Monday, December 3, 2007

i love love

despite my blog title alluding to hatred, i actually love lots o' stuff. i love cats, beer (and how i wish i didn't!), teaching, learning, reading, walking, EATING, christmas (holidays in general), my family, my friends, my love, and love itself. yup. i love love. lots. it explains why i tangentially study love - dating is meant to lead to love, no? - and why i while away countless hours talking to my friends and loved ones about love. i have come to wonder about how love exists in degrees as well as in ways i don't fully understand. there is love that is really fear of loss. love that is jealous. love that is new. fresh. shiny. there is lasting love, love that is fleeting, and love that is so sweet it makes your teeths hurt.

love is often perceived as a mystery. an elusive and wispy creature that strikes at a moments notice. when you least expect it. when it rears its head and emerges surprisingly, "at first sight." love is constructed as fragile, easily lost, hard to capture. what function does this notion of love have? is it a moral tale: those that are nice, kind, willing, able deserve love? to get love, you must give love? to be unloved is to be nothing. to be lonely. to be somehow undeserving. or is it a tale that neatly sets us up in institutions of marriage. of bondage. of cycles of unproductive reproductivity? or is it a fairy tale? a non-existent make believe that invades our imaginations and limits our own creativity. narrows our view of possibilities. perverts our gaze. none of the above i say! because i am a love loving unromantic. non-romantic. anti-mantic.

i think love causes us to do things we wouldn't otherwise. makes us feel compelled to emote. and emote lots. i am a believer in listening to what love tells you to do without succumbing to fantasies of utter fulfillment. perfection. or mistake the fleeting love of the beginning for what must always be.

i am often asked if i believe in soulmates. soulmates are another pervasive theme in my research as many of my research participants are motivated to online date in order to facilitate a faster, more efficient, route to their soulmate. and the honest answer, is yes. i believe in soulmates. but i don't believe you find your soulmate all packaged and clean off the shelf and ready-to-go. i think you find your soulmate like you find your favourite sweater. the perfect pet. your favourite spot on earth. or maybe it/they/he/she finds you. maybe love is a fiction. a fantasy. a pre-fab house. fake. unstable in hurricanes. not so fire-retardant. but i don't think so. what is lost by believing in love? what is gained by resisting it?

if i put my feminist hat on, i could say many things about what is gained by resisting love. total independence. lots of time not spent on emotional labour. lots of money saved on fluffy wedding dresses and expensive catered meals. but i think, even as feminists, we can imagine a love that doesn't confine us. belittle us. congest our lives with cleaning and rearing. we can love and be free.

but perhaps only if we critically imagine love as a constructed mystery.

and not a for-real sherlock holmesian one.

1 comment:

Shells said...

A wonderful tribute to the mystery of love. And isn't that what makes love so intriguing? The mystery? The pure Chaos of love! What could be better?