Friday, 21 June 2013

The Eternal Masochist

Love is a funny thing. They say we never choose it- who, or when or even if. And I suppose they’re right. Choosing who to fall in love with, is probably like choosing your favourite flavour of muffin. You don’t decide on it. One day, you take a bite and you just...know.

Then again, the choices we make are nothing if not reflections of the people we are. The old ‘Opposites attract’ adage has been disproven both by science and society over time, and the new ‘Love is your recognition of the values you hold highest in yourself’ has taken its place. While not too many people know who Ayn Rand is, everybody has an opinion about her idea of love.

Until a very short while ago, I agreed with her wholeheartedly. I still do, really. I’ve just gained some perspective on what she said, recently. Not all values are those we hold dearest in ourselves. Were we exalting all our virtues and burying all our vices, we’d all be prouder-than-ever obnoxious offspring of the legendary Narcissus. While Rand’s characters may be unapologetically proud, the real world functions a little differently. Even the proudest of us, have something we look back on with a cringe, something about ourselves we’re still finding the answer to, something that sets us apart- that we wish, didn’t.

I have long maintained that intelligence is humanity’s- and my- greatest gift. It is all I’ve cared about, and perhaps all I will. When I was very young, someone I held in very high stead told me that the only way to truly judge, and be judged, is to use the human mind as the first and only parameter. I listened. Today, it is my only rule. And somewhere along the line, in my quest for knowledge and answers to quench my curiosity, I forgot about the more primal, the softer aspects of humanity. People became dispensable, the few people I loved took a backseat, and they didn’t matter if they didn’t have ‘the brains’ to be in my life. All more or less harmless changes in the grander scheme of things, particularly because I wasn’t very concerned about these changes.

What the realisations did lead me to, however, was a larger question. What is most important to you and, therefore, what you will look for in love, may be your favourite value- but not necessarily your greatest. And in looking for that one person who secures that value and nourishes it- are you also nourishing the part of you that requires to be killed?

We all know that love is supposed to make everything better, and sunnier and lighter. But not all love is like that. Sometimes, the best kind of love, the one you can’t live without- is also the kind that pushes you to the edge of sanity, makes your head swim and you wonder why you haven’t left yet. But you know the answer- and it is, you can’t. You can’t get rid of the low- that’s so low, it’s the best high you’ve ever had. Of the maddening uncertainty, that makes you confused, annoyed, frustrated and so, so aroused. Of the times you want to bury yourself in the ground, to hide away: but don’t, so you can feel the kick of the happier times.

We're all masochists, at the end of the day. Someone may inspire the sadist in us from time to time, but when all's said and done, we never really feel alive until we feel pain. It is that pain, that feeling, that se sentir vivant, that we're drawn to.
The strangest thing is- we all do it. It’s not just victims of abuse. It’s not just married couples. It’s everybody, and everything. Love for a friend, for a spouse, a child, a book, music, the stage, a painting- even the muffin that tastes like heaven until it oozes chocolate sauce all over your white shirt.

It’s all love, all over the world- it tends to treat you this way. Like you’re a disposable. And you only feel that way until you leave, with the intention of never coming back. And at that moment, when you turn around, you feel that pit in your stomach- see your love crying for you and run back- arms open, ready to do it all over again.

Who decides, then, what love is healthy and what isn’t? You do.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see the fine line that runs between roller-coaster and just plain unhealthy. What you have to decide, though, is if you want to draw it. And when you do, where do you draw the line, beyond which anything is too much? And then, there is always the kind of question that’s simplest to ask, and nearly impossible to answer- the kind that contains both the question and the answer, but has enough dimensions to serve as neither. And the special question of the day, is-

What if someone who brings out the best in your mind, also brings out the worst in your soul?

"All this time I've blamed you. For pulling me into the dark. But I was wrong. It was 

me who brought out your dark side."

-Blair Waldorf.
Gossip Girl.


Chandra Challa said...
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