Mid-day Gchat conversation with my friend K recently, I mentioned how I had written about something we were discussing. The chatting continued and I realized that again, I had written about another topic that came up. And as if I hadn’t already known, I typed “God, I’ve really been writing about love a long time, haven’t I?”
Maybe I’ve never actually claimed the title, but it’s true: I’m a Love Writer. If you count my teen column in a tiny newspaper at 15, being front page editor for the middle school gazette, and fairytales I composed before I kissed a boy – you could conclude I’ve been penciling love for over a decade. It’s only been within the last five years that I’ve been paid to write about such things, but I’d still do it for nothing (hence this blog).
You’d think after nearly 365 posts (can you believe it?) and ten years of coming up with ideas surrounding the many tangled complications of relationships, the messy wonder of sex, and how those both combine to create a combination of feeling and choice – something most of us call love. And most of us also curse the name of at least a handful of times between the eighth grade dance and “I do.”
But you’d guess wrong. Fodder for these posts and my other pieces is rather quite easy. It’d be easy for you too, if writing was the way you decided to express yourself. Even if you gladly wear the cynic badge, believe you can go your whole life without falling in love again, and have a vendetta against all men – there is always something about love that’ll come out of anything. Especially out of those fleeting feelings of hatred and fear. Writer and monk Thomas Merton said it better: “The question of love is one that cannot be evaded. Whether or not you claim to be interested in it, from the moment you are alive you are bound to be concerned with love, because love is not just something that happens to you: it is a certain way of being alive. Love is, in fact, an intensification of life, a completeness, a fullness, a wholeness of life.”
I’m not under the belief that you need romantic love to have a full, complete, whole life – but you need some sort of love. Maybe that’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned from all these bylines and this journey – love isn’t limited to men or relationships, but about the life you build around yourself. Even if I found that great love, that patient man who will suffer through a lifetime of me writing about our marriage, our children, our home together – if I didn’t have great friends and great experiences to go along with him, our relationship wouldn’t survive.
But I’ve also learned that while I know I could survive and find happiness if I never did meet that man, if he doesn’t actually exist, I’ve also discovered that half of the battle in shaking the distraction of love is admitting that yes, I do want that. I’m a confident, successful, strong, smart, and bold woman – but I’m also loving and understanding, kind and compassionate, and full of hope that someone out there was meant to be my partner. It doesn’t make me weaker to want love nor does it make me a silly, irrational girl – it just makes me human. We’re all entertained by the idea and we’d all like to be supported – it just depends on how we go about it.
I’ve met important men in my life when I wasn’t looking and when I was, when I wanted it and when I didn’t, when I was unsure of their intentions and when I thought I had them figured out. There’s really not a way to control who you fall in love with, but you do make a choice to stay in that love. From what I hear from married folk, it’s a daily decision to remain committed to not only the person, but to that love.
So maybe that’s why I think I’ll always write about love. Why I’m not ashamed to call myself a Love Writer. Because while everyone experiences it, everyone talks about it, everyone wonders about it, everyone wants it – I take the chance and put it all out there. At least when it’s out, there’s no room to doubt what it is that I hope for. After all, what would a love writer be, without love?