The “L” word (no, not THAT “L” word)
Before you get all excited, the topic of today’s post is… ♥♥ Love ♥♥. The other day I was perusing an article about the politics of telling your s.o. that you love them – specifically, who should say it first, and under what circumstances. My first thought was that the whole who-should-say-it-first thing, when put in the context of a same-sex relationship, either becomes completely moot or wildly complicated, depending on your point of view. My second thought was that my first thought was based purely on speculation, given that I haven’t been in a same-sex relationship. Yet.
It was my third thought, however, which drew me back to my poor neglected little blog here. It was a vague sort of half-formed thought (as many of my thoughts tend to be), and so it seemed appropriate to try to flesh it out in this forum. It had something to do with how romantic love is fetishized in our culture, turned into a token object to be coveted, kept close, and handed over like a prize at the end of some long and drawn-out audition process whose rules have been made up along the way.
Now, I’m going to resist the urge to get all hippie-philosophical about how love is everywhere and everything and connects us all like spaghetti noodles in a tomato-sauce universe. (But it does, you know.) Anyway. That’s not the point. Even if you don’t believe that, why should it be such a power game to tell somebody you love them? Why does love get carved up and categorized into the kind that’s okay to express with abandon, and the kind that must be tiptoed around carefully? If two close friends become lovers and eventually life mates, is there a period of in-between time where they have to stop telling each other they love each other because *gasp* it suddenly might actually mean something important? Doesn’t it always mean something important? And what’s so scary about that?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions.
One of the ideas that has stuck with me from my time hanging around with the Baha’is is the concept of love, romantic or otherwise, as a reflection of divine virtues in another person. Simply put, we come to love people when we see them express universally virtuous qualities. I like this very much. It takes the responsibility for being lovable (and hence the scariness) out of our own hands and into the hands of whatever ephemeral higher power you may or may not believe in. Then the act of saying “I love you” becomes an acknowledgement of these qualities, rather than a handing-over of power with its resultant vulnerability. It’s like an extension of the Hindu greeting namaste: “I salute the god within you”.
Okay, my inner hippie-philosopher is creeping back out again, so I think it’s time for bed. Namaste. ♥