Upstream of Consciousness wants to be a collection of interviews that only contain answers. I will provide 5 phrases, words, quotes, links, pictures, or videos (in italics) and your consciousness will provide the rest. Responses can be short or long, real or fictional, words, links, or anything in between. In return, each of my "subjects" will give me 1 item back which I will then respond to (under the heading Ripple, with a number next to it). Come, swim for a while.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ripple (9a)

9a. Love & Life [yosmark]

Oh, dear.

I guess the short reply would be: Thank god I'm turning 23 and not 89 because I know shit about both of these things.

I am going to spend the rest of my life writing the longer reply, but let me take a stab at a beginning.

These are a few of the things I've learned about love and life in my first 23 years.

I've been drawing a question mark on the inside of my left wrist every day since the beginning of July. I keep thinking that one of these days I'll forget, and the thought will fade, but every morning, or afternoon, or evening, I look at my wrist and I remember. And then, when it is smudged or washed off, I redraw it.

Live the question. It's my new mantra, coming from this great quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, from a letter he sent to a young poetry student of his:

"I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

It is an odd day when you have a blog full of answers and decide to live the questions. But this is the year I accepted that I don't have all of the answers, for myself or anyone else. And maybe I never will. But that doesn't stop me from living the questions, from asking them and loving them.

This is the year I learned how to live the questions through breaking and fixing, losing and finding, breaking and fixing, losing and finding.

I used to think that love was more about breaking and losing than fixing and finding. That true love was selflessness in the most literal sense. I lost my self in the daughter my parents wanted, the friends my friends needed, the person others told me I should be. I lost my own emotions and thoughts in someone else's and reflected them back. That kind of love is very powerful, in some ways. It's a bond where you find yourself so changed by the presence of another being that you can't separate the two, the change and the person. It's addictive. But it can't sustain, not that kind of love nor that kind of change. Your true self gets angry and resentful and fights like hell to get out.

I think real love shouldn't feel like a fight. It shouldn't feel like you are losing something, or even falling.

There is one example of true romantic love that I think back on this year, and it was of a good friend of mine who was about to marry her boyfriend after 8 years of dating. We were walking, a week before her wedding, and she told me about this cheesy book someone had given her on the "5 languages of love". Her then-fiancé's was "terms of affection", something that surprised her. She looked at me intensely and said, "Right now, we're going to be newlyweds, and we're going to be passionately in love. But it's not always going to be that way, and years from now, when we're older, I'm going to have to remember that, that I have to tell him and not just show him that I love him." And to me, that's what love is. An understanding that things will not always be same, but a series of choices that people make together to grow together and to love each other, whether it is by getting married or remembering to use "terms of affection" or taking care of each other when you get old and cranky.

So much of not only love, but also life is about choices, and learning from them. I make bad choices all the time. But those choices are just as much a part of me as my good choices. I take responsibility for the times I've walked away when I shouldn't have, the times I should have walked away, and I didn't. And then I learn and I grow and I become a better person.

And I spend a good deal of my life laughing at myself. Because really, life is hilarious, and if you don't do at least some laughing at yourself, you're probably doing it wrong.

There is so much in each of our lives that is hilarious and beautiful and worthwhile, that we don't take the time to enjoy or experience, and there is so much in every human being to love.

In that way, I have so much love in my life, because the love I give is love I have.

As for true love, of the romantic kind... I am content for the moment with drawing a question mark on my wrist and living and loving the best that I can.

1 comment:

  1. no matter where we are in our lives and loves, we would all do well to write this on our wrists and refer to it often:

    "that's what love is. An understanding that things will not always be same, but a series of choices that people make together to grow together and to love each other."



About Me

I am interested in the human condition.