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A Mere Experience

Whenever the month of February begins, the big holiday that comes to everyone’s mind, besides President’s Day of course, is Valentine’s Day.

Because I have a lot to say on the matter (and frankly, many a hilarious and quasi-traumatic experience), I have decided to spend this and next week’s column discussing Valentine’s Day and, more importantly, love.

In a previous installment, I talked about my appreciation for women in a physical and sexual manner. For today’s column, I wanted to share my philosophy when it comes to love. This was originally written during my freshman year, as a sort of exercise in the vein of the NPR series “This I Believe…” In short, we were asked to write about a belief, a mantra, or any one thing that we believed in. For next week’s column, a part of it includes my evolution from when I wrote that to where I am today.  So instead of having to simplify my thoughts in 200 words, why not give it the justice I believe it deserves? It is my column after all…

Love. An emotion of life that spreads onto many levels, far more so than just one’s regular understanding of the nomenclature. In other words, “love” is not a mere term, but an umbrella concept for many similar, yet distinct feelings: Passion, compassion, attraction, lust, family, friendship, etc. All very familiar, yet by no means necessarily equivalent.

Paula Cole once sang: ”I believe in love to be the center of all things.”  I share this sentiment; the most fascinating type being your not-so-typical romance. The non-rational, not easily explainable feeling that one person makes you feel whenever they are around.  The person that can somehow make you feel so weak and fall to your knees, and yet oh so strong–where in the same breath you profess that you could take on the world… as long as they are by your side. I’m talking about that something… more. Something beyond the basics of biology, past one’s study of compatibility through genetic predisposition or distinct pheromones.

Of course, I don’t mean to equivocate love and lust – the emotional and the sexual – but it’s something that’s done far too often. When I mean love, I don’t mean JUST the physical attraction, for just looking at that, you are only looking at sex appeal, which is not real, substantive “love.” Now, please don’t get it twisted, I am no prude by any means. I just implore that we look past the carnal attraction (although it’s the beautiful, natural, and basic desire that’s pertinent for survival) as not being the same.

Love means a sense of emotional investment and genuine care in the person you wake up next to in the morning. Love is being able to turn to them and look at them when you are most vulnerable, both in your best and worst states, and yet still want to be with that same person from the night before. Maybe even grab a cup of coffee and catch a flick too.

It’s what makes you drive 65 minutes out of your way to see them every week and the thought of it being a “burden” has never once crossed your mind. Again, that doesn’t mean that rationality has been kicked to the back burner, but in the end: the deeper in love you are, the more irrational you’re likely to be: the more you are willing to put up with the signs that things are obviously going downhill; the bigger the lies you are willing to tell yourself to make things work.

In the words of Socrates: “The hottest love has the coldest end.”

All the cards are stacked against one another. Societal beliefs consist of those that say commitment, chivalry, and courtesy are dogmatic, dead, and dumb. Marriages have a 50% failure rate and most relationships render themselves kaput by the year and a half mark, if one is so fortunate. So… why believe in love?

For me, at least, I don’t want to die alone. Not that I am a man who has a problem with his own morality or succumbing to the inevitable. There is always the fear that one would leave this earth without ever having the ability to find that “special someone,” even at least once. To me, that would signify that out of all the six billion people on this planet, three billion of which are of the opposite gender, I couldn’t have even found one person who cared about me enough to not only want to be with me, but to want to share their joy, their pain, or their life with someone like me. Never being able to even find that one person, that one stranger, who never felt a biological or societal obligation (like a parent or relative) that would or could ever love you in that unconditional manner we all hope and yearn for? What a dreadful thing to have occur. What a depressing thing to feel. It could keep someone up all night. It’s something that keeps me up at night.

Go ahead and think I am silly if you wish. Think I am an idealist. Think I am wrong. Think I’m dreaming. But I’m going to still believe in the power and beauty of love. There’s gotta be someone for me.

And if not–don’t bother waking me up today. I’d rather be left dreaming… at least to blindly believe for one more day.


The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.

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