“Words are very unnecessary,” says the writer.

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Love is like cake.

It’s gooey and enticing on the surface. It’s spongy enough underneath for room to expand.

But, more importantly, it doesn’t need our verbal assessment of it to be enjoyed.

Ya just eat it.

So, why can’t we just eat it and shut up?

This is what I thought as I read a recent article, however hilarious it was, about “love lives” in the modern age. The author’s take was that we’re mostly terrible at expressing our feelings when it comes to intimacy. We use phrases like “we’re talking” and “we’re hanging out” when someone asks us about someone we like. And while I don’t disagree with our poor self-expression as a culture on a more general level, the implication here was that that’s categorically bad when it comes to love. Is it? I feel like it’s only “bad” if the person you’re asking already felt bad about it before you asked them to start analytically macerating his love life with a knife. While I love his term “vicinitizing” (his made up word for just happening to be in the same place but, god no, not on purpose, because I don’t know what we are to eachother and don’t wanna seem desperate), not all of his article resonates with me down to my own gooey center. I mean, yes, the culturally programmed part of me wants to analyze every life situation and decide which file of my cephalic filing cabinet to put it under:

“Are we on a date?”

“Is this a relationship?”

“How many calories do you have in you?”

(All these questions are directed at the same object, incidentally).

But a larger part of me steps outside of that brightly lit interrogation room of my internal police station to realize I’m being both the suspect and the bad cop to myself by asking any of this at all. And that needless wondering comes from a place of being afraid. Afraid of dying alone. Of not having someone there every day as a human blanket and to center me when I’m too spineless or lazy to do it myself. News flash, Ash: we all die alone. But before that happens, we also all have love everywhere – in every direction. Just like the Bjork song says.

It sounds campy, but if you give off authentic loving vibes (and not just from your loins), you get it back. You get it back in the form of a smiling cashier. You get it back in the form of a hug or a “thank you” from a friend who needed help. You get it back from your kids or nieces or cousins if you have them. The sense of lack happens when we don’t get it from where we want it how we want it. How stubborn is that of us? Love is love is love. And it doesn’t need definitions or parameters. When you put a label on parts of it and say it’s romantic or friendly or familial, you’re cutting it all up and giving away the pieces. Then, when the slice you really wanted (with the icing cartoon Garfield on it) isn’t given to you, you can’t even imagine lowering yourself to accepting another slice even if it’ll be just as satiating and only looks different from all the other slices. That’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face. But we don’t have to live like that anymore. Language is just a metaphor for experience. And often a bad one. All the best bits get filtered out in translation which is annoying. Why bother? Just eat the effing confection and be delighted. So, as your magnanimous ruler, I hereby give you all permission:

Go forth and love without limits.

Or labels.

Or language.

Cracks In The Venus

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I’m happy for you.

You, who have healthy relationships, a new child, who just got engaged. No, seriously. I can say sans sarcasm, that I’m totally happy for you.

But for those who know that I personally have a cascading CV of romantic failures and an admitted inability for intimate interactions of any merit – why, why, why would you ask me my opinion when things start to go wrong?

Like, are you seeking someone out to agree with what you’ve already decided or something?

Honestly, now. Real talk. If you just want to complain, you can tell Auntie Ashley (Ew. I just came up with that term and immediately decided I don’t like it for you, so I’m retracting and reserving it for my new niece).

Regardless, I’ll totally be ready to say, “Gee I’m sorry you’re going through that.”

Promptly followed by, “Now if you will excuse me, I have to return some videotapes…”

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The only honest offering I can make if I’m truly trying to help you, is how I have failed in past relationships – what I was doing wrong when I was in a similar situation and what I needed to do to fix my sitch. I can’t tell you in good faith what to do and I won’t – mostly because I myself stop listening when I hear the phrase “what you need to do” or the word “don’t” (or else I do listen just so that I can actively seek out and commit those acts I’m being forbidden).

Your boyfriend is not here for this conversation.

Your girlfriend is not here either. And, as I am not a therapist, we couldn’t change them even if they were. What we can do is work on you if you are willing to identify with my demons and perhaps identify your part in the problem – sound good?

Good.

