‘Love, well, they should write a song about that one time’. A boutade I heard from the mouth of a Dutch comedian. The total sell-off in the land of love has no boundaries, but also will never know an end. Love, the last fortress that never will fall, it will survive the polar ice-caps, it participates in wars, but will always be the only one that never dies. Love as conception and love as a cool killer. The only motive to survive and revive. Bruce Springsteen recorded The Rising in 2002, a post-9/11 album. Instead of putting all the weight of the record on grief and mourning after the attacks, you find sections, sounds and sometimes complete songs, searching for love. Love as a therapeutic charge, that incites us unconsciously, to do what we are made for: searching for connection. If Bruce Springsteen says so, who are we to deny that? Apparently -excuse me for the soggy expression, love is a destiny we cannot escape.
I want to indulge myself in some name dropping from popular culture, but I have one excuse: because the love I know –I leave the mother/father-child love out of the equation, because that’s a room in the fortress that I don’t want to enter for security reasons- manifests itself in my life through the mirrors of pop culture (probably it wasn’t different in the 16th century where a man named Shakespeare lived to give historical acclaim to my theorem). Because popular culture learned us to give pictures, thoughts and words to our unguided feelings of love, I also aimed on fictive images.
Okay, maybe not that fictive, because born from the thoughts of an artist who could express his feelings better in words and pictures , but stolen/derived on a thought from something that triggered us when we were small or big children to go looking for. An object that is the personification or representation of our idealized picture. I deliberately use the word representation. The book, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion from Yukio Mishima is about a young student-priest whose object of adoration is a temple, a love that hurts, a love that causes abandonment when he was away from the temple. A destructive love course that went from adoration to disowning everything that wasn’t the temple, repulsion towards himself and subsequently towards the object of his love. A love driven by a psychosis. Or maybe love is always… never mind, forget it.
I posit this thesis to show that the object of our love, maybe is nothing more than the attribution of our own aspirations and dreams to somebody else. Finally I arrive to my own love (hi)story. A quick analyzation of my love life taught me this: I think about four unforgettable (ex-) girlfriends with who I shared beautiful and painful moments with. The truth is that I inflict them with my aspirations of what love should be. I treated them with my own attribution of love, I unconsciously made them a victim of the influence of my dream views on love. Although they were and are unique, my love for them wasn’t, but it was true, no single thing was a lie, I fell in love with a glimpse of a girl, the smell of long-hair passing me as a summer breeze, maybe it was a song by The Bangles. The ones I loved and love are manifestations of my dream view on love.
But hey, where’s the romance? Well all those girls (women now) all have their personal song in my head. Still after all those years, whenever I hear those songs, those ol’ romantic feelings well up again, together with the typical fragrances they left behind in my mind, the pain that came when I realized that the kiss from yesterday was the last kiss, the passion we had, the scorching love and the tears, yes there were tears. My love was true, I know, undisputed. I am blessed with the talent to feel heartbroken even before the first kiss. Probably triggered by songs from artists like Eels or Tom McRae. There are my personal sadomasochistic tools to search for those dark feelings.
My love wants to know how it feels to be left behind someday by them. Those girls were unique, but they became representations of my love feelings. From the first touch of the lips, a movie starts to play in my head and I will know what will come: a destructive love, a disinterest in everything else in life, sighing about the dysfunction that love gives me, repulsing myself and finally: reality. The cool killer of the dream.
Yes, it happens to me time in time again: the moment you face each other as persons made from flesh and blood. The moment where love really happens, the moment the movie comes to an end, when the illusion makes way for a woman or a man, who has nothing to do with your projections about love, but everything with the one you can connect with. Curtain falls.
Back to reality, my reality, where on this moment my biggest influence from pop culture is –yes, it all ended up well with me- Family Man.
Yes, love, they should write a song about that one time.
Arne Van Schoors is a social/educational worker in a non-profit organization with a focus on the support of families with young children in Ghent, Belgium. In 2008, he made a short movie about the daily life of illegal immigrants in Belgium, based on stories told by immigrants he met during his work. The last 8 years he travelled across the Indian Himalaya on a Royal Enfield motorcycle, visited Tehran one month after the Green Revolution and crossed the American continent where he covered 16492 miles and 15 countries during 143 days. Next January the greatest adventure of his life will start: fatherhood.