Love Leaves Us Open
I have a plastic bottle of water in front of me. It’s not yet opened, so the water is still filled to its brim. I grab the bottle from the table, and I press one of its sides with my thumb: the bottle is heavy and hard. Nothing happens. I smile, because I think I might know why nothing happened to the bottle even with me firmly pressing on it.
So I opened the bottle, and I drink out the water. Now the bottle is empty, and thus it’s no longer heavy and hard. I pressed my thumb against it again, and this time, the spot I pressed caves into a dent. Good, I say to myself, as I always knew it was the water inside that made the bottle heavy and hard — as the bottle itself is just a fragile piece of plastic.
After a while, I refill the bottle with some water, but the dent still remains. I place the bottle back on the table, but though it stands, you can tell it’s not balanced and might fall over at the slightest touch. The bottle is no longer the perfectly shaped plastic vessel it was once, so I dispose it after my experiment.
Now, imagine yourself as a plastic bottle of water. Imagine you being hard to break because you are filled with so much love inside you. Imagine someone taken interest in you just so that you can ease their thirst for love. Imagine this person leaving you empty after they have had their desire fulfilled through you – after they have had their fill of you – and dumping you because they have found someone else filled with what you no longer have.
The fact you have been emptied of love (water) doesn’t mean you are no longer human (bottle); but what this emptiness does is that it leaves you susceptible to being hurt. Love (water) made you (bottle) strong, and now that it’s gone, you are vulnerable to being broken – and you are indeed broken when the same person that made you empty leaves you with a dent.
This emotional scar (which is very similar to a plastic bottle being dented) can’t be healed, even when another person comes refilling you with love. That previous dent remains with you always, making it difficult for you to stand strong like you were before the emptiness and the dent came along.
When it comes to love I like to think we are somewhat similar to a plastic bottle — beautifully shaped fragile vessels – and that what makes us strong isn’t what we are but rather what is inside of us. But the moment we allow ourselves to be robbed off this quality, when we allow ourselves to be emptied in the process of loving and being loved, we only leave ourselves vulnerable to emotional dents at the hands of someone who doesn’t see anything wrong with taking advantage of what we have now become.
Even if we later find someone who would refill us with love, it still doesn’t change the fact we carry a scar; rather we only hope that this new lover truly loves us regardless of our dent, and will also be there to hold us up when we are no longer able to stand as steadily as we once did before the dent.
This analogy might not be entirely perfect, but this is essentially how relationship works – especially for first time lovers. Often we are everything before falling in love, and we feel like nothing after it breaks us. Loving again might come with some healing that takes away our emptiness, but that in itself doesn’t leave us bereft of the emotional or mental scars we inherited from being in a disappointing or abusive relationship.
Love is good – I have no doubt it is — but often love makes us susceptible to being hurt by those we love or who claim to love us. Which makes love very flawed, and perhaps, risky too. Talking and writing about love bores me, but when you know what it means to love someone completely, and yet not get the same level of commitment from them, it makes your understanding of love confused; and often this confusion would have you subconsciously dwelling on the topic, just to give yourself a chance at understanding why is it you failed at being loved the way you needed to be love. In many ways, I’m an empty plastic bottle with a dent too, and perhaps writing about love is my own way of being refilled.