Yesterday morning at work, I got a call from a someone who was attending a meeting my agency is having soon. She wanted to know what airport she should fly into, and what hotel they were staying at, which I could have answered if I had the Internet and three minutes. But no, I wasn’t fast enough, I wasn’t the executive assistant who’s been here for over ten years, and she hung up. I griped about it to Kevin this morning on the way to the office. It may be June, but Oregon had a summery false start back in February and now I think it’s just forgotten that summer is supposed to happen now. That means today is once again grim and rainy, and I only got six hours of sleep last night, so even though I had Monday off, I was feeling pretty crabby, and this caller didn’t help.
“I could have found the hotel, I’m sure that’s on an agenda somewhere,” I said. “But the airport? It’s in eastern Oregon, how many airports can there really be?”
“Yep,” he said sympathetically.
“I mean, come on, I’m not Google.”
“Yeah, you’re more beautiful than Google.”
It’s hard to stay grumpy after something like that.
Vanessa over at Chicken Soup for the Dorky Soul passed me the “Love Tag” a couple weeks ago. According to the rules, I’m supposed to write a bit about what love is to me, and then tag three other bloggers. Amazingly, I couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t about cooking or ridiculous things my cat is doing (answer: chewing on playing cards), so I started a draft and jotted down a few words here and there, hoping that I would open it one day and discover that a brilliant essay had somehow congealed together. It didn’t happen. Fortunately Kevin is becoming skilled at telling me I’m beautiful at the most opportune moments, so now I have the motivation to actually write on a real topic.
My first instinct was to brainstorm. I have written many an essay in my time, and I even worked in the writing center for a while. I still can’t start a story without having an outline in place first, partly because if I don’t have some kind of framework to follow, a story that began as an intimate family drama will somehow end up being set in the 17th century starring pirates.
And a blog post that’s supposed to be about love will devolve into an exploration of my writing process.
Love is forgiving and being forgiven, faith, trust, adventure, intimacy, happiness. You have love for your family, your friends, your partner or spouse, your pets, God. Love is sappy songs on the radio. Love is giving backrubs and sending letters and singing Journey too loud in the car and trying to make someone else happy because you want them to be happy.
One of the things that’s always bugged me about the English language is that there’s only one word for “love.” How is one word supposed to cover everything? You don’t love your spouse or partner the same way you love your pet, or you love ice cream. Plus all the Shakespeare and Yeats, the stuff that really expressed love, has been so overused all the meaning has been sucked out. (Or maybe my inner jaded old lady is just hard to impress.)
I was never really into chick flicks. Scratch that – I’m still not into chick flicks, particularly when they’re referred to as “rom-coms.” Wanna know what I’ve seen? “Miss Congeniality,” “French Kiss,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Hitch,” and “Love Actually.” Oh, and I finally saw “You’ve Got Mail” a few weeks ago. Anyway. I’m sometimes curious about how my perceptions of relationships and romance would be different if I had seen more of those movies growing up, but I still grew up on Disney, so I’m sure my expectations are far from realistic.
Most of the time, love is a source of comfort. You can rely on the people you love to encourage you and offer new points of view and put up with you when you’re really excited about [insert name of geeky interest here]. Love propels you to take risks – in your careers, in marriage, with families – because you know the people you love will support you.
But sometimes love is brutal and painful and we want it to go away. It makes us want things we can’t have or worry too much about the things we do have. It makes us ache when we lose someone that meant a lot to us. But it also makes the memory of those things even more valuable, because in the end we still had that happiness for at least a little while.
Love for what we do, and love for ourselves, gives us hope and courage. If we didn’t love ourselves, we would have no confidence and no faith in our own abilities and we would never pursue the things we love doing. We would look in the mirror and think we were unappealing or unworthy, and, well, we’re not. Other people can tell us this, but ultimately, we need our own love to make it believable.