The Greatest Love in the World is Unconditional

Unconditional

Love sure is the strangest thing
For some, the feeling will be fleeting
For some it endures – ever-lasting.

Some call her Agape sweet
Disinterested, she lies in the souls
That see beyond themselves – so discreet
Are they, soothing the deep-rooted holes
Of those hearts left incomplete.

Some say his name is Eros
Holding passion in a hand and fire
And pleasure and interest and chaos
Consuming, uplifting, giving power
To create and fulfil desire.

Some will find other names yet
Philia covets the mind – friendship
Is her twin. Family? Don’t forget
Storgê who presides over kinship
First among relationships.

But what is this sensation?
I can’t voice the words to describe it
Is it a distant intuition?
I can’t brush the hues that explain it
Will I know my direction?

When I closed my eyes tonight
No darkness – no doubt fell over me.
I had known no peace and no respite
But for all my reason this harmony
Kept playing, unconditionally.

Yes, unconditionally –
Yes, but with sun warmth, with heat too
With splendour, shivers of agony
Is how I love you.

Yes, unreservedly –
Beyond my existence or my pains
Beyond purple sunsets blurred with rains
Is how I’ll love you.

I will keep a safe place for you
To weep, whenever you need to
And a merry place for your heart.

When you’re afraid to fall apart
I’ll help you collect the pieces
Till, at last, the aching ceases.

I will play, laugh and dance with you
When boredom comes to upset you.
I’ll be who you need me to be.

A lover, a friend, a memory
A partner, a joke, a mystery
If it protects all of your dreams
If “you’re happy” is what it means

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I probably talk about love too much, and too often, but love is the strangest thing. We all have a different definition for it, and sometimes, it makes it extremely difficult to understand someone else’s point of view on the question, because deep down, we probably think that love, being universal, should be experienced in the same way by everyone.  I don’t know what love is. But I know what the greatest love in the world is to me – and it is the feeling I hold for this one special person.

I hope you all have a wonderful day,

Love,
Sacha 🌟

Treasure to Vulture

You used to be my treasure

But you betrayed the sanctity
And you destroyed the harmony
You disfigured the poetry
Of you and me.

Go and kiss the lips of youth
Walk and drink the skin of youth
Revel in the lack of truth.
I’ll forget you.

You used to be my treasure
You have become a creature
Empty, fake – mediocre
Nothing but a dead vulture.

Author’s note: When I saw the word treasure in my reader, I thought of all the words that rhymed with it and vulture struck me as a fairly spicy choice! So I tried my best to see how I could go from one word to the other. It was a intriguing exercise. Do other poetry writers do that here?

Love 🌟

Sacha

The Culture of Love?

Why did heartbreak hurt me so?

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about love and relationships. I am not sure I should say “lately,” because in a way, I’ve always thought about these issues a lot, even as a child. Yet, I have never been the kind of person who hops from relationship to relationship or contrives to make people fall for me.

When I was a teen, I always found myself “feeling in love” though, and of course, I never loved people I could actually be with. I have “loved” one of my professors, and the best-looking boy in high school and a few men who were older than me. I remember asking my mother why I could not have a boyfriend or a girlfriend as the other kids at school did. Her answer was quite simple, but I think she was right and only formulated a truth I already knew but did not want to see. She said: “That’s because you’re not in love with anyone. What you love is the idea of love.”

It was easier then to be in love with love than to actually try and be in a real relationship. There would be no rejection and no pain. I could create all these beautiful stories inside my head, and no one could ever take them away from me because I was in control. But then, one day, I really did fall in love, with a girl. And it hurt. I fell in love again, with another girl. And it hurt more. And then again – and on the moment I felt my heart crack open and shatter that time, I thought I would die. This is not just a frozen, cliché image. My heart was pounding; I had shivers down my spine; I could not eat, could not sleep, could hardly breathe…

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At that point, my only thought was “Don’t be fooled dear, there is no such thing as LOVE.” So I started reflecting on the idea of love once again. What was it that had made me so dreadfully hurt? What could possibly have caused such intense suffering? I am happy when I am alone. I don’t feel the need to have a lover or to experience these fluttery feelings you get when you first meet someone. I do not crave it. So what was it? Was it my pride that had been wounded? Was it the idea that our culture imposes on us that if you do not have a fulfilled love life you have accomplished virtually nothing, even if you are successful at work and have good friends because our society seems to tell us we must have it all? EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING? Or was it so painful because even though I did not need my lover, I actually had made a conscious choice to be with her? I just wanted to be with her and share with her?

