"I love your shoes... I love you...what are you comparing me to? Your shoes?"
- Jackie Shroff on Koffee With Karan
People complain that the word “love” is used very loosely these days…At one point of time, I did have an issue with that, but these days I feel that the laws of love cannot be the same for everyone. Popular conception may have restricted the usage of the term "love" only while referring to couples, but why do we only need to perceive love in only one particular manner?
As human beings, we are born to love and to be loved, and it is alright, I feel, if love has different perceptions, manifestations, and expressions. Love is an incredibly powerful experience and those who’ve been in love can vouch for the same. Of course, the path of love is not an easy one.
Falling in love is easy, staying in love is hard work and for some, a bit of a challenge. Like many before have already said, love is the hardest thing we do…But it is also the best thing we do.
Love is an empty house that we move into when we need a place of comfort and security. However, love does not always prove to be a good home. Just like homes have dark corners where we aren’t willing to go for reasons we cannot fathom, or awkward spaces where we cannot reach; in the same way, love can have unfamiliar nooks for years.
In the beginning, we view everything with rose-tinted glasses. We are sure that if we make love look awesome, it will feel awesome. We don’t bother with the dark corners and focus and concentrate on what is in front of us. We decorate it our way so that it looks great, to make ourselves feel at ease. However, even when love is a comfortable home, it’s never a wise idea to stay at home all the time. Sometimes, we need to explore those unvisited rooms, those untouched territories.
Love has a tendency to dawdle. It does not believe in operating smoothly and ensuring that everything runs like clockwork. There are times when it disappears or goes missing, leaving us, the parties involved, to just ad-lib awkwardly.
Love is lazy and shirks from doing homework. While there is no end to the amount of love we really crave, how much love do we actually need? Love is an ungrateful, entitled brat. Sometimes, love hates intimacy. It hasn’t attended all its lessons. It blanks out when it has to perform. Most of the time though, love likes togetherness. Being in love may be a “wow” feeling but many times, we realize that it’s just not working for us! Love can suffocate us, it can make us feel claustrophobic. We keep remembering the warm, fuzzy feelings we experienced in the beginning and hold on tighter, embrace it harder without realizing that love needs to make space. Sometimes, allegiances may remain one-sided for years. Love may underestimate the amount of space it needs. Love needs some amount of distance to sustain itself. It needs to breathe, to run, to go away so that it can always return to earnest, safe embraces and the desired intimacy.
Saying “I love you” is only the first step. The steps that follow can be a bit of a struggle. Each day, as we move ahead, love changes colours. Sometimes, love is expressed in the form of anger. At other times, it moulds into anxiety. We also have a tendency to destroy love each day. We chase it away. We stop ourselves from acknowledging it, from recognizing it, because who knows, what it may ask from us. Many of us are threatened by love. We sometimes resent the fact that love does not come our way in the package that we expected. What is wrong with us? Doesn’t love mean dealing with differences, accepting contradictions and celebrating diversity?
In love, we become the keeper of each other’s memories. He may tell you about the cousin who bullied him incessantly when he was a kid and then acted as if nothing happened in later years, leaving you to deal with the bully when he comes visiting. You may tell him about the Sunday outings with your father when you were a child.
One of you will be the dreamer. The other will be fantastic with logistics. But the one with fabulous logistics skills will realize that she too has dreams of her own. She’ll hand back his dreams to him, and charge ahead to pursue hers.
You will witness the other person fighting lost battles. You’ll want to rescue them, you will be judgmental, and you will tear each other down. You will bask in glory when his dreams come true. You will feel left out.
Love can feel uncomfortable. She will never be good at being ill. She’ll be cranky and refuse to see the doctor. He’ll have no clue on how to deal with her illness. Instead of being useful, he will scold her when he discovers that she stashed away the medicines as soon as she felt slightly better, instead of finishing the prescribed course. Love involves a bit of yelling. It’s natural because when she are weak, the anxiety in her lover is triggered. Love makes us vulnerable. How can it not?
Love requires patience, sometimes a great deal of it. We need years to get into the skin of love and wear it comfortably. Love has childhood issues.
Love teaches us to trust in different ways. It helps us discover mistrust despite love. It stuns us. Love assists us in taking some steps back. Trust always has to be earned, it is never served on a platter. One of you will always be better than the other when it comes to handling trust issues. One of you may be better than the other at handling money. One of you may abstain completely from social media, while the other could be a Facebook junkie! One of you will thrive in clutter, while the other person needs everything well-organized and clean. One of you will get along fine with watchmen, plumbers, taxi drivers and carpenters, while the other will be ill-mannered and rude. Lead by example. Positions can and should be reversed from time to time.
Love is the union of two souls. Love brings two people together to form a world of their own. However, the most significant aspect of any relationship is the realization that the two people who came together are still different persons, separate entities. They have their own rhythm, priorities, pleasures and passions. They have to fulfill their own separate dreams - dreams that may come in the way of them being together...
That does not mean love is over. In fact, love is the exact opposite of that. True love wants the lover to be absolutely liberated. It means that she’ll be separate from him and he will be separate from her. They need not continue walking on the same path – sometimes their roads may diverge and things will change, but it does not mean that love has gone.
Love always reinvents itself. It resuscitates. Love demands diversification. Spread your wings and fly, and allow your lover to do the same. Love more and more, love yourself, love others, make love in new places, in new ways because no matter which path you choose or which destination you wish to reach, you’ll end up rediscovering love in these new spaces. Never close yourself to love, because…
While love is one of the hardest things that we do, love is the best thing we’ll ever do.