My love is not corrupt, no matter what I have been taught. Fearing my love will be seen as corrupt keeps me from the power of love in my life.
Love is a powerful force in peoples lives. When the dancers in “A Chorus Line” look back on what they did for love, they remember things that they would not have done for any other reason. Love really does make us invincible, make us powerful, make us crazy.
To maintain social order, though, society needs to blunt that force of love, needs to channel it into nice, acceptable desire.
We get told that our love is corrupt, sick, perverted and are told what is acceptable for us to love.
In “The Red Shoes: On Torment and the Recovery of Soul Life,” Clarissa Pinkola Estés discusses the old tale of the girl whose handmade red shoes were taken away from her as being not in the proper style and who then replaces those shoes with commercial shoes that take over her legs and begin to dance her to death until her feet are chopped off.
When the world tells us that our deep, pure, essential love is corrupt, we can’t choose not to love. Rather, we can only choose to put that love into the permitted substitutes, the commercial and approved objects which were chosen to support the tame social structure while denying the wildness of handmade love.
So much of the deep inner power of gender has been harnessed like this, taken and twisted by smart marketers who want to convince us that using their product is the way we become a better woman or a better man. Gender is twisted away from something essential to something social, away from a call of the heart to a demand of the culture. This marketing twist makes gender feel oppressive and demanding rather than liberating and personal.
To do that, though, the first thing they have to teach us is that we don’t really know what we love, teach us that our love is corrupt if it doesn’t fall into approved and controlled lines. If they can’t teach us not to trust our own love, they can’t teach us that their manufactured substitutes are the only things we should trust to get us what we need to fill our soul.
I often feel that call not to trust my love. Decades of being trained to go into my head, to put walls around my tender and vulnerable heart have created powerful habits of defence and isolation.
To bond over love, I have to act on my love everyday. As long as I keep what I love buried because I am sensitive to having my deep, powerful, inner love called corrupt & sick, I can can never use that love to climb over obstacles, never create deep connections with others with love, bonding over the power of love in our lives.
To act on my love, my crazy and deep love, I need to feel affirmed in the idea that my love is not corrupt. I need to know that it isn’t what I do out of love, like take care of my parents for a decade that makes my love tenable, rather it is the love itself, queer and feminine and raging that is beautiful and of value.
It’s not what I did for love that matters, it’s what I do from love that counts. It’s what I do from the love that dare not speak its name, or at least dare not show its fashion sense.
If we all trusted our deep and authentic love, rather than trying to stuff that hole with manufactured simulations sold to us and that then own our soul, we might be able to trust that it is our content than counts and not the way we obey conventions.
My love is not corrupt. I don’t need to hide it. I feel better, more present and more alive when I don’t struggle to suppress it.
But changing the habits of a lifetime, well, that’s hard, especially with very skimpy support for that change.
Love is not rational. But it is, I suspect, the essence of what makes us human, even more than the ability for thought, symbol manipulation and cooperation does. After all, why do all that other stuff if not for love?