As humans, we love order. Our entire society is built upon it. We define, separate, categorize, analyze, dissect, reduce, and group everything and everyone around us. We build borders and set boundaries. It helps us to understand complexities greater than ourselves.
We break up our whole world into tiny pieces and keep them in the little boxes we’ve made for them. We define athletic greatness with numbers, statistics, and box scores. We measure wealth with commas, assets, and the contents of our safety deposit boxes. We peeled off the layers of nature until all that remained were atoms and then we sorted them into a table full of neatly named elements and little numbered boxes.
We like to live inside the box. Even our notion of what makes a human being hasn’t escaped this obsession to break things down. We’ve reduced the idea of ourselves to a simple vessel carrying two hundred and six bones, some vital organs, and a built-in laboratory capable of internally conducting complex chemical reactions.
The soul doesn’t scientifically exist because we can’t measure and categorize it. As humans, we love to restrict.
I’ve never been able to fully relate to our society’s ruthless obsession with categorizing everything. Especially when it comes to the notion of love, which has unfortunately fallen prey to these restrictive and reductive tendencies of our species.
I’m not referring to the Shakespearean kind of love – which funnily enough is an example of the categorization I’m referring to – but the type of affinity that occurs naturally between humans. We’ve taken that inherent feeling of togetherness, tenderness, and appreciation toward one another and we’ve broken it down and analysed it to death.
Family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, lovers, enemies, siblings, parents, teachers, team-mates, in-laws, pets, gay, straight, bisexual, co-workers, classmates, platonic, physical, bromance, romance, showmance, mentally stimulating, spiritual connection, intimate, lustful, infatuation, the list is infinite.
We’re taught to rank our love and have been given various definitive categories that we can sweep that love into. They place limitations on what displays of love are acceptable in our relationships depending on the category it falls into. Like an aisle in a grocery store, we force our love into clearly marked boxes and shelve them accordingly.
Looking for way to show your buddy that he’s appreciated? Try a manly, five-tiered handshake to fist-bump-explosion combo, found in aisle five under “bromance.” Looking for a loving way to say goodnight to your daughter? You’ll find just what you need with a kiss-on-the-forehead located in aisle two – “parent-child relationship.”
As a society we’ve bought into this merciless dissection of love despite the fact that it contradicts everything we truly know about it.
Love is a powerful universal force. By its very nature it is raw, wild, and free. It is not something that is tamed, controlled or bottled but something that is channelled, nurtured, and unleashed. It is not restricted by earthly words and its language is spoken from within.
Yet we rush to bury the budding bulbs of love into the labelled drawers society has marked for us. We throw today’s bulb into a drawer labelled “friend-zone” and tomorrow’s into “too old for me.” In these darkened drawers we keep these bulbs and then actually wonder why the love that blooms is as black as Cornelius van Baerle’s tulip.
I think of all the amazing people in my life and I’ve realized it has been the light of a love that was never bottled that has attracted them into my life, and what has kept them here. It is a love which, admittedly, is a love that can be a little silly at times.
I’ve given some of my closest male friends big wet kisses on the mouth when I felt the moment called for such a display of love. Despite the fact they are rugged, heterosexual men, they accept my random smooches on the beak because they know where it comes from. They know it comes from a love that is unfiltered and unrelenting. They know that I know their every fault and all of their vices and yet my love has blossomed infinitely regardless of this.
Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.” – Paulo Coelho, The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession.
This is because wild and natural love grows alongside wild and natural acceptance. The people that remain in my life – near and far – are all people who I’ve loved and accepted in this way.
Whether its an unexpected Skype call or a postcard in the mail, I’m constantly reminded of how strong of a bond is created by just loving people with all of my sincerity.
I truly believe those who are in my circle of love – and those I’m grateful to say include me in theirs – are there through very little influence of my own and largely through the natural and powerful selection of love itself.
They have each accepted and embraced my untamed and crazy love – the love of a wild wolf. They have returned that love with as much or as little love as they possibly can. It doesn’t always add up, but love doesn’t keep score. The important thing is that they have accepted my silly love and, in exchange, I’ve accepted theirs. This is how I know all of the people in my life, all of those I hold dear, are supposed to be here with me.
To be honest, I can’t think of anything more pure, noble, and sincere than letting love continue to govern who is and isn’t in my life.
Love is love, and your love belongs to you alone. It isn’t defined by the norms of your culture or your society. It is defined by however you choose to allow that love to manifest itself.
So go out and unleash your love. Let it be silly. Kiss your bestie. Fist bump your mom or pops. Hug it out with that old lady next door.
Be the crazy love you want to see in the world.
Be the unconditional love and acceptance you want in your life. Don’t tame the love of that wild wolf under your skin.
Stop defining your love. Instead, let your love define you.
Be good to each other,
Photos Courtesy of:
Cover Art: Two Lovers In An Interior by a Yellow Blind by Suzuki Harunobu
Women on a Road Trip: http://www.theplaidzebra.com