Why You Should Write Love Letters

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If you ask your friends, family, or the guy down the street if they write love letters, you might get a funny look. The kind of look you give someone who just asked you for money. Not a kind look by any means. This is so because I believe the love letter is pretty much dead. This tradition has shriveled up in a world where heartfelt affection is an emoji of a panda with hearts for eyes.

Maybe I’m wrong. I sure hope so. Maybe tons of people write love letters, but keep this quiet since it feels like such an antiquated thing. They don’t want to be known as the kind of weirdo who articulates their heart’s beat for their loved one via thoughtful prose. What a total weirdo, amirite?

Despite the awkwardness around the idea of it, I’m a firm believer in the power of a love letter. I’ve written quite a few. Some private, some public. I’ve written some for my mother, some for my father, my friends, and, of course, my love. Some could argue I even wrote some for things, like books. It’s a way for me to share my insides; it helps me connect my internal with my external.

It’s a godsend. Because, you see, I’m a whole lot better on paper than in person. My lady will (a bit too) enthusiastically agree with this. I don’t take it to heart. We all have our strengths and our natural grooves, and for me that means that I’m better with the written word than with the spoken one.

Love letters, then, portray my deepest considerations all at once in the most coherent way I can concoct. The content of a love letter depends on who you are. That guy’s love letter could be filled with rosy language and emotionally-charged descriptions. That other lady’s letter could be calm, in comparison, and carefully list the things she appreciates about the other person. Neither is right and neither is wrong. Both are exactly as they should be, since both are true to the writer.

Just Write It

When you’re writing a love letter, you need to get out of your way and just write it. This sort of writing should be the least filtered piece of writing you can do. The typos, the redundant wording, the oddly placed commas, those are all irrelevant. They are secondary, an afterthought, after you’re done crafting the power of your message.

This message, in whatever words you end up using for yourself, essentially says: you’re immensely important to me and I just wanted to let you know that, because I could not spend another moment not confessing this to you. Open the gates, let the heart pour itself across the page. It’s a great unburdening, the best of all kinds. A love letter helps you breathe easier, that’s for sure.

Ignore Everyone Else

The editor in you will want to tear apart your letter. It will criticize, minimize, or ridicule you. If you listen to that cranky old hag you’ll never write anything that is pumped with life by your soul. Don’t listen to it, basically because that voice is not yours. It was created by everyone else, but what “people say.”

These people say that if you’re a man, and don’t spend your days wearing black turtlenecks, you have no business writing sappy things like these.

These people say that you are way too emotional and you kind of need to tone it down, because you make people uncomfortable.

These people are letting you know what the “right way” of doing things is, so pay attention…If you’ve read my stuff enough you know that I believe that complete bullshit. There’s no right way, there’s only the way that work for you.

You must ignore these voices! At all times and with all things. Writing this kind of letter is simply an example of how frustrating and limiting listening to other people’s definition of “right” or “success” or “normal” can be. People who have these opinions and need you to abide by them are, quite simply, bullies. Ignore the bully, and you take away their power. Human beings create a crowd, not the other way around.

Love + Honesty

Now, this can’t be left unsaid: a love letter is not all flowers and puppies. It’s not simply a proclamation of love. I’ve experienced that the most powerful love letters are those where you reveal yourself in every single way. The good and the bad.

I’ve done this with my lady various times. I don’t just tell her how much she means to me, how much I’m renewed by her laugh and smile and love, but I also tell her how imperfect I am. My concerns, my doubts, and my caution. The ways in which I am still selfish, and the dark thoughts that cloud everything else from time to time. I list the times I’ve failed her, and the fear I have that I will fail her once more, many times over. This is not simply a proclamation, but a confession. It contains both my appreciation for her, and my brokenness, my imperfect state of affairs.

Love letters are life-changing because it’s one of the few times when you can muster up that ultimate courage that comes with being vulnerable. It’s you dropping your pants and taking off your shirt and saying, “This is me, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but I promise that I’ll always try my best.”

Nobody is anywhere near perfect. Even that guy who runs around the neighborhood at 5am while taking a conference call with a $1m client stains his shirt with pudding from time to time. But few of us like to admit that.

It’s hard to say those things, I know it is for me. But when you do, and when you admit this to the person you love in a way that is uplifting, in a way that says, I know this and promise to be my best for you, you build one of the most human connections of all: that between two authentic and honest people.

