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What Is Love? The Multiple Definitions of Love

by Chapa, Photos: Vanessa Balderas, Models: Lily Lewis & Neftaly Giselle Herrera, Makeup Artist and Hairstylist: Alejandro Marchan by Hairpopstudio, Boutique: Sara Boutique

Love. What is love? Well, it depends how you use the word. It can be used to describe almost anything, from a sweater to a long-term relationship. But, to answer your question, love is a multitude of things. Love has power. Love has meaning. Love is loyalty and commitment, but love is also vulnerability. Love is complicated, but love is also scary. Love is messy at times. Love is hope. Love is love. 

Now, according to Oxfords Dictionary, the term love is defined, of one as many, as a mass noun that means “an intense feeling of deep appreciation.” What does that really mean? Society as it is known today has come up with its own interpretation, especially during national holidays like Valentine’s Day. Many people interpret the word as a mutual, passionate and internal feeling among two partners, giving it only one definition. But, is that the only type of love that exists? Only among two humans of the opposite or same sex who seek a life-long relationship? What about a mother’s warm hug on a cold sick day? A child’s innocent giggle at a peekaboo while you’re waiting in line to pay your groceries? A dog’s warm and wet welcome home because it missed its human all day? A best friend’s ice-cream sleepover after stupid Marco broke your heart? The thing is, it’s not A, B, C, or D. It’s all of the above. 

Here’s the truth about love, it takes many forms. It’s selfless, but selfish at the same time. It makes any living thing do the hardest and most sacrificing things for someone. Now, this coming from someone who has experienced love, being in love, heartbreak, and falling out of love,  I feel I have found a good sense on what the word actually means. Love is a word that is easily tossed from person to person. Growing up, Disney taught us that true love was meant for a prince and princess that lived happily-ever-after after conquering the evil villain who aimed to destroy their lives just like one way or another, they destroyed hers/his. The heroes aren’t always portrayed to be the good guys. Why don’t we change perspectives for a little moment, shall we? 

“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”

― Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Let’s take it back. If you ever read the 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” by Mary Shelley, you can grasp an idea of how love can be perceived in many ways and not only among two partners for a lifetime of commitment. For clarification, we are talking about Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, his no-name creation from the dead. Without painting a vivid picture, this monster was let out into the world without any sense of guidance of how society operated. Physically looking like something out of the extreme ordinary, people secluded him and blamed him for his indifference. Because of his looks, he found no love, but wanted to be loved. He had this force of nature inside him which he desired to pass on to the rest of the population, if only they were open to it and not abandon him. Here’s where you, as a reader, put into perspective the true definition of the word. An “I love you” is more than just a saying, it’s understanding, loyalty and companionship. 

To further analyze, love is bigger than you. You can invite love, but you cannot dictate how, when, and where love expresses itself. Love does not come with conditions, stipulations, or codes. It is inherently free. It cannot be bought, sold, or traded. You cannot make someone love you, nor can you prevent it. But, the special thing about it, is that love has no color, no ethnicity, no gender and no culture. People in the world we live in have blinded themselves to that. They’ve forgotten that love causes no harm, but rather invites unity. Love is family, and I’m not only talking about the blood related kind. Love is friendship. Love is relationships. Love is your hermano. Love is your compadre. Love has no borders, and it especially is not separated by any sort of wall. 

Love is inherently compassionate and empathic. This is the true nature of love, and love itself cannot be manipulated or restrained. Love honors the sovereignty of each soul. Love is free. So, dear reader, love. The world needs it, desperately.

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