Some would say a broken heart fuels creativity; that’s why we write, paint and make music.
The pain and the hurt that translates into art feels good because we love ripping it out of us and pouring it onto a page. Sometimes the feeling transcends words, so we put it into metaphors and abstract oil paintings, and people lap it up because they love the feeling it gives them. Sometimes the art touches them in a way they can’t explain, simply because of that incomprehensibility.
They love to read about it, to watch it, to hear it. Driving home as the rain hits your window, pretending you’re in a music video whilst you listen to songs about cheaters and broken homes, songs about violence; it’s cathartic. Marvin’s Room makes your tears feel hotter, but you listen to it on repeat and God knows why.
I have a hunch.
Misery loves company, and nobody wants to know they’re the only one suffering. Maybe they want to know their feelings are valid and shared. Maybe they desperately want to see how much worse it could be. Maybe they like the idea of other people suffering because the feeling of bitterness is perversely satisfying. We like pain and we like to know that we aren’t the only ones in it. We all exist somewhere on this spectrum of sadomasochism.
Our perception of love begins when we’re kids, only we don’t know it.
Love is normal, the standard against which we’ll later measure every act ever committed; anything anybody does is measured in terms of where it exists on the Love meter. If it makes you happy, it’s a 10. If it hurts, it’s a 1. Burning down trees and using products with palm oil is a lack of love for the Earth and orangutans. Giving to charity is empathy materialised, and empathy is a form of love. Not necessarily for the individual with whom you’re empathising, but a love and understanding for other human beings in general. Or maybe it’s simply a love for your religion; maybe even just no love for Hell.
This is how the meter works in theory, anyway. As you get older, it becomes a lot more complicated and it makes no sense when you love someone who makes you want to shoot your own brains out.
You are so strongly in my purpose bred
That all the world besides methinks they’re dead
– Sonnet 112
I’ve been wondering how to write about this for the longest time. And I mean the longest time. A lot of my work is tinged with love, or the lack thereof, so why haven’t I said a word on it? I talk about it and I feel it. Hopefully you can feel it when I write about it.
But what is it? What is love?
I’ve had to split this into an indefinite series; I don’t know how many posts it’ll spill over; if it’ll even spill over (it definitely will). I don’t know if I’ll reach a conclusion, but I don’t think there is a conclusion to be reached. I don’t know if it’ll be anything more than waffle, because love is simultaneously the easiest and most difficult thing to talk about.
When I think about love, an indescribable feeling washes over me; the closest I can think of being warmth, but specifically the warmth of an everlasting glow. Sometimes it can feel clinical, but I’ll come to that later.
I think of a colour that I can’t bring to fruition in my mind. The colour I’m thinking of doesn’t exist, but I can feel it. If I had to pick a colour on the known spectrum, maybe it would be a deep red. Wine red. For passion and fierce loyalty. But sometimes it’s yellow, for family and joy. For innocence. It might be white, for purity, untouched by the hues of any colour. Or black, for the endless pit of despair and heartbreak into which it can send you.
It is every shade of every colour because it lives in the crevices of everything around us; it cannot be defined by one single thing. Love is all we have left when everything else in the world disappears.
They keep telling me that if I fall asleep, she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and leave me.
I’ve already noticed how she keeps her shoes and bag strategically by the door so she can run out as fast as possible and leave me here all on my own, which is why I always move them back by the foot of the bed. The table against the far wall is scattered with… things. Rolling papers, lighters, her phone, my wallet. I tap her phone to wake it up; a photo of us, smiling, lights up the screen. I laugh to myself as I remember how she begrudgingly replaced the picture of her favourite band. No notifications. That’s what I like to see. I swipe and enter the passcode anyway and open up messages to see the most recent ones.
Give me ten minutes. Make sure nobody sees you, and cover yourself.
LOOOOL slut. I’m gna tell them where u really are xx
Weariness starts to sting my eyes, so I lock her phone and walk into the bathroom to wash my face; the light is bright and harsh, so I push the door closed slightly so as to not disturb her. The lock is broken from where I kicked it in last week; she was crying and wouldn’t let me in. I run the tap and look up into the mirror, leaning on the counter with both hands.
I study my face. I had everybody after me. I had women dropping everything for me at the click of a finger, I had them whenever and wherever I wanted. Anybody I wanted would be mine, anything I wanted would be mine. I had money, I had looks, I had charm. I have had women fighting over me; I have had them betray their own friends for me. Women wanted me; men wanted me and wanted to be me. I run my finger across the scar on my left cheek; even my brothers were jealous of me. But she didn’t want me. She had no desire to know me, and I didn’t turn her head… so I had to have her. Nobody could say no to me, and I had to know why she was immune to my presence.
But I didn’t think I’d fall in love.
The air is balmy, musky, and heavy
You are the smoke floating into the air from between my fingers, enveloping my hands as I wistfully write about a love for which I desperately yearn. You are the droplets of water protesting the heat on the side of my half-empty glass, creeping down and leaving a print on my page, making the words bleed into one another. Maybe becomes yes. Soon becomes now. Want becomes need;
you becomes I.
It’s sudden. It doesn’t happen gradually, it’s nothing and then it’s all encompassing. It’s zero, then it’s a billion, you’re breathing and then you’re choking.
But you do feel it creeping, that familiar feeling that you had forgotten about. It’s bubbling somewhere beneath the surface, and as soon as you realise, all of your senses switch off in a joint effort to combat it. You can’t hear anything around you, you can’t hear anyone talking to you because you’re using all your energy just begging for that feeling to go away before it erupts and forces you to experience it again. People around you will scream at you because you’re not listening to them but it’s because you’re too busy trying to fight it off before it comes.
But of course, life never happens the way we want it to and suddenly you can’t breathe.