Claudia is sitting on the couch. At first, she is scared by my questions and answers with monosyllables. She doesn’t know it is like that for everyone I ask my questions to. Love is a lock and at first people are shying themselves from it.
It needs a bit of insisting in order to open people. We talk about families. Unlike Lockheart, Claudia knows why she loves her family. For her, it is more about acts of love rather than love itself. For someone who grew up in a « stable » environment, she’s unbelievably open on the matter.
Let me explain: Saturday night, I got tipsy with my friend Liow and met with two of his friends. When confronted with love, the four of us naturally divided in two teams: believers and skeptics. And it was as simple as the following: team believers’s parents were still together, while Liow and I, well, had dysfunctional families to deal with right from the start. As a result, we were the villains in the story. Am I too fucked up to love? Is it a misery loves company kind of shit?
Claudia’s parents are still together and strong. So, for her, the challenge is even bigger: she tells me she has to find the same love story than her parents (and let me tell you it is not an easy task as they have been together for 900 years and it looks like the smallest things, such as making soup together, is a source of bliss to them both).
So, if we recap, when parents are in love, it sometimes sets impossible goals for the child. When the family is fucked up, it just dissolves the love thing.
The weird paradox is when I interviewed The Mother. She was so sure of herself when giving her definition. I suspect her to be a bit of a Romantic, in the start-of-the-nineteenth-century-oh-life-and-love-and-death-and-feelings-let’s-look-pensively-the-horizon-with-a-slightly-suicidal-look meaning of the word. I have pretty much received zero education on love and sex. The Mother told me once « it is a gift from nature » and that was pretty much it.
When I asked her about love, she got carried away by her certitudes. Of course it exists, and it’s just marvelous, and all that. She knows love exists because she felt it. It is hard to win a discussion with her. But, then again, she didn’t seem to understand this wasn’t one. For me it felt like a load of crap. I knew how it went. What she was telling me about could not have been more different from the truth.
If I have to be completely honest (And I can, as my Very Dysfunctional Family doesn’t give a rat’s ass to what I write here), I don’t think I love my family. During my carpe the fuck of that diem in 2015, I cut ties with the whole of them. Now, sure, we get along, and I appreciate some of them. I have good times with them, and I recognize we are funny, interesting, witty and way more entertaining than the median family. Alas, I do not feel the love you’re supposed to feel for your family. Let’s face it: they have not been the best to me. I would also be lying in only depicting them as complete freaks. There are some things I like about them. It’s just… The love thing seems to have dried up. Or maybe it never existed. It’s just a word. Just a word. As I grow older and stupider, I realize how empty those words are, most of the time, when people use it.
A pal hugs me and says you know that I love you, right?
I don’t, because you don’t.
We are not in contact anymore.
Claudia talks about proving love. She loves her family because they have done stuff together, because they are a solid group, because they are here for her, because she feels the genetic proximity with them. I agree with her on that point. I feel close to my Sis’ because she is the closest genetic kin I have in the entire world and I think we are good friends. But, being honest still, I don’t love her. If I told her I did, I would be lying.
H, The Father’s sister, looks like a fragile papier de soie butterfly. H takes her strength from it. H oddly seems unbreakable as she delicately lights a cigarette (H hates that I’m trying to quit and hands me one: it appears I also hate to quit).
I don’t love H, but I like her. We are far enough fro one another to have a relationship. It’s hard to know what she thinks. H is like a Walden pond. She is very, very clever, and I love going through her books as she offers me some.
We talk a lot about him. I ask, I keep on asking in order to know more, to understand the many mysteries surrounding the man. The guy was not interested in his kids. However, when I speak to H, she cuts me: you can’t say that, Manon. Your father loved you very, very much.
There are some things I can’t say as he loves me so very much.
For me, that’s when the shit hits the fan and sprays us all. I mean, let’s get real here. Was I supposed to, like, love an asshole? It’s so unfair! I am obligated to love The Father! I know how it sounds. Of course, there are deep-wired angers and fears when I talk about it. It sounds like I am punishing The Father. However, it is not. The truth is: I would have had to be someone else to feel anything for the guy.
So, there are a lot of things I cannot grasp in what Liow’s friends or Claudia tell me. I wasn’t very surrounded, nor loved. I haven’t heard it much. I was pretty much on my own early on.
Every situation has good and bad in it. My Very Dysfunctional Family (VDF) might have dropped the shit on that fan when it came to raising kids and not being a manipulative-addicted-self-centered-freak, but it gave me who I am now, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
The greatest gift from VDFs is that when you survive them, you are free. I am free from all this bullshit and those love obligations. I have been able to discover the world on my own. And even though I have dear attachments to my family, I am free to go whenever I want. They try and bring me back into that muddy love shit, but I am free. God is dead! God is dead! When you kill the obligation of love within yourself, you realize God is dead. God is dead!
I am curious about what happened a long, long time ago. She is scared. She doesn’t really want to answer. But she feels she has to, and letting the weight of that memory go is hard. She’s scarred.
She got up the stairs, she found him holding my Sis’ and I, crying like a bitch and telling things like I love you or I’m sorry. Apparently, we didn’t know how to react. I don’t remember hearing a thing. I don’t remember him holding us.
I don’t remember anything.
Claudia also has a huge advantage. She believes in love because it was proven to her it does exist. Okay, she has her own shit-and-fan stuff. Thing is, I’m guessing all families are dysfunctional. You just need to survive their stories in order to be free. And the first one is to cut the crap about how awesome families are. Because families are just made of human beings and we are very, very far from being awesome.
When I compare the both of us, or even the whole of fucked-up-skeptical-us and the fucked-up-but-I-still-have-faith-them, I am a bit clueless.
What is love, when it is stripped from childhood traumas and projections and fantaisies?
What is love when you can’t feel it for your very own parents?
What is love, when you’re not allowed to be honest and say you don’t have it for the people who tried and destroy you?
What is love, when the people who are supposed to love you, hurt you instead?
Does anyone love me?
Does anyone love you?