73. love languages illiterate (part 2)
Okay so I went on a book buying rampage (along with a couple of disappointing CDs). One of these books was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The only reason I did this is because some of the comments people left on blog 70 (“love language illiterate”) which led me to believe that this wasn’t just a book about romantic love.
I suppose the sub-title should have been a clear sign, “How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate,” but after reading/scanning a few pages, it was pretty clear that this exactly the kind of book that I wanted to avoid – a book about romantic love, or more specifically a book primarily about being in a relationship.
Now first off, I want to express my gratitude to the two people who commented on blog 70. You couldn’t have known about the things I’m going to be writing about in the next few paragraphs so don’t sweat a bit of it. And I’m sure the book will come in handy when God finally sees fit to introduce me to her (whoever she is).
Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me say that this Love Languages book is exactly the kind of book I didn’t want to read because if there’s one thing that I as a single person don’t need to read, it’s reading about relationships. Now this may sound strange coming from someone who just finished reading The History of Love by Nicole Kraus. But despite the title, that really isn’t a book about love. I wouldn’t have bought it from Borders if it was. Actually, even having finished it, I’m still not exactly sure what it is about but I know it has something to do with being Jewish. The thing I loved about the book was the writing – strange, beautiful, inventive, and complex, yet accessible.
Anyway, here’s the thing. It’s sick and a bit twisted, but when watching any kind of romantic movie (which I generally try to avoid for reasons that I’ll explain below), the only parts I really enjoy are the bits near the end of the second act when the two people who are supposed to be together are tragically torn apart. Yeah, I know that’s the part where you’re supposed to feel all sad and you’re supposed to wish the two back together again, but I don’t. I like those parts of those movies because (and this is pathetic, I know) they’re the only parts I can really relate to. And so in a mildly f’d up kind of way, those are my favorite bits.
The thing is, being single is kind of like having a cold sore that just won’t go away. It hurts but it’s a droning kind of pain that you can learn to tune out after a while. But watching or reading something about romance or love or sometimes even just seeing a happy couple giggling and sharing coffee (or looking longingly at one another or even just sitting across the table from one another reading) is like mistakingly biting down on the cold sore. The pain just explodes in your mouth and you’re swearing like a sailor and the worst part is, you have no one to blame but your clumsy self.
All that to say that reading Love Languages was kind of like biting into that cold sore. Now, I understand how this book could be used as a way to just learn about love and what kind of love you want and need. I even understand how someone who is single and not looking for a relationship can benefit from this book – it can help them know how to better love the people around them.
But to get to that useful information, you’ve got to wade through the relationship bits, and there are a lot of them because the book really lives up to its subtitle. And so I’m trying to read, trying to give the book a chance, but it just hurts too much. Every example reminds me that I’m not in a relationship and that’s just not something I need right now.
Which brings me to the other thing I wanted to talk about: my general mood lately.
I know for a while I was writing about how I recently realized that I had been living my life for the past few years with two wrong assumptions and how after correcting these assumptions my mood and attitude turned from the shits to the smiles (see blog 54, 47, and 34, 36, and 37 in particular). However, a lot of the blogs I’ve been writing lately seem to indicate that I’m slipping back into the old, morose, melancholy person I used to be.
Thing is, I’m not returning to that state. I mean I’m not as ecstatically happy as I was back when I was writing those blogs but I’m nowhere near as Black Hole Sun-depressed as I used to be. What happened? Let’s just say I hit a little road bump. I found myself in love with a woman who I knew wasn’t right for me and who I knew I didn’t have a chance with…but sometimes you really don’t have control over these things do you? Well I don’t. I didn’t want to love this person because I knew it wasn’t going to work and because I liked her as a friend and I didn’t want my emotions to screw that up. And the other thing was, I didn’t want the failure of this relationship (which I knew was never going to be a relationship from the start but the heart has it’s own inertia and it doesn’t stop on a dime) to screw up the good-mood vibe I had found.
But it happened anyway. I found myself thinking (and even saying to close friends) things like, “she’s amazing, she inspires me.” And I knew I was a doomed. And I was right.
Sting wrote a great line in the Police song “Message In A Bottle” that goes like this: “love can mend your life but love can break your heart.” I love that line because it’s true. Well, i know the second half is true because that’s the story of my life but I’m ninety nine percent sure that the first half is true as well. And if it’s not, I’m going to cloister myself in a monastery for the rest of my life…so it better be true.
So things turned out just as I expected. Turns out I’m just someone she finds useful. Read the end of blog 69. That bit at the end about the tool, the piece, and the part…that’s pretty much about my place in her world.
Anyway, the good news is, because I knew things weren’t going to work out, I didn’t try very hard (and this is not why things didn’t work out. This relationship had no chance of getting off the ground) and so even though it still sucked when my suspicions turned out to be true, I took care not to feed the disease (and unrequited love really is a disease that requires care and maintenance to survive…neglect it and it will erode away on its own) and so though the fall hurt, it did not break anything vital. And that means I’m trying to work my way back to that chipper lad that I was about a month ago. But it’s not like flipping a switch. This love thing was a speed bump, a detour. But I’m just about back on course again. Please, wish me God speed.