Sunday Soapbox: I'm a Dreamer

>> Sunday, October 4, 2009


*Steps on soapbox*

This soapbox is less or a rant or a lecture to all my readers than it is a self-realization I'm going to share. The soapbox, in this instance, is marginal, but I'm allowing it because, hey, it's my blog.

Last week, I asked my readers what love was and I was surprised at the answers. This isn't to say that anyone answered "wrong" or that there was, in fact, anything wrong with the answers I received (and I appreciate the honest answers). Just that I was expecting more dreamers among my readers. I guess a blog titled "Rocket Scientist" doesn't attract that sort of reader so much.

What surprised me even more was my reaction. My reaction was not that the responses were wrong. My practical side acknowledges that they often are correct, that love, particularly as portrayed in song, story and movie, is largely stupid and highly impractical. Only second to the horrible garbage that romantic love and rape are compatible is my aversion to the notion that two people can do nothing but fight among themselves unless they happen to be tearing each other's clothes off is romance. That's love?

But, I was surprised at how dispassionate some were about love, that it was more a formula than a reality or that love shouldn't involve any vulnerability, any risk.

Now I don't need a degree in psychology to know that being entirely dependent on another person for happiness is a recipe for disaster and codependency, but, as always, I'm not sure the other extreme is preferable. Risk free love sounds cold and lifeless, safe but colorless, you know, like diet food. It's enough to keep you alive, but not enough to live for. Or, at least, that's how it seems to me.

And that may be a key element. Everyone needs to find the kind and level of love that works for them. For some, it might be something safe where they never are at risk. Who am I to say that isn't enough for someone? It might be just the kind of love they need.

Some are holding out for the fairy tale, the notion that love will be perfect and magical, inexplicable and solve all their problems. If I'm skeptical that that is likely, I'm not in a position to tell someone they need to set their sites lower. For all I know, it's happened, even if I don't find sacrificing my sense of self to an all-powerful adoration.

And I'm not talking about just romantic love. Some people sacrifice themselves to a full-out love whether it's devoting themselves to a challenged child, a faltering parent, or a community in need in a third world nation.

I guess I believe in it all. I believe that friendship and sharing core values is the key to any long-term commitment, but I also believe that love at first sight is possible. I believe that people can find one another beautiful, physical appearance notwithstanding, but that the attraction can be communicated immediately. I believe that one can be vulnerable to someone else without sacrificing oneself absolutely. I believe some souls belong together - and, yes, I believe in souls.

But I also believe there isn't one truth for everyone, that what I believe in or don't has no power over anyone else, so, when I read things I didn't want to believe, I realized they didn't negate my beliefs nor were they wrong. They were just wrong for me, not because they might not be true for me, but because I didn't want live the kind of life where I could believe that kind of love was impossible.

After all, I don't have to experience or find something for it to exist. And believing the world has unconditionally and selfless love within it makes me happier, believing some people were made to be together makes me happier. Ironically, I would not have reached that realization if people hadn't challenged my beliefs. So, I'm grateful.

Takes all kinds in this world, I truly believe. I think the world would be even worse if we were all skeptical or all pessimistic or all optimistic or all trusting. I think it takes a healthy mix. I'm a dreamer when it comes to life and writing, and a pessimistic skeptic when it comes to work and politics. And that's fine. I think the world needs both.

*Steps off soapbox*

5 comments:

  • The Mother
     

    I never meant to imply that accepting that infatuation is biochemical and that that wears off makes one any less dependent on one's spouse.

    The more years we spend together, the more we grow into each other. Together, we can do almost anything (including finishing crosswords in record time--too bad there isn't a team competition). We complement each other.

    If one of us disappeared, the other would survive, but it would be like losing half of oneself.

    My point is, realism doesn't make the partners less vulnerable or less dependent. Just less likely to be sabotaged by unrealistic expectations.

  • mrsbitch
     

    *ew, this soapbox is still warm!*

    I didn't comment on your original post because it just seemed so complicated when I'd try and formulate a response. I've been married 36 years so understand the kind of respect and commitment needed to stick with someone for the long haul.

    But, I can't imagine maintaining that initial "worship the ground they walk on and the air they breathe" feeling that you have when you first realize you are in love. I think I'm too analytical, or something, to believe that's even possible over years, and I definitely know I'm incapable of unconditional love. I could never love someone who chose to hurt me physically or emotionally. Maybe I'm just a raging egoist.

    I realize I chose well for myself, at a very young age, and count my blessings. I still don't know that I could even define love - there are too many components and they can change over time, even though the level of love remains the same.

  • Jeff King
     

    Just know at least the soapbox loves you.

    For me love is a choice to enter into, but many times an unwilling choice to continue in it. Love is personal and is different for every person you love. I do not love anyone in the same manner, I love both my kids but for very dif reasons. And that is why love is hard to explain, rationalize, end, or have boundaries. And I find it impossible not to open yourself up emotional to those whom you love...

  • Quadmama
     

    Perhaps there is a dreamer in all of us, but we don't always recognize it. Did I believe in "the fairy tale" growing up? You bet. Did I find it? Sure, but my vision of the fairy tale changed over time. I'm a dreamer but I have realistic expectations for the outcome of those dreams. Does any of that make sense?

  • Stephanie B
     

    Of course it does, at least to me. I've had the fairy tale, too, and learned that it's not all "and they lived happily ever after (no strain at all)." But I wouldn't be working on the relationship I'm working on (and more satisfied with it than anything in my life) if I hadn't believed in the fairy tale.

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