The pride issue I think I have resolved. Of course, I am not a perfect angel of selflessness and disinterestedness, so yes, my pride must have been hurt a little bit. I guess that is just natural. What really hurt me though was being told that I was perfect and still losing the one person I loved so dearly. How could I be “perfect” and still not enough? How could perfect be discarded so easily and so quickly? It took me back to my own childhood fears, when my mother told me, even as I got straight As, that I could do better. That when I was naturally kind and loving, I was told that my love was not there or was not real. That my kindness and generosity were a social manipulation. That I was only good because I wanted  people to love me because I did not love myself at all. That all this so-called perfection was either fake or still not enough. I felt worthless and started questioning who I was and whether striving to be the best person you could possibly be (because I don’t think I’m perfect. No one is. And I don’t want to be perfect) was actually worth it.

When the rush of emotion had washed away a little, I came to the conclusion that I should not let my pain harden me into becoming a more selfish and nastier person though. Then, I would actually hate myself as I would not be respecting any of my personal beliefs.

So I wondered about the other questions. Yes, society wants us to have it all; and our culture sells us a image of love that is all passion and thrill without pausing to consider what love is. Love seems to have become just another product we want to consume. Of course, that is not how everyone sees it – I personally don’t and many of my friends do not either – but it tends to be presented in that way very often. Just think about all the love quotes on the internet!

And finally, there was the difference between needing and wanting. No, I did not need my lover to be happy. When I met her, I even knew being with her would probably mean problems and drama and hurt because I could feel she was troubled. And I was right. Still, I chose to stay because I loved her and I wanted to be with her, and I was ready to accept her for who she was, with the good and the bad because relationships are not just about the thrill, they’re about building something. One of my friends told me that you do not find the love of your life, you create it. And I think she’s right, so perhaps the grief of heartbreak was only enhanced by the feeling that the safe place I was trying to build for us together with her was being torn apart. It felt like watching my favorite poem or the painting I liked the most burning away. And it reminded me of all the hurt in the world that we cannot control – all the destruction… So I thought to myself: “the world is already so full of weeping, why would anyone want to add to it? Why generate devastation when you can build beauty?”

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But perhaps I am too much of an idealist and an optimist… And I know that the heart wants what it wants. It can’t be helped, but still, I’d like to hold on to these ideals.

Sorry about this terribly long post… I hope you enjoy it! Thanks to anyone reading  💙

Have a wonderful day,

Love,

Sacha

If I must lose you, or…

If I must lose you, promise me only that you will become a brighter, more accomplished person. That if I cannot spend this life with you, you will use the strength inside yourself to get better, that you will not let the apathy and fears that control your lovely mind take hold of you, but instead, endeavour to find your inner light and hold on to it forever so you can let this spark grow into the flame that I could always see within your soul.

If I must lose you, I can only promise you that I will not let myself wilt away, because you once told me I was your favourite flower and never wanted me to fade. All I can offer is to try and be studious, creative and good. To make my PhD the best work I can, become a better artist and complete the stories and the poems that I have begun to write. That I will not stop drawing, reading, writing or laughing because I am missing you.

I never wanted to lose you though… I never dreamt of this life without seeing you smile, without being the first to witness the look in your eyes as you wake up in the morning, or watching your eyes glitter with joy as you eat pomelos, grapefruit, mushrooms or spaghetti.

My heart brings tears into my eyes as it asks: “Who, then, will you share your reading anecdotes with? Who will read your poetry and who will you write it for, now? Whose happiness will you guard and whose soul will you cherish and blend with yours? Who will call you with a thousand questions and whose hand will you lace to yours? Who will you share the morning cup of coffee with and whose bread will you toast with jam and butter? Whose tears will you dry but your own?  Whose eyes will you simply, kindly look into?”

