So much has been said about love—true love for that matter—: so trite, full of clichés, full of platitudes, melodrama, so sentimental, so vomit-inducing, so irrational and frivolous and full of hysteria. Plato’s Symposium, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Meredith’s Modern Love, D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sappho’s Hymn to Aphrodite. Too much has been said. Too much. Yet never enough has been said. An eternal question mark hangs over each one’s head: what is true love?
Because true love is suffering.
True love is the most iniquitous torture, of the soul, of the body, of the spirit.
True love is the most feared punishment; it is Tantalus’ lake, Sisyphus’ boulder, Prometheus’ eagle. I know true love only when I experience the most excruciating pain. Love is being strapped to a whipping post and being mercilessly assaulted by my lover. Love is the unbearable feeling of trapped, wanting to escape but can’t. Love is a cruel and merciless cane, bruising my body for his pleasure.
True love is enslavement.
I am a mere puppet dancing and prattling according to the manifestations of my genes who desperately want to get out of me as I age and approach death while they attempt to replicate themselves onto the next reservoir host, that is, my children. I am merely a hallowed vase ready to be implanted: beautiful on the outside, but completely empty otherwise, without life, without soul. And my genes coerce me to seek my own degradation; they pry me open and fill me with life even when I know it’s wrong. I can’t help myself.
There is nothing more painful in this world than the labor of childbirth, and yet my child represents the ultimate entelechy of true love, the reification of abstract emotions and souls into a true and living being. Is there any wonder a mother love her children with unconditional love? She suffered the most horrendous suffering for them.
True love manifests itself through endurance and an willingness to suffer: the pain, the withering away, the gut wrenching feeling of being used up—my beauty is gone; my belly is bloated and then sapped and lost its shape; my once proud and firm breasts are grossly engorged and even my feet becomes flat and big. Why would any woman want to punish herself like this? True love is irrational.
True love is the destiny, and the meaning of life, without which mankind loses hope to live. True love, for all its terror, is a bridge to the future, ensuring survival of the entire species. Hiding behind true love is the ruthless and brutal drive to survive.
True love is terrible, painful, sadistic. True love hurts, and should.