I Cecil You, Too

          I have never celebrated the fake holiday in mid-February.  It's a scam holiday which business's use to sell cards, flowers, candy, and all that foolish shit.  I give gifts of love when the time is right, not when someone else says I'm supposed to.

          Anyway—what the fuck is this thing we all have labelled with the word: LOVE?  I know what mix of emotions I feel/have felt for those I've loved and do love (not a very large list) but it's amazingly hard to explain how certain fluctuations in my brain's chemicals affect my heart/brain/gut/libido, and even harder to understand/compare when others explain their "feelings of love".  We just assume everyone must be feeling the same way we feel when we use the same words they use.

          "See that color?  That is what I have labelled: Red."
          "Oh, that's red?  Ok, I'll begin to refer to everything which is colored that way: red.  Umm, what about when I feel all these crazy feelings at the same time?  I need a label, so that when I am feeling all these feelings I do not need to explain each of them every time."
          "That is labelled:  Love."
          "What about all those same feelings, except one:  I don't want to be physically intimate?"
          "Still labelled: Love.  You could add the word Platonic, but that'll require an explanation because that word has different interpretations."
          "What about when I feel all those feelings for my pet?"

          "When I say, I love my cat (Cecil) I think I must be misusing the word.  Instead, I should use a word that compounds the meanings of the words: pride, enjoyment, happiness and admiration."

          I'm proud of Cecil's training and I enjoy his 'loving' attention.  He never makes me angry (Mostly because he can't communicate with words, has no malice, and enjoys my company) and I admire him for his actions, looks, demeanor, and thoughtfulness (is he being thoughtful?  I'm probably just anthropomorphising his behavior).  Maybe I should consider his name, Cecil, to be my label for what I feel about him.  When I say, "Such a good Cecil"  I really mean that I'm currently feeling a combination of pride/enjoyment/happiness/admiration.

          When I receive an "I love you," I—almost never—use the phrase: "I love you too". 

          Because it's wrong to treat an I love you, as if it requires a mandatory reply.  It is not supposed to be interpreted as if it were the question: Do you love me?  Also, it should not become a replacement phrase for goodbye.  When people do that, they cause their incessant I love you's to lose their value.  Eventually, it becomes a throw-away line.  If said all the time, what do they say when they really want someone to know they have caused a rush of complicated emotions which are identified (when felt all at the same time) as the feeling of love?  

Recap:  "I Love You"—all three words—are reserved for when the emotion of love is actually being felt.  I do not want my I love you to cause an immediate response of I love you too.  I prefer either no reply or a response like: "those words make me feel good," or "Thank you," or "I like it when you tell me that," or "those words make me happy," or "when you say that, I get warm inside".  It is better that the person you love smiles and says nothing, and some time in the future, if they tell me they are currently feeling the emotion they call love—for me—I know they're feeling love at that moment and I can decide to reply with my present feelings, or not to reply.  I appreciate their statement of love when they are feeling it and then I consider what I did to make them feel that way.  This is my normal.

          When she was young, I tried to encourage my daughter, Denise, to understand and to communicate her feelings of love.  It was a long and complicated issue.  I found communicating my thoughts to her and her mother, on expressing love, very difficult.  I felt there was a lack of love in our family, and wanted us to tell each other that we loved each other more often (it worked occasionally).  I also wanted us to communicate our love by kissing (which never caught on).  The compromise I got from my daughter was cheek-bumps.  I failed at explaining to her that bumping cheeks was how people communicated respect to either: an old and feeble relative; someone who was contagious; or (in France) because that was their custom.

          Denise now says I love you to each of her children many times a day.  Each of her kids reply with a I love you too.  I see and hear their devotion and their respect.  With them, it does not seem to be a "worn out phrase" or a "throw away line".  In fact, when a child is upset (and, intentionally, does not reply to their mother's I love you) they—routinely—apologize (later) and remind her that they love her.

          I am now an old relative with whom respectful cheek bumps may be apropos.  And, now, I am adjusting to her normal.  Now, I reply to her I love you with an I love you, too.

No comments: