“I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ― Jane Austen
So many people try to write of love when they don’t really understand it. Maybe trying to put love on paper is a fool’s errand. Maybe we’re all fools for attempting to confine it to something limited, like language.
But we have to try.
People don’t do love justice because they try to categorize love as one thing. They liken it to something familiar to them. ‘Love is a thrill.’ ‘Love is a game.’ ‘Love is a lie.’
The problem is, love is none of these things, and all of them. Love is… complicated. More complicated than a single word or phrase. And so likening love to skydiving or a game of chess is the worst disservice of all.
Because love is the core of every word, every relationship, every action that has meaning in our world. It is the source of magic our cynical, bustling universe tried to leave behind and forget, but that lives on in the young at heart and in the lessons of children’s books.
Sometimes love is the thrill of a first date, sometimes it’s the excitement of the unknown. Sometimes love is the rush of emotion that people portray in rom-coms and light-hearted tv shows.
But much, much more often, love is something very different. It is the every day, and the impossible. It is the hard times, and the easy ones. It is choosing to be there for the people that matter, and sometimes even for others who we barely know at all.
Love is making dinner at the end of a long, tiring day because you still have people counting on you. It’s getting up at 3 AM because your kid is crying and sick, even though you would give your left arm to stay in bed. Love is helping an aging parent stay in their home for as long as possible, and then making the heart-wrenching decision to move them into a facility that can properly care for them, because they can’t care for themselves anymore.
Love is honoring a loved one’s memory, whether they are gone far, far too soon or they lived the fullest, longest life one could hope to have.
Love is the joy at a wedding and the grief at a funeral.
Love is the opposite of selfishness and narcissism. It is you before me, when it has to be. It is a devotion to us, whether the us describes, a couple, a family, a group of friends. Love is the holding close, and putting first, of what is dear.
Sometimes, it’s the most decadent night you can imagine, ripped right out of a poorly-written, trashy romance novel. Sometimes, it’ sitting together on the couch with a pint of ice cream and a show to binge-watch.
The key is to remember love, real love, is never just one or the other. It is all of these things. It is always.
And so, to describe love as merely a game, a thrill ride or a fairytale is a failure. It is truly the fool that tries to confine the complexity of love to a single notion or idea.
Maybe I’m a fool for even trying to write of it myself. But I believe in the complicated, sometimes horrible, mostly wonderful, impossible nature of love.
And I always will.