No one. No one’s. But if it means you can start to heal – I do not mind as much. If it means that in a month, or in a year, you can stand on your own two feet and look at yourself in the mirror thinking “I am happy” then it does not hurt as much, because I love you far beyond my own pains and desires – I love you so very much that all I ever want is for you to be fulfilled, even if it means that you must be forever away from me.

So if I must lose you, please be well, please be healthy, please be your truest, most beautiful and loving self, be the sublime, intricate, colourful sunset I fell in love with.

Careful

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My every word feels like a pin
Stuck in and out of your skin

I know I have to be
Careful
I do not want to be
Hurtful –

But how can I prevent the hurt
If you turn all my love to dirt?

I always have to be
Tactful –
I’m just tired to be
Thoughtful –

When you fumble through my heart
Try and tear it down, and apart

How can I ever show
I am caring?
How can I still be sure
I am feeling?

If you destroy the foundations I laid
And the wreaths that I have made

To lace your life to mine, and to heal
All of the wounds that you conceal.

I really tried to be
Careful –
But it has come to be
Painful –

To resist the waves of your silence
To fight your storms of defiance

I am starting to feel
Hopeless –
But I guess you could not
Care less.

 

What Sailor Moon taught me

Superheroes…

I spent half of the summer holidays in New Hampshire to help my best friend organize her wedding and to attend the ceremony. Her (now) husband is a fan of comics and writes articles about superheroes; it was expected, then, that the topic should pop in conversation. They said the X-men they identified with the most where Professor Xavier (for him) and Jean Grey (for her), and went on explaining that I probably would be Rogue. I was not entirely sure how I felt about it – I do not know X-Men well enough to say, though I do remember liking her character very much in the films and cartoons.

Yet, there was something unsettling about being compared to Rogue, as her power is to steal people’s memories and abilities, which often results in her unwillingly hurting them, even the ones who she loves dearly. But then again, I did not spend too much time trying to figure out the meaning behind it all – I get why they picked her for me and why they identified with Xavier and Jean, and as much as I enjoyed watching the X-Men cartoons as a young teenager, they are not my superheroes – I did not grow up with them.

My heroes, as a child, young teen and today, usually came from Manga and Anime and the one great heroic inspirations of my life were the Sailor Scouts in the Sailor Moon series, which I watched religiously every week after school, collected images and drew pictures of whenever I had the chance.

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I think I liked the idea that at the end of the day, they were just girls living normal lives (well, as normal as it gets when you transform into a magical girl and fight evil haha) and fighting for ideals that spoke to me: kindness, friendship, love, understanding… They were protecting people’s souls, hearts and dreams from creeping fears and doubts. Of course, there is something quite cheesy about it – I suppose there is naivety too in it, but as a child, watching my favourite character, Chibiusa, turn evil because she thought she was worthless and that no one had ever loved her and then finding the inner strength to go back to her former self affected me deeply. Because I, too, was a little girl, and I, too, doubted my value every day. Because these girls were not only Superheroes when they were dressed as Sailor Scouts fighting villains; they were heroes in that they never gave up on their ideals and their friends.

The lessons that I learnt watching Sailor Moon helped me become who I am, and who I am still working on being today. And sometimes, something happens that validates my belief in the power of forgiveness, friendship, love and understanding. I have had students who struggled with mental illness, or with lack of motivation to go on studying, and even living. There was not much I could do to help them, but I did my best, never stopped believing in them and encouraged them, trusted them and gave them whatever support I could offer without trespassing the limits of a student-teacher relationship.  These same students later sent me notes telling me that I had changed their lives and helped them find the strength to carry on. It makes me happy, not for me – I do not do the things I do to get any sort of social recognition – but for them. And in these rare moments, I, too, feel like I have become a Sailor Scout, and my own humble kind of superhero.

 

Love and Understanding

There was a girl with blood red lips
Always detached, cool and hip,
Defiant of the world,
She would not speak a word.

Yet, somewhere in her eyes
Shone stars and crystal skies
And dreams unheard…
She wouldn’t say a word.

