preferential treatment

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein21 Comments

I will always prefer vanilla to chocolate.  It’s a matter of preference and taste.  I think there’s something more feminine about vanilla. It reminds me of party dresses, balloons, and record players.  Of my mother and how she kept her nightgown tucked beneath her pillow.  Vanilla is a memory to me.  Stepping on a stool to help my mother whisk.  Scraping the specks of it from a cleaved pod, running a spoon through the nape of it.  Vanilla is prettier to me than chocolate, and certainly more tasty.  I’ve always preferred it.  I can’t help it.  I think love works this way, or should.  But maybe that’s lust.  Maybe love is when it’s not about your "heart" but about your decision.  Love is when your intellect gets in the way.  Which is everything movies and art tell us it’s not.

I don’t know if there’s a more when it comes to love.  I don’t believe people when they say they love me more now than in the beginning.  I believe in less, loving less now than then at the start, but then it wasn’t really love, now was it?  Forget romantic love.  Take a mother and child.  You don’t love more or less; you just love.  There isn’t a more to it.  More implies time makes it fuller, love blooms as we grow.  I don’t think it works that way.  Love just is or isn’t.  Sometimes we forget this and try to remind our lovers with candles and cake and our best behavior.

I hate when someone tells me they love me more now.  That they didn’t think it was possible, that it grows each day.  I don’t love that way.  And if there were no word for love–if it was just “feel” instead–then really, what we’re saying is "I feel more for you now," which means I used to feel less.  It’s proof that our feelings can wane.  We can love intensely and calmly, and that means, we can fall out of it.  We can grow to change our minds; we can love less.  That’s what “I love you more each day means to me.”  It means it’s a choice, something we can will away.  Turn off.  On.  High and less.  I hate that we can control this.  “You can’t choose who you love,” is a lie. Because your head gets involved.  If someone cheats on you, lies to you, doesn’t value you anymore, you tell yourself you have to stop loving them.  Your head gets involved and turns it off.  Pushes you to the top, making your love, you, the priority.  Your intellect wins.  If it didn’t, we would stay. 

Preference.  Propensity.  Inclination.  These are words stronger than love.  It means, I prefer you, am drawn to you, and even when I want to will it away, you are that choice.  My inclination.  I crave you, even if I don’t want to. 

Comments

  1. Interesting post. I don't think love has to be forever. So of course it can wane, grow more intense, or just stay static. If people love, and people change, it stands to reason that love changes too. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, sometimes just because. There are people I used to love, things I used to love (not covet, worship, crave, or anything else…just plain love). I don't now. I loved my Cabbage Patch doll when I was 5. Carried her everywhere, tried to feed her, take care of her raise her. Somewhere along the line I stopped doing that. I don't think that means I didn't love her in the first place.
    Love isn't just a feeling. Love is an action, as well. Love is something you do actively, day in and day out. I'm not very good at love, at least not the kind you and the suitor have. I choose, then I change my mind all the time. But I refuse to believe that in every instance where love was lost, it was never there in the first place.
    Great post. Got me thinking at this unGodly hour of the morning.

  2. I completely agree and this quote from Captain Corelli's Mandolin also hits the spot when it comes to love in the begining and ongoing.

    When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No… don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!

  3. I think it's that last sentence: "I crave you."

    I can see what you mean about not loving more or less but it's a difficult thing to believe. You want to believe that something great can keep getting better and better. But I guess then its more than love at that point maybe. I don't know, I'm just babbling.

  4. This is an interesting take too. I love the idea of being "craved" and preferred. And I've never been one to not like to hear that at this moment in time, I'm liked or loved best–more so than even in the beginning, until the next moment when it's inevitable that the feelings will begin to diminish, because if there is a peak then there is a valley, and even if the peak is now, that means the past and the future can never hold up–and you can't ever hold on to the moment.

  5. True love comes when there is equity between your intellect and your heart. Once one rules over the other, the relationship becomes compromised.

    I love chocolate more than I love vanilla. Though I must say that the only dessert I would eat over something chocolate is something with lemon. Lemons are feminine too, I think, and make me thing of tea time, pitchers of lemonade on a porch, and the scent of clean dishes.

  6. I have never felt how you describe and yet cannot imagine not feeling that way. I love this. What a fantastic post and warm hopeful way to start this week off.

  7. Enough of this love stuff. Let's get down to more important subject matter, food!

    I too tend to lean towards vanilla for the simple reason that in my old age (34) I have become a chocolate snob. Chocolate can be screwed up so easily. Granted, my favorite Halloween treat in my bag was the Hershey's Miniatures Special Dark. Only available then, that time of year. Bittersweets were always a 'love', a preference if you will, but I really liked chocolate.

    I have since tried candies of my childhood and find them rather nasty. Vanilla, unless some painfully weak and rancid extract was used, tastes OK. Vanilla Tootsie Rolls. I'll take the vanilla over the chocolate most days, unless I can trust the chocolate. Ah trust…

  8. You just love. So true. Yet love works two ways. Romance seems real until the work part of a relationship sets in and it's only you. We just love. Accept. Agree to disagree. Respect differences. Work for certain goals. Reality is, it's work. Live it until you can't breathe anymore. Then move on. You won't be alone in the Lone Star state. Wishing you continued happiness and success!

  9. 'It means, I prefer you, am drawn to you, and even when I want to will it away, you are that choice.'

    brilliant sentence! it's perfect.

  10. Absolutely wonderful post. I just loved it. This is how I think but of course have never been able to put it in words so beautifully.