Start Today

In the letters I’ve written I can say that one thing always, without fail, happens. I breathe a lot easier. I feel like a rush of fresh, cool air has filled my lungs and has lessened my load.

Maybe we will all feel this way once we put down on paper, for the rest of the world to see, what we’ve often held for just ourselves. Maybe that’s the unburdening of being selfish with our heart beats. Sharing yourself is one of the most selfless things you can do, and this counts as that. Once I’ve shared my thoughts with my loved one, I feel renewed. Like we finished writing a chapter, and are turning the page to start what’s next.

I want you to write a love letter right now.

Here’s how: grab a blank page and write at the top, “Dear (name of the person or thing you’re dedicating this to). I just wanted to let you know I love you with all that I am.” End there if you want. That’s a love letter. But if you feel like writing more, don’t let me stop you. Once you have written all there needs to be written, write your name at the bottom and hit Send, put it in an envelope, whatever works.

You have now officially written something true. Congrats, the world is a whole lot better for it.

photocredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thed34n/

Five Life Lessons I Learned In My 20’s

Life lessons in my twenties

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30 is the new 20, or so they say. I turned 31 a month ago, and I find this saying a bit hard to believe. Especially when my eyes get heavy at 9:45 pm and I call calling Selena Gomez fans ‘kids.’

But I appreciate the positive outlook, y’all.

Here’s the truth: if I were given the chance to sweep a decade under the rug and be younger, I wouldn’t take it. I like my age. I like the places it has taken me and the place I am now, two full decades into my life.

Each year has given me something good or bad to chew on. I’m proud to say that not all was lost; I ended up collecting some good learnings thus far.

Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending.

- Anne Bradstreet

This does NOT mean I’ve actually learned them. I’m not there yet. If these lessons were Jello, I’d say I was in the post-mix stage, just as you are about to put the thickish syrup into the fridge so it can congeal. The life lessons are still milling about in my noggin’, bouncing around and slipping through whatever cortical spaces my brain allows them.

But they are sticking. Slowly, surely. The Jello is getting firmer by the minute (year), transforming the way I do things.

They say the best way to learn something is to teach or share it, so here are five life lessons I picked up along the way:

Life Lesson #1: Care Less About Everybody Else

My godfather, a man who loves his loud shirts and gaudy jewelry, once told me: “Don’t give a damn what other people want you to look like.”

In that same spirit, I have tried to care less about what everybody else things. Because you really do have more fun impersonating Javert at the super market or doing the Carlton at a ritzy Gala. By doing this you also accept the fact that you are imperfect (i.e. have your own awesome brand of weird), and so is everyone else. Those people who tell you that’s not “the way you do it,” or you’re being “weird” have no idea what they are talking about.

So stop listening to them and do what feels true to you. It’s way more fun.

Life Lesson #2: Care More About Everybody Else

Yet, you are a human being, and part of that means you have humanity.

If you’re not living a substantial degree to make someone else’s lot on this Earth easier, stop, collaborate and listen.

Money is fine. Mastery is important. Fulfillment is priceless. But none of this matters if you aren’t reducing the pain or increasing the happiness of another human being. You can do this by being a caring friend, a loving husband, a dutiful steward of your community. You can do this through love, compassion, or sacrifice.

Studies show that our relationship with other folks is the biggest influence on our own happiness. What we contribute to the well-being of others, surprisingly, comes back to contribute to our own.

The most long-lasting relationship we have is the one carried on by the people around us, so remember to show the love.

Life Lesson #3: It’s Later Than You Think

Mortality is a big pill to swallow, and it stings going down.

And I don’t mean your own mortality. I mean facing the fact that the people you love will one day die. Your awesome high school teacher, your grandma, your mom and dad–you.

Being aware of this truth may sound like a big downer. Thinking about death all the time, how is that supposed to help you in life? It helps you because by knowing what might not be you appreciate what is right now.

Say your I love yous today when they can still hear and appreciate them, not when they are no longer in sight because they are deep underground. It’s later than you think.

Life Lesson #4: It’s Earlier Than You Think

That being said, we will all get to be quite old.

Life expectancy keeps growing, so that means that our active, working lives will be longer, too. In this way, 30 is the new 20, since most of us will go past 80, and many of us will work well into our 70s. (Think about that: at least another 40 years of work–the possibilities!).

Enjoy this, and pace yourself.

Life Lesson #5: There Is No Plan

I love General/President/Gramps Eisenhower’s quote:

Plans are useless; Planning is everything.

A strategist and leader said that.

