Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love, Chocolate and Other Addictions

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. The day after is my mother's birthday. She's been dead almost 11 years. She died two days after Mothers Day. I don't like holidays.

These two holidays are particularly grim. Both turn love into a commodity. Maternal  love is so primal--our relationships with our moms have more influence over our future than others. When I worked in the public schools, I took classes to understand the problems of urban children. My professor said: "If the child has a bad relationship with his or her father, there is still hope that you can bring that child back. But if the mother is the main problem, there is nothing you can do, especially if she is gone." I don't think he is entirely correct, but it still stayed with me.

Our parents serve as models for adult relationships, specifically romance. Here in America, corporations are taking over the parental role. Love is a laundry list of what we want in a partner. We are entitlement junkies: we deserve the best and damnit, we are going to get it!  If we spend x amount of dollars, we should be getting the best chocolate--gourmet style, rare vintage, all of that good stuff.  But people are not chocolate hearts. They are scarred remains of their emotional upbringing. What a risk we take when we look for love!

Today I listened to Kenny Chesney. I stopped listening to most country music a few years ago; it reminded me of love forever lost to the grim reaper, severed relationships in media res.  All that was too real, and I couldn't face reality as all I saw was death. So good old Kenny sings one of the most painful songs I've ever heard: "Better as a Memory." It left me in tears. But that is what love does. It touches our most vulnerable parts that we jealously hide from public view. Sometimes we cannot distinguish love from the person we love. When we become so entrenched, Kenny is right: love is better as a memory. As long as it enters the realm of thought, we finally can control it, doling love out in portions--each slice dependent on what we can handle for the day.

No one teaches us to be a parent. So how can we learn to love? Everything is trial by fire. Most of us lose, especially when we think we are winning. Why does our world force us to stoop to the level of consumer when it comes to love? Who came up with this crap? Even our pain can get someone rich. Is there any wonder why adult children stop talking to their parents or romantic relationships fall apart? If money and silly toys epitomize love, then we have lost all connection to Spirit. I would give all my money, my career, all my things to spend an hour with  my departed loved ones.  I don't think there is money or manufactured holidays on the other side of life. Good. I don't want to deal with too much baggage.


  1. So true... we can never really shake off our parenting!

  2. Dear Susan, This is your first post that reminds me of your old blog. What with:

    "people are not chocolate hearts. They are scarred remains of their emotional upbringing. What a risk we take when we look for love!"


    "Sometimes we cannot distinguish love from the person we love. When we become so entrenched, Kenny is right: love is better as a memory."

    These masterful words and ideas make the mind spin, looking for an "allow me to retort" moment of lucidity from your readers.

    I heard on the radio a phrase concerning love that I had never heard before. When the interviewee was asked if a couple could love each other permanently, the man answered

    "Don't ask if it is possible for a couple to love each other for years on end. The question should be 'Will I be able to have a conversation with this person for all our years?'.

    For this man, the ability in a couple to talk to each other meaningfully was the sure sign of the prescence of love in that relationship.

    I think he is right. Romantic love is a self-generated attraction towards the person of interest that has something to do with love.

    Self-love, actually.

    Romantic love is a game of deception that wears out and the real person, object of your adulation will become just a person as is and its circumstance.

    Real love between a couple looks more like friendship, respect and hope.

  3. I kinda think that if you want to know about the commodification of anything, go back to basic marketing. Branding love (fetishizing it along the way into a very narrow paradigm), and branding the signifiers of it. It has multiple uses. One is to regulate and stimulate commerce. On a deeper level, it also schedules our emotions.

  4. How sad that we live in a society that schedules our emotions. I choose not to play that game.

  5. The single biggest complicating factor in long-term love relationships is simply how long we now live. Today, people celebrate long-term relationships of 50-years. It used to be 25, in the days when life expectancy was 50-years. We go through so many root personality-ambition-emotional changes over our now average 75-year lifespans, that it is nearly impossible for two people to stay in sync for even half that length of time. We should accept that not as romantic failure, but simply change, and move on.

  6. Allan: I've heard that when you give up, the miracle happens. Just saying...I'm not laying any of that feel-good crap on you.

    X-Dell: A fine work of deconstruction! I'm sorry I haven't been by your blog. Did you get my message?

    Tinkerbell: Valentine's Day. When Big Brother tells you to get some love or else.

    SJ: If only...

    Mr. C: I never thought of it that way. Is that why Tipper and Al split up? Gosh, that hurt. By the same token, once you've been married a couple of years, you blink your eyes and it's been 20 years. Sometimes you grow together, but often people just get complacent or make every excuse not to move away that has nothing to do with the heart. I also think people just get tired.

    Piktor: Funny, when I was writing this, it felt like something I'd write on CV. I stopped with that blog because it no longer felt like me. It had so many memories--I go through some of the comments and I feel like a ghost is haunting me. I'm also hypercritical; I don't like most of the stuff I wrote on that thing. It seems whiney and self-indulgent. I'm trying not to do that here. That's why I called it Beware of Darkness--I want to defeat my own darkness. When I'm not chasing demons....


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