5 Things that reshaped my perception about love as a subject
A concoction of books, lectures, poetry, podcasts, TV series and music
It seemed easier in my head when I thought of writing a blog on love (cuz Valentine's happened last week) but noooo it isn't. It's almost inexplicable.
Having been in a few romantic/toxic relationships, I understand some dynamics of it, parts where I could have been more gentle or where I expected too much or where I needed to step up and respect my feelings more, yada yada yada
Love teaches you a lot of things as you evolve with your partner and all this while, all those relationships made me what I am today - layer by layer (so, no regrets there). I started reading a lot more about love and human psychology last couple of years and it solved a lot of things for me.
Here are some resources that might help you as well :)
The world is sick for a surprisingly modest reason: we don’t understand love – and yet we are rather convinced that we do. Society is subtly highly prescriptive in this regard. It suggests we should ‘love’ in a very particular way: we should be constantly thrilled by our partner’s presence, we should long to see them after every absence, we should crave to hold them – want to have sex with them every day or so.
In other words, we should follow a script of Romantic ecstasy throughout our lives. But that's where it goes all wrong and no one describes the subject of love (critique on romanticism) better than Alaine De Botton.
1. How Romanticism Ruined Love by The School of Life (Lecture)
Alain explores how the classic Romantic model has sold us on a number of self-defeating beliefs about the most essential and nuanced experiences of human life: love, infatuation, marriage, sex, children, infidelity, trust.
Philosopher Alain de Botton has devoted the lion’s share of his life to exploring the complex psychoemotional machinery that, despite our best intentions, inflicts the wounds of love upon us and our partners.
Supplement it with his intellectually astute meditation in his book 'Essays in Love'. Highly recommended for anyone before/after/while they are in a romantic relationship. A hip, charming, and devastatingly witty rumination on the thrills and pitfalls of romantic love.
“Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.”
2. Love After Love by Derek Walcott (Poetry)
A poetic Ode to relearning to be at home in ourselves after a heartbreak.
The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
3. This is Us on Disney Hotstar (TV Series)
Perhaps that one TV show which made me teary-eyed the most. Unless you live under a rock, you must have seen someone gush on social media about This Is Us.
OMG YOU GUYS “THIS IS US” IS SO GOOD. Sounds familiar?!
If you don't believe the reviews, trust me IT'S SO GOOOOOOD. But why is it so popular?
The answer is simple – in the TV landscape where monster-fighting kids, and AI cowbots leading revolutions in corporate dystopia, This is Us took TV back to basics and instead focused on the characters and their own personal journeys.
It’s a simple premise, following the stories of three siblings told at different points in their lives. Love is a central theme that runs throughout.
It will make you relate so many things (and cry at the same time) and I vouch that you will end up recommending it to all your buds. Also, probably a series with the best soundtrack.
Love is an impulse which springs from the most profound depths of our beings, and upon reaching the visible surface of life carries with it an alluvium of shells and seaweed from the inner abyss. - José Ortega y Gasset
4. Kamasutra, Sex and Romance Secrets with Seema Anand on The Ranveer Show (Podcast)
In a country where conversations about sex are flagged as taboo, Seema Anand does a splendid job on explaining the history of sex, sexual expectations and how they are shaped from both male and female perspectives, how to make our sexual lives more enriching and much more.
Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. - Iris Murdoch
5. Love Lexicon by Esther Perel (Podcast + YouTube video)
The psychotherapist Esther Perel has changed our discourse about sexuality and coupledom with her TED talks.
In this lovely animated adaptation of her On Being interview, exploring the essential elements of love as a practice, the delicate relationship between play and risk, the cyclical nature of passion, the osmosis of desire and self-worth, and how the concept of ambiguous loss illuminates the modern experience of loneliness.
Where the myth fails, human love begins. Then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws. - Anaïs Nin
Other links I found useful
How to be single on NPR (Comic)
On finding solace and marveling on being single while cultivating mindfulness
All About Love - New Visions by Bell Hooks (Book)
A spiritual handbook, weighty with platitudes, yet refreshed with some thoughtful analyses that offer seekers a way to explore love’s meaning, (or meaninglessness).
The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story by Maria Popova (Children's Book)
On a real scientific event and inspired by a beloved real human in the author’s life, this is a story about science and the poetry of existence; about time and chance, genetics and gender, love and death, evolution and infinity.
One of the wonders of snails is that they can make babies without a mate, because every snail has a body that is both male and female.
Three Under The Rain (Comic + Illustrations)
Illustration art by a couple and their dog on everyday life (Super cute stuff!)
Quotes that made me go W--A--A--O--O--W
Child of Glass by Beatrice Alemagna
I want to learn how to speak to anyone at any time and make us both feel a little bit better, lighter, richer, with no commitments of ever meeting again. I want to learn how to stand wherever with whoever and still feel stable. I want to learn how to unlock the locks to our minds, my mind, so that when I hear opinions or views that don’t match up with mine, I can still listen and understand. I want to burn up lifeless habits of following maps and to-do lists, concentrated liquids to burn my mind and throat and I want to go back to the way nature shaped me. I want to learn to go on well with whatever I have in my hands at the moment in a natural state of mind,
certain like the sea.
Songs that I'm listening to
The Art of Making Love - Big Words
Mystery of Love - Sufjan Stevens (Speaking of love and not talking about 'Call me by your name' should be a sin)
Build it Better - Aron Wright
Strange - Celeste (Mind = Blown)
Khudaya Ve - Salim Merchant (Have you heard him live? Boi he is too good)
Drifting Away - Khai Dreams
Watch Me - Grey Reverend (From This is Us latest season 6, my partner and I have been listening to this on loop)
How did you spend Valentine's? Do you have any resources to share on the subject of love? Feel free to connect :)
As always, I appreciate your feedback (suggestions, critiques, positive reinforcement) as well ideas that inspire you, reading/podcast recommendations etc.