Sarah Rosemary at Sunny Side Up and I are hosting our own Reverb11, a series of prompts to look back on 2011 and manifest the new year. Please check our Reverb11 pages for details, and join in!
Prompt for December 27: Love: How did you feel loved in 2011? How did you give love?
Love, in my opinion, sits in places. It dwells. We identify it; we name it; the power of it is partly in acknowledging it, but it is always there.
I’ve struggled this year with feeling worthy of love; feeling unlovable. I dreaded responding to this prompt; we didn’t need to re-heat these dull leftovers. But I remembered this: all cultures find a way to worship the things most important to them. Some Native American cultures honor the concept of “place names” — i.e., naming a place recognises the power inherent in the natural world present at that site. The name of the place becomes important on its own, but it is also inextricably tied to the importance of the place itself.
To illustrate my point: I was on a flight a few weeks ago, and I was stuck watching the movie Beetlejuice, because that was my only option. But in watching, I realised that the evil spirit and the summoning spell both had the same name: Beetlejuice. The importance of the name couldn’t be separated from the power of the thing.
In other words, it’s exactly like that.
(Also, how young was Alec Baldwin? Yum.)
So maybe the power of love is giving the thing a name.
Have I felt love this year; called out its name? I think so. The mechanics of love, at least for me, are very much about forgiveness; gratitude; vulnerability. They say love isn’t about looking for it, and to some extent, I think that’s a lot of crap.
I had another conversation with Frederic recently and it made me realise this: when you love someone fiercely and without reason, the likelihood that you’re going to have a limb torn off in love’s thresher is…high. Anyone who has ever loved an alcoholic eventually learns that going to him for emotional validation — even after he’s sober — will be an exercise in frustration, at best.
But sometimes, you learn to give a little back to yourself, and maybe even let down your guard a little and start looking for the ways to receive love from someone who loves you very much, but simply has no idea how to show it.
And maybe you’ve even been torn up by some other heavy-duty equipment on love’s farm — the both of you — and you finally step back and notice you were just two limbless people trying to hold hands. It was never going to work, that was the problem. But now that time has passed, and you’re looking at the problem clearly, and you’ve learned to work things out without your arms, you can figure something else out.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, once you put a name to love — the problems and solutions — once you’re looking for it and at it, you can sort-of sort yourself out.
I have found love in many conversations and kisses; finish lines and mountaintops. I’ve given love in public and private ways. Love, in my life, is called by many names. It has been armless; legless; full and hollow; whole. Perfect; imperfect. Sometimes ugly. But putting a name to it gives me hope that I can sort-of sort this all out.