The Heart Is Not in Your Chest


I’ve been having a contemplation day. Ok, I’ve been having an extremely lazy day, avoiding my studying, and I have not left the comfort of my pyjamas all day. But, it’s been since about September when I had pneumonia that I’ve had one of these days, so I’m going to let it slide.

Because I’ve left my brain mainly on autopilot some things have been stewing in the back of my consciousness. As I sit watching whatever random TV show I’m currently watching I doodle. I’m not just any old doodler, I doodle words. Mostly because I have no artistic abilities what-so-ever, but mainly I just love writing words. The strength of one word written down, all its meanings, all its facets, all its intricacies blow me away.

One word I find that I tend to scribble down a lot is “Love.” I found myself wondering what this word really means. Being the nerd I am I looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary and found far too many meanings:

1. Senses relating to affection and attachment

2. To have or feel love towards (a person, a thing personified) (for a quality or attribute); to entertain a great affection, fondness, or regard for; to hold dear

3. To praise, extol (God, a person, etc.)

4. The benevolence and affection of God towards an individual or towards creation

5. Strong predilection, liking, or fondness (for something)

6. An intense feeling of romantic attachment based on an attraction felt by one person for another

7. Sexual desire or lust, esp. as a physiological instinct; amorous sexual activity, sexual intercourse

8. Any one of a set of transverse beams supporting the spits in a smokehouse for curing herring. (This one threw me off.)

As you can see there are far too many meanings to go through, needless to say they all involve some kind of affection (except for that last one). Even with this insight into the meaning of “Love” I still can’t define it. I don’t really think I ever will be able to. Love is one of those concepts, those emotions that language falls short of. Being a writer I find that there are few things in this world that can’t be expressed in the right words, you only have to look hard enough to find the right combination to get across what it is you are expressing.

But “Love” is clearly not sufficient for this overwhelming sense of emotion it attempts to represent. I, like many others, use this word lightly. For instance, on countless occasions I’ve uttered the sentence, “I love soup.” Soup is indeed my favourite food, but I don’t feel that rush of emotions when I look at soup, I don’t think I would take a bullet for a bowl of soup, nor would I cry if I saw soup being poured down the drain. It’s just an expression that I use to explain that I throughly enjoy eating soup.

Love is not something I believe can ever be defined because there are too many kinds and I wish that we had more words to define this infinite concept. Eskimos have about eight different words for snow and we have only one for a concept that is so much bigger than us. As much as I admire and live by the written word, it has a tendency to fall short.

We’ve all experienced Love in one form or another. I love my family, even though sometimes I don’t particularly like them, but they’re blood and no matter what they’ll always be a part of me and I will love them for that every day. I love my friends and not the “Oh my God I totally love you!” kind, but the kind where I would do anything in my power to make these people happy, even if it means I’ll get hurt in the process. This kind of Love is forged from years of trust and loyalty. This kind of Love is chosen and I think one of the most beautiful forms. I’ve also been in Love. We’ve all felt the butterflies, the shakes, the tongue twisters, the anxiety induced stupidity, at least if you’ve been in Love you have. I’ve also felt the gut-wrenching pain of losing Love. Where you feel your insides have been torn out and when you never want to leave from under your comforter, when the world seems completely unliveable because a piece of you has been torn away.

This little four letter word has the power to make you feel invincible and the power to make you feel as if you’ve been torn open and left to bleed out. This little word doesn’t live in your chest, it doesn’t reside in the muscle that pumps blood through your veins, it lives in our minds. We Love because we feel something. We Love because we crave that connection with another human being. You could say that Love is just another chemical in our brains, but so is our consciousness and yet, they’re both so much more.

Words have strength, but they can’t define everything. I’m going to keep trying though, I hope you don’t mind.

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