Love…True Love

In my teen years, I thought love was all fire and ice. Love was meant to be an extreme emotion full of passion, rage, jealousy, and greed. Love meant big fights and deep pain, only real love caused the kind of pain that proves how true the love is. 

Obviously (or not) I didn’t have many, maybe any, positive relationship role models at the time. So, I relied on music, movies, and books for love directions. 

I thought only real love caused the kind of pain that proves how true the love is. #LoveBlog2020 Learning how to know true love. Click To Tweet

Oh. Dear. 

Therefore the tropes of forbidden love, violent, and reckless love were bought and sold by me as the truth. I thought jealousy = proof of true love. And possession, including the desire to possess me, was emotion sprung from passion and, again, true – only true love. 

Oh. My. 

This set of conclusions did not serve me well in my early love life.

Sure, it sounds obvious now. 

First Love

My first love was oppressively abusive. This pushed me, confused and still wanting, into several abusive relationships in a row. Each conflicting with my ideals and beliefs.

I eventually climbed out from the danger I found myself in and finally realized: that’s not love. 

Love doesn’t possess. Love doesn’t swing at, hold you down, and punish you. Love may not always be easy, but it doesn’t oppress you.

Love doesn’t kill you, or even threaten to kill you.

That’s. Not. love.

True Love will Rescue You

Wait a minute, not all fictional love is tragic. What about the love at first sight? and True love will rescue you? That’s helpful insomuch as it’s hopeful, right? 

Um. 

Those concepts were the dangerous beginnings that predicated the repetitious cycle described above. My mother lived this example before my eyes, every man she met presented himself as the rescuer. 

“Maybe, You’re Gonna be the one that saves me…”

Sigh.

Art imitates life. It’s the reason we connect to it, right? Except art is often…more. More danger, higher risks and bigger consequences. Art is life magnified. 

Real life, Real Love 

There’s a whole lot of not-really-love, or at least not-healthy-love in the most riveting and popular stories. I’m  glad I’ve left that way of thinking to the pages and found real, true love instead. 

What about “real love” is different than fiction?

Two big points, 1) style and intensity of conflict 2) the mushy middle. 

The Mistake Conflict

Often the conflict in fiction is based not on a joint enemy, but a specific and maybe even intensional misunderstanding. Misleading. Mistake. 

Some act that simple communication could clear up, is often the basis of a whole story’s conflict. Let’s face it, a quick conversation doesn’t make for good fiction. So, the mid-whatever gets more tragic and the consequences loom as the story goes. 

To me, in healthy real life love, the conflict (not the little daily conflicts, but the big, evil, unforeseen conflicts that jar our lives) are outside of us (us, in my case, being the three in my family unit) and we have to lock arms, support each other, and face that together. In real life and real love, I’m blessed with a protagonist team.

The biggest challenge however that separates real love from fiction is what we call in the writing world – the mushy middle. 

Mushy Middle

You’ve had the set up, a conflict or two that you’ve faced at each other or at the world and now here’s the, dare I say…drudgery. The day to day. 

The part that, in youth, you think will be hell. Nothing could be worse than predictability and stability, when , in truth, it’s bliss. Just not good storytelling fodder.

Adventure! Conflict! Marcus and I teach these are the pillars of compelling stories. 

However, in real life love there’s safety, warmth, and trust. Who’s going to buy that?

Also,  Love isn’t perfect. 

Another thing I learned from my mother. This realization allowed me to continue, to cope, to forgive, and to hope for forgiveness.

Love remains perpetually incomplete.

Love, while can be (and at best is) intentional, however, there are times unintended consequences spill over the dam and splash upon others. There are mistakes. There are promises and challenges and dreams of castles in the clouds.

And what each person needs and expects of love is unique. Leaving even more room for mistakes, even with love as the reason. 

Because

Love isn’t perfect.

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My truest loves now, my family, we didn’t have a fairy tale beginning, we don’t live perfect lives, yet here we are now, blessed and thankful to live in the mushy middle. 

This is Love.

I used to think that nothing could be worse than predictability and stability, when , in truth, it’s bliss. #Loving the MushyMiddle #LoveBlog2020 Click To Tweet

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This is part of the Hostess with the Mostess Brita’s #LoveBlog Challenge.

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Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.

Also joining as Co-Host this Hop is Alessia

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Alessia is a 30-something writer from London. Chic + Catholic is her newly rebranded lifestyle blog, where she documents her life as a Catholic woman in the big city. She has a sharp sense of humour and sees herself as character Amy Sherman-Palladino would write if she wrote a TV series about a 30-something Catholic writer who does everything except writing.

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Your Turn!