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Love is one of the most widely understood languages around the world, but often raises the inevitable question of, what is love? A force so strong it can raise hope in their darkest of hours, yet crush us when we least expect it. There is no right or wrong answer, just a lot of perceptions and ideals, as to what we believe it is.
I don’t exactly hold a great track record when it comes to dating men, it’s more of a list of mistakes and raised hopes. But with a mistake comes a lesson to be learnt. Always one to wear my heart on my sleeve, I long to experience romance and have my ‘happy ever after’’ moment. Within the gay community it seems somewhat resilient to allow such ideals to manifest. It would be incredibly rude of me to pigeon hole gay people as a statistic, but in my experience there seems to be a large majority of men that are happy to be promiscuous and not open to the idea of settling down. There seems this burning need to spread as many oats as possible, like there is a timer on our youth.
The inspiration for this piece came in the form of my Mum and Dad. Two of the most inspirational people in my life and absolute pillars within my close family. Married for over 30 years and going strong, I have often wondered what their trick is, the formula that has worked for so many years. The answer is it doesn’t exist. My parents were from a generation where if something was broken you fixed it and didn’t just walk away. A sentiment that is most lacking in today’s generation. So happy are we to give up so easily at the mere sign of trouble or adversity.
As a child I was never told that I was loved. My family aren’t like most, we feel what love is rather than the need to tirelessly say it to each other at any given moment. Hard working and selfless my parents would often go without to provide for their family. I nor my siblings ever wanted for anything and I guess this is how we felt loved. Materialistic items replaced the words ‘I love you’. This is something I have often questioned over the years and pondered, but in reality it hasn’t affected me in the slightest. If anything it has only shown me how loved I actually am.
I recently saw a piece by a lady who claimed that fairytales were the ultimate downfall in raising child expectations of what love is and that happy-ever-after doesn’t exist. I sincerely disagree with this viewpoint. As a child you crave security and a loving environment and stories are there to expand the child’s minds. How can this be a bad thing I ask? Why is it so bad to want to allow a child to keep their innocence and imagination? Reading a child their favourite bedtime story is the ultimate token of love. Precious time spent with a loved one getting lost in a plethora of discovery and excitement.
With all of the above in mind I draw the conclusion that love isn’t simply a feeling expressed through words alone, it is through the small actions we take for granted. A comforting hug after a trying day or even a text of encouragement, all encompass the foundations of what love stands for, togetherness and most of all compassion.
Love is a gift that should be appreciated and treasured, for it can so easily be replaced by bitterness and hate when taken for granted. Love is like an old coat you can’t bear to part with. It is always there and will provide comfort and security when needed the most. In spite of my past failings with men I still offer hope and understanding to give people a chance, for love is full of highs and lows, it is a journey of exploration. I will never stop chasing my dream of a happy ever after, because let’s face it we all deserve one.