Prelude to Growth

–Here’s a thought-piece written prior to the decision to move to Africa.  It is, in hindsight, the seed of the idea to pursue humanitarian aid.  Unlike most of my juvenile fundamentals, however, I vehemently hold the same views now as I did then–

I still want her to love me, and I have no idea why.

After months of self-loathing, anger, indifference and rejection, I’ve returned to the emotional juncture at which I began.  On the one hand, I could simply accept the seemingly pandemic idea that true love is a myth—that there are simply too many broken hearts and ruined relationships to substantiate the existence of actual, infinite, real love.  On the other hand, despite everything, I can rededicate myself to the seemingly foolish and painful belief in love.  But why?  Why would I allow myself to experience an exponential amount of pain every time I go through this, all for what seems to be a naïve and unobtainable wisp of momentary happiness?

I believe that it is this exact reluctance that leads to the floundering nature of the modern romance.  Even within the context of a committed relationship, if both people aren’t emotionally and philosophically dedicated to the hope of real love, how could they possibly last?  In other words, how can we manifest real love if we don’t believe in it?  There are too many liars, betrayers, and thieves of love in the world to just allow oneself to give their heart away.  It would cost too much.  It would hurt too much.

Especially after being betrayed by her, after being lied to and made a fool of, my obvious tendency is to lean towards this new age philosophical movement, what I like to call “hip existentialism”—this admittance that society and our parents and what-the-fuck-ever have programmed us to strive for a domestic lifestyle, complete with minivan, blonde kids, and fresh apple pie cooling on the windowsill behind a white picket fence.  Most importantly, “hip existentialism” dictates that real love be included with the truly absurd concept of a necessary domestic lifestyle.  It then tells us that we can and should reject the framework that we’ve been raised on.  Fuck the minivan, fuck the apple pie, fuck the 50-year anniversaries, and fuck love.  (On second thought, no one ever actually thinks, “fuck the apple pie”.  Who doesn’t like apple pie?  Never mind about the apple pie.) (…sorry about this, but on third thought, maybe some people do think, “fuck the apple pie,” every now and then, but I’d be willing to bet that 90% of the time it’s in a literal sense, not a metaphorical one.  Moving on.)  Because the notion of true love is dragged into this fantastical sense of what we think we’ve been programmed to want, we reject it.  And even if we did embrace it, what’s the point?  We’re all going to die alone eventually anyway, right?  But then, if that’s the case, what’s the point of doing anything?  It’s extremely ironic to me that people who subscribe to existentialism think they’re alone in their belief, yet individuals who believe in the everlasting nature of love and real purpose outside of a religious context are far, far more rare.

It is so much easier to doubt love than it is to hope for it, especially after we’ve been torn apart by the betrayals of others and by our own mistakes.  But this is what makes true love so necessary—it is our only combatant against the inevitable shit that life throws at us.  It’s thought that we must shield our hearts in order to defend ourselves from pain, suffering, and abandonment.  What if, however, we chose the opposite? What if we started using our hearts to shield idea of the things we know to be important, like true love?  What if we showed that no matter how much brutality, rejection, suffering, betrayal, and depression we go through, that in spite of all of the awfulness, we believe in something greater, eternal, and worth suffering for?  It might be a testament to others.  It might begin to inspire others to love, maybe just a little bit, more.  And maybe, just maybe, we could start to put more love into the world than the pain we’ve received because of it.

Several months ago, I faced a crossroads.  I had met someone luminescent, in every possible way, yet totally emotionally unavailable.  I was fully aware that if I fell in love with her I’d eventually be crushed by her incapability of loving me back.  Why then, would I dive in, knowing the inevitable consequences?   I suppose the answer to that question lies in the reason I’m writing this in the first place.  Despite my pain, I believe that the only way to cure the disease of our time—hopelessness, we must begin to hope for and practice love, even in the darkest places: especially in the darkest places.  Upon being somewhat recovered from my heartbreak, I am at the same crossroads again, and I suspect I will be here many, many more times in what I hope to be a long life.  But I have already made my decision, and forever will it be the same.  I choose hope, and more importantly, I choose love.

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