Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Locking Down Love
I was thinking on these things after reading an op-Ed in The New York Times about the padlocks that tourists clamp onto bridges in Paris and other cities. The author notes how this gesture represents the opposite of how the French feel about love because for them, love is more about freedom than securing it under lock and key.
"To love truly is to want the other free, and this includes the freedom to walk away," Agnès C. Poirier writes. "Love is not about possession or property. Love is no prison where two people are each other’s slaves. Love is not a commodity, either. Love is not capitalist, it is revolutionary. If anything, true love shows you the way to selflessness."
It's easy to get swept into the notion that love means holding on to your partner with those sweeping thoughts of forever. We learn thousands of ways to keep your man, but not how to continue caring for him when it's time to move on. Instead we're too caught up in what we've lost, in how we've failed, in who's to blame. Breaking up is difficult, but so is living with the fear that he or she might someday walk away from you the whole time you're together. Jealousy springs from that anxiety as well as the tendency to control and, quite frankly, smother the relationship to death.
I know I'm guilty of the above, of creating an entire lifetime in my head despite what the other person is trying to tell me. I can feel my grip tighten the more insecure I get and truly wish there was a way to jump from this point to one where I'm at peace with whatever may happen next. Be it good or be it bad, I want to learn to let loved ones play whatever role they'd like to play in my life (so long as it's a nurturing one) in their own rhythm and at their own time - not mine.
That fluidity would let go of so much tension and unhappiness, to let each person in your life love you how they can instead of spending energy trying to contort to your mold. It's a scary thought. It's risky and leaves one feeling utterly vulnerable, but then again love and growth are not for the weak. And what kind of life is the one lived driven by fear?