In a far earlier post 'The Nevers That Consume Us', I took a more realistic approach to love and how we deal with love, but realized when I posted this essay, I have been more like what follows. In truth, one must be a pragmatic fusion of the two, and to be fair, I have never been one to take my own advice, my curse in serving others to a fault. These are things that I wish I could but wish I could not change. A dear friend told me, even after she pointed out all my terrible faults, she did not want me to change... and she was more right about me than I know. It happens when you give away the best part of you to someone. Yet, I remain a sap and a hopeless and helpless romantic anyways as I know that this essay truly defines the man I was, am and forever will be. Eventually, I might be more practical, but would that truly make me happy?
Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
that for thy right, myself will bear all wrong. --- William Shakespeare
The above line I think has summed up my nominal feelings about the subject of love, or it is at least the feelings and thoughts I should have about a complete love... perhaps even the love I wish I could have, and until recently, thought I did have. Sometimes it is the love I lost, and then it has become the love that I regret. On the whole, it is a confusing mess that has made me, more often than not, a hopeless and helpless romantic. It made me a person who has naively struggled with the hopes and dreams of my own love while bearing the burden of others in a cycle that repeats itself unendingly. Therefore, the words of the sonnet by Shakespeare are applicable and the root of my ideals, and also the root of my conundrum. I have borne so much that the ones I loved would be happy at the expense of my own happiness in many, many ways Love... or madness? In terms of unconditional love, then I should think that my actions were the truest expression of love, for I have loved without hope or expectation in return even when it tears all my strength from me. To me, love is giving, and recently, I was not giving, but expecting... expecting she would always be there, expecting a promise, expecting what I should have been giving in return. Indeed, now I am still expecting, though I want to give... I want to give of my heart and release myself from the sorrow of such unconditional desire and love. So, I ask myself again... love, or madness? Perhaps a little of both.
Being thusly a romantic, I have done so many odd things for the name of love. I have composed sonnets in the middle of a crowd just to get a woman's attention. I have read and sent poems to many a woman if only to help them understand the nature of love and still never expecting in return. I have written at my most passionate for one I loved. I left the one I loved because I was too cowardly to face my fears and stay, forever altering my life. I have created a bond with someone that can never be broken (though has been strained to a point) and, for now, it is not enough. Through all this, what drives me is more what I can imagine about love, and about my ideals of love. Needless to say, reality is far different than what we imagine, a pain that I have suffered too much it shames me too admit. If anything, I have become more pragmatic than I would like and yet, I cling to some insane optimistic and oft times suffocating ideal. Many a lesser man would have given up the ship and hardened their heart. Me, well, that would be worse than death.
So therefore, I make myself suffer because I am a little too idealistic and hold myself and others to a higher standard for the sake of a love that might not be possible. Well, it is possible. Alas, the world did not see fit to allow it to continue in the manner it should have. Of course, her life turned out great and that pleases me. And I then regretted what I lost only to think to find it again but then lose it because I sacrificed too much for the sake of the one I loved. She was also insane, but that is another matter entirely. In the end, only the idea of love was left, and I was left holding the bag, but the bag was filled with a bunch of annoyed cats :) Finally, when I did not think I could feel like the romantic I once was, I could and did. Yet, it was not enough; however, what was shared gives us the hope (um... mostly me at this point) that it could be again somewhere down the road. Maybe in an ideal world, too, but ideals are what makes me the person I am... Hope is my waking dream as Aristotle once wrote. I hope, though I understand.
One might think that my experiences have made me bitter and remorseful. I admit that bitterness has its place, but only for a moment, for it will consume you. I cannot say if I am past remorse and bitterness, though it shames me. I think that it will not consume me, and this, too shall pass. On the other hand, it can be that this has been true to a degree, for it has made me wary of what seems wonderful because I fear it could not be again... and again. I am sure all romantics deal with this in their lives. I know we do. Unfortunately, that has been why many a romantic has died far too young (um, not that I am going anywhere). It is perhaps their hallmark and the source of their great strength, in writing and creating emotion. And I refer to romantics in general, not just myself. Nor am I saying my words are any better than others. To me, the romantic has been through so much that they have no choice but to have an outpouring of emotion in love. It appears in everything they write, be it an essay, short fiction or a poem. It is a part of who they are and of who I am. The romantic has a connection with the emotion of love itself. It is both wonderful and yet deeply tragic.
It is said that experience is the best teacher. Therefore, I feel my experience has given me an insight into love that I did not have as an idealistic kid of nineteen. As a bit older and though less wiser man of thirty-five, I know better; however, when I write and have written especially in the past year or so I longed to be that boy of nineteen... A boy with stars in his eyes who knew what could be forever. Sometimes the man I am has held me back, forced me to be to practical and less giving of who I am. I have always wanted to tap into that fountain of emotion created by connections beyond words. I have achieved that in the strangest of ways, much to my undying gratitude and love, and my abiding sorrow. We are what the words make us, and the words are all we know and all you should know about me. I have been the water that does not realize it has been broken by the rock... for good or ill, this is my love.
Well, I think I have said enough of what I know of love, which probably not that much in the end. I hope you take from this what you will, for it is my offering to posterity, such as it is. All that I truly know of love is that it is amazing and that somewhere, in the depth of my soul, at the heart of the universe beyond time itself, it can last forever.
"Only those whose lives are so brief can imagine love to be eternal. You should embrace that remarkable illusion... I think that it is the greatest gift your race has ever received. " --- Lorien, Babylon 5