My parents and my moms side of the family (catholics!) on their wedding day.
Click to enlarge/soak in all the eighties.
On the long, expansive list of topics I have no business commenting on, Love is probably somewhere near the top - as my past experience in that area adds up to nothing more than a few dysfunctional relationships and a handful of nameless flings. But let's be honest, this isn't the first, nor will it be the last time I broadcast a completely uninformed opinion on an important topic.
Growing up, I was one of very few kids I knew whose parents were still together. At that time, I didn't see what the big deal was. All my friends had two of everything. Two bedrooms, double the clothes, two bikes? And they were the ones everyone felt sorry for! I'm over here trying to find places to hide my dolls in my (only) bedroom so that my brothers won't destroy them with sharpies and scissors (maybe if I had another house with more dolls this wouldn't have been so emotionally scarring?), and you guys are getting out of class to go talk to the school counselor?
"Bullshit!" eight year-old me cried.
Obviously as I got older, I began understanding how special my little dysfunctional family actually was, and how truly devastating it is for a kid (or an adult) to watch their parents' relationship fall apart. The guilt, the loss of trust - watching the relationship of two people you love deteriorate has to be absolutely heartbreaking. Seeing the statistics alone has been enough for me to question whether or not true love and commitment are things of the past.
My parents have never been openly affectionate people. Our family as a whole has never been big on "sharing." Here in the South, we much prefer you to keep your pansy-ass feelings to yourself, so as to not create any discomfort among the people around you. As a consequence, Arkansas has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, and probably one of the largest populations of emotional retards as well.
I've watched entirely too many relationships of friends and loved ones crumble due to a lack of communication and understanding (and possibly the fact that people out here get married when they're like, eleven years old, but that's another post entirely).
Love's been on my mind lately. From thinking about how beautiful and exciting the idea of it is, to being absolutely horrified of the thought of it, I've been really trying to work out my feelings on this feeling.
The thing is, I just don't think it's that hard, if you're ready for it.
If two people enter into a relationship as whole, happy, separate people, there should be no problem in making it last. I don't believe in a partner as being someone who "completes you." That's a sign of emotional immaturity to me. It shows a lack of pride and confidence in yourself, and puts unecessary pressure on your partner to act as some kind of superhero. Both people in a relationship deserve the happiness of being their own person, as well as the shared responsibility of creating a comfortable, happy place for the relationship to grow.
Conversely, and this is something I've had to learn the hard way, too much pride - being too independent - can be just as catastrophic to a relationship as being too clingy. As someone who was not raised to verbalize emotion, I've struggled in past relationships in a big way with communication. Though I very much believe there are some emotions that should be kept to yourself (Ladies, I'm sorry, your dude is not a heartless bastard if he doesn't want to cuddle and cry to the Cat Power station on Pandora), not allowing yourself to open up to your partner is extremely dangerous. No matter how outrageous you think your feelings might be (and sometimes they are), they still matter. There's something wonderfully freeing about allowing yourself to feel vulnerable with the person you love. It makes your bond stronger.
No relationship is perfect, because no person is perfect. There will always be misunderstandings, sometimes feelings will get hurt. I'm not after a fairytale romance by any stretch of the imagination. But despite the statistics and naysayers, I still believe in a true and lasting love. I believe in sickeningly cute couples with coo-ey babies and a beautiful, unwavering bond.
I believe in a thing called love. (What's up 2004!? Where are all The Darkness fans?)