“A truth should exist,
it should not be used
like this. If I love you,
is that a fact or a weapon?”
― Margaret Atwood
That quote has always been a favorite of mine. It is a reminder, to me, that love simply is – it’s not a machete. It isn’t a thing to be wielded. It’s a feeling, a state of being, a truth. It does not have sharp edges. It should never be used maliciously or manipulatively. If someone does that, then what he/she is feeling? It’s not love. Because while we all sometimes hurt the people who love us and who we love, love is not a destructive force. Quite the opposite, actually.
There is absolutely nothing weak about love. It can appear weak, because it so often yields to accommodate. But weak? No. Definitely not. To bastardize another favorite quote (by Paulo Coelho), the strongest love is the one that demonstrates its fragility. And, to be sure, people are like that, too. The strongest people know how to bend, how to put others first, how to compromise and not act selfishly. Love is not selfish, even in instances where it would be easy and perhaps even just to be terribly self-centered.
When someone you care about asks you for something, you give it. That’s strength. That’s not a small thing. It’s a choice. And choosing to put another person first is like shaping steel: it is not to be done lightly. Or without fire. Or something.
Point is: I’m an affectionate idiot. I don’t know how to not care or un-care about people. Sometimes, I care too much. But I figure in this world full of assholes, no matter what, I’ve never going to be like that. I’m never going to hide my heart, even when it’s hard.
Hello, my name is Alison, and I give a damn.
Get over it.
This is me, for better or for worse. I feel things. I express thoughts. I dance in the grocery store, and I sing in the shower. I kiss and laugh, bake and do shots of tequila. I can say “I love you” in three different languages, but I’ve only ever said it once. I am kind. I am sweet. But if you hurt someone I care about, the dragon comes out. I am tiny, but fierce. Trust me when I say you don’t want to witness that. I love high heels and hate wearing flat shoes. I believe in impossible things, because nothing is truly impossible. I love unconditionally and without any shame whatsoever. I do not suffer fools. I will not let you disparage yourself in front of me. I never give false praise. Once I put my faith in people, it’s incredibly hard to lose it. I believe in more than one chance, more than two. I think we all fuck up, and sometimes, a good hug can ease the pain. I know how to throw a punch, figuratively and literally. I always fight clean. I don’t like the word no. I think we hear it far too often. I rarely lie, but I can fool you with a smile if I feel like it. I hate goodbyes. I cry when dogs die in movies. I still can’t watch Old Yeller, since the one time I saw it as a kid. If you don’t like animals or sarcasm, we can’t be friends. I will laugh my ass off whenever someone falls down, doesn’t matter if it’s me. I think that kindness is the easiest thing in the world, because the small gestures make a difference. I say hello to strangers. I always hold open the door. I don’t know how to quit, even when everything seems impossible. And yeah, when you’re sick and within driving distance, I’ll make you soup. Same goes for when you’re having a bad day: there will be chocolate or baked goods.
Life is hard. If I do one thing in this life and only one, I hope it’s that I make it easier for someone daily. I hope that I make a difference in the darkness. I hope that I make you laugh, when you’re having a shitty day. I hope I listen, when you’ve got no one else to talk to.
Because I care. And that, darlings and dear hearts, is never weakness.
*title shamelessly taken from my favorite e.e. cummings’ poem: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/somewhere-i-have-never-travelledgladly-beyond
There’s a terrifying freedom in being the one who takes the first step – who leans in, who kisses first, who speaks. Your entire body might be thrumming with fear. Your hands are probably shaking. And the edges of the world might seem to dim just a little. But none of that really matters in the moment, does it? When there’s only one thing, one person, one truth in focus.
Some people are uncomfortable with feelings. They’re indicative of a loss of control, because if you care, if you show what’s going on internally, someone’s inside your head or under your skin. And, in a way, you lose a little bit of power. You give that other person a bit of leverage, even an opportunity to hurt you – to use that truth against you. Granted, this is a learned behavior. We often shutter ourselves up when, repeatedly, we’re wounded or burnt. We may not even realize we’re doing it, since we’ve been closed up for so long. Bricked up and hiding, such that we forget the particular blue of the sky. Of course, that is a metaphor, but the point is valid.
