How do you know how to love? Did you sit
wide-eyed in front a large screen as
colourful costumed characters hugged one
another to a saccharine sound-track so this
imbued you with the concept of what love
was? Did those cartoon characters explain
to you what it is to love? Did their
exaggerated voices and crazy antics,
followed by the moral of the story teach you
what love is? Perhaps you read about it in
love, heard it in songs and studied the many
ways in which this ultimate emotion
appears and affects people. Chances are
that you have been affected by those hugely
affecting passages from the great works
dedicated to love. Chances are you have
been captured by haunting lyrics and catchy
jingles which also profess to tell you what
love is. They have all played a part. You may
have learned about love from the version
churned out by the media, of Hollywood
romance, dashing heroes, fair maidens,
tarts with golden hearts, the good man who
rides to the rescue, the wayward soul saved
by love. Love may have been explained to
you from the pulpit as a higher love,
something which transcends all earthly
manifestations, a love so powerful and
complete that it sacrificed its only son in
order to demonstrate its love for
humankind. This godly love is all around
you, it touches each and all and is mighty in
its effects. Love may have been learned
from furtive fumbles down alleyways,
sneaking into bedrooms when so young, the
exploration of warm and urgent body parts
accompanied by those every so sincere
protestations of love. A haphazard journey
through galloping teen years as nothing and
everything makes sense all at once. Then
again, love might have appeared to you in
the form of something small and furry, an
unconditional (so long as it was fed) love
which was loyal, giving and ever so cute. So
many erudite tutors, learned lecturers and
wise proponents of what love is. Love thy
neighbour, love yourself, love is all you
need, woman in love, it must have been
love, crazy little thing called love, to know
him is to love him, we found love, how deep
is your love? Love is all around us, in us,
between us, lifting us up and letting us
down. It is everywhere and you may well
have been taught by many of the above and
more besides as to what love is.
However, love most likely will have been
taught to you by those who created you,
those two people who came together and
through their own pleasure created you.
Two people who decided that they would
shoulder the responsibility of creating life,
nurturing it and bringing a new person into
the world. Those two people accepted
many, many responsibilities from such a
decision and act. Chief among them was
the responsibility of teaching that person
what love is. Through their offices they have
furnished each and every one of us with the
notion of what love is. A deep-seated and
visceral understanding of this is how love
feels, this is what it looks like, this is what it
sounds like. This is love. From those two
people more than anything else we are first
grounded in the concept of what love is.
This grounding lasts a considerable time
and whilst there are other factors to be
considered, as I have mentioned above, it is
this lesson which is learnt invariably first
and the one lesson which resonates beyond
all others. So often we are in their hands
when it comes to being taught about love.
So, what is this taught love? It has so many,
Love is being told to never trust anybody.
Love is being made to re-write the entire
essay because of one spelling mistake.
Love is being sent to stand outside on a cold
winter’s day until all three verses of Ode to
Autumn are recited correctly.
Love is knowing nothing is ever good
Love is understanding that someone else
knows better than you what is best for you.
Love is turning away from the reality.
Love is standing straight against a wall for
several hours for speaking out of turn.
Love is for the weak.
Love is being told that when I am gone
nobody else will look out for you.
Love is succeeding.
Love is building a wall as high as possible.
Love is trying until it hurts and gaining that
final curt nod of approval.
Love is being seen and not heard.
Love is fulfilling your potential and securing
Love is hurting you even though it hurts
me, but someone in this household has to
do it and it won’t be him will it?
Love is reading to yourself than being read
Love is living in the shadows and hoping not
to be noticed.
Love is being the best.
Love is the preserve of the powerful.
Love is being denied a birthday party
because the other children are too stupid.
Love is being undermined in order to
Love is a begrudged recognition and the
injunction to try harder, go further, climb
higher, run faster, study longer.
Love is burning your hand but not crying.
Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret.
Love is a righteous beating.
Love is being distant and pretending things
Love is being sent away.
Love is not being told.
Love is splendid isolation.
Love was taught this way.
Love is embracing chaos that spring from our primal lust.
Love is after all,only a taught construct in our minds!
How do you know how to love? Did you sit