STRETCHING AFFECTION:

michaela-ivanova2

Maybe I was so latently depressed and somehow heavyhearted this last days, because my last non-relationship with a commitment-phobe unicornman in Berlin didn’t work out well. Again. And his abandonment triggered a very familiar pain in me.
As an internet-addict-XXIst-century-urbanite in the deepest coldest, darkest Berliner wintertime, I started sleeping more than usual, smoking more than usual, eating more crapp than usual, and googling shit just as usual; only to end up in a sea of cheap dubious websites having no questions solved and feeling not greater in physical health. I was looking for Gold under the faeces. But I didn´t only want to smoke/eat/sleep/numb my frustration away. I wanted to be proactive about it and learn something. I was somehow, each time more and more deeply convinced that my distress had a lot to do with my erroneous approach to the matter “romantic love”. I knew I was somehow emotionally wrong. After all, pain is an illusion blabla, right? (Insert enlightened talk here) So I wanted to know, what was exactly the source of my pain. What mistakes was I doing every single time.

“I wish I didn’t care that much”.

That was it. It stroke me to the bone being painfully conscious about my need for it. My longing. Why did I seem to yearn for it, why did I desperately want to fucking fall in love? Why the fuck did I have this unproportioned, huge Earth swallowing urge to jump right into a romantic relationship? I discovered I was not only an addict to the thrills of limerance, but probably also, like most modern emancipated people, deeply hungry for love.

The old known problem of our social conditioning telling us that we are incomplete without a partner; the dreadful threat of becoming the Crazy Cat Lady (or in my case, the Crazy Plant Lady); the huge amount of helpless advice out there in the internet for those who face singlehood: “strengthen your independency”, “learning how to be alone”…as if we were defective creatures. They make us incomplete for being single, and then mock us for feeling unfulfilled about it. And top 10 lists with reasons about “how to love being single”, where the most convincing arguments are how comfortable is to be sleeping alone in a king-sized bed or being able to stay up late without annoying anyone. Who can care for this? Or the so wide and undefined promise of “freedom” and “independence”. Freedom from what? All Bullshit. It´s anyway an illusion to pretend that as members of a highly specialised society we are independent. We just do need other human beings. We ARE co-dependent as fuck. My desperation was so big, I even googled nonsenses like “how to not need romantic love”. I wanted to be released. And even if I was obviously being ridiculous, I was getting closer to something new. Part of coming up with new ideas is all about asking questions, till you ask the right ones. So if you are confused long enough and are also honest to yourself, your probably find something interesting that might push you in a growth direction.
Of course I was asking stupid wrong questions. I didn’t have to supress my sublime tendency for love, I just had to refocus it. I realised maybe I could stretch my affection. Well, it’s that or a loveless life!

Society encourages giving so much love preferently only to a partner. Closing the world outside our couples. Making egoistic duo teams, and the current western structure loves having us all divided.

I think a lot about the people I want to include more in my life. I feel actually very lucky to have really good friends. I could certainly love them more, and make them feel more loved.

What about those friends, that like us a lot, where we feel they are maybe not our favourite persons in the world for reasons we can’t pin up, or because of smaller subjective issues that don’t really affect their worth as a good person? What if we made the effort to like them more? To exercise more love for them? What if the art of loving from Eric Fromm could be expanded to other kinds of love? (If we can say that they are kinds of love instead of kinds of bonds– But that’s a detour to another, not less interesting topic ). We obviously rely too much needed affection in romantic love and it has engulfed too many competences. Too many eggs in the same basket and romantic love is in the long run doing a bad job at being a substitute for archaic needs like tribal love, community support and so on. Why should it be the MAIN source of love in our lives? We all set up for failure and it´s not working. We could most certainly redistribute it! I want my friends to stay over, I want to go with them to the supermarket, take with them the Pfand*away. .What if we try to accept them with their flaws, what if we didn’t were so aware of their coolness (or lack of it) and the impression they make in other people or the way they might increase or decrease our social value? Why don’t we let loyalty, niceness, commitment and their genuine sympathy for us be more important for us than that? Let wide rich love be your compass. Not some shitty capitalistic self-validation crappy value system.

What about our so called best or favorite friends: do we get upset with them for small things? why don’t we care even more and get more involved in their lives? Love generates more love, and I never heard someone complaining about their friends being too nice to them. Make people happy, niceness is contagious and even if it shouldn’t be the main motivation: it always pays off. Let’s have love, for the sake of love be our motivation.

“Have I given enough love this week?” Well, that should be a regular question“Have I felt loved enough?Did I share enough love this week?

 This questions should NOT be exclusive for people in a partnership. Maybe if I give all the love that I have for the world in me, instead of letting it rotten inside and turn in some ugly resented monster- if I take and give- I’ll will be fulfilled. Then I won’t need a romantic relationship. I want be sitting around for prince charming, that of course only exists to torture me and all other single heterosexual young females in the patriarchy.

It’s not only our need for love that makes us long for partnership, but also our desire to give it. Maybe that explains why Jesus or Buddha didn`t need boyfriends or girlfriends. Because in a very deep, rich and abundant way they were already in a very overwhelming love relationship with the world around them and the people on it. They were so deeply connected. We lack deep connection. Probably it’s the source of many existential pains out there. That’s why we want to fall in love so badly and experience big emotions, thrill and drama, just to fill the void. The scandalous thing about it, is that even if we are so deeply lacking in love we actually very seldom feel actual love, but we actually suffer and obsess mostly only over lust and infatuation. Even if we do know from the beginning, that it will probably end and then, very likely, make us you suffer for it again.

 So let’s stretch our affection, let’s feel more compassion, let’s increase the level of love in our lives. What would happen If we really tried?
Don´t let society tell you what limits does each single type of relationship has to have. Blur the limits, love your people, fuck the system. When in doubt, love more. The world is hungry for your love.

mhfjcii

Cheers!

Pfand*: Pfand is a certain portion of the price on a bottled drink that you get back if you return said bottle to a certified outlet. http://blog.young-germany.de/2010/03/pfand-the-importance-of-bottles/

michaela-ivanova

Photography: Mihaela Ivanova

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