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Love. Life.

Why we need to write about love: Looking back on a year of ‘Love. Life.’

/ 11:35 AM July 19, 2019
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INQUIRER.net artwork by Hannah Mallorca

One year ago, we launched the revival of “Love. Life.” with two main goals — to encourage readers to write, and to encourage readers to write about something life-affirming, particularly in the face of the struggles and the dangers of the times — we were hoping to get people to remember the presence of love in our lives.

The harvest has been overwhelming. Since July 6, 2018 to July 5, 2019, we received 198 and published 27 essays from people from all walks of life, brave enough to share to the public their real-life accounts of how love has been sustaining them, or how it failed them on occasion, and how they are never going to give up on it.

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In our first essay, a priest wondered: “Minsan, hindi ko masyadong naiintindihan kung bakit sa mga seminarista lumalapit ang mga taong may problema sa pag-ibig. Para kasing nagtatanong ka ng tamang paraan ng pagtakbo sa isang pilay, o ng tamang paraan ng pagbabasa sa isang bulag. Pero sabi nga ng isang kaibigan dati, hindi kailangang mamatay para makapagsulat ng obitwaryo. Ganoon din siguro sa pag-ibig.”

In the second, a drummer saw the reason behind his devotion to his girl: “In the bus this morning I watched you sleep and realized why I have stayed with you all these years. You are beautiful. Even in the hushed state of your face, your eyes seemed to smile; their lids gently throbbing against the soft sunlight had me wondering what dream you were dreaming, what animated scene played in your drowsy psyche.”

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For our third, a successful woman from the corporate world showed us proof that long-distance relationships can work: “When we feel lonesome, he makes an effort to go to Manila every now and then. We have savored the sweetness of return flights in spite of the bitterness of departures. The airport has been our official rendezvous. We treasure each golden moment that we can put our arms around each other. We cherish even the slightest touch when we hold hands.”

Of course, heartaches abound. We received accounts of doomed Grindr encounters, of the day of packing one’s things to leave the place of one’s lover, of a couple’s first and last sunset together, of how ghosting happens, of a girl’s failed attempt at earning the affections of her girl crush, of a disillusioned former diehard Lang Leav reader, of a girl who professed to her childhood crush after 16 years though without assurance of her feelings being reciprocated, of a series of morning afters between two passionate yet hesitant lovers, and of a man encountering another man on the bewitching grounds of Cambodia then never seeing him again.

But we did have lots of happy ones. We had a woman who saw the sea as a symbol of her reconciliation with a lost love. One of our most read entries was about a young woman who after her hits and misses on relationships finally found true love quite unexpectedly, with a guy who’s a namesake of hers. A TV writer spoke about the caring and tender ways of her partner through the meals they share together. On a movie day, a school teacher described her favorite romantic couple — her grandmother and grandfather. A woman of faith bore testimony of how “when it is God who gives, it is surely worth the wait.” A K-pop fan unbelievably finds love beyond her fangirl fantasies. A man looked back at his 12 years with the woman he is about to marry.

And it was never always about romance. Some of our strongest essays came from those who told us about their love for non-romantic things, and about their love for other people in their lives. We had a volunteer teacher who advocates the appreciation of mathematics among the young. We had a young entrepreneur from Iriga City who honored the memory of her lolo, while a 16-year-old high school student from Davao told us about the grandmother who to this day takes care of her. A poet tenderly wrote about movie nights and midnight snacks with her departed dad who loved Stallone and Schwarzenegger and Van Damme; while a Filipina who set aside her career in journalism gave us a peek into the life she now lives as a wife and mother in the United States, a life of gathering moments to be written about in the near future.

In time for the commemoration of the declaration of Martial Law, we had a single mother recounting the emotional and psychological abuse that she and her brothers suffered in their youth, in the hands of their delusional mother, who happened to be obsessed with shoes.

And a mother and poet courageously shared her story of survival from an abusive home, a survival made possible only by the courage she had when she ran away, and the courage she mustered to love and trust again, despite the scars from the past: “It took a lot of distance and time. It took a few years, living in a country far away, and words that led me to the Word. It took my mother’s prayers and hesitant love. It took poetry and faith in a God of many sorrows. It took a silly man with a guitar who played all my favorite songs and said ‘I do, I do, of course I do, would you like some cake too?’ It took carrying a life within me and watching him grow and sing and ask me if I loved him. Of course I do.”

The essayist and journalist Chuck Smith may have gotten it absolutely right in his piece when he wrote, recounting what a friend said to him, that perhaps we should not be correcting people too much if we want to be intimate with them. Nobody is perfect after all, and sometimes we are left with no other option but to laugh at our situation. For a people who can manage to laugh through any kind of hardship and oppression, sometimes to our detriment, loving tends to be so easy. We give too much, forgive and forget, oftentimes settle, sometimes deceive ourselves, then let go of the love we deserve to receive. As we open a new year of “Love. Life.”, we hope that our untiring, loving ways continue to bring goodness in all of our lives, because as a people, we deserve no less, we deserve the best, and the best thing in life is love. NVG

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What is love for you? Send us your essays and get featured on INQUIRER.net!

There's no better time of year to send us your love stories! #LoveLife Transform those letters unsent into an essay of 800 to 2000 words (English or Tagalog), fill up our online form here: http://inq.news/love-life-form

INQUIRER.net 发布于 2019年2月13日周三

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