Love Colors Outside The Lines

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“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.”

― Hafiz

A friend invited me to church the one Sunday I had a debilitating hangover. I debated coming up with an excuse as to why I couldn’t go on the phone but figured I should probably get my life together. My boyfriend and I had recently broken up (for the third time) and I thought maybe talking to God would make me whole again. So, I threw on a cardigan and some concealer and was out the door.

I always get a little nervous when I revisit church, it’s unique in that it’s one of the only places you’re encouraged to speak to complete strangers with no agenda or expectations.  I seldom go to church anymore and get emotional when I attend, as if God was welcoming me home after a long trip. My friend and I sat in the back pew, and after the pastor was done projecting his coolness by quoting Drake and Seahawks stats, the sermon began.

The topic of the day was love. Coincidence?

I don’t recall much of the sermon but I do remember one piece that stuck with me. The pastor said we all know of the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 verse, “Love is Patient, Love is Kind.” Yet, we don’t live it. He recited the entire verse and then said take out the word “Love” and put your lover’s name instead. Does the description fit?

____ is patient

____ is kind

____ does not envy

____ does not boast

____ is not proud

____ does not dishonor others

____ is not self-seeking

____ is not easily angered

____ keeps no record of wrongs

____ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

____ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This blew my mind as not only did my ex not fit this description – neither did I! How can I expect more from someone than I myself am able to provide? Love is only as good as the lover, and truth-be-told I’m still a work in progress and not an easy person to love.

There was a study that shared that girls start thinking about marriage as early as 7 years old. I always thought I was going to find the love of my life at 22, get married at 24, have kids at 26 and live happily and wealthily ever after. I’m not sure at what point my romanticized thoughts of love ceased; Was it by the 4th lover? Or was it by the lack of having any positive examples? Nonetheless, I’ve been thinking about how our thoughts about love are well…outdated.

We don’t expect cars from 1930s to run or look the same as how cars do now, nor do we expect homes to be built within the same timeline back then as we do now. Technology changes behavior and expectations – it has penetrated every part of our society and has heavily influenced how we as humans communicate and interact with each other. Yet, our notions of love are still heavily set in the pre-consumer tech era. Chris Rock, my favorite comedian spoke to this on his Netflix special, “Tambourine.”

“I was married for 16 years. I was married for 16 years. Yes. That was a long run. Hamilton won’t last for 16 years. I was married for 16 years in the era of the cell phone, which means my 16 years is actually longer than my parents’ 40. In 16 years, I had more contact with my ex-wife than my parents had in 40 years. Okay? My father used to leave for work at 6:30 in the morning and come home at 8:30 at night. And during the day, he and my mother had absolutely no contact at all. None, okay? That’s what a relationship used to be. The kids could have been dead, but he wouldn’t have found out until he got home. “The kids are dead.” “What time did they die?” “Eight hours ago.” “Damn, I missed it.” And you know what else? They actually missed each other. They actually missed each other.

 

You can’t miss nobody in 2017. Not really. You can say it, but you don’t really miss the motherfucker, because you’re with them all the time. They in your fuckin’ pocket. As soon as you leave, you get a fuckin’ text. You get a ping. You get a beep. You get a fuckin’ Facebook. You get an Instagram. You get a fuckin’ FaceTime. And then your woman says, “You act like you don’t wanna talk.” What the fuck are you talkin’ about? I know everything you did today and I know how people felt about it. I gave you five likes, bitch. I gave you three smiley faces and an eggplant.”

-Chris Rock.

Not only does technology quicken the lifecycle of relationships, it creates unrealistic expectations. Social media showcases millions of beautiful women and handsome men, all of whom are accessible at your fingerprints. Infidelity carried more risks back in the day because communities were tight-knit but now infidelity is easier to hide because you’re not confined to cheating with people that you already know. Anywho, I know this is going to sound weird – but I can actually understand why people cheat. Their needs weren’t being met. I’m not saying I condone cheating by any means, but it makes sense to me – people want to have their cake and eat it to.

I was watching a show called “Polyamory” on the Showtime Network and was fascinated by the concept of more than 2 people in a relationship. Uber Eats for Lunch and Dinner, I binged watch the first season in one day. Jealousy and Insecurity were the main sources of conflict in the series and there was a character that challenged my notion of love being exclusive. She said, “Just because I love someone else too, doesn’t mean I love you any less. Love doesn’t have to be hierarchical.” You can apply this exact same dynamic in a friendship – just because you love one friend doesn’t mean you can’t equally love another in a different manner, for a different reason.

“If you gave me everything, it wouldn’t be enough”

-India Arie

You can’t be someone’s everything. The pressure in relationships often fall on one person having to juggle being ten different people; the counselor, the cook, the romantic or spontaneous one etc. It’s hard enough just being one person. Love doesn’t equate control or possessiveness. To me love is….freedom. I don’t care if I get married anymore because I don’t want my partner to wake up next to me everyday because we made a life commitment…but because he makes that conscious choice every single morning on his own. What a demonstration of love to say I want you to be happy and to come and go as you please because you have autonomy and don’t belong to me.

This post might throw a few people off – especially the old-school or homophobic ones. Morality is subjective, kindness is not.

What inspired this post was one of my closest friends came out to me this week and told me she’s in a polyamorous relationship with her boyfriend of 3+ years and her new girlfriend, whom I both know. Her unapologetic self was dope as fuck.

Just as water changes its form based on its environment, so does love.

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