My Definition of Love

Oh yes. The love question.

There's love and there's being in love. Too often the latter is confused for any number of other things and too frequently the former is thrown around.

I think someone tells me they love me once a day -- most of the time it's a joke. Not that they don't love me, but it's not really said to express their love either. I've done that, too, but I like to think that even in jesting situations, I'm pretty good about only saying "I love you" when I mean it.

J and I had a conversation one time where he told me that despite everything, he loved me. I told him, "No. That's not possible. People who love someone don't treat me the way you did." I went on to tell him that maybe he wanted to love me; maybe he thought he did, but actions speak louder than words every time. In fact, I'm not sure I remember the first time he and I said it to each other...

I'm of the opinion that love is unmistakable. I may take that feeling too far: sometimes, people want to hear it and I just want to show it. I go out of my way for people that I love. Doing things that inconvenience me, or require a little extra effort and it's my way of saying I love you. Taking my mom's car to get the oil changed, for example. Bringing my Godmother lunch unexpectedly. Remembering to ask my cousin how her job interview went and celebrating with her when she says she got the job (in fact, remember little tidbits is a PERFECT example of how I show love, instead of say it). But some folks need you to just look them in the face and say "I love you..."

When I think about the folks I love, I think about how I miss them when I'm not around them (not like that aching you feel when you're away from someone you're in love with, more like knowing they're not there and also knowing how things might be different if they were), how when I'm with them I want to spend all my time being fully present. I also think about an appreciation I have for them, who they are and what they bring to my life (sometimes juxtaposed against what life would be like without them...).

What is love? A feeling that is surely different to/for and varies from person to person -- but one thing that's consistent is that if you feel it, you should express it.

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