Feminist Friday: Who to Love

Friday, April 10, 2015

Feminist Friday: Who to Love

From a young age, we girls are taught how we should love.

Fairy tales teach us that we should love the man who loves us before he knows us. Never mind dating and the getting-to-know you process. When you meet, you’ll know, and it’s love at first sight.

The problem with the love-at-first-sight thing, though, is that it’s not really love. Love requires you to see someone, in all their imperfections, and accept them for who they are. It requires you to know someone deeply, to understand what makes them tick, and smile at the sight of them anyway. Love at first sight sees no imperfections, accepts and understands nothing. Love at first sight is not love at all, and once the true person comes to light, it fades. We start to get annoyed by our partner. We realize they aren’t who we thought. Why do you think all the fairy tales end with happily ever after, after the wedding and before the real relationship can begin?

Because the truth is love-at-first sight is just a myth, but it’s a myth we girls fall hopelessly in love with. Again and again, we meet the boy, we feel the attraction, and we call it love. All the while forgetting that what we’re seeking takes time. Love doesn’t happen in a day. We don’t bare our souls, our deepest fears, insecurities, and dreams, the things that make us who we are and drive our every action…we don’t confess those things on the first date, the first meeting. If we did, we would be considered insane. Our culture is not one for truth.

So many of my relationships have begun and ended this way. We meet and BAM, we convince ourselves we’re in love. And months or perhaps years later we realize we fell in love with someone we don’t even know. We’re saying I love you to people we don’t understand. Who are you? We don’t recognize the person we fell in love with because we never took the time to know them.

Recently, I told someone I loved them and I realized I didn’t mean it. I didn’t know him, nor did I particularly want to know him. But he said it first, and I thought it was better to tell a lie than see the hurt on his face.

But that’s the problem with our society, isn’t it? In these small insignificant moments, we choose to lie instead of telling the ugly truth. We don’t want to be the cause of another’s suffering and pain. We want to think of ourselves as good people.

But what is good really? Who can be the judge of that?

This boy I don’t love, he is what everyone around me describes as good. He has a job. A family he honors and respects. He’s getting an education. He treats me well. He is “good for me.” And I should love him, but I don’t.

Because he doesn’t know me. He doesn’t even try. He tells me I’m perfect. He sees in me what he wants to see, but he doesn’t see me. He couldn’t care less who I am so long as he has someone to say I love you too and cuddle with during a movie, somebody who will pretend to love him even though the real him will never be revealed.

It’s all too common and easy to hide ourselves from others. We do it all the time, without even thinking about it. I don’t want to be that girl. I don’t want to hide myself from the people I love, the people who love me. Because I want to be truly loved, and you can’t be truly loved by hiding.

This is one cliche that is true: you have to know yourself, love, and accept yourself before you can be truly loved. You can't hide from yourself. You have to open yourself up, see all your ugly dark parts mixed with all that makes you lovely, and you have to claim it all as you. 

Own it. Respect it. Love it.

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