In the News this week: A boy murdered a girl because they broke up with him. Then he died from a gunshot wound. While we’re pointing fingers at his father for owning the gun, or the mental health industry for not seeing whatever they didn’t see, or the gun lobby for being the gun lobby, let’s also take a damned close look at the entertainment industry.
For a start, over the next few days listen closely to the lyrics of your music, and ask yourself how many of them talk about “ownership” or “heartbreak” or “no one else for me”. From John Lennon’s “Woman”, to every country song that’s not about drinking or a truck.
See, here’s the thing. There are some amazing relationships out there, but none…NONE…of them are more important than the individuals within the relationships. That’s not how we’ve been raised, though. From music to movies to television, even to books, we’ve been taught about “soul mates” and “split-apart hearts” and “perfect mates”, and it’s all BULLSHIT.
LOVE isn’t bullshit, what’s bullshit is that there’s only one truly great love in a person’s life, that without that person, we are incomplete, worthless. Of course, when we lose a great love our hearts break and we feel less than we were with them. We feel incomplete. That’s natural and the big risk of falling in love. The whole was greater than the parts…but the removal of one part does not negate the remaining parts!
The great myth is that life is over when that love leaves. It’s not. It might feel like it. It might hurt like hell, especially if the two hearts were intertwined in all the best ways, but the cool thing about humans is that we’re resilient. We survive. We can even bounce back.
But we train our children from a young age that life begins and ends with finding a mate. Maybe you didn’t do this to your children directly, but the movies, the books, the shows you shared with them, did. No date for the prom? You’re a loser. A virgin at 20, you must be ugly and worthless. Not married by 25, you must be gay or a freak or both.
Even our language indicates that a relationship equals ownership. “She is MY…” “He is MY…” “I HAVE a…”
I’m not pointing a finger at anyone else without pointing one at myself, too. I’m the biggest romantic on the planet. Just read my stories. But I also know that for every time my heart was torn out of my chest, it found its way back home, eventually.
I’m not saying we need to stop writing/producing/singing love stories, we just need to teach our children that life doesn’t begin and end with one other person, so that they grow up with a healthy attitude toward relationships.
Finally, to all my friends who have lost their spouse, their partner for life… I send sincere hugs. Your pain is real and valid and sometimes bigger than you are…but it is not more IMPORTANT than you are.
My rant is done. Hug your loved ones. And if you don’t have any loved ones, hug yourself…because your value is just as great.
Ciao for now.