This is a subject matter I have been wanting to cover for a long time but I really wasn’t sure how to address it. In all of its simplicity, it is really one of the most complex topics I have ever dared to discuss. Oh sure, I have blogged about, wrote about and poetically whined about it but I’ve never addressed the core of it. So I had to sit back and really mentally decipher how I would present the content. So this is what I came up with.
What is love? According to Merriam-Webster, there are several definitions of love and it really just depends on the context in which you use it but who wants to get that fucking technical. In my book The EXperience Chronicles (available on Amazon), I referenced the definition of love as to “feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).” Love is also defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection” which could ultimately surpass any romantic or sexual desires. Okay so now that we are all caught up on the technicalities of love, I want to break down some real shit.. So again I ask. WHAT IS LOVE?
We are not taught LOVE but we should be taught HOW TO LOVE. If you ask someone how they know if they are in love, the would probably say something like “I just know” or “I just feel it” so love is an internal natural instinct that occurs without your control. In those intense moments it feels like love. Let me be clear in that I am not discussing familial, maternal or paternal love (that’s another Lesson) although they are significant in how we maintain romantic relationships.
2017 had me re-imagining and re-evaluating my relationships both past and present. I needed to understand my successes and my failures (the latter being the hardest to address). I am sure my revelation is not an epiphany to most and may be in fact common sense but I concluded no one can tell you who to love but maybe you can be taught how. Here is what I have learned and how I learned it.
So let me begin by saying that I have never had any qualms about being an only child from a broken home (if you will) until I realized how bad I was at relationships. I, in my 40 plus years of life, can count on one hand (literally) how many times I have ever seen both of my parents in the same room at the same time (cordial or not). Some will argue that they have never even seen their parents at all in the same room, well you will relate to this post more so than others. The relationship I experienced with my parents would constitute today’s version of “Baby Mama/Baby Daddy” drama (something I have never desired to engage in). Although I was used as a pawn on a variety of occasions for both financial and emotional manipulation, they did little to show me compassion, empathy and most importantly maturity when exhibiting healthy loving relationships. I often felt at times my mother was trying to replace my father although she would boastfully admit that was not her intention. I never really saw my father engage in to many relationships. He kept me separate from his personal life and when he did share it, there was never a real display of affection that would allow me to think that it was anything more than platonic.
By the time both my parents found their version of love and remarried. I was knee-deep in failed relationships and already a baby’s mama. Now I don’t blame my parents as much as I understand them. They gave me what they had albeit not a lot but the blind can not lead the blind. My expectations about love was romanticized by shit I saw on TV like The Cosby Show (at one point my only reference for #blacklove). Most of the kids I grew up with in the Bay Area had two-parents who are either still together or upheld their vows (til death do us part). My mother for quite sometime was the only single searching woman in her inner circle which often left her feeling vulnerable to vanity, misunderstandings and insecurity. When she moved to Texas, I immediately noticed that her new buddies consisted of more single friends and less married ones. Birds of feather. My father kept it simple for me. Family, extended family and the occasional co-worker.
So my point is although love in its entirety is the most natural and wonderful thing in the world, you will ultimately fail at it without sufficient guidance and proper tools. I mean love is like a really nice car.. sure it’s great to have but it serves no purposes if you don’t know how to drive it and then you have to ask yourself what are you driving it for? Is it for the speed, the luxury or simply to get you from point A to point B or is it all? There are those of us who don’t have a license and shouldn’t be driving at all. (LOL).
In the comparison of love relationshops and a fine automobile my parents were unlicensed and didn’t even bother to take the test; they simply stopped driving. So as result I was taught how to bus, hitchhike and essentially Uber my way through relationships. Temporary fixes to a long-term desire. For those of you that know me, you know that I have been riding in a luxury vehicle for quite sometime now. (I like the car analogy so I am going to roll with it). Now my car is an early edition model which probably wasn’t ready for driving when I rode him of the showroom floor but over 13 years we have grown to accommodate each other. He is like the Kitt to my Micheal Knight (Knight Rider reference for all you old schoolers). While I was able to tweak and enhance this model over the years and he was able to give me the best rides and great adventures. We both forgot to keep the maintenance up on the required components to keep him running and to keep me riding. We both failed in the upkeep.
In the interim of things I would find myself looking at older models, thinking they would be more dependable and reliable when in actuality, the parts are harder to replace and the don’t get the same mileage (now you can use that in any pun-like fashion you would like)… and he would find himself entertaining new drivers thinking that cosmetic perks would be a distraction from my poor upkeep but let’s face it, Kitt ain’t shit without Michael Knight and vice versa.
Okay so when we stalled after 13 years, I had no previous experience to fallback on. I didn’t know how to gauge my success (or my failure) in this. Now in the aspect of an ole regular ass car, I would have traded it in, cut my losses and moved on. But this is Kitt..MY Kitt and no one was like him. He can’t be traded in, he can’t be sold and I for damn sure wasn’t about to let someone else drive him after I got my great ass marks imprinted in him. My resolve was to pick up a maintenance guide, call a skilled mechanic and get this shit fixed. You’d be surprised what can happen when you tune up the engine, replace the breaks and top up the fluids and take him for a real long ride (several real long rides in fact).
While it seems that I am making light of a love, I am in fact hoping to share what I learned. I have a Bachelors Degrees in Art and although I already had the basic instinct and natural skill, I still needed the training and knowledge to enhance and maintain those skills. So while there is no book called “How to Love” (or maybe there is), I didn’t have access to it. Falling in love is so much easier that keeping “IN LOVE” so you can stay “IN LOVE”. If you were lucky enough to begin love with a permit (loving married, parents, stable home environment, etc), the basics, before you get your license, you are lucky but for those of us who took the exam with no preparation you will continue to fail until you read the book, write the book or simply acknowledge that you need the book. That’s it for today’s lesson in love.