February 28, 2014 by polishsnausage
As always, the main goal here at HeartOnSleeve is to write with emotion and from the heart, whether that be the one closely guarded, or as our name implies, on your sleeve for the world to see. I tend to fall into both categories because I can be like that. I will protect myself and this fragile thing in my chest until I feel I can expose it more openly and freely. Or, sometimes, I skip the protection part and just bare my soul for anyone who wants to look at it. I can’t help myself sometimes.
Recently, I’ve discovered the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and let me tell you I’m rather upset with myself it took almost 33 years to do so, but as the saying goes, “better late than never.”
Francis (we’re on a first name basis) is one of those rare writers that I’m scared of. Their writing is too good, too perfect, too much like he swam into my subconscious and wrote for me, but did a better job of it.
As he wrote in This Side of Paradise, “I’m not sentimental–I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last–the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.”
I’ve long considered myself a romantic, try as I might to keep that label under wraps–I have a hardened reputation to uphold, after all–but reading that…well, I guess I am sentimental more so than romantic. I do want things to last, but I also have a realistic view and understand not everything does. So that makes me a romantarealist?
I love love. I love the idea of it. I’ve been in love once, and it was spectacular. It didn’t last…but while it was there, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, despite the demise. I have a feeling of it again, though not as strongly as it was before, but it’s there, waiting to explode into bits. I had a friend tell me once, “i have no doubt you love fiercely.” She’s right; I do. I don’t mess around when it comes to matters of the heart. I am not careless or reckless. It’s a rare feeling to experience, so why would I treat it so poorly?
I thought I was in love almost a year and a half ago, but further examination of that relationship brought me to the conclusion I was not. I tricked myself into believing so, but that was dangerous of me. I have this annoying thing called an intuition and after a very short time, it started warning me of things to come. I was foolish and ignored it. It cost me in the end. Chalk one up to experience, I suppose.
While a hard lesson to teach myself, I did learn from it and what to expect now from another person. I realize everyone expresses love in different forms, but what I thought I had with this person was not love. It was a feeling of excitement that someone was paying attention to me, and I of him. We both craved the feeling of being needed and wanted, as our last relationships ended due to lack of both. Forcing yourself to love someone, however, is not fair to either of you, though.
But what is love, specifically? The dictionary defines love as such:
noun: 1) a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; 2) a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection on, as for a parent, child, or friend; 3) sexual passion or desire; 4) a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart; 5) used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like.
Ah, love, you beautiful thing. From the dawn of time, from the first caveman to today, love is the thing that everyone seeks, whether they admit it or not. Everyone wants love and to be loved. You’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe that. But as I said before, there are all sorts of love, and the dictionary cements that, and it’s the dictionary, so…
If I may refer to Fitzgerald for a moment, this is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever read from him, or any author, really: “Her heart sank into her shoes as she realized at last how much she wanted him. No matter what his past was, no matter what he had done. Which was not to say that she would ever let him know, but only that he moved her chemically more than anyone she had ever met, that all other men seemed pale beside him.”
Are you kidding me with this, Francis? Oh my good gracious, if that isn’t the incredible thing, I don’t know what is. I adore that quote, because if I may bare my heart on this sleeve of mine, I feel that again. In a tragic way, this feeling is somewhat one-sided, but at this point, just knowing I can have this emotion toward another man again after the end of a marriage and some failed attempts at “getting back on the saddle,” I’ll take it. I’m grateful I’m capable of this at all. I’m not as jaded to the idea as I once thought I was. To think of someone and get the clichéd butterflies and knots in your stomach and all that sappy crap is truly something I didn’t think I had in me again, and that’s a fact.
That’s another thing about love: it’s glorious and cruel at the same time. Once you have it, you want to never let it go, but once its lost, you feel your whole existence is over. “Never again!” you cry out to whomever will listen. “Never again will I let myself be so blind and foolish!” But, my theory is love is like childbirth. Every new mother, after spending hours of torturous labor pushing their new person into the world, bemoan the pain and agony of it and declare loudly, “fuck that! Never again!” But that’s all forgotten and the process starts over again. Hence the comparison to love. Goofy analogy, but that’s what I’m best at.
We all want love. We all need love. We as humans cannot live without it. We want to be moved chemically. And for the most part, many of us succeed and give some hope to those of us who still seek it.
Don’t give up on the idea, don’t become hardened to it. Love is a splendid thing, after all.