Friday, March 24, 2006

A Love That Don't Mean a Thing

I want love, but it's impossible
A man like me, so irresponsible
A man like me is dead in places
Other men feel liberated

I can't love, shot full of holes
Don't feel nothing, I just feel cold
Don't feel nothing, just old scars
Toughening up around my heart
This Elton John song was playing in my head when I woke up this morning, and it's been playing over and over in my head all day since.

So often, looking back at my relationships (romantic and otherwise) and at my friends', and even at the relationships described by all these bloggers I read, you just have to wonder why people keep reaching out for each other at all. Love seems to be a far more complex and difficult emotion than we like define it as. It has all the heart throbbing, sure. And after that, the long-time affection, yep. But then, along with that, there also seem to be other things inextricably blended into the mix that no one tells you about. Things like pain, hurt, guilt, misunderstanding, frustration, hidden motives, and even manipulation. Even those in the best relationships say they have to deal with this to some extent.

Often, it seems like love is mostly about overcoming, not...y'know...well...coming (in all the senses described in this post).

It makes me tired. And angry, too, sometimes. I get sick of being made to feel I should want something that's portrayed falsely to begin with. And I get angry that I continue to want it anyway, given what I know, and hear, and see on a regular basis. And I really get pissed when people act like they're sorry for me when I'm not part of a romantic relationship, or ask me if I have a boyfriend and if I say no, ask "Why not?" as if this must imply some inherent defect. I always feel like going, "Why not? Let's turn the spotlight on your relationship for a moment. Any more questions?"

Sometimes, I just wish I could get tough enough to just cut myself off from needing to connect with anyone. I've tried. But I always fail.

I know deep down I fail because it's not really what I want. But I'm just so frustrated that I want anything, when the expectation of what I want is so unrealistic.

I want to be in love, and I want not to feel. That's exactly what I want.
But I want love, just a different kind
I want love, won't break me down
Won't brick me up, won't fence me in
I want a love that don't mean a thing
That's the love I want, I want love.
Does this make sense to anyone out there besides me and Bernie Taupin?


Anonymous Cherrie said...

Yeah, it does.

People are people. They are imperfect. They offend each other, intentionally and unintentionally. They hurt each other's feelings.

Does this discourage me? Sometimes. Does it cause me to break off relationships? Sometimes. I won't put up with a lot of shit from anyone. The people closest to me know this, learn from their mistakes and keep their transgressions to a tolerable minimum. This helps me from getting down on all humankind.

Love for me is a net positive, which is why I keep looking for more of it.

3/25/2006 12:29 AM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Sure does make sense, a hell of a lot of sense to me. The reasons (at the time of me starting my blog) behind me at one time were to examine the portrayal of 'relationships' in the 21st century, how technology has effectively entwined itself and how the portrayal of love in the modern age has become this (nearly) consumerist farce.

I've often been caught in the thought (when people ask about 'why don't you have a boyfriend?' and look at you as if to ask themselves, 'what is wrong with her?' but never say it) of inadequacy, not being able to provide a person with the 'goods' so to speak, and I do sometimes get frustrated or angry (but not as much these days because I've opted out looking for the ideal of love and/or relationships, which has meant less stress for me but at the same time there are many moments where I feel like I'm half a person -perhaps that's a result of conditioning, I don't know) but overall, I feel it's not worth the unecessesary exhaustion.

I often think that love arrives at the most random moment. To construct a foundation and lay the bait, so to speak, to gain love, doesn't make it love, it makes it a self made construct that can implode at some point in time.

Then there's the endless question of what love truly is, whether in this day it's been transformed into some type of 'thing' that's more closely associated with external stimuli (the physical etc) than the more spiritual, intrinsic aspects of people.

Most days though I don't stop to think about it, and this post has made me stop to think about it, and I like that very much.


3/25/2006 5:27 AM  
Blogger figleaf said...

Funny, Syl, but I was reflecting on something along roughly these lines this morning.

I think the fairy-tale answer is that we buy the "happily ever after" handwaving at the end of romantic fairy tales.

I know scarcely anything about Zen but I think I achieved accidental enlightenment when someone told me a Zen saying is "Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood carry water."

The point I'm trying to make is that before love you have to live in the world, and after love you have to live in the world.

The flaw, if there is one, is *not* that love, romance, contact, sex are inadequate but that we expect more from it than it can possibly offer.

Which is sort of unfair of us. Love and all that comes with it is wonderful. Wonderful! As part of a healthy balance of emotions, not all of which are as much fun.

Take care,


3/25/2006 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you make some good points....
Love is a very complex emotion, feeling, act. I am always asked the same thing... why are you still single? like there is something wrong with me... but up until a few weeks ago I kept the reason hidden, kept it to myself. So as I don't have to feel or deal with the pain. It wasn't until I met a wonderful Englishman online (just as a friend) that I began to see and realise that there is more to life then just hiding and being alone. I want to feel again. I want to smile again....

Am I still single... you bet! But because I am dealing with my past, I know I can feel love again. And I want too... And I know it is hard work to keep the love alive...

Thanks for the thoughts...

3/26/2006 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Kochanie said...

"Sometimes, I just wish I could get tough enough to just cut myself off from needing to connect with anyone. I've tried. But I always fail."

Well, Miss Syl, I'm glad you failed, because if you succeeded this excellent blog wouldn't be here. Being single is not easy. Being married is not easy. Being alive, fully alive, is not easy, but the alternative is Despair, which IMHO is really Evil in disguise.

If I may, I'd like to share with you a quote from a book I read twenty years ago. I committed it to memory and recited it to myself numerous times. I hope it helps you as well.