When I was younger, my plan was to be a lawyer, and married with kids by 27. Ha.

The gist of Ike’s maxim is that planning something big, like your life, your career,  your purpose!, on this Earth often proves to be a flawed effort.Yet trying your best and working hard is still essential.

Ask anybody if they expected to be where they are now 10 years ago. We drift and flail, skip, trip, and leap, but if we focus on our strengths, have hope, and never let others define the important stuff for us, good things are bound to happen, just probably not the same good things we first had in mind.

Life is tough as it is, and it’s twice as hard to learn from your experiences as you go along. In order to survive as you’re trying to thrive you have to remember to be kind to others, because everyone has their own battles and insecurities. And this includes yourself, too. As long as you try to do what’s right and give yourself the space to appreciate the rewards of your hard work, there is no way you are doing it wrong. If someone tells you any different, feel free quote my godfather.

photocredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/queenscollege/

The 7 Traits Of A Real Man

real man

Being a real man. Who taught me about this? The list is long. My dad, of course. But also my mom, my world history teacher (rest in peace, Mr. Byrd), Atticus Finch, Teddy Roosevelt, the school director I used to work for, and so on.

Learning to be a real man is a constant work-in-progress. Whenever you think you’re done learning how to be a  real man you’re just fooling yourself.

So even though I don’t know who taught me to be a real man, and despite my own work-in-progress status, I know what a real man embodies. And (surprise!) it’s very different from the mainstream definition.

Here’s a list of things a man must embody in order to truly be the manliest of men:

A Real Man is Gritty

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

I’m not talking about the old west, Jeff Bridges with an eye-patch type of grit. I mean the kind of resilience that comes from walking through fire and healing your burns enough to go at it again.

Life will test your mettle, and pounce on you when you’re not completely prepared–because no one can be. There’s never a point when a man is completely, thoroughly ready to be a father. There’s never a point when a man is completely, thoroughly ready to see his father pass and kiss him for the last time. And yet, he must. He must try his best, endure, and keep his spirit alive. That’s grit.

A Real Man is Humble

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.” – John Lennon

There’s the traditional sort of humility, where you brush off praise and avoid boasting. But the most powerful–the most manly!–sort of humility involves a lot more vulnerability.

This humility comes when we realize we don’t have all the answers. It strikes us when we look within and find a gap. We can either embrace that gap and do something about it, or ignore it out of sheer pride. A real man is not afraid to say, I don’t know; he actually relishes saying, Teach me. All males are ignorant of one thing or another, but being humble enough to learn is what separates the men from the boys.

A Real Man is Responsible

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

Being the man of the house is an outdated idea. But that does not mean men are without responsibilities. If anything, our responsibilities are greater than ever.

Our duties are no longer a pre-determined list culled from tradition. They are more dynamic and fluid. Maybe we need to pay the rent, or maybe we need to sacrifice our careers for our partner’s success. And while we can still be the bread winners and provide financially, it is not enough. We must provide emotionally, spiritually. Our work goes beyond what we’ve been told. It goes beyond laying down a paycheck on the kitchen table. It involves supporting the success of those we love, in whatever way we have to do it.

A Real Man is Open

A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.” – Ian McEwan

Most people still expect men to be quiet with their feelings, and sterile with their wounds. To be a man is to show no quivering, no self-doubt. The CEO who doesn’t sweat. The dad who never cries in front of his children.

But that’s just a caricature drawn by people who’re long dead. The notion that just because you are a man you are no longer prone to human emotion is ridiculous. A real man embraces everything that he is, even during the most vulnerable times. He sets an example for everybody by showing up without pretense. Yes, it’s incredibly hard to set this example, for society is still hung up on the stoic man with a cast-iron stomach…but the tide is turning, and common sense is turning the page.

All human beings, regardless of sex or gender, are fragile and broken. That’s our communal bond.

A Real Man is Thoughtful

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

The caveman didn’t have to deal with many other cavemen. He spent most of his days twiddling his thumbs or decorating his cave with doodles. But we are not cavemen anymore. Acting out of complete self-interest can’t be tolerated. Just because we want something doesn’t mean we ought to get it.

This sounds like such a simple idea, but look around you. How many people, men and women, do you know who treat others with little respect or thought? How many people push others around, coerce them into submission, or have blinders on when they’re plowing through to the prize?

These are today’s cavemen, but some of us still consider them the “real men.” They are macho. Rugged. Self-made, or whatever other euphemism we want to use for neanderthals.

