Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Avenue to Love

Tons of stories, poems and songs have been written about it, and yet it still plagues us. What is love? How do we Love? Why don’t we Love? Who should we love? Who shouldn’t we love? What do women want? How do you make a man love you?

And there have been as many answers as there are questions. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Men can’t love. Women only want you to serve them. Beauty will guarantee you love; fame will win it for you, it is money, no, the answer is just stay young, don’t grow up or old. Don’t be too smart, men don’t like smart women; be very controlling, women like men who are that way. Don’t show him or her that you care, he or she will take you for a sucker. The person who cares less is the one who has the upper hand in a love relationship.

Some have said that we are afraid of love. We do not fear love, we all want it, crave it, and are searching for it every minute of the day. I once read something where a man walks into a place of business and the receptionist asks, “Are you looking for someone sir? And the man responds “We are all always looking for someone.”

It is not love that we fear; it is intimacy that scares us like hell. What is intimacy? It is the ability to be open with another person, to let down our guards, to let ourselves be vulnerable. It is the ability to be able to look the other in the eye and hold his gaze with happiness.

Fear of intimacy is what makes us decide to take that call on our cell phone when we are having coffee or dinner with our friend, or just walking down the street with her. We are not with the person on the phone and we are not with the person right by us, we are not with anyone. It is fear of intimacy that makes us turn on the radio in the car rather than talk to our children, and it is what is actually behind that fight we started when the person that we care about was going away.

It is that same fear that makes us curb our enthusiasm and stops us from giving our neighbor all of our 32 watt smile when we see him, or from showing our co-worker that extra kindness, or hugging our daughter as if we would squeeze the life out of her, or telling our son ‘I love you’ at least twenty times in a day.

Most of my friends have dogs and their excitement when a guest arrives or leaves their house is simply priceless, dogs are built to love and they are not afraid of intimacy. They are the best teachers on the subject of love.

The Yorubas (Western Nigeria) have a proverb which translates to “It is pointless to hide your naked body from the person who will bury you when you die.” We are with the people that we love and who we want to love us, and yet we are afraid to let them see us as we really are. And this is the one big obstacle to loving. We want love but we are afraid to be vulnerable.

Feasts of Phantoms
a novel by Kehinde Adeola Ayeni
-- ISBN 978-0981393926
Available your local bookstore, a host of online booksellers and directly from the Publisher Genoa House.

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