Home > Love, Music, Personal > Be creepier, “Grenade.” Wait, don’t.

Be creepier, “Grenade.” Wait, don’t.

Infatuation does not equal love.

Seems pretty obvious put in those terms, doesn’t it? Well, duh. Who ever said otherwise? Let’s consider this, shall we?

In sixth grade, I thought I would never love anyone as much as I loved Edward Scissorhands. True story. Some part of me understood he wasn’t an actual person, but the other 99.999% believed she could make him exist out of sheer force of will. Scissor hands and all, he was perfect exactly the way he was. He had no flaws. None!

Two decades later, I’m in a long-term relationship with a man I love very much. He’s got many wonderful traits, but he’s also got a handful that make me thankful my head can’t actually explode from frustration alone. (I, on the other hand, am perfect.) Occasionally I’ll catch this man glimpsing at our son with tenderness so raw and beautiful even I–Much Communication Deb–am rendered speechless. In these moments, I feel something akin to what I once felt looking at Edward Scissorhands. In words, that feeling would best be translated as: This is perfection.

Then reality kicks in again, and we’re left with the messy business of making real love work. You don’t have to work at infatuation; it’s based on your desire for something perfect and true rather than a reality that involves missed dates, misspoken words and misunderstandings. With infatuation, you get to revel in the intoxicating awesomesauce of an ideal instead of the truth of two living, breathing people trying to build something lasting.

Infatuation isn’t all bad. In my case, my former infatuation with Edward Scissorhands is good for giggles. It’s also a reminder of simpler times, and ideals not tested by the realities of adult life. Recalling this bygone infatuation, I’m able to hold close the girl I used to be.

Infatuation may not all be bad, but it sure as hell shouldn’t be mistaken for its much more complex, wiser older sister, love.

If you listen to pop radio, you’ve probably heard Bruno Mars sing about a “mad woman, bad woman” who takes it all but never gives anything in return. Bruno’s pop alter ego asks this woman to “tell the devil I said hey when you get back to where you’re from.” After informing the listener that this woman has no redeeming characteristics, he then croons that he’d take a grenade for her. Throw his hand on a blade for her. Jump in front of a train for her.

When I was still able to listen to “Grenade,” I’d shout at my radio, “Get a sense of self-esteem, buddy!” Now, when it comes on the radio, I just shudder and change the station.

This, friends, is infatuation. Except, disturbingly, it’s infatuation based not on imagining someone’s perfection but . . .

Honestly, I don’t know what the infatuation is based on. This disturbs the hell out of me. This guy’ll take a grenade for someone who’s never–as far as the listener knows–shown a single redeeming characteristic?

Damn, this chick must be hot!

My problem isn’t with the idea of laying my life down for someone. It’s with the idea of offering my life for someone who not only doesn’t care about me, but actually actively demonstrates lack of regard for my well being. Um, no. No, no, and hell no.

I’d lay down my life for the people I love. If it’d save my son, my baby daddy, my siblings, Mack or any number of friends, I’d lay down my life without a second thought. This I’d do because I love each of these people, and know from the experiences we’ve shared, good and bad, that they love me, too. Assuming I had any imperfections, the people I’d die for would love me despite these.

If you punch me in the face for the heck of it, on the other hand? I am not gonna jump in front of a train for you. Sad for you, but totally true.

Thus it is that you won’t catch me humming along to “Grenade.” Instead, you’ll find me reflecting on real love, real grenades and Billy Joel’s “Goodnight, Saigon”:
We had no cameras to shoot the landscape
We passed the hash pipe and played our Doors tapes
And it was dark, so dark at night
And we held on to each other
Like brother to brother
We promised our mothers we’d write

As I reflect, I’ll keep feeling grateful to know–now–the difference between infatuation with an emotional abuser and true, deep, breathtaking, gritty, sometimes painful love.

This was among posts accidentally deleted from this blog.
Reposted 6/20/15

  1. June 20, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Goodbye Saigon simply gets to the heart of the soul!
    I had a conversation with someone the other day about the people who marched, crying, to their deaths in WWII as the Nazis laughed at them. We were talking about how we could not imagine not at least trying to fight against the soldiers. Yes, we would be killed, but we would go down fighting. I said I would not be doing it for myself, I would be doing it in hopes that it would save someone else. Hopefully not the person Bruno is singing to.

    • June 20, 2015 at 7:41 am

      Hear, hear!

      I believe you quoted Goodbye Saigon in your quote challenge posts, right? That reminded me of this post, which will forever transport me.

      Hear, hear to going down fighting … together! ♥

  2. June 20, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Often the infatuation with an emotional abuser is not infatuation, but trauma bonding. There is also Stockholm Syndrome, but that is more associated with physical abuse or mortal threats.
    Abuse creates powerful connections, and as sad and as sick as it is, those bonds are more powerful than they would be without any abuse or trauma.
    It has to do with the chemicals in your brain, like adrenaline and cortisol. Also priming you for vulnerability are abuser tactics, like isolation and gaslighting.
    Not that I don’t get your post, I do, and I like it. But I wouldn’t want you to think people stay in abusive situations purely for infatuation and wishful thinking.

  3. Denise
    June 20, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Glad you brought this one back. Great thoughts that I agree with 100%. 🙂

    • June 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Some of my old posts reflect views I no longer hold, but there are ones like this one that still more or less capture how I feel! 🙂

  1. June 21, 2015 at 5:17 am

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