Real masculinity is not measured by what you get, but what you give. It’s measured by how you treat those who are worse off than you, or could use your help. This is another form of strength. It may be the most courageous form of strength, because you may get nothing in return. To be this strong requires thoughtfulness, the kind that reminds you of your place in the world: a tiny piece in an immense puzzle that binds everything and everyone together.

A Real Man is an Idealist

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

The past contains a lot of horrors that could persuade many that we’re meant to act and live like brutes. It also contains many wonders where humanity is at its best. Some men focus on the former, using it to justify their own brutishness (eat or be eaten), and they call themselves realists.

But they are just selective with their memory. They only recall what will excuse their behavior, not what will inspire them to do good.

A real man, one who contributes to society rather than pillages it by using nihilistic bullshit, inspires hope and wonder. He wants to lift the world. Not to gain praise, but because it’s what human beings have the capacity to do.

A Real Man is Loving

If boys don’t learn, men won’t know.” – Douglas Wilson

Money is boring. Work is not everything. Achievements are momentary. But the love that you give others, through empathy, caring, and sacrifice, will outlast all of it.

Loving your family, your community, and your fellow man, is the greatest legacy you can leave behind. This is what great men do often and well.

It’s also the hardest thing to do, for your efforts may go unrequited. They may also label you soft, or question your masculinity, since you are putting love ahead of money and awards and, you know, the “real” stuff.

But ask yourself this: who is the most influential man in your life? Got him in mind? Good. Did he change your life because he gave you cash? A promotion? A new car?

Or did he change your life because he was generous with his time and cared for you and your well-being and growth.

Be that man.

(This piece goes out to my father, who is still with me, and who I look up to for almost everything. He’s a man, a real man in the way I describe above. Happy father’s day, dad)

 

Originally published on The Good Men Project

 photocredit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dariuszka/

Manhood and Vulnerability in Sports

credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/calciostreaming/

The World Cup has created a lot of interesting story lines, but one caught my eyes this morning.

The captain for the Brazil team, Thiago Silva, has been in the news recently. Not because of his play, or any off-field shenanigans. But because he cried.

After the nerve-wrecking shootout against Chile last weekend, Silva started to cry. That shootout held a lot in the balance, mainly the Brazilian team’s immense pressure to deliver a World Cup as host country. It’s likely that he was scared, or maybe he felt like a huge burden was lifted. Either way, the sports world is not used to these sort of tears.

He was crying because he was exposed, vulnerable, and the world was there to watch.

Julio Cesar, their goalie, cried, too, and so did their superstar, Neymar, but they were different. They were displaying the “champion’s emotion:” what athletes do after they are victorious or stage an amazing comeback. At least that is how the media is differentiating that from what Silva did.

“I am a guy who overcame tuberculosis, so my mind is fine. Is it natural of human beings to feel emotional and I will not change because of what people say” – Thiago Silva

So far, the story is that Silva was scared. Silva, the team’s leader, was displaying vulnerability while in the thick of battle. This made the sports world uneasy. They felt like the guy who doesn’t know what to do with a crying colleague at work. The undertones of this story as presented by the media are about weakness and fear.

You won’t often read columns that appreciate the pressure all these athletes, in this case, all these men, are under. Their entire country is rooting for them, which is another way of saying their entire country is counting on them to win. Some of these men are just boys, barely 19 or 20 years old, trying their best while billions of people watch. You won’t often read about these things, because that sort of stuff is messy. It’s hard to say, Let’s remember that they are human beings, and they are not perfect, or, These men are still people with their own fears and moments of vulnerability. Instead, we just make fun of their manhood, or question their leadership.

It’s easier to turn their story into a tabloid than explore the topic with respect and kindness.

Sports is the great unifier, the great equalizer, but it still has work to do. It’s still not comfortable with human emotion outside of the expected. It’s still not good at handling the fragile elements of manhood or humanity. But if there’s any thing that can broaden the conversation it is sports, as it has in the past in issues of equality, unity, and fairness.

Meanwhile, let’s just take tears for what they are: that guy’s right to shed them.

What is your reaction to how the media is portraying the Silva story?

credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/calciostreaming/

Why The World Cup Is The Best Sporting Event Around

World Cup USA

I started writing this post in a very emotional state, just hours after Mexico was taken out of the World Cup. My blood was boiling because we exited on a bad call by the ref. Defeats will happen, in sports, in life, in everything. To live is to fail, often and miserably. But when defeat comes at the hand of an error (albeit a very human error), you end up kicking a lot of chairs and on the verge of tears; the world doesn’t make sense.