  11. Re: the mother/child example, I have to disagree. I love my 2 year old more now than I did the day he was born. Every day there are new things about him to love – new things I discover about his personality, his spirit, his sense of humour. Not to mention what having those feelings reciprocated as he grows older contributes to the way my husband and I feel about him. Yes, it's a true, pure joy to hold your newborn. But that overwhelming feeling can be outdone again and again over the years, in the most unexpected ways.

    So I actually believe you can love someone more. The more you know, the more you share, the deeper the feelings. How can you NOT love someone "more" than you do the day you "decide" or maybe realize you are in love with them? If you feel that you're in love with someone 2 months after you meet – can you not strengthen those feelings the more you grow with the person and find out about them? Isn't that "more"?

    If there's a way to find complete "100%" unchanging love immediately, I haven't seen or heard of it.

    What caught my eye in your post, however, was that you tend not to "believe" someone when they express how their feelings of love for you have deepened over time. Is that REALLY what's going through your mind when someone tells you that? Is it fair to want someone to express their feelings with a specific vocabulary for you to feel that it's genuine? "No, dear, you don't love me more. I don't believe that. What you meant to say was that you crave me against your will."

  12. People amazed themselves when they say phrases like: "I didn't know I could love this much" because, like you, they didn't think love could become bigger, deeper and much more intense. No one thinks you can love more. But you can. Time changes everything.

    Love grows and changes and deepens.

    When you're handed a baby at birth, you don't automatically love at first, you do what is necessary and then love becomes you. It grows by the minute. If you are lucky enough, you too will experience a deeper more intense love. You will be amazed at such depth.

    As for: "My inclination. I crave you, even if I don't want to." Hum, that there my borderline on addiction, I would be careful of such thoughts; many people stay in relationships because their not using their heads.

  13. I absolutely believe that love can increase and decrease, if only because people become better and become worse. There are friends that I have liked since childhood. Some of them have become directionless. Others have become good husbands, good fathers, coaches, members of the community. My respect for some of them has grown tremendously, and so too, my 'love' for them.

    Taking your relationship with TS as an example. If ten years from now, he's become lazy, or fat, or an indifferent parent or husband, your feelings will change, because he's changed. OTOH, 15 years from now, you might catch him hemming up your daughters prom dress at 12PM, even though he just put in a full days work. Or running a soup kitchen on a Friday night after he's finished work. I beleive it's entirely possible to love him more.

  14. "I crave you, even if I don't want to."

    That is proof right there that you cannot always choose. To love, to lust, to crave. Sometimes you just do. It comes from nowhere, a surprise, and you just do.

    Even if you don't want to.

  15. Amanda B, I struggled with it too. I'm a libra and didn't really know which side I fell on. As confused as I am about this idea, it helps to read what others have to say about it. I'm not an authority on love. Just break-ups and moving on…

  16. stephanie, dear, the reason you only imagine love diminishing is because that is what has happened in your limited experience with men.
    as joey said, the notion of "big bang" love that is present from the start and can't grow over time is silly. That is infatuation, not love.

    Here is what you will discover, should you and your suitor last over time…you will indeed see that the ongoing sharing of experiences, of making a life together, of dealing with the ongoing decisions together that take two "I's" and forge them into a "We" will deepen your love.
    Ask anyone who has been in a solid long-term marriage.

    I've got 27 years of marriage. Believe me, love deepens in ways you can't now imagine, as each of you touches the other in deeper and deeper places. Part of the issue is that you don't hang around people who have been together a significant period of time…I don't mean 5-10 years, which is just the beginning–I mean watching each other mature through decades together.

    At the very least, leave room in your thinking that your love may not only weaken over time but just as well may deepen considerably. Have a good move to Austin and enjoy the publication of your book.

  17. I'm intrigued by your thought process, but I struggled to make sense of some of it.

    "what we’re saying is "I feel more for you now," which means I used to feel less. It's proof that our feelings can wane."

    Strange perspective. Seems to me that it's proof that our feelings can *grow*.

    "I hate when someone tells me they love me more now. That they didn’t think it was possible, that it grows each day."

    You hate when someone tells you something incredibly kind and that comes from depths of their heart that they didn't even know existed? I hope that is not true. That aside, I see this kind of sentiment as meaning they didn't think it was possible, that their love grows each day DESPITE what they choose. And honestly, I've never been successful at willing away feelings of love.

    To discount love that grows because it means the person "used to feel less" is silly. And I'd argue it's too fairy-tale idealistic to believe that the only TRUE kind of love is that which is overpowering and monumental from day one. I believe the opposite is true, in my experience.

    Not trying to be critical. And maybe I missed your entire point. Like I said, I struggled a bit with this one.

  18. It took me all day of thinking about it to finally understand what you were saying, but I think I finally do.

  19. Acceptance. I've been thinking since I read this great post, that love is mostly acceptance. If you can accept more about a person, I think that comes down to loving them more. Than say, you did yesterday.
    Agree: re vanilla. Hershey's chocolate- has anyone but me thought that it tastes like poo? And I just don't *accept* that!

  20. It looks like this post really made people think about how they perceive love – myself included. That says a lot!

    Tiina, I really dislike Hershey's milk chocolate. I don't know what poo tastes like, but it might not be far off. Milk chocolate in general is distasteful to me, unless it comes with peanut butter and then it's OK. I'm with Pete, Special Darks are tolerable, but good dark chocolate with not too much sugar is gooooood.

    I'm growing to like vanilla more and more. It's a less obvious flavor than chocolate. Like it's got a secret to tell, but it never feels compelled to seek out an audience. Geez, I think I've had too much SK exposure today – I'm overanalyzing a FLAVOR.

    Good post.

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