Love is love is love, etc.


I have a confusing relationship with solitude and constantly find myself flitting between craving time alone and being repulsed by it. The former is easy enough to label as a precipitate of astrological disposition—Virgos are introspective and notoriously shy—and the latter must stem from an inadvertent aversion to the possibility of loneliness. This wasn’t always the case, I never used to enjoy being alone but maturity and age have their ways.
A few years ago I met a boy who embraced solitude fiercely and relished it with such confidence that I’d never seen. It was equal parts alien and intriguing, but something interesting happened. Being the proverbial moth attracted to the flame, the more I tried to understand and emulate it, the more fathomable it became, and eventually it became part of me too. When I finally learnt to be comfortable in the arbitrary silence of my own heartbeat, I stopped fearing being lonely, because, you know, Murphy’s Law or something. As it happens, for many reasons notwithstanding the above mentioned one, him and I eventually found our way to each other. This boy and I are polar opposites that hold each other up with the weight of things we share in common. Loving him has always been easy, even on the days when it’s hard. He has been, still is and always will be the best days of my life.  We have conquered mountains together. And he couldn’t be more different to me in race, faith, upbringing, personality and every other social construct that’s been devised to polarise human beings.

At this point it’s probably unclear what I’m even trying to get at. Cue the plot twist! Hang on now, we’ll get where we’re going in just a second.

This may come very belatedly but it needed to be said anyway - what happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando hit close to home, not because I have ever been on the receiving end of such bigotry but because 1) there are people I care deeply about who are part of the LGBT community back here at home and more importantly 2) whereas romantic love is generally accepted as an instinct, it is often disparaged by others when one of the partners in question is severely different to expectation. This is the case not just for homosexual (or even transexual) relationships, but also interracial and interfaith relationships. 

The nature of such an affinity means the need to constantly navigate unfamiliar waters and be pushed out of your comfort zone. Why this brings so much joy and reward when it sounds overwhelmingly inconvenient above anything else is actually pretty easy to justify. Which is kind of a moot point though, because lest we forget - no one needs to justify their relationships to others to make them valid. Love and its consequent sacrifices and dividends are never absolute. I feel devastatingly passionate whenever I articulate my thoughts on prejudice of any sort against these groups of people, because I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to know people who have been through exactly that in their relationships, which makes me feel protective of them and of anyone who might even be like them. And I’m not alone in this!

If you exist on the margins (in some manner of speaking), you’ve more than likely had your race/sexual orientation/culture exploited in the name of humour. The rest of us could feel empowered whenever we share a maliciously gleeful joke with friends who have everything in common with us, at the expense of people like you. Or we could all love the world enough to see how beauty can manifest in the most unexpected, seemingly unnatural and jarringly different ways. Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, right? 

I thought it apt to end off with a handful of PSAs that speak beautifully of acceptance, justice and equality. Nothing will change overnight, especially not the words of a nondescript individual flouncing around in cyberspace. But nothing has the hope of working unless we do the best we can with the voices we’ve been given. 

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