend, I'm great company, for myself and others. it altogether good to be so very emotionally self sufficient?  No, that's not right.  It is good to be emotionally self sufficient.  I'm not sure how to say what I mean.  I want to want companionship, but I also want to not be lonely, or,, I guess, be ok with being lonely?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not laying in my bed night after night crying with loneliness.  Nothing like that.  And I have people I love and who love me.  But, now, onto the real point of this post.

Love.  The real thing.  The abiding passion, as it were.  Is it real?  Does it exist in real life?  Is it possible to find a companion for whom you would do anything? And who would do the same for you?  Someone without whom you cannot envision yourself?  I don't know.  But, I think that if it is possible, you have to be a whole person, content with yourself, yet striving to grow, in order for that to happen.  The only experience I can relate that kind of love to is the way I feel about my daughter.  I was a whole person before she was born, but she is, literally and figuratively, part of me.  Without her, I am less that myself.  For her, I would do ANYTHING.  My heart is utterly bound to hers and the thought of any harm coming to her rouses the deepest emotion in me.  That whole cliche about rousing the mama bear is completely true and there is nothing I would not do to keep her safe. (Not a helicopter mom, though.)  I wonder if this feeling of overwhelming love, protection, adoration is possible between adult partners.  This "bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh" feeling, does it exist outside of the mother/child bond?  I can't comment on the father/child bond, having not experienced it, and no doubt some of the difference is culturally instilled.  But, does this level of fierce love come mostly from having carried and given birth to her and now from caring for her?  Am I more attached to her because of the difficulty of the pregnancy and the near disaster of delivery?  Because it took such an enormous sacrifice,both physically and mentally, to get her here?  Can this kind of bond exist without those kinds of things?

I think it must exist, somewhere.  How could we imagine it, otherwise?  Why would we yearn and desire for such a deep connection with a partner if it weren't possible?

On many levels, I believe there are people who don't want that kind of connection.  It's difficult.  It's vulnerable.  It leaves you raw.  It requires so much work and sacrifice, and it has to be reciprocated.  In order to have that with another adult, you would have to open yourself up completely, all defenses down.  And there is an inordinate amount of trust required. Perhaps it isn't possible to trust another adult human that way.  A child will break your heart, a million times, but there is a large degree of leeway for them because they are children, without the understanding of the depth to which they can wound, and without the desire to wound as deeply as they do.  But, an adult can wound you deeply, purposefully, even without complete intimacy.  In a deeply intimate relationship, you are handing someone a knife, showing them how to bring you to the brink of death, and then trusting them not to do it.  And perhaps that is unwise.