Some might think this is ridiculous.

Why are you so upset over a silly game?

It’s just a sport.

Nobody dies because of this*.

And you are logically right.

These are all valid points that make sense. But anything we passionately embrace can easily go beyond the realm of common sense. It’s in that weird place where logic is overridden by things like loyalty, pride, and faith.

This is why I get so riled up every time the World Cup comes around. I typically don’t follow futbol. I actually only follow it when it’s at the world stage. It’s such a spectacle without peer that I go from 0 to 100 in a matter of days. Seeing Mexico or USA play against another country is a deeply personal rush. It goes beyond fandom at the Super Bowl or World Series. It is the absolute best sporting event you can find.

Here’s why:

The World Cup Is About You

You have a team. I have a team. Everybody has a team. If you were born on this Earth, you have a team.

My teams are the US and Mexico. I was born in one and raised in the other. I owe and love each so much.

Your team is as much about you as your citizenship. As much as your hair color. When you follow your team’s journey to and throughout the World Cup, you can’t help but think in terms of we. We have a great team this year. We know how to win.

We.

Your country is playing, your people are playing, your culture and history and family are playing.

This is fundamentally different than rooting for the San Diego Chargers or the Chicago Cubs. While with these you are connected at the city or town level, when your team goes against another, you are still playing against your own. They may be from Milwaukee, but they are mostly still like you. Their accents might be weirder, and their cuisine might be greasier, but you’re all countrymen.

At the World Cup, it’s your people going against some other country in a fight for national pride at a global stage. It’s a kind of war, but the best sort, because it’s not war but a sport in all its meritocratic zeal. It’s played on an even field, on agreed upon rules, and the victor will likely be decided by their merit and will, not wealth or intimidation. You feel about good rooting for your country, for being unapologetically patriotic, in this field of battle, because guys are just playing ball, trying their best.

The World Cup Is About Those Guys

But, then, what about the Olympics? Aren’t we forgetting about this other global sporting event that happens every few years?

It truly is a beautiful event: the very best of each country are given an opportunity to make their country proud. Again, the geopolitical bullshit is set aside, and the purity of athleticism and sport is left to decide who wins.

But in the Olympics you have numerous sporting events, each with numerous athletes, numerous staff and trainers, so when you add them all up, you’re left with a very large number of people representing you. It’s not a bad thing, but you are looking at a congregation, not your Sunday church group.

Compare that to the World Cup, where it’s 23 guys, and a few coaches. You could memorize all of their names over a few days if you wanted. They are all easy to recognize. You know most of their stories, their quirks, and what makes them human. You know more about them than you do about the guys and gals in the 100-meter relay or doing shotput.

Size does indeed matter. It’s a lot easier to connect with a handful of people than with a few hundred. This is both a sociological fact, and a reason why families, the smallest, and most personal, slice of a community, has such powerful bonds.

Maybe it’s just easier for these guys to become akin to family. Or maybe that’s all bologna. But you can’t argue with the fact that being able to easily recognize a person makes it a whole lot easier to share their plight and their joy.

World Cup Frenzy Korea

The World Cup is About Futbol

They say soccer is a sport for neurotics. It certainly is.

During a five minute span you experience hope, anguish, fear, and regret. You witness beautiful athleticism in action, a sort of grace that’s hard to find in any other sport, and sense the build up that could, maybe, hopefully!, lead to a perfect finish, and and..

The momentum either explodes into a joyous moment, or drops off the cliff with nothing to show for it. It ebbs and flows with such ease that it can give you whiplash. The kicker is that you end up getting on the ride again, knowing very well the likelihood of having your heart jerked around. 95% of what could be never ends up materializing.

If you said you have to be a sadomasochist to look forward to these games, I wouldn’t argue with you.

This emotional spin cycle does something else: it creates a bond. Just like facing a crisis with a friend, or sharing a foxhole with a colleague, the ups and downs you share with someone strengthen the bond with that same someone. So it goes for those guys on the field caught up in the spin cycle with you.

Futbol is Freaking Amazing

But we are forgetting about that 5%. That 5% is what anybody watching a game lives and dies for.

That jaw-dropping save, that uncanny bicycle kick, that perfect cross that leads to the perfect header. The highlight reels for futbol are probably the most unbelievable of all to watch. That’s really why most of us watch sports, right? When the best of the best play at the World Cup, you can be sure this will be the best 5% you can find…

…but it’s not all about that. Highlights don’t make it the beautiful game.

