I’ve now lost count of how many times I’ve opened and closed the draft of this piece; did it again yesterday, in fact, so I could write the Edison one (good lord, I didn’t want to do this one so much I RESEARCHED THOMASMOTHERFUCKINGEDISON. …whooboy, if that isn’t the depth of avoidance, I don’t know what is)
love is complicated
love is messy
love is pain
love looks NOTHING like the stupid-ass fairytales we were raised on
If there was a handbook for love, I missed every publication.
As my babes grow up in this beautiful environment that is becoming more forgiving, accepting, and welcoming, the Pride motto, Love is Love, can be stretched farther than its original intent.
Or can it?
Love is Love.
Such a seemingly black and white definitive stance on the matter; both a quiet defiance and loud declaration when in the context of LGBTQ+ matters of love. Whom a person chooses to love should be no one’s business but their own, right? After all, how can love be wrong?
Love is love.
Love is the highest form of connection. It is, so often, what we crave, what we seek, what completes us, what destroys us when it’s taken from us. In English, there is but a single word for love. I love coffee and I love my children. That’s it, a singular word to define something so crucial to our well-being.
Hebrew has but 1; same, Aramaic — perhaps this is why so many Christians are stunted in a true understanding of love — how can a man love a man as much as he is instructed to love his god? How are we to love our neighbor when they support the “wrong” political party, or worse, the wrong football team!?
Other languages have many more — Sanskrit has an astounding 96 (anyone want to start a study group to learn it with me??), Tamil has over 40, Hindi has 35, Arabic has 11, Spanish has 3, Japanese has 2; perhaps the most well-known list — the Greeks’ — have 7:
- Eros: romantic, passionate love
- Philia: intimate, authentic friendship
- Ludus: playful, flirtatious love
- Storge: unconditional, familial love
- Philautia: self-love
- Pragma: committed, companionate love
- Agápe: empathetic, universal love
Far as I can tell, Serbian has only one as well.
Perhaps that’s why Nikola used it in describing his relationship with a pigeon.
“I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them for years. But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light grey tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”
Certainly the admiration and affection he held for Mark Twain and Thomas Commerford Martin were philia — an intimate and authentic friendship — though he may not have said he loved them.
While he may have shunned eros, agápe, or even pragma love with a partner, to read his flourishing praise and stories about those closest to him exhibit a connection that was true and deep. He had stunning and startling relationships with so many people, he worked hard to be recognized — not just as an inventor, but simply as a person who wanted to connect and care for those who meant a great deal to him.
He fixed a train for Edison.
He made a machine that healed his assistant and Mark Twain.
He died trying to expand wireless energy for the world.
How much of a stretch then to accept that the feeding, care, and connection of a bird would not buoy him during some of his loneliest days as the world and his investors forgot him. (Twain died in 1910, leaving Tesla to live his final 33 years without his good friend and companion.)
Those of us who’ve loved (and lost) animals can certainly relate to the bond that exists between us — it defines storge.
Love is love
Love is complicated
Do it anyway