Oh, so this is that kind of love.
The kind you think you have under control until sometime in the middle of a frosty night, it somehow makes its way out of the glass cage on the ground, slithers into your bed and up your spine, curling itself around your neck and stealing your breath.
It pushes you around so fiercely that you have no choice but to write it out of your system until your heart and belly have stopped quivering out of love-fear and can settle into quiet again.
All the rawness, that deep-to-the-core crazy primal wanting: that’s where we come from. That’s where art is born. It’s so fucking beautiful, and so honest, and so gooshy and mooshy and messy.
When I’m alone in the night, it comes for me and makes me angry and scares the shit out of me at the same time.
That kind of love is the dark stuff: fear, suffering, loss, death. That thing that is always sort of there, and it sneaks up now and then when we least expect it.
There is beauty in it’s rawness, and we need to learn how to go through it. But staying there too long can make me too heavy and weak. Then I’m left vulnerable to consumption and I (just might) lose myself.
Then I remember that I am small: there are bigger things outside of myself, and I need to get out of my own way.
That kind of love needs acknowledgement, but clinging to it becomes selfish, and I must put it behind me (again, then again). It’s important to know (and hard to learn) how to leave that kind of love behind in order to honour the bigger picture.
Slowly I am learning how to step outside of myself, out of that. When it comes, I have to spend some time shifting, finding a new angle to untangle myself and stand up.
I am learning the value in honouring that process: love need not be so earth-shaking. At some point there is nothing left to do but turn outward.
Once I have processed, I can offer presence, and this is a quiet kind of love.
This kind of love expands me, strengthens me, lightens me so that I can give. So that I can carry it, extend it, receive it, gently and with grace. It comes in many forms.
I will wrap my arms around you.
I will push the stroller as you carry the weight of your tired, sweet baby.
I will leave a bowl of soup outside of your door.
I will bring a bottle of wine, a hug and my ears to listen to your sorrows one rainy evening when you are sad.
I will leave my shyness (ego) at the door and play a song on the guitar.
I will bring a cup of tea to you in bed in the morning.
I will wake you with back-tickles and shoulder kisses.
I will experience art/music/writing/whatever that passion of (y)ours is (going into it with you as deeply as I can, rather than just ‘seeing’ it).
I will ask you how things are going with your partner, and listen as hard as I can when you tell me the truth, even if it hurts (it might hurt because the words aren’t quite what I want to hear, not because it’s about me but because I want to know that you are happier than what your response leads me to believe).
What matters is what we do for each other right now, the small things. Because love is presence, action, listening, just stepping in and doing.
Sometimes I might get stuck back in that kind of love. I might be scared and seem distant but that is when I want you to just be with me the most. We don’t have to talk or do anything in particular. Just be.
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Ed: Catherine Monkman