Falling in love (even for five minutes)

golden-dog-72

PART ONE

I have a personality something like a nice mellow golden retriever. I quite simply love to love. Love to love you, Baby. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Wag, wag, wag.)

If I had my way, I would openly love anyone. I’m aware how unrealistic that is on our troubled planet, but in my dream world, loving openly, freely, and enthusiastically would be a brilliant way to live. I have a natural inclination to look for the good in people; it simply feels better to me to look for good than to look for bad.

I think it would be great not to have to censor my attraction for people. If I liked something about someone I would like just to say so. I could talk about anything without filtering for political correctness or worrying how the other person might misinterpret my words.

The love that I speak of is not always nor not even necessarily romantic or erotic. Yet for the most part social forces have dumbed down love and sex to the level of a Jughead comic or a Hallmark card. If a comment can be taken as a romantic compliment, it becomes one. So on the slight dangerous side, for example, if I, a male, were to tell a female that I loved how her pink, fleshy lips looked, oh, my, God!

Some people would be threatened or instantly offended by such a remark, no matter how innocent and complimentary it may be in my mind. It would automatically be taken as a suggestive sex wish or a come-on. It would be cast as erotic or romantic because in the Jughead world we talk about physical characteristics of people we are attracted to when we want to share an experience with them. In the old days this would translate to the ever-ubiquitous “Va-va-va-voom!”

“Who, me?”

Then comes the issue of appropriate versus inappropriate behavior, the definitions of which are becoming much murkier these days. Appropriateness is not objective. Excluding flat-out illegal harassing activities, what constitutes inappropriate behavior fluctuates from person to person and from situation to situation.

One woman in a committed relationship might like to hear compliments about her pink, fleshy lips. Another may hear it as disgusting. She might think or say “You can’t say that because I’m taken” as if any possibly flirty comment is invasive and needs to be met with a strong defense.

Imagine a world where a golden retriever is put through human scrutiny whenever he or she  comes up to people to ask for a pet. “I can’t pet you because I am taken. Go away! Shoo!”

For the most part, I keep my yummy-thought-spewing mouth shut. I have learned the art of not sharing those wonderful, delicious thoughts I have about people. There are many unopened gifts gathered underneath the consciousness tree because I have such an active beauty-seeking mind.

PART TWO

When I am attracted to someone for whatever reason, what’s happening psychologically is a process called mirroring. Admiring something in someone else reflects something inside me that I feel good about or that makes me happy.

We’re brainwashed to think that when we are attracted to someone, or to someone’s qualities, that it’s all about who and what that person is. We’re taught how that person bewitches us or drives us crazy or casts a spell on us or is even better than us. Our love songs, romantic movies, erotic movies, and countless other sources lull us into giving the object of our affection huge gobs of emotional control over us.

Yet the truth is that feeling admiration/desire is as much a reflection of who we are as individuals. It reflects our inner landscape—what’s going on inside our minds. If I have loving feelings for a woman whose creativity I admire, it’s as much about my creativity as it is about hers. I notice her creativity because I value mine. And that goes for any other trait I am drawn to.

So the feeling of falling in love (even if it’s for just five minutes) is as much a world of inner discovery as it is being charmed by another. It’s a concentration of energy inspired by someone yet also generated from within me.

I can fall in love at the drop of a hat—or virtually any other article of clothing. I look at someone and appreciate something about that person and feel a burst of energy which I associate with the falling in love phenomenon. It doesn’t mean I need to “have” them (whatever that means.) It means that they are stimulating my neurons.

Although most of our culture thinks of love in physical terms because that’s what we’re taught, love for me is also an energy burst, an upward mood swing, a sense of delight or creative stimulation. This welling-up of energy loves to be expressed, which in this case means communicated or shared. When that crosses into the area of “inappropriate” in the land of romantic boundaries, I just love privately within my inner nature park.

People often wonder why I am so quiet. Perhaps it is because I have too much good to say.

PART THREE 

After having thought about mirroring for awhile—years—I have come to see it as a way we love and express ourselves. So how does that work if I as a man am particularly attracted to a woman with fleshier lips? Does her physical anatomy have anything to do with me? Strangely, yes!

Body parts turn out to be tagged with symbols. Usually unconsciously, sometimes not, we assign symbolic meanings to things including body parts. This symbolic meaning will accompany any interaction that takes place between people. Perhaps I imbue a woman with thicker lips with the symbolism that she is very sensual, would be lovely to kiss, has a more generous personality.

Of course, this is entirely subjective and, as they say, subject to change without notice. My first impulse may be to be attracted or not attracted to a feature for a given reason which could instantly change with the flow of circumstances.

Meanwhile, any given person is much more than one body part or attractive feature, so this symbolic interaction is happening in many realms all at once. Everything we do involves working with the symbols that we have assigned to countless physical and metaphysical qualities—and with those other symbols people have created in their lives.

PART FOUR

The irony will always be that each individual has his and her own symbolic context through which everything is filtered. The outside reality is inwardly perceived.

Realizing that not everyone likes a golden retriever personality in a human being, I know to control my behavior in an affection-neutral style. I know not to express myself without editing for generally accepted standards of appropriateness.

It makes me incredibly dull. Sometimes it means putting my tail between my legs.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Falling in love (even for five minutes)

  1. Penny says:

    Joshua….how I LOVED reading this post. I feel free now to say “I love you” and truly mean it without it being taken the ‘wrong way’. I LOVE your Golden Retriever personality, your ability to ‘feel’ beyond words and societies judgements. You are one of the ‘new’ human beings who will lead us out of this ‘small boxed’ society. THANK YOU 🙂

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      Thank you for the lovely feedback, Penny. As someone who is sensitive to words, I have long been frustrated by how few words there are for love and how confusing it gets to express love. Even calling myself a “lover” is wrought with danger these days. So I very much appreciate that you got the message!

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