Loving rules. As an activity, it’s quite pleasing, and as a thing? Love is a great thing to give people. Love as a power is somewhere between water and wine, or milk if we’re raising children.
Loving, as a behavior, however, is extremely unrewarding, thankless, and embarrassing. Caregivers deal with this. Leaders, educators. Eyes roll at us all of the time. Triple that when working in a trauma-informed practice. Heads roll when we establish intimacy. Loving as a behavior can be disgusting to some. Watching someone love can be as cringe-inducing as watching white guys rap.
A few weeks ago I had a panic attack triggered by a joke. What I’ve learned about the joke is not the premise (I still don’t get the premise) but that it hurt my feelings because I was vulnerable in ways I had no clue were possible. If I don’t confront the person who told the joke it is because I’m more embarrassed that anyone could hurt my feelings than I am upset by the fact that my feelings were hurt. I can talk all day about hurt feelings, but would rather die than be embarrassed. I can’t take a joke, I hear the accusations. Well, fuck it. I really can’t. How about that.
I’ve written in the past here about how peculiar I find it that love has to be confessed. The peculiarity of it fascinates me. I have thought my whole life that disclosures were irresponsible. At work, we live in an age of harassments managed by boundaries. At home we segregate our family members. But we keep loving.
I imagine a universe in which loving as a behavior is as valued as love as a power. A survey revealed Americans all say they love the arts but don’t care about artists. You will one day turn 13 and stop delighting in the sound of my voice. You will one day turn 60 and wonder what I taste like. You will. You should be so lucky I love you as a behavior.