     As I opened my WordPress reader this morning, I found a Daily Prompt on the theme of understanding, which, incidentally, was precisely what I wanted to write about today. So here I am, alone in a classroom at school, writing… It feels a little strange. The sky is overcast — the clouds are a pearly grey colour with splashes of white light here and there. They make the tall trees in the playground look bluer… I seem to see the world through a filter.

      Just like the world around me, just like the rolling waves of clouds in the sky, and the trees bowing their branches under the weight of the raindrops that gathered within their leaves, my mind is blurred. It is a little cliché to assume that I am one with the landscape. But I cannot understand the universe otherwise; even though I know that it must exist with or without me, it is only real to me as long as I am aware of it. If I were to cease upon the midnight, the raindrops, the leaves of grass and the morning dew on the soft-fallen petals of bloody poppies would all disappear with me…

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      Understanding… Understanding the world, understanding my feelings, hers… She is lying there by my side, with her hand laced to mine. We do not face each other; her eyes are wet, tears rolling silently down her temples and into her dark curls. She is an impenetrable fortress — no matter how high I climb, when I reach the arrow slits, all I can do is take a short peek inside the gardens of her mind. Poppies, cornflowers, daisies, cowslips and buttercups, each a thought I cannot pick. Would I understand them better were I to gather and plant them inside the gardens of my own mind?

        In love, understanding comes unspoken, wordless it grows in the touch of a hand and in the meeting of troubled eyes. I do not need her to word her thoughts; I can only accept all of her, even the parts I cannot quite explain. Sometimes, I know that she cannot make sense of the way I act. Sometimes, I know that our ideas have to make loops, twists and follow circumvoluted ways before they meet at last, but it does not matter, for in the midst of chaos, in the look of her eyes, I understand and feel her within me, warm, and close.

“The pain of being alone is completely out of this world, isn’t it? I don’t know why, but I understand your feelings so much, it actually hurts. ”
― Masashi Kishimoto

Teenage Love

Hello there!

Today, I would like to share a delightful little anecdote which made me feel happy and warm inside.

This year is my first as a high school English teacher. On my first day last September, I met a young philosophy teacher. It was also his first year, and we have since become really good friends. He is a sweet, clever and quite reserved man, the kind of person you can have very intellectual conversations with while still being able to talk about the silliest things. Quite a treat!

Last Tuesday, he came to see me in the teachers’ room and, as he sat beside me, he handed me a small piece of paper, carefully folded in a little square and said “Look what I found in my classroom today. I’m confused.” I took the note and read it.

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Here is the translation: “Hello, we don’t know each other, but you’re a philosophy teacher right? I have a question for you: why do men always want to be happy? Thanks a lot. I know we don’t know each other, but we never speak to strangers enough.” Yes, I know… I took a picture of the note. It may seem strange, but it was just so cute. How often do you get to have a secret message sent to you? It was almost otherworldly to me. I loved how fanciful it was – it seemed like we had slipped into a novel. My friend was still confused and I tried to help him see the beauty of the gesture. But he was quite unmoved, unfortunately…

We both wondered, however, who that mysterious girl (for we both knew it must be a girl) could be. I had a strange feeling I had seen the handwriting before, but I could not remember where. Of course, there was no way to find out. There are over 2,000 students in the school where we teach…

But then today, right after class, something utterly funny happened. Three of the kids waited for me and asked me how things were going between the philosophy teacher and me. I told them that we were colleagues and friends. They looked quite disappointed, but one of the girls started blushing. Her reaction spurred my curiosity – there must be something the matter with the philosophy teacher; it was unusual enough that they even knew his name, as Freshmen do not have any philosophy classes. So I simply asked how they knew him and the girl turned bright red. That’s when it occurred to me that she may be my friend’s secret admirer! I gave her a mischievous look and asked: “Melanie, you don’t happen to have written M. Saunier a note, do you?” The poor girl, who was already crimson, was shaken with an uncontrollable fit of laughter. She was the one indeed.

