August 5, 2013

Love Alone is Not Enough. ~ Jeanette Geraci

Photo by Helga Weber

I absolutely love the significant people in my life.

If I knew we they were all destined to die in an hour, I’d have nothing but pure, unadulterated, everything-else-is-so-small-and-irrelevant-compared-to-what-I-feel-for-you, love for them—the kind of love that would, no doubt, bring me to my knees.

I would want only to hold them, to kiss their beautiful faces and say, “I love you” over and over.

I do think it’s vital that we express a portion of this every day that we are here on Earth together, which is why I tell people that I love them, or at least remind them of what I love about them, so frequently.

If we peeled away all the layers of superficial nonsense, (logistical barriers, petty grudges, the trivial bullshit we tend to argue over, emotional scars that have little to do with each other) all the junk that clutters, complicates, and distorts love—love itself is all that would remain.

How dare we dishonor love. How dare we take it for granted.

If love is the bottom line, then shouldn’t it be all that matters all along?

Shouldn’t it eclipse everything else, like the fact that you and the object of your affection live several hours apart, or have entirely different communication styles, or express opposite perspectives on matters such as marriage or child-rearing?

Devastatingly and bewilderingly—no.

It seems insane that our relationships, which initially come so naturally to us, end up requiring so much work.

Work, after all, seems fit for the mediocre and the mundane. And love is “supposed to” be anything but mediocre and mundane, right? Isn’t love “supposed to” be all orgasms and late-night pillow talk and unbridled, fever-pitch emotions and I-would-bring-you-the-moon-and-do-absolutely-anything-for-you-and-wait-for-you-until-the-end-of-time?

Well, whether or not it’s “supposed to” be—it’s not. Period.

I may not know much about love, but based on what I’ve experienced and observed, I’ve come to realize the following.

Contrary to everything we’ve been conditioned to believe, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you and the apple of your eye can stay up until sunrise talking.

It doesn’t necessarily matter if you can laugh together, cry together, share your deepest, darkest secrets, have toe-curling, bed-shaking, brain-cell-obliterating sex.

It doesn’t necessarily matter how much art, music, and/or poetry s/he inspires you to create.

Hell, it doesn’t necessarily matter that you sense in the deepest region of your heart that this person is a soul mate of sorts—someone whose beautiful, ancient spirit knew your beautiful, ancient spirit off in some beautiful, distant other life.

If both parties care to do the legwork to keep the relationship afloat in spite of glaring, fundamental differences, love could, in the end, conquer all.

But, if one party doesn’t care to do the aforementioned legwork (because s/he is ‘lazy,’ emotionally unhealthy and/or immature, self-centered, commitment-phobic, unwilling to compromise, resistant to giving or receiving love for any reason, you name it), it will go down.

And I’m not talking about the good kind of going down.

I’ve lived most of my young adult life as the mushiest, most doting romantic you’ll ever encounter.

For 25 years, I’ve walked around with my heart bleeding through my blouse. Ask anyone I’ve ever been romantically involved with—if I feel something for you, my first priority is bringing you comfort and giving you pleasure. All I want to do is bake you chocolate chip banana bread, make you mix CD’s, read you poetry, and lie around kissing and massaging you all day long.

In short, romantic love has been the moon to my tide, the most compelling force in my personal Universe—the planet around which my early adult life has revolved.

That being said—call it cynicism, or call it growing up, but I’m beginning to recognize that the propaganda simply isn’t true.

John n’ Paul—love is not, in fact, all you need.

And I don’t just mean that love is not all you need in life—I mean that love is not all you need in order for a solid relationship to come to fruition, or if it does, to survive. It seems bloody preposterous, but it’s the grown-up, unadorned, less-than-entirely romantic truth.

Relationships that work are equal parts passion and practicality.

Relationships that work are not made of stardust alone. They are made partly of stardust, but they’re also made of ordinary, every-day crap, like kitty litter and laundry lint, grocery shopping, emptying the dishwasher and paying the electric bill on time.

If a relationship won’t work in the practical sphere, no amount of romance or “soul-connection,” regardless of its depth or sincerity, will sustain it.

Love, alone, is not enough.

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Asst. Ed: Tawny Sanabria/ Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Jeanette Geraci