My perspective leaves me wondering–baffled–how so many have a view of love that is so cheapened that any amount of material wealth or social comforts could ever be a higher priority. What is it in my experiences that have caused me to value love so highly amidst such pressure to abandon romanticism and embrace pragmatism?
An observation about the things we covet could hold the key. We are unsatisfied by what we have, like what we don’t have, and love what we can’t have.
This makes sense with relationships when we each consider the people we have loved because they wouldn’t love us back, and the others we let go because they did.
This was the case with my first real girlfriend. We were sixteen and clueless. Just a couple of rookies hitting home runs that figured we knew the game.
The owner of a different team told me of their greener grass, and for a time it was. But soon we could not afford to water the field.
We were so isolated by our apparent failures we forgot that we succeeded as a couple. Our egos demanded we prove that we were better than others, and the only people we knew were each other. We succeeded as enemies instead.
I felt so betrayed, so blind, so vulnerable, that I didn’t feel I could love again. After much hesitation, I gave it another shot.
We went slow at first, then clung together from morning to night, cuddling between orgasms, like terrified children afraid to leave the safety of bed, hoping the storm inside would pass. Passion quickly turned back to fear and we found a way to make it fail.
She revived my notion of love, and I have searched with a new understanding of what I want, but found no one resembling my Philosopher Princess.
None of this experience is unique or special. It could easily be the story of many. To find the source of my romanticism, I went back to the time when I first tasted what I now call love. I was 13, but I should have been much younger.
As a baby, I would cry and cry, but no one knew why. I was born with a poorly formed urinary tract which resulted in an ongoing undiagnosed urinary tract infection. The Doctor told my Mother that I would grow out of my crying and that I shouldn’t be babied. At the time when I most needed to be held and comforted, I lay alone, covered in urine and tears. This start to my life was bound to define me.
The first bond that should have developed between child and mother was blocked. I don’t speak to my mother anymore and feel no real loss as I never really even knew her. To this day, I have an aversion to human touch. Things did not improve as life went on.
I was not a planned child. My parents had a girl and boy and weren’t expecting me. They were in debt and the stress contributed to their split. My mother went to work and I went to daycare. Their focus was elsewhere, and I was raised by the TV. I have no memories of going to the park. Picnics were company picnics. “Talks” were what we did when I did something wrong. I did my own laundry, made many of my own meals, watched TV in a different room.
These early years are where we learn courtship–not relationships. My first girlfriends were experiments with pairing and labels. I had memories of having girlfriends–not memories of girlfriends. Until one that changed everything.
She had all the qualities that made childhood innocent and adulthood pleasurable. One day she put her head on my shoulder and I wanted to live in that moment forever. I felt for the first time the closeness I had longed for since I was a baby. For her it was not enough. After her, I saw that I was without what I previously never knew existed.
The very absence of love in my life has caused me to value that which others have always taken for granted.