There are a lot of things I don't understand. I don't understand why I had to learn algebra in high school under the pretense I would use it in my adult life. I don't understand why almost everything that tastes good, makes you fat. I don't understand why it's so easy to make your house dirty, yet so hard to make it clean. I most certainly don't understand why money is the object of most people's affection. I don't understand why selfishness is an acceptable trait in people. But the one thing that I really don't understand is love.
Love is a four letter word. It means so many different things that sometimes it doesn't mean anything at all. It's easy to say I love ice cream or I love that movie or when someone is talking about a friend they can say "oh I just love them" but when it's time to actually fill that word with power again, you go blank. You develop a catch in your throat. Your stomach begins to gurgle and you hope you don't throw up. Your palms start to sweat. You're eyes turn into slits and you begin formulating your escape route. And if by some act of God you can manage to get the "I" out of your now closed throat, you find some other phrase to follow it other than "Love you". Maybe you manage something like, "I need to go to the bathroom" or "I think you look beautiful tonight". And the even braver who can choke out that four letter word follow it with "this song" or "that dress". Anything to avoid telling someone you love them, and actually meaning it.
The reason I am suddenly on the subject of love is not my fault. I claim the childish excuse of "the media drove me to it". We are but two days away from the Hallmark holiday of Valentines day, and I've become cynical. To make myself feel better I have conned my baby brother into being my Valentine after he told me no the first three times. I finally wore him down with the bribe of a tootsie pop, but by then I just felt silly. So I started to wonder... why is love so tricky?
Dating is like this really awkward dance. The tempo is always changing and you don't always know what to do with yourself and your partner isn't always moving in the same direction as you. I know what love feels like, but I've always been afraid to actually say it. It's a rare moment that I am at a loss for words, but when that feeling creeps up on me and renders me an idiot for a moment, I crack under the pressure. I try and show it with my actions without actually having to say it, hoping that they will figure it out on their own. Well, that obviously hasn't worked, but at least I am learning.
I am surrounded by this four letter word every day. I think what makes it so complex is that it is a noun and a verb. It's a feeling and an action. It is a lifestyle. My grandparents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My aunt is getting married next month to the love of her life. My parents have been together for ages and love each other more today than they did yesterday. And all of these people love me. And I love them. I have a best friend that tells me everyday he loves me, saying things like "You carry a lot of my love in you" to help me get through the hard times. I call him for no reason and sing the barney I love you song on his voicemail. Love is reserved for the ones that deserve it. It's the search for those candidates that make it the hardest. I have loved people that didn't deserve it, and treated it like it was nothing. Love is certainly not nothing, and it's sad that some people believe that it is. Loving another person is the bravest thing that any one person could ever do.
So I guess what I am getting at is that if you are blessed enough to know what love feels like, don't be afraid of it. Talk about it as much as you possibly can. Scream it if you have to. This is one four letter word that you don't have to spell out in front of the kids. Certainly don't cheapen it by only celebrating it one bogus holiday a year. Be secure enough in yourself to sing about it, even if it's off key. I love you. You love me. We're a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won't you say you love me to. See. It's that simple.