John Cleese put it best when describing what makes this game so inspiring:

(disclaimer: I hope his words don’t offend football fans, especially because I am one of them. Take the below just as a very in-your-face contrast between the two sports.)

The wonderful thing about football [futbol/soccer] is how creative it is; and this is why it has never caught on in America. You see, in America the action is deliberately kept short so that the sponsors can get in as many commercials as possible, and also so that the players don’t have to think for too long. They get instructions from the quarterback who has in turn received them from the offensive coach. No one has to think for themselves–this is the Dick Cheney version of creativity, otherwise known as, “doing exactly what you’re told.”

So, you get four seconds of extremely violent action and then the only genuinely creative activity involved: a beer commercial. So, American football is played like a series of advertising jingles while soccer is played like jazz.

(The full, and somewhat politically-charged, video here)

There are no set plays. There are no breaks. Only a few substitutions allowed each game, and once you are out you are out. The coach is not piping in his plays, or guiding his players during the game. The game, quite simply, is about 11 guys running an average of 6 1/2 miles a game, self-organizing themselves, playing a sort of emergent chess, and, like a flock of geese, moving as one.

There’s also a careful balance of intellect and athleticism each player must carry in order to be successful. The player must not just pass the ball, but be thoughtful about each move, anticipate the opponent, and look at how the chess pieces are all set in front of him. Any small slip or miscalculation could cost the game. Again, it’s like war, with strategy evolving as time goes on.

Considering these four reasons it’s not surprising why there are so many tears, fights, and joys in the stands and in the living room of fans around the world. It’s futbol, it’s soccer, it’s whatever you want to call this sport that when set at the world stage can unite a country, blur the differences within it, and allow an elegant display of teamwork, heart, and respect, especially among opponents.

It’s personal, and it’s inspiring. And it’s not over yet. If you aren’t on the World Cup train yet, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy it, which I hope you do.

 

*Unfortunately, this is not completely true. Google “Andres Escobar Murder.”

photo credits:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wojo/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenheckman/

Love makes us do silly silly things

I wrote about 800 words on my love for paper books. Too many words? If you say so. Too few? Probably. And that’s love. As I mentioned in the intro to my post, anything that is fueled by the L word will make you do crazy stuff.

Why does anyone love anything?

Think about it: why do you love the things you love? Try to answer that question in a clear and logical way.

It’s hard, right? But just because you can’t write a detailed list about why you love what you love doesn’t mean the love is any less real.

Take my love of paper books for example. I love those print monsters. I have quite a collection of them, and every time I pack up and move somewhere new I have to carry them around. Any of you who have had to pack and carry boxes full of books know how deceivingly heavy they are. My collection is strictly based on personal value. I’ve gotten rid of books I never read or didn’t like. There’s no use in keeping things that don’t add to your life — especially when you have to literally carry them around. So the print bricks I carry made the cut, they are those I actually care for.

But that’s love, right? It makes us do silly, silly things.

(Originally posted, in its entirety, on Thought Catalog)

Did I just quote myself? I believe I did, but don’t hold it against me. My point here is not to inflate my ego, but to ramble a bit more about love.

Think about some of your best relationships. Think about those people who you truly, deeply love. Now ask yourself, Has it been easy? Has your relationship been all love, all day every day?

If you are like me, those relationships have travelled unfinished dirt roads, thunder storms, and rando hitchhickers who are nothing but trouble.

Love is hard. Sometimes, love is beyond hard. We know how hard it can be, how much it can cause us, and yet we stay with it. We stick with that person, even though it’s almost never perfect. We stick with it because it doesn’t have to be. It’s real.

This is why robots can’t love. This is why computers can’t love. To love, you have to be somewhat illogical. You need to follow a code that allows for some nonsensical things to happen.

But here’s the super-power we experience during the best of times. Love runs off of a different sort of battery. We tap into an energy supply that doesn’t abide by the rules of physics. It has its own momentum, its own strength. Thanks to this phenomena that not even Neil deGrasse Tyson can explain, we do extraordinary things when fueled by it.

We forgive horrors, we push away pain, we heal others when we ourselves need healing, and we see the forest, not the trees. We persevere.

So yeah, love can make us do silly silly things. Some have gone as far as calling it a psychological disorder. But because of its rogueness it can push us into super-human territory, where we go beyond what we thought was possible, and we feel and do beyond ourselves.

Seems like a fair trade to me.