Reader @SlowWalker commented about love on a recent blog post: “What’s love got to do with it? A very dear friend inquired as to what the love word meant to me and how I use it. I know why they asked. I’ve told them a few times that I love them. Hearing that terrifies some people, it can terrify me. I don’t use it lightly. I feel it quick, easily and often but only say it to a special few I know can manage hearing it without freaking out. Your first thought upon hearing it might be something like how will this affect me, do I have to do or say anything. What if I don’t love that person, don’t wanna be loved by them? Will they become obsessive? A stalker? Love is love, I love the people and things that bring me joy, the people that watch over me. Sex and romance don’t necessarily require love, love doesn’t necessarily require sex and romance but they can go together quite well. I don’t use the word for affect, control or disrespect but I’ve seen all the above. How do you use the word love? Do you use it?”
Since reading this, I thought a lot about how I feel love, when I use it, and what my motivations are when voicing it.
I feel what I call “resonate love” quickly because I tend to practice radical vulnerability. When I find a person with whom I resonate and walks a similar path with vulnerability, we click quickly. That love doesn’t necessarily have romantic implication. Resonance is just that…sympathetic vibration. My frequency heard in another and returned with amplification. I experience a lot of love in the form of resonance. I feel I can voice this even if the word “love” is loaded by societal implications, but I usually prepare it heavily so as not to freak people out. I can use the word “adore” and somehow that feels less scary. In this case, I don’t mind if it isn’t felt in return or voices in return. There is no expectation or hurt associated with how the other feels or doesn’t feel, but usually, the nature of resonance is that the feelings are mutual whether or not voiced in same way.
Romantic love grows from resonance. I must feel the shared vulnerability before the world shaking love thing is possible. I am very reluctant to voice this. This feeling, if not returned in balance…is crushing. Voicing this feels like huge risk, but nurturing this feeling through risk feels like radiant joy. We pay for the potential joy with the risk of discomfort. Intensity with this changes with time and particular partners, but when this one hit me for the first time not long ago, it made all other casual brushes with love seem like the word children use with no alteration of world perspective.
How does one have a spouse and a life and have not understood love like that? And it isn’t like I don’t love my husband. I do, dearly…even if we hurt each other.
I think you, @SlowWalker have it right. We can love without expectation for feelings returned. We can say it with no strings attached. The love feeling is one thing. The love commitment…that is where the work lives.
I can love all I want, and it will never matter. What am I willing to work toward? How much growth can I handle for my partner or partners? What support am I given without obligation for return support? What keeps love and devotion and desire in balance?
I do think we should voice love. I think society can fuck off for the load it puts on the word “love.” I think we can define our feelings with less laziness or apathy. How we care for our friends, family, lovers and the world at large depend on us having feelings. I am pushing myself to voice the feelings more.
I do love wildly. Next, maybe, I must learn that I am worthy of being loved like that too.