To Love Somebody

Submitted by Seema Menon to Contest #4 in response to: Write a story based on the song title: "To Love Somebody" ... view prompt

Everyone perceives love in his/her own unique way. Some describe it as a mad delusion whereas some identify it with sacrifice and surrender. Few cynically call it a barter system that hinges on negotiation and compromise. But there are also certain individuals who believe it to be grand and splendid – like F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, “I love her and that’s the beginning and end of everything” as well as Maya Angelou who wrote, “Love recognizes no barriers”. Simple words, yet so profound. And I do agree with them. Why? I can elaborate.

Love is all encompassing and all consuming. It envelopes your being in a sheath of warmth and joy that permeates to the core of your being, illuminating your soul with such radiance that you start glowing in a rapturous delight. It makes you so blissed out that you spread cheer and goodwill wherever you go. Such will be your vibe that you feel truly empowered; there won’t be a trace or an ounce of negativity in you. In other words, you become love – as Sadhguru puts it so succinctly.

They say that love is patient; love is kind; it doesn’t envy; it doesn’t boast. Really? I don’t agree. Because it does bring with itself certain monsters – the most prominent one is the green-eyed monster, commonly known as jealousy, which not only makes you acutely conscious of your flaws but also make you dwell on them incessantly that they appear larger and greater than they actually are. For instance, let’s take my case. I really don’t bother about my appearance but the minute my man mentions anything casually about any feminine presence, I start fretting and fuming and the next minute, I really want to know how pretty that other woman is. Quite juvenile, I know. But try telling this to my heart. You may ask if I don’t trust him or if I don’t have any confidence in myself? Well… I will answer yes to both these questions. Nevertheless, I also know that life is truly unpredictable and anything can happen. Because things do change and this makes me afraid, truly afraid. And this brings me to the second demon that accompanies love – fear of loss.

Yes, I am being brutally honest when I say that I fear losing him. He is my conscious choice – a huge part of my life – who I imprinted on my psyche and my soul. For me, he is a desirous habit (call him my obsession if you will) not of one or two years but of two decades. The day he entered my life, other men became a thing of my past. I have never even looked at any other man since then. Even my fantasies are only about him. Do I have to mention that loyalty accompanies love? I can never understand people who remain physically faithful/loyal to their partners but fantasize about others. To me, that’s not love. I can safely conclude that if you love someone, you desire that particular person with an insane intensity and excessive desire for that one person is a foregone conclusion. Where is the space to include others? Haven’t I mentioned in the beginning that love is all consuming? If you are in love, you are in it entirely, completely and totally. It’s friendship that has caught fire – as Ann Landers says. No two ways about it!

The third demon that accompanies love is expectation – the root cause of every trouble in this world. I would like to quote Alexander Pope, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed”. Unfortunately, you forget these wise words. You become so need-oriented and obsessed with your love-interest that you feel they are here for you and knowingly or unknowingly impinge on their space. It really takes an evolved mind to tame this demon and give yourself a reality check.

Before you accuse me of being cynical, let me tell you that the positive aspects of love outweigh its negative ones. The best thing about being in love is the comfort it brings – the comfort of being your own self – the comfort of revealing your good, bad and ugly side to another human being. There is no need to pretend or wear any masks or facades like we have to do with the rest of the world for earning the moniker of normal. Your strengths are appreciated whereas your vulnerabilities will be strengthened by that person’s acceptance. Though love will make you acutely conscious of your flaws, but weirdly enough, it will also provide you with emotional security during turbulent times. Contradictory as it is, therein lies its beauty.

I do agree that it does magnify our flaws but it also makes us want to improve, to take ourselves a notch higher and become better versions of ourselves. It also gives us that eye to recognize beauty that’s missed by the most. Such is its power that even the most ugly ducklings become swans when looked at through the lens of love. Who needs plastic surgery then?

Having said what I just said, love can also be a great eye opener. When you are in close proximity with someone you share intimate space with, your partner is also equally vulnerable like you. That person also oscillates between the extremes just like you do but having invested a lot in you, having trusted you, putting faith in you and it’s this faith that you want to cherish and protect and nourish with your hopes and dreams, sweat and tears, savoring it, living it and making the entire endeavour worth it while striving tirelessly without taking it for granted to make it the most magical, mystical and surreal experience of your lives.

I consider myself really fortunate that I have known love in this lifetime. However, I should also tell you, the more intense your love is, the more volatile you are going to be. You may try very hard to be calm and composed but it’s not going to happen. You are going to be agitated, nervous and excitable most of the times. It takes you to that in between liminal space which is neither here nor there and you hang in there in a limbo with absolutely no control of any sort over anything. Exciting? Not really. It’s frightening. But once you learn to get a hang over this fright, you experience certain epiphanies that give you clarity, direction and perspective.

That’s exactly why I won’t say that you don’t really fall in love but we rise in love. Love may cause you heartbreak and a pain that lasts a lifetime. It may turn you into a cynical, bitter being. It may make you an emotional cripple. But I would still say, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. (Lord Tennyson).


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