Today I want to take a little break from bemoaning the happenings and portents of my epic little life and focus on something a little bit more universal: honest to goodness, real-life, hurts-to-the-bone, stalk-someone-into-witness-protection LOVE.
I recently watched a movie where the two main characters spent almost the entire two hours railing on the ridiculous nature of romantic love as portrayed in popular films. (Yes, it was a romantic comedy, stop judging me I AM ALLOWED ONE PER YEAR DAMNIT.) Anyway, the best part was the part where they then proceeded to embody every SINGLE rom-com cliché’ imaginable as they struggled through their own intimacy issues, emotional baggage and a sperm wale’s weight in denial in order to end up at that scene together where they confess their true love, somehow without ever fully admitting the extent of their sins but apologizing in such a pathetic way that their counterpart looks at them with that sort of “what am I going to do with you, idiot?” look and then comes the passionate embrace.
Now, if you’re having trouble figuring out which movie I’m talking about, good luck because there’s about two-dozen off the top of my head that fit that EXACT description. I suppose that’s why we go see those movies though, so it’s understandable if not forgivable.
Anyway, that kind of love is not what this post is about. When *that* kind of love ends, you find solace in a bucket of chunky monkey or chubby hubby ice cream–truth in advertising for you right there–and cry room-temperature tears of self-pity until even your sympathy for yourself has dried up and there’s nothing left to do but move on to the next almost-epic love of your life.
But when USM love ends… well actually, it doesn’t. Not ever. Because USM love isn’t some half-assed 9-5 committment. USM love is the soul-sucking 12-hour graveyard shift of human affection. It hits you Sunday through Saturday without fail, and always gets worse whenever the sun goes down. It’s the taskmaster that doesn’t quit, that niggling little voice that’s always telling you if you can only say or do the right thing, if you can only make yourself just a little more perfect, the love of your life will finally want you and you’ll be happy forever.
It’s not just for the cretins and uggos of the world, either. This kind of love infects at all levels of the population, from sixth-grade tuba players to supermodels. It’s like Inception. Once it’s in there, you have no hope of getting it out, not permanently. Not entirely. It grows inside you like a cancer that you can’t live without, until you finally start to hate it. Even then, you’d never dream of extracting it because it’s an indelible part of who you are.
Even in your most wildly homicidal moments, you want to eat, sleep and breathe this person. And if, by some miracle, you manage to purge yourself of the superficial feelings that draw you to them, you still dream about them. They’re your sickness, your cure, your reason for getting out of bed in the morning and your reason for crying yourself to sleep every night.
But no matter how much you think you love this person, the depth of that emotion pales in comparison with the self-loathing you’ll have when things don’t work out.
In my opinion, this is one of life’s most fascinating cruelties.