We find ourselves not independently of other people and institutions but through them. We never get to the bottom of ourselves on our own. We discover who we are face to face and side by side with others in work, love and learning.

from Habits of the Heart by Robert N. Bellah, et al.

3/26/2006 4:35 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

First off, thanks to everyone for commenting. I was in a broody mood when I wrote it, and you've all made me feel better.


Cherrie: "Love for me is a net positive, which is why I keep looking for more of it." Well put. I guess I keep hoping it will be a net positive for me, too. I wonder though if I need to allow for more the expectation of more disappointment than we're expected to believe we'll have. What do you think?

Anastasia: I hear you, girl. So by saying you've "opted out looking for the ideal of love and/or relationships," does that mean you are just being with people now with no expectations, or that you've chosen to just not be out there at all?

Figleaf: "The flaw, if there is one, is *not* that love, romance, contact, sex are inadequate but that we expect more from it than it can possibly offer. Which is sort of unfair of us."

This is what I'm thinking, too. So how do we create a new, more truthful definition of what love is in the world, so our expectations are honest and people don' t feel they're *not* in a healthy relationship because it's *not* fairy-tale? Where are the limits? How much discomfort or misery in a relationship is too much? How much is okay?

I know these answers are all relative. But I've talked to friends whose parents had arranged marriages. What they've told their children love is is a far different animal than most people who married for romance ever expect. I always thought that arranged marriages as a concept was terrible. But I wonder if the practical applications they use to make those relationships *work* actually are. Can romance and pragmatism exist at together? I think it's possible. But we'd have to redefine both, and combine them together to create a new definition for love, too.

3/26/2006 6:03 PM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Needra: It is *very* hard work. Sounds like you and I have some similiarities. And *I* want you to smile and feel love again, too!

kochanie: (Blushing) Thanks for the compliment. You are very sweet. And for the great quote. And for getting it.

3/26/2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

Syl, well I don't particularly like just being with people for the sake of being with them sexually, if I have to sleep with a person for the sake of it, then there's no real point of me doing it (I've already done that, many years ago, it's not like I'll learn anything new, for me personally, it works for others and power to them but everyone's different).

I don't put myself out there anymore. I don't like the new wave of dating, the process to me is like an interview process, like I'm applying for some type of position. My last 'date date' occured a year ago and it doesn't worry me in the slightest. Maybe this will change in a year, who knows? But for now I've got other plans/aims that aren't directed toward that 'relationship', there are even days where I don't even think I can 'give' or contribute to a relationship.

3/27/2006 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Cherrie said...

"I wonder though if I need to allow for more the expectation of more disappointment than we're expected to believe we'll have. What do you think?"

People (pardon me for generalizing) often tend to invest too much in first impressions. If he/she looks attractive or seems smart and funny at first glance, perhaps the mind begins to fill in the blanks in knowledge about the person in the way the viewer wants them filled. If this happens, disappointment is likely since the person probably will not live up to the fantasized image the viewer constructed, then connected with.

I've learned it's better to get to know someone before allowing myself to become involved emotionally. I will give my affection freely to someone to whom I am attracted and who will return the attention. But not many candidates will survive my vetting process. And sometimes I am saddened when one does not.

On the other hand, my lovers all make positive and wonderful contributions to my life that outweigh their occasional missteps. That makes the search worth it.

So, my dear Miss Syl, I would predict not everyone will work for you. Don't give of yourself till you are sure. Then give abundantly and feel your love bloom as your affection is returned.

3/27/2006 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Tory said...

I am still stuck on the pic. 1.81 for unleaded? i just paid 2.62 and that cheap around here at the moment. just another reason i hate california.

anyways, maslow hit it on the head. Its just a basic need. I dont know why so many people see being single as a void they need to fill in their life. I enjoy being single just as i enjoy being in a relationship. each has its pros and cons. i refuse to lower the bar cuz society says i should be in a relationship. tv has implanted the message that everyone should settle down. fuck that. If i dont ever find the woman for me then i am never going to be with someone. It is really quite sad how people settle for less and let their fear of being alone steer them into a bad relationship. What is the worst is that people connect the actions of love with some bullshit feeling they get. That feeling goes away after a while and so a lot of people split-up cuz they relate some feeling to loving someone. complete nonsense.

yeah dating is horrible. i for one refuse to do it. I just prefer to hang out without any preconcieved notions of what should or shouldnt happen. A big problem lies within people being afraid to be honest and up front about everything. There is so many problems i will be here all day listing them.

"love. It is a motherfucker"
-old school

3/27/2006 3:52 AM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Ana: You've pretty much described my situation, too, word for word. And yet, some days, I still do feel the need to get out there...for instance, when I recently read this really good archived post from Chelsea Girl.

Cherrie: Thanks for the nice post. Yep, I definitely agree most people won't work for me, given my track record. I'm way too picky, don't like to compromise my principles, and often pick people who ultimately it seems can't be fully invested in caring for me romantically. So y'know, not an easy road. So sometimes I wonder if more flexibility and compromise is the only solution. But I've tried that, too, and that didn't go so well, either. So...(?)

Tory: Ahahaha@the gas prices. Love comes cheap, apparently, but even so, it *is* still a motherfucker. Yes it is.

And dating is a fatherfellator.

3/27/2006 11:54 PM  
Blogger Anastasia said...

It's a great post Syl, but the last point, 'allow yourself to make mistakes'...sometimes I think I've kind of overdosed on that area (lololol) and yeah, kind of feeling the fallout from it (like nuclear radiation contamination).

3/28/2006 9:51 AM  
Blogger Miss Syl said...

Ana: I hear you. Some days I wonder that my skin isn't glowing green at this point, heh.

3/29/2006 8:59 AM  

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