I’ve been writing lately. A LOT of writing. Between Rise of the Iliri #7 and Wolf of Oberhame #3, and all those annoying ideas that pop into my head and HAVE to be jotted down so I won’t lose them, I’m basically a writing machine. Interestingly, almost all of these books have some aspect of love in them. Love of friends, love of family, and of course, lovers.
And, because one can not live on writing alone, I read. All too often, I get so far and just can’t take it anymore because the relationship has turned toxic. Oh, the reviews all say it’s sweet and amazing, but I’m reading about a guy who is making the girl feel bad about herself, has so few redeeming qualities outside his sex appeal, and her hormones are just driving her to obsession. Not. Healthy.
So, because I’m the annoyingly analytical type, I plop myself down in my husband’s lap and just ask. “Honey, why do you love me?” Now, keep in mind that my man is, um, perfect. I don’t mean perfect for me. He’s completely perfect in a way that is a little intimidating. Like, women write about men that are half as good as him. (I might be biased here.)
Mr. Perfect doesn’t even hesitate on his answer, though. “Because you’re my partner – in everything – and you always appreciate that.”
Hmm. I think he’s onto something, but again, that annoyingly rational mind isn’t satisfied with such fluffy and romantic type language. “How so? Why are you still happy with an old, fat, dorky, neon-haired bookworm who spends all her time living in a fantasy world?”
“Because I happen to LIKE women who look like women and have curves, I’m older than you, and while you might be a dork, I am definitely a geek, and your writing time lets me play video games. Plus, I like the hair. Who cares what society says we should be like. It just works because we work together on everything. Even our hobbies.”
Because he likes me. He doesn’t just love me, lust after me, support me, want to protect me, or all of those other great things. He likes me for who I am. He doesn’t want to change me. He doesn’t try to fit me into a mold made by society. He likes me, which I can honestly say isn’t the same thing as love.
See, I’ve loved a lot of people. My parents, my brother, my friends, and even guys that came before. I didn’t always like them. But when I think about that line between loving and liking, as compared to loving and liking (at the same time), well, I realized that some of the old wisdom we’ve always heard is wrong.
Love isn’t about giving without expecting to get. It’s about expecting to get something so much bigger than flowers or power tools. Loving someone is about giving them confidence, compliments, and a pillar of support. Being loved is about finding a person who gives those things back.
For me, it’s having someone who is willing to understand that writing time is not to be disturbed. My “work” might be fun, but just because I’m sitting in my jammies with my feet on the desk and tossing a ball to my dog doesn’t mean I’m not working, or that my work is somehow unimportant. It’s knowing that sly little smile that says he likes how I look even when I don’t. It’s never doubting that he thinks I am good at something.
For him, it’s having someone understand that the dinner he made and set quietly at my elbow is his way of saying he loves me. That when he needs help, I’ll leave in the middle of a sentence because he’s the most important thing in my world. And, a little of it is that when things go bad, the first place I turn is him – even if it’s just smudged mascara – because he’s my eternal protector and I believe he can always fix it.
In other words, Love is what happens when someone else allows us to feel good about our bad parts as well as our good ones – and we’re allowed to expect that.
So why don’t we see much of this in literature? Because it’s so easy to fixate on the superficial stuff. It’s harder to write the vague and ambiguous feelings. It’s almost impossible to be sure your reader will grasp the idea if you can barely wrap your own head around it as the author.
Still, I find myself wishing there was more of this type of things in books. Someone should fix that.
And what do you know. I happen to be an author.
Let’s just say, I’ve been inspired.