Watching some “boob tube” (as my mother calls it) on Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but notice the most common themes on sitcoms were pitiful rejections and absurd self-deprecation glorified by favorite characters on Will and Grace, Becker and Scrubs.
Though I have trouble understanding the comedy of some of those characters, I can relate to the anti Valentine’s sentiments. Valentine’s Day is perfect for lovers, who already have something wonderful in their lives, to masturbate the genie bottle some more, and for the greeting card and flower business to suck up love’s dysfunctional dollars. Love is often based on co-dependency, on passion rather than committment or understanding. Bottom line; Valentine’s Day crates a lot of pressure to love someone now, or else.
So what does it mean to “love” someone? Do you have to love them all the time, unconditionally, for it to be real love? Should you fake it when they need it and you don’t feel it?
Those who have read my two most recent posts know I was in a very passionate love affair which blew up, for good reasons, in the end. The passion was there, full Valentine’s force, 24 hours a day for two months; then, poof, it wasn’t. End of story. You can’t turn love on and off like a spigot. It comes and it goes on its on.
Last summer, I had lunch with a long time friend/acquaintance who was born on the same day and year as me. Through Junior and High School she was a steady soul in my often turbulent psychic life. Even at 15 or 16, she could look me in the eye and care deeply for me without expectation. No wonder she ended up becoming a psychologist.
Seeing her again after a space of 20 years was like coming home to an old, comfy home I had forgotten about. The same steadiness was there. I felt a natural trust I rarely feel with anyone.
At one point in our mellow conversation about our lives, I blurted out that I think I’m incapable of feeling love for someone. I really do feel this way, always at a deficit compared to the love I am given by so many close friends and family. I’ve been called all sorts of names: selfish, self-indulgent, petty, uncaring, unaware of others feeling, etc. Perhaps these are true at times, but it doesn’t make me an unloving person.
Her answer changed how I feel about love. She said something to the effect of, “Of course you are capable of loving. But no one feels love for someone all the time. I don’t feel it for my husband all the time, but I know I love him none the less. Just because you don’t feel it when you’re “supposed to” doesn’t mean you don’t love them in your own way“.
Feeling love and/or caring for someone has to come naturally, unforced. Over the years of feeling guilty for not feeling love when I was supposed to, I had lost touch with the times I really felt something for someone. Someone once told me that saying “I love you” to a person is like holding a gun to their head. Well, maybe it’s not quite that drastic, but it can feel forced.
So let’s call all the days of the year other than Valentines Day the “Show Love when EVER you feel it” Days.
Happy Show Love when you Feel it Days, all 364 of them.