Because after you read what I have to say, you’ll either think “thank God someone else is fkkd like me” or (more likely) “Jesus, at least I’m not that bad.”

Either way, I’m alright. I won’t feel badly about myself because I’m not alone, seeing the world from some Sagan style remote cosmic location. I’ve had a chance to meet a lotta like minded folk who’ve been there. Also, I’m making an effort to expunge all that ickiness on the daily.

That said, let’s get general before we narrow in for the kill:

Some lovers – when they say that timeless phrase of adoration, “I love you” – they totally mean it.

They can love you when you’re there.

They can love you when you’re absent.

If you make them angry or don’t fulfill expectations they didn’t realize they had about you – there is no platform of adulation from which you will fall, because you’re equals.

A power couple, if you will…

…Und you VILL.
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Some of us have aimed for this and failed.

We repeatedly fall short with our manifold amorous affairs that amount to one long amorphous daytime dramedy – an endless parody of terror and a self fulfilling prophecy building on the belief that we deserve to die not knowing where our adipose accumulation ends and the armchair stuffing begins.

To avoid the seedy singularity of darkness that resides deep within, we use and we use up the objects of our misidentified love to try and assuage our disregarded intrinsic agonies.

We deny our own darkness until the only option is to take to the streets like werewolves who feed on feelings.

If we find comfort in a chemical, we slowly self destruct.

If we find it in our objectified idea about a fellow human, god save them….

For, should they comply with our hypnotic manipulation for any length of time, we start to see the cracks in our ideal Venus goddess made of marble. We eventually resent that thing we thought we loved after that initial levity frenzy from acquiring our prize subsides.

And as the fog begins to fizzle from our maladaptive daydream world, we pretend that we are angry at them for not helping carry in the groceries.

We pretend that we’re mad when they have to cancel plans we had for work.

When they don’t compliment us.

When they can’t read our minds… (or even when they try to: “Oh, well DONE, Dr. Phil… Now shut up and wear this shirt I bought you…”)

When they won’t share what’s on theirs.

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Or how about when they’re just human and forget an annual love celebration wrought from commercial motives?

Deep down, we know that frivolous crap doesn’t matter.

Deep down we retrospectively see that the second we saw what we deemed beautiful, we craved it. But we craved that human object not to love it, but to make it a God we could rip down from up high, and pluck up like a flower from below. Saying, “he loves me… He loves me not” – before we could say: “I love me… I love me not.”

Deep down, we know we’re just pissed because their fcuk-ups remind us of our own failed lives. But now that we’ve added a whole ‘nother person to the mix, it’s even harder to fix our inner tornado. Now we’ve got an ego to protect, so we scoop it up like Toto and get the eff out of Kansas to seek our yellow brick road to Damascus in a fantasy land.

In the end, it’s easier to just tell the other person what to do, not follow our own advice, get angry if they don’t comply, and take credit for it if they do.

The day we trade in self-validation for chaotic chance, our auto-annihilation initiates – coding from blueprints of self deception.

Yeah, man. This is another one of those blogs.

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From the start, we formed the whole torrid affair on a fatal foundation (you know- that gut feeling saying “you’re not ready”, “she’s superficial”, or “Um…he definitely has Charles Manson eyes.”)

Why? Because everything’s temporary, and external drama becomes a less daunting option – opposed to redressing congenital pain even if it’d mean we could love life sailing solo and centered, eventually adding in an appropriate plus one (not plus half).

Thusly, with all these thoughts stuffed deep down an anesthetized abyss of disconnected sentiments, one day we identified beauty in a human.

And we had to possess that thing. We had to have it and hunt down the flaws like some depraved Easter egg hunt. Break it down. Crack it open. See what makes that bitch tick.

Is it because we’re monsters? No. And we can totally fix it.

We’re just marred, don’t want to admit it, but do want someone to identify with. The problem is that when we’re really cranky at our cores and ignore it, we ultimately try to mine out the misery of loved ones ’cause, ya know, it’s how we really feel. Plus, we put a lot of negative energy into it by actively and constantly suppressing it. So we know it really well, too.

Until we sort that out, we’ll always be dismantling some abstract deified dynamic yet to be erected with another – petal by pedestal.

And… that’s our time for today.

Same time next week?