Walking home alone on a gloomy night where every shadow seems threatening, I calm my fear by reasoning, “I can’t die, my mate hasn’t come home from his internship program yet – I have to see him again before I go”. Fastening my seatbelt and securing the tray table per the flight attendant’s instructions, I quell my nerves about flying by thinking, “This plane can’t crash, I have to get home and see my mate tonight”. Passing through a shady alleyway in Baltimore, I ignore the catcalls and the thoughts of grotesque things happening at the hands of the voice’s owners by remembering, “It’s gonna be fine, because I still can’t die – I have yet to live with my mate, marry him or have children with him; I have yet to make physical love to him, wake up to him every morning, experience all life’s changes with him, grow old with him”, and it’s enough to keep me safe.
Of all the categories this website has to offer, I did not want to write this essay about love. The notion is frankly cliche, irregardless of my own long-standing obsession with – belief in – love. I formulated several clever anecdotes about obscure subcultures I belong to, thinking perhaps to write on intolerance, but they lead me nowhere. I struggled to pen an adorable tale about my pets, but found it lacking conclusion. I tried to regurgitate my belief in the power of the story-telling process to place under “creativity”, but my usual eloquence on the subject failed me. Every neuron in my brain, every pore in my body, every speck of my essence insisted to me that the one thing I believed in about all else is the power of love, and that to write about anything else for all to see would be dishonest.
I am not just speaking on romantic love, or even just my own in that regard, although it obviously is important to me, but all love. The true reason I do everything I do: to later share laughter with a friend, spend time cuddling one of my cats, or fall asleep intertwined with my mate. My favorite fictions always include grand arcs regarding the concept of love – I could spend days reading about lifelong friendships and heart-wrenching affection. I bask in whatever trace of love I can find, smiling when I spot a pair of lovers kissing, tired friends leaning on each other or puppies curled together for warmth.
I guess you could say I’m rather in love with love itself. You may have found this essay of sorts to be ridiculously sappy, but if everyone placed love above all else, the world would not have reason to fear passing shadows either. Remember that as you amble through life, and take time to enjoy and respect love of all shapes and sizes (race, orientation, culture, whatever – everyone has the same right to flourish in love).
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