Love is…

Love is…
…Affirmation
The small words
Lost in a paragraph
As you’re told your feelings
Are as valid and real
As your experiences.
A theme repeated
From one mouth to the next
While all you can manage
Is a simple “thank you”
When you are lost in a sea
Of inescapable emotion
You can do nothing about
But endure
Until the waves pass.

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Captured in Words

Once, I wanted to try to find
The words to say how I felt.

All I found were little phrases
That didn’t serve my needs
And quiet thoughts that lived
Past the edge of speaking.

I would have liked to continue,
Trying as hard as I could,
Just to see,
If I could have ever figured it out.

I never could find a way
To talk about the wonder
I felt when I looked at you.

I wouldn’t have minded
Spending the rest of my life looking.

Now, all I have left are memories
Of what I once wanted
And echoes of a feeling
I once felt resonate.

Maybe, if I can capture this in words,
I can stop feeling it
And finally let it go.

Love or Idolatry

One of my favorite songs from Steven Universe is the end credits song, “Love Like You.” Throughout the show, it is played in short snippets as the credits roll and it takes almost two entire seasons to go through the entire song. The song’s creator, who also created the show, has gone on the record in recent years, to talk about it. When the soundtrack of the show came out, compiling most of the show’s songs up to that point, Rebecca Sugar said that, initially, the song was about an alien who wanted to be able to love the Human she was in relationship with the way he loved her. She wanted to feel how he felt and surmised that if she could return his feelings, then maybe she would no longer feel like she falls short of how he sees her.

The lyrics paint a picture of someone who doesn’t understand the idea of love, except in the context of the way it makes the singer’s partner act around her or see her. The singer doesn’t think very highly of herself and is constantly measuring herself up against the way her partner sees her and, in her eyes, falling short. It’s almost heartbreaking. “I wish that I knew what makes you think I’m so special.” It gets me any time I actually listen to the song instead of just letting it play in the background. As someone with self-esteem issues and a history of difficulty making meaningful, lasting connections with people, the song resonates rather strongly.

After spending the evening with my girlfriend, this song came on the radio (well, my iPod was plugged into my car radio and the playlist eventually cycled to it) and it made me think about the nature of love, the way we think people see us, and how we see ourselves. Love can be great because it can show us how we look to someone and, sometimes, even let us catch a glimpse of the person our partner sees us as. At the same time, if we feel like our partner is not actually seeing us but some false version of us or they gloss over any problems, it can be discouraging to constantly be compared to this version of ourselves that we feel isn’t grounded in reality. That could easily make self-esteem or self-value problems worse.

A while after giving the initial interview about “Love Like You,” Rebecca Sugar has said she now views the song as being more about her relationship with all of the Steven Universe fans she has met as the show grows in popularity. Because she has created this show and so many people feel so strongly about it, they transfer some of that attention and love to her, the show’s creator. She said that she feels like she can’t measure up to the sort of almost worshipful adulation they heap on her and that the song now speaks more to the way she wishes she could return all that love but can’t figure out how to.

From what I’ve read, a lot of popular creators feel like this, but particularly the ones who spend a lot of time meeting fans, such as show creators, voice actors, writers, and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised if musicians felt this way as well. It can probably be rather alienating, to be worshiped by almost everyone you meet. To be loved so strongly and so enthusiastically by someone who doesn’t actually know you that you can’t help but feel the weight of their expectations settle more heavily on your shoulders with each new person who gushes about how much they love you.

I think I can sometimes have that effect on people. And not just celebrities or creators I admire. People in my day-to-day life. As I’ve mentioned in the past few days, I have a tendency to invest completely and quickly in relationships. I think that can probably be overwhelming for a lot of people because they start to feel like I’m loving the person they act like they are rather than the person they see themselves as. I think some of my past relationships fell apart for exactly this reason, even if other reasons were given. I mean, how can you communicate honestly with someone who you feel doesn’t really understand you?

