Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Because that's the way mothers are

I’m just gonna say one last thing on this whole love thing. Let me explain where I’m coming from. The paragon, the epitome, the quintessential example from my life of someone who has truly LOVED is my mother. Sure, everyone’s mother loves them, unless you’re Sean Preston or that other kid (Jayden something?). But the older I get the more I understand the full extent to which my mother really loves me and what she gave up, what she sacrificed, as a result of it. First and foremost, both my parents—both before and after they got married—moved and took a shitty job (or jobs) they hated when the other person got a really great professional opportunity in a new city.

But my mom didn’t just take a crap job so my pa could make more dough. The older I get and the better I understand both the kind of person my mother was before she got married and the kind of person she’s become at 40, 50, 60, etc. the more I appreciate just how much my mother gave up for my father and me. She didn’t just give up her job. She gave up her identity and her principles. She essentially gave up her dream. The details don’t matter, but my mom in her 20s and 30s had a vision of what she wanted to be and become, and she actually gave up a lot at the time to realize that vision. She turned her back on what a lot of people would consider the perfect lifestyle so she could live her vision. But in the end, she chose to give up the vision, too…for my father, and eventually for me. Because she loved us. And it wasn’t compromise. It was sacrifice.*

* Although I would argue compromise is really just a lesser form of sacrifice.

Applying this to our current discussion…You are actually reminding me a little bit of The Office when Dawn has to explain why her relationship with Lee basically isn’t any good. I think she actually says, “Love doesn’t pay the bills.” I’m not equating your LDRs with that demo of a train-wrecked relationship of momentum. When I said people in LDRs don’t love each other, I didn’t mean they didn’t love each other; I believe you care about each other, etc, just as I did with my girlfriend. But I don’t think people in LDRs TRULY love one another. I hate to sound like the atheist I am, but when people talk about how much they love each other, I need proof. And I only see some of it. That’s great that you’ve chosen not to sleep with people who live closer to you because of your emotional connection to this other person. But personally, I think you’re only halfway there.

Both of you seem to be saying you aren’t willing to give up your dreams for your lovers. Is that really love? Kelsey, I obviously don’t really know you that well, so all I have to go on is your comments on your blog. And maybe I’m recollecting incorrectly or misunderstood at the time, but it seemed to me like your decision to get a Master’s wasn’t so much a lifelong dream you had as the fact that you didn’t really know what else you wanted to do with your life. As for Director Muthuswami, I understand why you have this dream and I respect you for trying to live it. But – and this judgment will probably bother you – let’s call a spade a spade here. You say, “I need to get the experience out here so I can take my expertise to any city I want to in order to be with a far away LDR.” That’s only partly the case. It’s only the case if you put your dream before your LDR. You’re basically saying you’re not willing to give up your dream for this girl right now. Which is fine. But if you were willing to walk away from it for her, I would think, “Wow. That’s true love. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for her. This guy, he gave up the most important thing in the world to him because SHE was actually the most important thing in the world to him.”

That’s all I’m gonna say about it. If you want to comment and tell me why I’m wrong and full of shit and will never truly be loved with such a hair-brained conception of the emotion, feel free.


Blogger swamisays said...

As touching as a Mother's love for her family is, it's kind of off topic. We are talking about a relationship between a man and a woman. Not family. My mom and both my parents gave up their entire lives so they could come to America so my brother and I would have chances they never dreamed of. But again, not the point.

I can't really put it any other way and I really don't mean to sound rude but, you don't know what you are talking about. I will ask again, have you ever felt true love? Or been in love with someone? It's fine if you don't want to answer it, but it's an important question when it comes to this discussion.

I am not easily offended but don't tell people that they don't love their boyfriends or girlfriends. You can't reduce a LDR to someone choosing not to sleep with people in their immediate proximity, espescially when you don't know Kelsey or her bf. Those are two very offensive comments.

You say you can't 'truly' love someone because of distance? I would argue that if you love someone, you would want what is best for them. Me chasing a dream is not just important to me, but to people who love me. People crying when I left Michigan wasn't because they didn't want me to go, but because they would miss me.

If I took your argument literally, that distance means you don't truly love someone, then I could say that you don't truly love your mom because you moved away. You chose your career over her. Do I believe that? No. But it is the same situation. You have never loved anyone like you love your mom (taking away all the oedipal issues) and that is the problem. Kelsey and I love our sig o's like family. There is a fundamental difference between the way you view love because, according to your blog at least, you have never experienced true love.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I don't know you, but you clearly don't know Nate very well. Your compromised, candy-ass idea of love is why we have so many divorces in this country. Nate would never abandon someone he truly loved for his professional dream; and if he did, he would certainly have the courage to admit he was putting himself first, which isn't what a man does when he truly loves a woman. He says you've put your job above this girl you supposedly love, and you still haven't explained how that doesn't show you don't really love her. You put yourself first, and real lovers don't do that.

You clearly have no idea what Nate is talking about. He doesn't have to meet people in long-distance relationships to know they don't love each other, anymore than he has to meet with individual abusive husbands to know they don't love their wives. Men who truly love their wives don't hit them. And Nate believes people who truly love each other don't move away to pursue personal dreams. Your excuses are just that..excuses. It's really not that difficult to understand.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Law Revue said...

I didn’t want to keep commenting on this, because I didn’t want a rehash of two years ago. This weekend my mom is flying up for my swearing-in ceremony and it’s Halloween, and I don’t want to put a damper on what should be a fun weekend. I feel like I’ve done my best to be polite but honest with you. But honestly, I read your comment last night and I just wanted to get on an airplane to California and scream in your face. I think I’ve calmed down now.

