"And I found that all the world could love you save for one. And I don't know why it is, but that kiss will be the haunted one. You'll pine and weep and you'll lose good sleep and you'll think your life has come undone, until you learn to turn and spurn that bitter wind." -- Ferron, 'Cactus'
There is an intense amount of pressure placed on teens today, on teens always. They receive this pressure from parents, from teachers, from coaches, from self, and from those love objects. My heart really goes out to those students who come to me after a break-up, whether they are the initiators or recipients -- love is a painful thing. I particularly feel deeply for those who were the initiators, but now feel trapped by the threats of those who were the recipients. I'll illustrate this.
A girl came up to me after my show the other day and she was frustrated because her ex would not leave her alone. He kept calling her, telling her how much he missed her and how depressed he was without her in his life. During these conversations she would stay firm, telling him that she cares for him, but she cannot romantically be with him anymore. It was getting out of control for her. He then increased the intensity of his messages, telling this girl, that without her, he was unable to function and now felt suicidal. He started making suicidal threats, if she would not be with him. She still refused, but was now living in constant fear.
Oh, love's jungle! Unfortunately, this desperation is not just relegated to the teenage wasteland; it is equally dispersed in the grown-up fairyland. What do you do if you are confronted by a former lover in this manner? That's a toughie. Create some distance, without rudeness or coldness. Also, telling that former lover, in direct terms, that threatening suicide is not o.k. -- this will not get the job done. Be angry, but be gentle -- you are dealing with a heart.
For those of you who threaten ending your life, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS. You survived before you met your love object, and you can survive without him or her. Screw Romeo and Juliet (that play sickens me). See love as pathways of growth -- "the world owes us nothing; we owe each other the world." -- not as a destination. Within this life are many destinations, within your love there are many vessels. Love must flow free or it fails to be love. Possession is never love. We cannot possess each other for we are each the wind.
I leave you with the words of one of my favorites, Kahlil Gibran. This is what he says on love:
"When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love."