July 30th, 2012 § 2 Comments
There was this co-ed sleepover. It was back in ’79 or thereabouts. I was nine, maybe ten. It was innocent enough. I can’t remember everyone in the room – my older brother, couple/three girls, I think. The oldest was maybe twelve. At some point that night, talking in our beds with the lights off, I confessed that I had a thing for one of those girls. Her name was Nancy. If I remember correctly, her response to my confession was less than reciprocal. Nancy screamed and dove under the covers. I should’ve known right then that love is a battlefield.
What is love anyway? For a nine year old kid, it was a strange feeling I had. For whatever reason, I liked this girl. I noticed her – wanted to be around her. And as I got older, the definition really didn’t change. Love more than anything was a wanting: To have someone. And the “better” she was the better off I was. If she wanted me too, then yeah, I must be somebody. Cheap Trick sings, “I want you to want me, I need you to need me, I’d love you to love me …” It’s the anthem of the co-dependent, infantile conception of love. It’s the one I confessed to Nancy back in ’79, the one I held into most of my adult life.
A couple years ago, I was sitting in Southern California traffic. I looked around at all the people sitting in their cars around me, and thought, “Everyone wants something … real bad. Everyone.” Then I thought, I live on a planet of 6 billion and change of people of wants. Most of us can hardly spare a moment from our pursuits to consider what another wants, what another needs. It’s no wonder that love is a battlefield. Hell, it’s a wonder that love exists at all.
I had mistaken this wanting as love for so long that love strikes me as strange. “Wait, you mean, love is surrendering my wants to give another what they want, what they need? This is love? I don’t know. Hmm … strange love, man. Strange.”