I don’t know what love is because I think people who love each other don’t move hundreds of miles away? You find that logic to be counter-intuitive, do you? It’s really not any of your business, but the truth is, yes, I have loved someone. I still do. So I actually know pretty well what I’m talking about. And the woman I love, I don’t want to be further away from her. I want to be closer, and there’s not a whole lot I wouldn’t do and certainly nothing I wouldn’t give up to accomplish that. Maybe you’ve never lost the person you love, or you’d understand when I say that there is literally nothing more important than being together. I’ve talked about how my friends want me to start dating again, and I really don’t want to. It’s a waste of time. I’ve already found the person I love, and I’m pretty sure I won’t have that again. I’ve already found the person who makes me feel like the only reason my body bothers producing cells is so I can dedicate every last one to her. Not 50%. Not 75%. Every. Last. Single. One.

I’m particularly disappointed since as an English major you should already have been exposed to a lot of what I’ve been talking about. What did they teach you at MSU, man? Did you not read 18th and 19th century literature? European lit is full of men writing about what I’ve been writing about. A few days ago I mentioned Goethe and Young Werther, but an example that is more meaningful to me personally is Charles Dickens and A Tale of Two Cities. Sydney Carton gave up his life for the woman he loved, and the only thing he received in return was the satisfaction of her own happiness. Maybe when you read the book you thought that kind of love was just a myth, a fairy-tale. If so, I feel bad for you. It’s real. There are men in the world who would give that level of commitment to the women they love. I know what I’ve given up for the woman I love, and the price has been more than I’ve seen from most men. What have you given up?

I’m sorry, Kelsey, but in the end I can’t agree with your Bette Davis quote. Maybe that’s at the heart of our disagreement. I assume her words resonate with you. They don’t resonate with me. Maybe for you love has been pliable and yielding, prone to shifting; maybe it has been unreliable and insecure; maybe it hasn’t been enough to sustain you. It hasn’t been those things for me. True love isn’t pliable, and it never yields—not under the greatest pressure of criticism or adversity. True love is, by definition, the Truth, and like the Truth it is hard and eternal and almost unforgiving in its righteousness. That’s the power of Truth; it is undeniable, all-consuming Fact: I LOVE YOU.

In the end, Marty, it’s not clear to me why you care so strongly what I think. Why do you care what a guy you barely talk to thinks about a relationship he didn’t even know you were in? I didn’t even think you read my blog anymore. If you think you love your girlfriend, great. That should be enough for you. You shouldn’t feel the need to vindicate your love to all-but-forgotten acquaintances. You think it’s clear I’ve never been in love or know what love is. I think it’s clear you neither understand nor have experienced true love. So. Sorry.

10:27 AM  
Blogger swamisays said...

Jenny, I don't know you or anything about you so I can't really comment on your opinion.

Nate, I didn't mean to make you feel like you needed to catch a plane to scream at me. I'm sorry if I did. You stated a point, and I stated a counter point. I was just discussing my view so you would see the other side. I'm not particularly riled up about anything it's just that I have no friends out here so I am giving you a lot of my time and thought. I can see how you would think that people in LDRs don't love each other, but being in one I disagree. The reason I said you had never been in love is because that is what I thought you meant when you said you weren't even in love with dream girl.

As far as what I read at MSU, I'm not sure that books have a bearing on how I live my life. I am what you would call 'hopelessly romantic.' I believe in love at first sight and fairytale endings. Maybe you've seen my chick flick. I'm not a big fan of Dickens but I am a big fan of Shakespeare and I hate to be cliche about him but Romeo and Juliet (aside from all the killing and dying) is pretty much a fairytale love. Love at first sight and all that jazz, but Romeo was banished and they had to be apart for a bit and they still loved each other.

I have been struggling with the fact that I'm in a LDR and the fact of the matter is that I don't want to be in one and neither does Kelsey. I have already made plans to move to the same city, just not today. What have I given up? My dreams. Life changes and things that are important change. I'm giving up on my dream to be with someone who has become a new dream. True, I don't know really know you anymore but you don't know me or my situation either. There are other factors involved that I won't get into right now. I think the point Kelsey and I were trying to make is that relationships take work whether you are in the same city or not, but that distance doesn't mean you can't love someone.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Kelsey said...

I guess our definitions of true love differ. My point is that I wouldn't want to be with someone who gave up everything to be with me. I used to dream about my boyfriend making the ultimate sacrifice and showing up at my door with just the clothes on his back telling me he couldn't live another second without me. Then I came to my senses. I am in love with this man because he has encouraged me to love myself first. I don't believe you can love someone fully until you are complete as a person, and I needed some independence to be complete. I am a product of a mother who did give up everything to be with a man, and I've always questioned her relationship with my father.

My motivation to get a Master's degree is because I love to learn, and Dave respects that. I am proud of the fact that I will be graduating in 7 weeks and can then move to New Orleans to start living with my boyfriend. Could I have gone to graduate school in New Orleans? Certainly. But it wasn't the program I wanted, and if I am going to spend thousands on an education it better be the right program. Or, I could have forgotten grad school and just followed him around because I couldn't spend a minute away from him. But I could spend a minute away from him. We have grown as individuals during our time apart, and we have also grown together. That doesn't mean I love him any less. I have been with him since I was 17. I have grown up with him and we've let each other change. We have adjusted and taken on challenges together and apart. I think we each bring more to the relationship this way.
I know it's just a difference of opinion and this little debate hasn't made me question my relationship. I just think it's interesting. To me, giving everything to someone (every cell?) is infatuation, not true love.

2:20 PM  

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