I’m pretty sure I do that to my girlfriend sometimes, too. We often have a communication issue where we use different words to say the same thing and get frustrated because we can’t seem to make the other person understand what we mean or it seems like they’re being intentionally obstinate. We usually figure it out pretty quickly, thankfully, but it can be discombobulating when it happens multiple times in a conversation.

I like to think that I look for the best in people and try to appreciate them for who they try to be or who they want to be. I like looking for the good in people and trying to look for the positive aspects of people’s lives. I don’t like being negative when I can avoid it, since I have a tendency to be gloomy and melancholic at the drop of a hat, but I think I can understand how this would be frustrating to people I’m close to. Sometimes, you don’t want people to always see the light in you. Sometimes you want someone to acknowledge the darkness. Not because you want them to fix it, but because you want them understand and love all of you, not just the golden idol they seem to worship.

Which isn’t to say that I’m worshiping some perfect form of my girlfriend. As I said, I only THINK I do it SOMETIMES. This was just what I thought about during my meditation when I woke up in the middle of the night thanks to a leg cramp and had to spend half an hour stretching my muscles and drinking water. Personally, I don’t think I worship perfect versions of people, I just love strongly and love people as they are. But I know exactly what I mean when I say things and I know the intentions behind my every action. I’m not always that great at letting other people know those things right away. I have a tendency toward muted reactions, very little emoting, and not making myself clear when I speak because I get my thoughts jumbled up and miss the important bits that would have made it all sensible.

I want people to see themselves the way I see them. I want to see myself the way I see other people. But I think that, when it comes to other people, all that comes across is the love and not enough of the projection of how I see them. When it comes to myself, all I get is the projection of how I see myself and not enough of the love. I need to work on letting people see my emotions a little more and doing a better job of communicating my feelings in their entirety, rather than just the snippet conveyed by the words coming out of my mouth.

I don’t know if you’ve put together the pieces from past blog entries or, I don’t know, the title of my blog, but I have a hard time getting the right words out when it comes to talking. Or, at least, I feel like I do. This is going to be hard, but I think it’ll be worth it if I ever figure it out.

Too bad I can’t just write everything I want to say to people and have them treat it like I just spoke it to them… It works fine until someone needs a response right away. Writing it correctly takes time and effort away from a conversation. It isn’t exactly plausible if you’re trying to communicate with a partner or a close friend when something is going down.

At least trying something is better than silence. I always try to express myself rather than sit in silence. I’ll give myself that much credit. Sometimes, though, it feels like silence would have been better. It can be difficult to tell.

What You Like

I want to like the things you like.

When I see the glow in your eyes
And the way you get so excited
I want to burn with the same passion.

I want to feel the blazing light
That shines from your face
Whenever I let you run away with the conversation.

So I try to like the things you like
And warm myself in your glow.

The magic you see in children’s books
Reopens my eyes to the way
The world looked when I was small.

The walk was an easy one to make
But not one I’d thought to start
Until you bridged the gap between
The books I love and the worlds I left behind.

The unattended care of movement
Made in sync with loud music
As you cluster with your friends,
Never seeing beyond the circle
Of smiling eyes and laughing lips
Which only care that you are there.

It was never something I cared for
But I find myself there with you,
Forgetting my elbows, for once,
And the rest of the world, too.

Pastimes set aside as I try to stay
On top of chasing all my dreams
Are things you like just as well
But which were wasting my time
Until I could do them with you.

Any chance to spend some time
On any activity with you
Seems like a dream I can chase
A bit more literally than the others.

Things about myself that I can never see
No matter how long I look in the mirror
And the way my words come out,
Often halting and slower than I can bear,
Without ever doing justice to how I feel,
Earn that special smile you show me
When you want me to know you like me.

I was never something I cared for,
At least not in terms of “like” and “dislike”,
But I find myself wanting to start
Because you like me and I want to like what you do.