When we were children we used to think that when we were grownup we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability … to be alive is to be vulnerable.” – Madeleine L’Engle
I have, to say the least, ambivalent feelings towards vulnerability. This is mostly, I guess, because I have a very low tolerance regarding any type of pain. And, perhaps due to this, a great fondness for pleasure.
And this brings me to the question of romantic love – because surely to be in love is to be vulnerable. Is to allow oneself the possibility of emotional pain?
One aspect of love makes me feel invulnerable – like Katrina said, “Like I’m walking on sunshine.” This side effect lets me deal with Mondays and Taxis and Carte Blanche and all manner of other shitty stuff. And then there’s the love of things too – that’s pretty safe!
So I love beer and sunshine and art and women and cats and pizza and music and travel and …
But sometimes I get infected with a different strain of love. Which initially seems to be loving and tender and full of fun and games and warm woolly feelings. But it also has this edge of terror. Buzz of paranoia. Tang of loss and vertigo and angst.
And I know that this too is part of being alive. But I lose my sense of humor when I succumb to this type of love. I mean romantic love felt towards a particular person.
Because people are difficult. Free. Hard to comprehend. And they are capable of unimaginable cruelties in the name of self-hood and righteousness. And I don’t know whether allowing myself to feel this kind of love, this kind of vulnerability, is to be childish or part of becoming an adult.
But even though it feels like I leave a significant piece of my soul behind every time we part, and become a tad paranoid and possessive about you, there aint much in this world that beats the feeling I get when you’re lying asleep in my arms, looking like an angel and smelling twice as sweet.