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life and love and why

i think that's the title of a switchfoot song. i bought their first three cd's before i left for vacation and listened to them all the way "home" in the car, but i have no idea if that's remotely close or if it's even the song i am now singing in my head.

but i digress. i just liked it for the title of this entry.

while i was "home" last weekend, i reconnected with several very good friends. one night in particular, a friend and i were saying our goodbyes in front of another friend's house. we hugged and parted, and as often happens, we were still throwing comments back and forth as we were walking to our cars. then, for our final final parting, at a distance of about thirty feet, she yelled, "love you!", and without a second's hesitation i responded, "love you too!"

something startled me about that transaction. we often tell each other this in phone calls, face-to-face, etc., so that's not the surprising part. i suppose it took me slightly off guard since i don't believe i've ever actually YELLED that to anyone at such a distance; but still, not that shocking. no, what startled me the most was what i enjoyed the most: the response, the yelling, the affection, all of it, all of it was done with no second thought. it wasn't a decision to be made, but a natural reaction. despite being taken off guard and despite my natural aversion to over-affection, it was a supremely comfortable moment.

this all brought to mind something i mull over once in awhile, regarding those three little words [or two, if you tend to yell them informally]. there are people in my life who i love and who love me back and yet nothing has ever, is ever, and might not ever, be acknowledged verbally. and for whatever reason [they are various], though it would be nice if things were different, i am okay with this. and there are people in my life who i love and who love me back and with whom such verbal transactions are common and, most importantly for this mulling, mutual. i initiate, they initiate, all is well. and then, there are people in my life who i love and who love me back, and with whom i initiate and receive responses... but who don't initiate. and i realize this sounds superficial, like i'm keeping score or something. and i'm willing to admit that i am, indeed, superficial. but i will still continue on with this, because frankly, it unnerves me. and it makes my heart wonder about things that my mind doesn't feel the need to BECAUSE IT KNOWS BETTER.

the funny thing is, i'm a bit of a chameleon when it comes to this. with friends who aren't particularly affectionate or touchy-feely, i tend to be more reserved in that area. with friends who are more demonstrative, i'll likely take their cues and be a little more free. truth be told, i'm much more affectionate than i ever previously realized. so if given the opportunity, i'd most likely rather give you a bear hug than a wave goodbye. however, i hate feeling awkward and uncomfortable, and even more than that i hate making other people feel awkward and uncomfortable; so a simple wave will do if i suspect a hug [or, God forbid, saying 'i love you'] would make you run in horror.

and now this all brings to mind a sad truth that i suppose i knew but didn't want to think about until just now: i really like to know what the response will be before i say such things. and when the responses aren't quite what i expect them to be, it throws me into a bit of a controlled panic. do they just think i'm crazy? i shouldn't have said that. now they're weirded out. what now? and so on and so forth. oh, the horror. such a hard life i lead. yes, folks, these really are the things i think about. when i'm not thinking about sleep. or food.

a catch-22 is that maybe those people in the first group i mentioned are just like me. and if i initiated, they would respond. hmmm.

and of course the real question is: what's wrong with you? why does it matter? say what you feel, mdog, and shut up already.

such is the joy of our insecurities.

Posted on Sunday, June 5, 2005 at 10:36PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments8 Comments

Reader Comments (8)

i hear ya. my latest blog is somewhat similar (& always less eloquent than your thoughts), but more geared towards strangers' reactions.
when i was home last week i ran into a hs classmate in the mall. he opened his arms wide & gave me a hug. hadn't seen him in at least 2 years (probably longer since i don't keep in touch) it was bizarre.
i have my friends i hug & those i don't. the one i'm closest to & connect with most, neither of us are huggers, but i'm finding out more & more, like you, that i'd much rather give a hug than not. there's just that insecurity of it not being reciprocated & the awkwardness that follows one of those halfa$$ one-armed hug/pat on the back.
ahhh, insecurities, like potato chips, can't have just one.
Jun 6, 2005 at 10:38AM | Unregistered Commentermar
i'm a chameleon, too. i hug friends who are huggers -- even kiss on the cheek those who are cheek-kissers -- but don't hug those who aren't. sometimes i wish more of my friends *were* huggers, if only so i could be hugged more. i love hugs. i have one friend who hugs me so hard it hurts, and i'm actually not fond of it. she's always been told she gives great hugs, so i think she goes above and beyond in that respect. ouch.

all that is to say, if anyone ever wants to hug me but doesn't know if they should, go for it. i'll most likely reciprocate. :)
Jun 6, 2005 at 12:20PM | Unregistered Commenteramo
ah... so i am not alone.

how about the verbalizing? am i alone in that?
Jun 6, 2005 at 06:38PM | Registered Commentermdog
the only person i regularly said 'i love you' to, outside of my family is, well, you know the story, if you catch my drift. *sigh*
i don't say it to my friends & i'm not sure why. *scratching my head in bewilderment* maybe the same reason as the hugging/touching issue.
Jun 6, 2005 at 06:42PM | Unregistered Commentermar
i am much more comfortable "verbalizing" i love yous via the written word. i rarely say it aloud to my friends, and even only when prompted by my parents or other family members. i don't know why, when i know that i love my parents and family so very much. it makes me feel like a bad daughter/sister. :(
Jun 6, 2005 at 11:29PM | Unregistered Commenteramo
mdog.. i love you!

seriously, i love that you can "go there" in a blog about a moment that took 1.5 seconds.. and really be completely honest.. you sooo coo, rilg!!

i'm totally insecure about stuff like that too, should i say it, shouldn't i, i said it last time, did s/he reciprocate, should i hug, of course.. he's a relative, but i hugged him when i said hello.. yada frigg8n yada!!

we's all just a ball of insecurities! just be yourslef.. it's lovely!
Jun 16, 2005 at 10:24PM | Unregistered Commenterlana
thanks, lana. i love you too. :D

i'll just try to go ahead and be my lovely slef.
Jun 16, 2005 at 10:36PM | Registered Commentermdog
Jun 18, 2005 at 10:54AM | Unregistered Commenterlana

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