A discussion with a friend over email sparked a thought of mine that I figured I’d expand upon here. Love is such a tricky topic. I’m honestly not entirely sure that anyone really wants to be loved. Not at first, at least. I know that this is counter to a lot of things, and may make me sound like a totally cold person. I’m not. I love and I am loved. I’m loved more than I feel like I can understand some days. It is WORTH it to love and be loved. But hear me out, because love itself is terrifying.
When I was married I figured that I was simply a passionless person. We had arguments that were sometimes heated, but I never felt the sine wave of love. There were lows, but never exactly highs. I was discontented or I was nothing, but I stayed in that marriage for 7 years. The relationship spanned for almost fifteen years. Why stay like that?
Because it was comfortable. There was no expectation of me and I had none of him, really. I didn’t have anything to live up to and neither did he. If something didn’t go the way that one of us planned it was… oh well. Even when the infidelity started, oh well, right? I was safe and insulated from anything that was painful and dangerous. Did I love him? Once, yes. We were in love once, I know that was true. But that sort of youthful love isn’t really meant to last like I was told it was.
Then I realized that love is the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. With love there is a person who looks at you and sees something great. They see someone wonderful and they want you to do your best and be your best. They have faith in you. So what happens if you let them down? When you are loved you have to live up to something. It’s utterly terrifying.
And it’s not because you are forced to live up to anything. When you are loved, you are loved. It’s very hard to make someone stop loving you. But to let go and allow yourself to be loved? To want to be your best and to strive to live up to someone’s love because you love them? That’s hard. You make mistakes and when you hurt someone you love, someone who loves you, it is so much worse than any ache you ever had.
In turn, loving is hard. You put all of your faith and trust into a person. You open yourself up to be hurt in a way that you have never been hurt before. You can’t hurt that way for any other reason. And when you love, you are accepting that you may be hurt that way. You will forgive if that happens once. You may forgive twice. Love is something that can lead a person to ruin.
It’s so much easier to be feared. Badasses are feared, they are safe from emotional hurt. They pretend that they have any power, but they are repellent. Being a jerk and being respected for simply being mean seems to be in right now. It’s little different in nerd culture than it is in jock culture, honestly. People hero worship others who really are only good at being nasty or violent.
But using fear to control someone isn’t really holding the same power over them. You aren’t giving someone that you fear anything but complacency. You obey them, you can be gravely damaged by them. Yes, they can hurt you. They can abuse you, they can make you hate yourself. It isn’t that fear is not extremely powerful. If you love someone and they see themselves as a being who is to be feared and respected you are in for a horrible situation.
That’s why it’s dangerous to love. It’s dangerous to be loved. It’s so easy to be taken advantage of or to take advantage. But it’s worth it. To love is to strive to be your best with someone who is striving to be their best. To love is to have someone who will extol your virtues while making you address your sins. To be loved is to know that even if you fall, as long as that was a mistake and you rectify it, that you will not be abandoned.