NO STRINGS ATTACHED

no_strings_attached (2)

What is love?  “Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.”  Cue head banging.  (If you’re too young to remember this, here:)

 

Some maintain that love is an emotion.  Or that love is an ability.  Or that love is a verb.

 

I belong in the “love is an action” camp.  Think about it, to act in love IS to love. After actors get paid to kiss each other, fake intimacy, and act as though they’re in love, often, it turns into the real thing. They start dating, they get married, they cheat on their current spouse with their co-star. So what’s the difference, I wonder.  Between acting love, and feeling it.

 

I used to be a professional Ballroom Dancer.  Yes, I KNOW.  It’s just as glamorous as it sounds.  And in that industry, it’s extremely commonplace for dance partners to fall in love.  I fell in love with my dance partner, and 2½ years later, he became my husband.  That’s popular too. For dance partners to get married.  (And about 3 years later, to get divorced. Hence why I USED to be a professional dancer.  I’m still married, FYI.)  When playing up the sexuality of the Rumba or Cha Cha, you’re stepping through the actions of a couple in love, or in lust.  Maybe it’s more love -as in the heartfelt affection- when you dance the Waltz.

 

And as if by some sort of pre-meditated inside joke, every movie about one-night-stands or cheap and meaningless sex ends with the characters falling in love. The moral of the story is always that when you ACT in love, the body can’t can’t tell the difference. Two people who behave as though they’re experiencing love, end up experiencing  just that.

 

So there’s this photographer who puts random people together in intimate poses before taking their picture.

 These strangers who get thrown together to pose as couples, fathers, daughters, Aunts, or Grandmothers end up feeling affection for the random person that they’re hugging in the picture.

 

The “Love Dare,” as described in the book and movie “Fireproof” is the concept of acting out love whether or not you receive any in return. Eventually, the giver (and receiver) of this display of affection is powerless against the stream of emotion.  And often, in the beginning, it’s only an ACT of affection, that later morphs into actuality.

 

I’m definitely not the world’s foremost authority on this subject, but I can most certainly tell you one thing: never easier is love received in my heart, than when it’s created in my heart first.  And never easier is it created in my heart, than when it’s created in my hands first.  It’s easy to stop acting, but I want an award nomination.

 

Love is an ACTion.  Better make it an Oscar-worthy performance.

 

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The suitcases

There’s a suitcase that exists for all of us.  To us, it’s a plain, black suitcase with nothing to draw attention to itself.  It’s un-decorated, unassuming, and uninteresting.  To US.

 

To everyone else, it’s a cross between a disco ball and a hurricane.  Impossible to ignore, and leaving a wake of destruction in its path, discriminating against no one.

 

Our baggage.  For some of us it’s little more than a carry-on piece, a backpack perhaps.  Easy to carry.  For others, a convoy of box-trunks, tied to our ankles, with a one-way ticket to the BOTTOM.

Vintage Suitcases

 

For us “normal people” who are right in between, it’s a large roller-bag.  Large, but easily transported, always strolling faithfully behind us.  When stationary, it’s easy to forget that it’s back there.  And even in motion, it seems easy at first. The wheels provide little resistance to our destination, but the weight begins to tug at our shoulders after a while.

 

When we’re in a hurry, it slows us down, like those vivid dreams where our running only happens in slow motion.

 

Some co-inhabitants of the world insist on chopping the wheels off their bags, and dragging them on the floor.  Like a 2-year old trying trying desperately to display their protest at having to carry their own bag. Others, pull out the space bags, vacuum cleaner, and try to condense theirs to fit into a fanny-pack. (Which, in case you were just born, went out of style back in the 80’s.)

 

Our baggage is annoying, but utterly necessary.  In the airport, but in life as well.  Maybe you’re a baggage hoarder.  You compartmentalize the junk, but periodically pull one small section out, examine it, react to it, over-dramatize it, then set it back in its place, and seal it securely. A baggage hoarder: you have no need for it anymore, but you still keep it in its “special spot.”

 

Or perhaps you’ve given yourself a mental lobotomy in order to make it through.  Like locking away your tools before you were done painting your living room.  “Hey, I needed those.”  Sure, painting your living room might not be the most enjoyable of tasks, but burying the paint brush doesn’t erase the need for a fresh coat.

 

I have dealt with a large chunk of my crap, but this hasn’t erased its presence in my life. My husband is beginning to deal with his, and half the time isn’t even aware that it affects him.  “It’s not manly to deal with baggage,” most men believe.

 

Couldn’t be further from the truth.  Your true masculinity is often trapped by layers of stuffage that’s been building up for years.  Baggage comes with guilt, shame, fear, and passivity…for men.

Shame

For women, it’s served well-done with a side of low self-worth, shame, depression, and dysfunctional relationships.

Woman crying

DON’T DO IT.  Don’t invite these things in.  Don’t invite them in to stay awhile.  Give them to God.  Even if you don’t know WHAT your crap is, like a dream that begins to fade into nothing more than wisps of an idea as soon as you wake up.  God knows.  He will take it, (in His time) and heal it.  He will give you a scar to remind you.  He will create forgiveness in your heart, which once bore resentment.

 

I’m living proof that this can, and will continue to happen.  And let me tell you, living life ALIVE is way better than living life mostly-dead.