So here is how I discovered the identity of the mysterious note-sending girl. She looked very much smitten with my colleague, which made me feel a little sorry for her, but also happy because I loved her spontaneity and her drive. She was so keen, so enthusiastic! Her whole face sparkled with joy whenever she mentioned his name – it truly was the most touching sight. A snapshot of joy, love and youthful innocence.

The note she gave my friend is also interesting. First, there’s the question she asked: “Why do men always want to find happiness?” You could write whole essays on the subject, but to ask someone you do not know, but could possibly give you an answer and discuss the topic with you sounds to me like a wise gesture. Then, there’s the second part of the message: “I don’t know you, but we don’t speak to strangers enough.” There’s a core of truth in the sentence – we tend to seclude ourselves from others because we do not know them; we are afraid. Too afraid. Most people let themselves be controlled by fear. But she didn’t. She tried to make a connection, to reach out to someone, just for the sake of it. And that, I think, is beautiful.

“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag

Notes from the Land of Procrastination

Abstract 101

I have never seen myself as an overachiever… When I start working properly, though, I suddenly enter another dimension of productivity and concentration the existence of which seems quite unfathomable as I sit here before my computer, listening to Debussy’s mystical piano pieces.

The painting which serves as an introduction to this post is an accurate representation of the land of procrastination my mind has lately been lost into. There is an extensive mass of work piling up in my room, waiting for me to pick it up and order it into a coherent whole – articles to be read, papers to write, exercises, classes… – and yet… yet I am only sitting here thinking about a number of things I am not sure make sense, even to me. So why not get up and start studying then? I love studying: reading new poems, discovering new theories, and exploring terrains where I had never ventured before excites me with a passion. It lights up my spirit and makes my whole body quiver with pleasure! So why, I ask myself in a distressed voice, why am I stuck? How did I come to this point? When did I get lost in procrastination land?

It seems that it started with watching Testament of Youth, the adaptation of Vera Brittain’s famous memoir.

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If you are familiar with the film and novel Atonement, you’ll recognise the layout chosen for the poster of Testament of Youth.  Although the adaptation did not move me as much as Vera Brittain’s memoir did, it still reminded me of the deep loss this generation had to face and made everything I had to do or was going through appear extremely insignificant. For even as I write this post, somewhere, anywhere, a child is being molested, a woman raped, a mother is crying over the loss of a child, a young boy patrolling with a machine gun to fight enemies he has been taught to forget were fellow humans…

“I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”  ― Oscar Wilde

Then I think to myself: “you could help.” But can I really? I have thought about going to India or Africa, but I have mixed feelings about humanitarian assistance. It leaves an after-taste of colonialism and imperialism in my mouth, as in the 19th century, when advertising their Empires, thinkers and political leaders always put forward the idea of progress and the spread of civilisation, equality and democracy. Europeans were not going, officially, merely for the sake of expansion, but to teach foreign lands about the Western ideals that they had fought for themselves. Therefore, when we go to Africa, South America, India, or Haiti to build hospitals, to save populations from famine and dearth, I cannot say that we are not assisting the population, but I cannot say either that we are not extending and perpetuating Western control over these countries and continents.

Humanitarian assistance is not the only way to help, you could say. You could be a doctor, a nurse, a midwife, a social worker, a teacher… Well, I am a teacher. A very young, inexperienced one, but I do teach and my kids are not well-to-do for the most part so I know, deep down, that if I can reach but only one of them, then I will have done something good and important. And still… when I think about the misery of the world, the hate that men and women spread, the ever-repeated cycle of war and peace, progress and regression, crime and punishment, the situation seems hopeless and leaves me hanging in a paralytic state I must snap out of. Because it is preventing me from working for the kids I am trying to help through education, because it is stopping me from studying, because it cripples my ability to write poetry and prose and to paint.

No one should let their awareness of the woes of the world prevent creation though. I, as a little young woman, may not be able to do much, but doing nothing is worse. In concluding, I was torn between two quotations: strangely enough, both mention religion in different ways, but it is not the reason why I chose them. So I included the first earlier in the post, as it is more humorous, and will end on Martin Luther King’s selfless message of love as creation.

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”

― Martin Luther King