My kids hate to listen to the radio with me. Okay, they’re adolescents and they hate to do just about anything with me, but the radio brings special angst. That’s because practically every song is either about love or about sex, unless it’s a song that’s ostensibly about love but really it’s about sex (which is not the same as love, but who can blame kids for confusing the two when every songwriter in America has). And the songs that are about love all seem to have a similar message about how damn much love hurts but, as most of these songs emphasize, you just gotta hang on, hang in, stick it out, stick with it. At which point I think, Stick with it? Until what?? It’s dead and stomped into the ground??? And quite often I do more than just think that, I actually say it out loud and that right there is why my kids hate to listen to the radio with me.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. I’m here to talk about this week’s topic: Love Hurts. Except that I think, it shouldn’t. Not romantic love, anyway. But I think an awful lot of people out there think it should. And I blame that in large part on the whiny songwriters who are putting out all these songs telling us all that it does. And I know there was a time when I believed it too. I certainly had my share of incompatible, mismatched, doomed relationships (okay, it was ONE doomed relationship but it went on for a very, very long time) and it hurt. Oh did it ever hurt. And we just kept hanging in there, sticking with it, working it out over and over and over again well past the days when it was dead and should have been stomped into the ground. But we were young and in love – and listened to the damn radio – and believed that even when love hurts, it’s worth fighting for.
And here’s what I tell my kids – when they’ll listen to me, which isn’t very often anymore (as I said, they’re adolescents): love shouldn’t hurt. It should make you laugh and lift you up. Love should give wings to your dreams and help move you along to your destiny. Love should make you a better person, a happier person, a healthier person. If it doesn’t, then love yourself enough to move along until you find the partner who does all that for you. Because that’s what we all deserve.
It took me many long and painful years to finally extricate myself from my own love hurts relationship. And that’s when I met the Oneonta Sweetheart – you’ll meet him in FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA. And, no, he’s not the one that I share my happily ever after with. But he is the one who taught me a very important lesson. That love doesn’t have to hurt at all. And for that, I am forever in his debt.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. And I truly wish all of you love that lifts you up and makes you happy.