Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Locking Down Love

I wish I were brave enough to let love rest on an open palm instead of clutching it with the jaws of life afraid that if I were to let it go it'd fly away and leave this unfillable void. I wish I were okay with creating a permeable life, letting in those who want to visit and simply wishing well to those who'd like to go, sad to see them leave, but accepting that not everyone is meant to stick around forever.

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," Agn├Ęs 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?

11 comments :

  1. Wow. I needed to read this! Well said! Bravo!

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  2. Not every relationship is the same, some come easier than others and the truth is that no matter what kind of relationship you're in the goal is the same. At the end of it all the people like you who hold on and put the work in will always know that whether it works or not you did your best.

    Besides, aren't all great love stories about fighting for the love you believe in blindly?

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  3. I love what Heidi said. At the end of the day ppl who fight til the end, theyll know they did all they could... As sad as one may feel in the end, that has to bring some comfort.

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  4. Obviously not everyone's the same and we should all do what we feel works best for us. I just feel that more often than not that end goal can block some of the joy out the present moments - at least for me anyway. And for sure I'm putting a lot of work into things because I'm much too stubborn to give up, which is exactly why I also wonder if it wouldn't be an easier/more peaceful existence if I let more go and was fine with whatever outcome occurred. That fighting for what you believe is your "true love" might sound romantic in theory and sometimes it can be, but other times you just want a damn sandwich and a simple existence without the dramatics. And this is coming from the one who typically creates the drama in the first place. It's exhausting!

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    1. That I understand - it should never be so hard that you feel like its constant misery and struggle. Never that!

      I do feel like a lot of times people try and sell us a fairy tale of how easy breezy their love is but behind close doors everyone has had a struggle at some point. I don't believe that every part of a relationship should be hard work all the time but there are definitely ups and downs even if everyone doesn't show it.

      If someone's happiness is constantly compromised and you are living under stress then maybe it's time to reevaluate where it's going because the point of all relationships is to be happy with your partner.

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    2. Well apart from the break-up/move on part, I think it's a good way to function while you're still in the relationship, remembering that we are not each other's possessions. That's what I was trying to get at with the post. Being easy when someone's in our life and also when they're not.

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  5. I am a long time reader, but I don't think I have ever commented before. This post spoke to me in a manner of love even greater than the love I feel and participate in with my husband. But with my children and even...on a much greater scale, religious love for God. You have a beautiful reflection here. Your quote form Agnes C. Poirier shows the expansiveness of what love is and the freedom true love both employs and releases.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming out of hiding and sharing your thoughts! Yes, like I told Heidi above, it can go beyond just the confines of a relationship with a partner. In life, I imagine, it's good to widen the boundaries if not remove them altogether. I'm not at the extreme yet and am still working on just loosening my grip, but I'm glad that you understand and appreciate where I'm coming from. I'm sure it'll be even tougher when I have children as I have the notion that I will be a worry wart when it's their time to fly.

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  6. It is true.. but as much as we try to keep love on an open palm it is so very hard to not want close your fingers over it... even ever so lightly.. we are social beings and the fear of being alone is too great.

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    1. Oh it's so great! Imagine how much we'd do if we didn't act based on that fear of being alone? We'd probably attract more friends if we didn't act so scared and needy.

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