Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: A Poem

I think it would make things a lot easier to explain
if I had been abused as a child.
But I was not abused.
Or, if I was, I have totally repressed the memory.

I had a pretty normal childhood.
Not perfect, but pretty good.
Except I got mono twice, which sucked.
My parents aren't even divorced.

Thus, it seems there is no easy
explanation for the fact that
I am 31 years old
and I have never been in love.

I do have a tendency toward depression and anxiety,
but, these days, who doesn't?
I have had exactly two nervous breakdowns.
I was never hospitalized, just medicated,

and I went to a lot of therapy.
I would wager that I have had more therapy
than the average 31-year-old American male.
And yet, no love.

There have been a few girls
who I have liked a lot.
But two of them
I never even dated,

And the other one,
I dated for like two months in high school.
Plus, she is married now,
and not to me.

I have been in two
sort of serious relationships.
Both girls were Asian.
I don't know if that is significant.

With both girls, it was the same.
They were both nice, attractive girls
with whom I had similar interests,
but I could never say "I love you" with any conviction.

Over time, I felt like they loved me
and, because I could not reciprocate,
I dumped them.
Which raises the question, the million dollar question:

Am I incapable of love?

Now, I have read The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis
and I know there are different types of love,
Some of which I have experienced:

There is brotherly love, friendship.

There is agape, God's love.
(stop snickering, atheist readers.
I believe in God's love. I just do.)

There is love for one's family.

I have experienced these loves
and, were it not for them,
I don't think I'd be alive.

And then there is eros:
romantic love, Valentine's love,
and that is the elusive one for me.
Oh, elusive eros.

Maybe I have experienced it,
and just don't know it.
That is possible. But, at best,
all I can claim is:

I may have been in love.
(But I'm pretty sure I haven't)

I have friends who tell me
they have been in love lots of times.
And I wonder: what do they mean by "love"?
How do they define "being in love"?

What is love?
Is it a feeling?
A state of being?
An idea?
All of the above?

I just don't know.

When I think about the fact
that I have never been in love
I can get pretty bummed out.
It's a bummer.

But then, there's another part of me
that rejoices in my independence.
Because I am not in love, here's what I get to do:

1.) run an art gallery
2.) get a master's degree
3.) start a punk band
4.) start an art magazine
5.) run for city council
6.) write poems like this
7.) travel wherever the hell I want
8.) meet girls in bars
9.) host a weekly variety show
10.) stay out as late as I want
11.) spend a whole day drawing a comic
12.) spend my money on tattoos and records

So, I guess, while I wait for love,
I'll keep following my heart,
which has led me this far,
so it can't be completely defective.


  1. Love is love and if you love your family you're capable of it. Pretty sure you're not defective, Jesse. Great job following your heart. You've built a pretty great life that way! You're doing a really great job. :P

  2. I think love comes from time spent with another. I think love at first sight is a little more like lust at first sight. I have said "I love you" without the conviction attached but that is not such a crime. Love comes from the realization that I'm loved back. And if after years of ups and downs you still trust each other and take care of each other, then suddenly you realize that your in love and have been for some time.

    Trust is the most important thing at the beginning. Definitely, only date people you can see right through. If you know that they are honest and genuine at their core then you can have your differences and still gain a deeper love that satisfies your inner critic.

    I'm a little all over the place but I hope this makes sense.