“[Love] isn’t urgent, it isn’t stressful, it isn’t about pity.
I don’t think that to love someone else you should have to
I’m not sure why, but I’ve read a lot of books written by female comedians. [Proof here, and here.] It started when I joined a “book club” with my friends, that never amounted us meeting or discussing said books… but, I digress. This genre is typically an easy read, it’s entertaining, witty, and tends to address larger issues of how women are treated and perceived in a male-dominated industry. For my birthday last year, a friend got me Whitney Cummings’ book, I’m Fine …and Other Lies. While I am familiar with Whitney Cummings, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of her work; I can remember watching a bit of one of her shows or maybe stand-up and thinking she was pretty cool. At any rate, I gave her book a go.
I learned a lot of information about her: from her struggles with codependency, relationship issues, and severe anorexia, to her very personal experiences with different forms of therapy. With each chapter I became more and more surprised with how dysfunctional her life actually was, and how she managed to turn every bit of it into something positive. There was one chapter that really resonated with me: it started out about how she gravitates towards rescuing pit bulls, explaining that they are a misunderstood breed; often a product of poor training or having been taken from their mothers too young. Pit bulls are the most common dog breed found in shelters, and as a result the most frequently euthanized. One day, she came across a year-old blue pit that was only a couple days away from being euthanized and in desperate need of a home. She ended up taking him in and naming him Billy.
Now her game plan wasn’t to keep Billy, as she already had 3 doggos of her own. Her goal was to figure out his triggers, provide some much needed impulse control training, help him heal from the previous abuse he had experienced, and find him a forever home.
Long story short, she got into a… situation with Billy – and through a combination of poor impulse control and razor-sharp teeth – she found herself with half of her ear dangling from her head. [Side note: I highly recommend reading this book to get all the details, because it’s a pretty crazy story.] But the lesson behind this experience is what really stuck with me. Cummings goes on to explain, what she did with Billy is similar to what she does in relationships – getting herself into a bad situation because she underestimated what she was dealing with. All of this stemmed from an innate addiction – to love.
Some examples of how love addiction can manifest in relationships: ignoring red flags and rationalizing unsavory behavior; glorifying a person instead of accepting who they are showing you they are; falling for someone’s potential instead of who they actually are; letting your world get smaller and making the person (or pit bull you’re trying to rescue) become your primary focus.
And here was the kicker…
“I constantly gave points to men for things that should be filed under ‘the least you can do.'”
Let us all take a moment to remember that your significant other does not earn bonus points for things such as (but not limited to): calling you, wanting to spend time with you, not cheating on you, not lying to you, etc. Things that should be considered bare minimum requirements of being in a committed relationship does not warrant praise. Let me repeat: the bare minimum. Does. Not. Warrant. Praise. Let’s hold our significant others to a higher standard and let go of those who don’t live up to that standard. Don’t accept anything less than exactly what you deserve, and especially don’t do so in the name of love.
“It took losing an ear for me to learn to take it slow with people, friends, work relationships, house hunting, hair color decisions, and the animals I bring into my home.” Cummings goes on to remind us to take people at face value instead of projecting our expectations/hopes/dreams onto them. You won’t change someones neurology or value system just by loving them. Love has boundaries, and we shouldn’t lose ourselves for the sake of it. Don’t confuse love with sympathy. And don’t confuse rescuing someone with intimacy.
Thanks for the tip hidden in this gem of a chapter, Whit. < 3