Love is a beautiful thing
The one thing you’ll notice about The Monsters as you get to know them, is that they love cheese. Actual cheese and life cheese. Love is their favourite (see, told you).
Love truly is a beautiful thing. “Love hurts”, “You know when you know”, “It takes hard work”, “Love heals”….all these run true. I love my Wife more than anything in this world, she’s an awesome human, I know this without doubt. But what actually is ‘love’?
It’s a question we always seem to be asking, especially when we see the older generation walking hand-in-hand like they’ve just found each other. The Monster theory is this…
Love is seeing someone. Completely. The human beneath it all (including the bullshit). The part of us we often as individuals can’t always see, or forget about. ‘To love’ is to nurture that in someone else, to remove ourselves and simply choose love, remembering who someone is, no matter what’s happening on the outside.
Love is seeing ourselves as much as we do someone else, it’s something that happens in life as much as it does every relationship we enter into. Before, during and after. Love is personal. It’s not something we receive to make everything okay, that somehow, someone else has the key to fix it all. It helps of course, but that’s not how life works and that’s not how love works. Love is ours, it’s within.
Love isn’t as big a mystery as it makes itself out to be. But sadly, and it is fucking sad. We all have varying experiences of love. Not all of those are good ones and can taint our version of what love is, what it feels and looks like. It makes me as angry as it does sad to see how people can treat other people. The absence of love is quite obvious in many cases, but in others it’s not. And why I think nurturing the goodness of love becomes such a personal responsibility. Because the presence of love is unmistakable. Great in theory, but life is tough. Real shit sometimes. We humans can be dicks — All the more reason to be stubborn as fuck when it comes to love.
When I started looking into ‘What is love?’ for some alternative perspectives (and after getting passed singing ‘…baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more’ in my head) I found this rather academic way of putting it: “Love is the expansion of the boundary of self to include part of another.”
Not how I’d put it but fuck, the logical, scientific part of my brain kinda likes it. The poetic romance of love has been completely ripped-out its arse but I get it.
Thing is with love, it ain’t science, or logical. We all know that.
(Pause for wry smiles and nodding heads)
Sometimes we want it to be, expect it to be even, wish it was, but it isn’t, and that’s a good thing. We wouldn’t want it any other way if we were being truthful. If it was, it would be predictable, easy, boring, routine and require far less of us. Where’s the fun in that? Love actually does suck sometimes, even the best kind, but does that not just mean it’s worth it?
Part of loves magic is its craziness, the implausibility of it, how it pulls our strings and tweaks our nipples. How it brings out the best (and worst) in us as we venture down its unknown path. It’s what keeps us honest and open. Enables vulnerability, creates safety, security, a place for our true selves to glimpse an otherwise scary-as-fuck world. The danger is part of the reward. Because yeah, love can be dangerous, even the best kind – but oh’ the journey.
But what does ‘love’ actually mean? What is required for love to exist? What is love at work? It’s the same as the scientific thing but I needed to find my own words for it. For me true love is about the abandonment of ego and selfishness (the expanding our boundary bit). It’s seeing someone else for who they are and making them a part of us, our existence, our equal in every way. It’s treating them with the same care, kindness, compassion, respect and loyalty we give to ourselves. It’s kinda that way in all our close relationships.
It’s unconditional in that way because if it weren’t, we’d be hurting ourselves as well. Does that make sense to anyone else or are The Monsters making me extra full of shit today?! We know what love isn’t, because the hurt we feel is just hurt, there’s no presence of love at all. But when love is present it hurts and heals differently.
I think to understand love. To understand someone else and allow our boundary to include them. We need to understand ourselves first. To show kindness and compassion to self. Trust ourselves, be loyal to and supportive of self.
But if only it was that simple. We all have different experiences that form our vision, our interpretation of what love is. There is no right or wrong in how we feel, express or communicate our love. It’s very personal. It only really matters that we do and perhaps understand our own ‘love language’ and learn to recognise the ‘love language’ of our partner too (if we want it to last of course).
How we express love does not confirm or deny its existence, I think this is often where relationships are perceived as incompatible, some are of course, but I think a lot of relationships die a death because those involved didn’t understand each other or communicate well enough. But in reality that’s often because we don’t really know who we are or what we want. Entering relationships half-heartedly. Love is a choice we make every day, and that is a personal responsibility. There is no half-arsing love.
When we find someone willing to go deep with us that’s when magic can happen. It’s never about being good enough or unlovable, we’re all good enough and lovable for the right people, it’s simply about getting to know each other. Love that lasts is when two people are committed to learn. About themselves and their partner. Love can inspire all of us if we let it. Great in theory I know, life is not that simple, but it doesn’t always have to be so hard.
Love finds a way. Finds its fit. It doesn’t always make sense, but love shows itself. We just have to know what it looks like. By being open to it, by being ourselves as authentically as possible, by letting go of the bad examples from our past where love, actually, wasn’t right for us, or in fact didn’t really exist.
We all have a personal responsibility to nurture love within ourselves. Heal from previous relationships as much as we can before entering the next. Live alone for a while, get to know ourselves, get comfortable in our own skin. Nurture our own idea of what love is, not the negative versions we’ve been shown. Carry it with us always, because we’ll need to do all those things in the presence of love too. Don’t force it, look for it or try to imagine it. Make it yours. Live it. Guard it. Be authentic. Be open yet realistic, knowing that any outcome is possible and being okay with that.
It’s not an exact science. We’re told we’re loved and then treated like shit. We’re supposed to receive love by default as kids, but even then we get let down. It saddens me that some of us have been shown such a darker side of humanity, that would inevitably take away our belief in love (The Monsters are livid). It’s an imperfect world, and yeah, some hippy banging on about love is all well and good but the reality of life is the reality of life. It can suck to put it mildly.
This whole Monster thing suddenly seems like a very bad idea, a selfish venture. Who the fuck am I? I only know my version of love, it’s completely different to everyone else’s, it’s no more or less real. It’s taken its knocks, I’ve had my faith in it tested many times over the years. Me banging on about love is not going to change the world.
But does that matter? Is it okay because we all need love regardless of how we see it, feel it, value or experience it? Do we take love away when people make mistakes? It happens but we shouldn’t, we should throw more love on those things in fact. So it may not change the world to talk about it, so what, but it might change it for someone. Love is a gift, so of course spread that shit, far and wide.
I have even more belief in love these days because of my experience of its awesome-ness. It courses through my veins more so than ever before since I met the most amazing human on earth (My Wife). I have complete faith and gratitude in it. In its power to heal, to break down walls and barriers. To make things better.
We can venture into things blindly. It is possible to mistake love for other things, we all have. It’s a minefield. It feels uncomfortable, scary. The not knowing if it’s real or not. But as we grow up we learn and ultimately that feeling, the not knowing, always falls at our door. When it’s real and when it’s not we know, one way or another, whether we can explain it or not, fully trust it or not — we know. It’s about being honest with ourselves in those moments. Recognising that deep inner feeling. Trusting it. Trusting ourselves and having faith against the voices of doubt given to us by past experience.
I’ve always been idealistic when it comes to love, and that’s not for everyone. But some of us have to be so fuck it. I’ve stared into the face of demons, I’ve had my faith in love tested like we all have. The only weapon against them, the only antidote I know that exists to extinguish the pain that life brings us is love. To carry that in ourselves and protect it.
The Monsters believe love can light up the darkness in us all.
What is love to you?