I’m neurotic. I like routine. In general, I am not a fan of messes. But those are also learned habits, things that can be unlearned or overlooked – for the right person, in the right circumstance. When the heart demands it, because – darling – there is no asking. The heart’s an adorable little dictator, and we’re all just along for the ride.
I’ve never been uncomfortable with feelings. Awkward about expressing them? Sure. The words don’t always come out right, but they’re always honest. I never give hollow compliments. I just don’t have it in me. So, unless I believe something 100%, I keep my mouth firmly shut. Same thing goes for my affections.
I don’t care about making myself vulnerable. I don’t give a damn if I look like an idiot. If there’s a mess, it’s probably because I made it, and I’m dancing around in it. Being in love is like offering a wolf your throat. The person you’re standing in front of may bite your neck. It might go poorly. They might even just walk away.
But here’s the thing about real love: it is offered without expectation. There are no scales to be balanced. It’s not about what you get in return. It’s not some kind of competition. It is a fact. It is a truth. It’s a condition of existence. Love simply is. Period, You might say that it is what it is.
I’ve always believed that love can do the impossible. Maybe that’s a naïve way to feel, but I don’t think so. I’ve seen the way it completely transforms a person. In the past, it’s made me braver, made me the best version of myself. It’s made me forget insecurities and fears and just…do the crazy thing. Moreover, it is without regret.
I think that when we run from love, hide from love, don’t risk everything for love – those are the things we regret at the end of our lifetime. Those are the faces we conjure, the what-ifs that never disappear, the question marks of maybe, of what might’ve been. I refuse to live my life with anything like that. Absolutely refuse. Because at the end of the day, love is not certain, but it is pure. It is miraculous. It is the thing that we get up every day for. Love of something and/or someone. And make no mistake, we are always striving toward that, or we’re just…dead in ways that buck explanation.
Love can be terrifying and difficult – maybe a little unnerving , too. Because it makes us naked in the ways that we’re often running from – not physically naked, but emotionally so. And that’s hard. But it is also raw and beautiful. It’s the easiest and the hardest thing to do, The truth is that you don’t have to pull the moon down out of the sky to make changes, to start walking toward the thing your heart wants.
You know what matters? You know what gets you there? Baby steps. That’s it. Little things. Small gestures, minute details. A phone call. A text. An email. A smile. A laugh. A hug. The crazy thing about love is that it makes you stronger. It makes you braver. It gives you the support to do things you are afraid of. There’s no questioning or debating that fact. It’s a kind of grace, really.
So, for me, I lean in. I kiss first. I ask the questions. I say the things. I don’t know how to act without my heart, because it is the core of who I am. No matter what happens, it’s worth it. Because if you can’t be true to what and who you love, no matter how crazy-seeming or difficult, that what is the point of life?
You deserve love, darlings. Absolutely. It’s time to chase after it.
*shamelessly pilfered from an e.e. cummings’ poem.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” —Lao Tzu
It’s never the time
or the place; we’re never
quite alone enough
to let go, hands like rivers
and mouths like deserts,
we are always thirsty,
we are, and we are not, enough.
There is no blueprint
for magic, but if there were,
it would look like your smile,
the way stars gather
when you laugh, and how
home curls up
in an afternoon
when no one is looking
how the sky is a miracle
without any edges. Then,
give me your mouth
like a magnet, offer
attraction as extraordinary
evidence against the mundane –
there is no bottom
to this want, and somewhere
in the wild night,
a wolf howls, explaining
how rivers move
with a ferocious grace, quietly
What I wouldn’t give for wings –
that is, time. That is, you.
Yes, this is the wrong moment
for anything called love,
but here it is, broken open
like a bad sentence, tender
and without bones – what will you do
with it? What will you do