Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love of Tragedy

Around Valentine's Day, everyone seems to gush about love. They remember how they met their significant other, they rejoice in the fact they found love, or they get a game plan as to how to find a new love. Yes, love is in the air. And I, too, take a moment to be grateful for the love I'm lucky to have--from lover to friend.

But...when I see paper hearts, I think about how easy they tear.

I wouldn't say I'm a negative person, exactly. I'd say I'm the type to appreciate the phoenix cycle of life. I don't look at the pretty bird and ignore the burning or the ash. There, in the searing and the soot, lies the forgotten heart. Life's natural fertilizer for future love. Tragedy.

Inside every story I cannot forget, within the pages of every book that sticks in my head and inspires me, is a tragedy that has made my heart hurt, my eyes sting, and my throat constrict with emotion. And in that sorrow I feel...alive.

Is there any moment better in a book? The hero and heroine were torn apart. One of them dies while the other watches in despair, struggling to overcome the grief that comes with total loss. You're clutching the book (or your e-reader) and flipping through the pages, wanting to know more, needing to get to the point of happiness where the two souls meet again, and this time, get it right. Or how about the hero losing his wife, and walking around in a bleak existence...until he meets a woman who makes him feel again. Powerful.

Perhaps these stories are why I often find myself reflecting back to relationships that might've been. Not because I'm looking to repair what went wrong (though I do find that exercise worthwhile in writing), but because they've made me realize, without those losses, I wouldn't have experienced living life to the fullest, finding the strength within myself to heal, and triumphing over the trials of heartbreak.

What do you think? Does love taste sweeter after tragedy?

In my opinion, yes! I've loved, deeply, more than once. I've lost the best, discarded the worst, and will never forget the love that was cut off before it had time to reach it's full potential. I carry these tragedies around in my heart like a portable graveyard, and I get to revisit the tombs every time an author writes a passage that screams against the injustice of love. It's a bitter and beautiful reconnection.

Instead of resenting sorrow and loss, I'm encouraged and invigorated. I hug my Love tighter, I squeeze every drop of happiness out of every second I can. Because for me, tragedy is the pavement on the road to the next bliss.

So on this V-Day, don't just stare lovingly into the eyes of your love, take a moment to remember the grief that got you there, and experience the kind of gratitude some never feel.

By the way...If you look around and find yourself alone, just remember--you're on your path. In the future, this moment will be the ash you rose from.

May you all continue to be inspired to move forward.


Danielle said...

I believe it does. Often times I am clutching the book and nearly in tears when a loved one refuses to believe the other. When they are stubborn towards one another. When they hate each other for a simple little thing. What makes me cry half of the times is when the hero always neglect to believe in the heroine when she is trying to tell him the truth. xD! I love stories.

In reality, I too carry a lot of tragedies within my heart. Love at times is what hurts the deepest and I believe that at times I hurt more when I'm betrayed. When my trust is fooled around with, etc. I tend to leave it in the past and move on. Because what use is it to hold a grudge? Lol. That is why I love to read books. Romance of any types. But I also think that life is a journey one has to take and learn from. We all make mistakes that we learn to cope with in the end. Its just lessons.

I love this post. :D!

Anonymous said...

The phoenix motif in this piece is very powerful, and it speaks to me both on an intellectual and deeply personal level.

I've had more than my share of lovers pass through my life and my arms. All of them have taught me something of value; all of them have left scars that never quite heal. The worst was the one who I was absolutely certain was everything I ever wanted. It turned out that she didn't love me the same way, and it led to the demise of the affair. I shuffled through my days in a gray fog of depression, went to bed at night praying that I wouldn't wake up, and awakening each day bitter at every new sunrise.
But in this misfortune was the seed of its reversal; I was fortunate to have someone who stood by me and put my desperately broken heart back together.
The pieces never quite fit right, and I was never the same again; but she loves me, damaged heart and all, and I'm proud to say that she is my wife of three years now.
So, yes: tragedy and pain really DO make you more fully appreciate the gifts you are given.

Excellent post!


J.S. Wayne

Cara Marsi said...

This is a beautiful post. I was hurt once badly by a guy I loved. He was from another state and was in the military. He dumped me but secretly I'd hoped when he got back from Nam he'd come for me. When he never did, I convinced myself he died in Nam. Then I discovered that he didn't die, but went home to Oklahoma and got married. It finally hit me that he'd used me. I'm happily married now and I'm glad the other guy and I didn't marry. Our backgrounds were so different it would never have worked. Now I'm trying to figure out how to put my experience in a book and make him the jerk he was. As far as books making me cry, I love reading romances because of the happy endings. I won't read books that end badly. They make me too sad. The last book to make me cry was Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor, one of my faves. I wanted the hero to come through time with the heroine, but he died. Even though she met his reincarnated self in our time it wasn't the same.

C. Margery Kempe said...

I think the worst one is still the guy who left me because he had a brain tumor and said he wanted to die with his family. But he kept writing to me and kept not dying and I finally realised that it was just a lie. I was pretty badly off for a long time. But I wouldn't be as strong as I am now if I hadn't had to suffer that blow. A life without tragedy would be a rather shallow one. If we don't know what we're really risking, it's not that much of a gift.

I still get hurt: my marriage of twelve years recently collapsed. Though I'm the one who called an end to it, I am not without pain from it. But I have the strength to do it, to trust that I will love again and that it is always better to be alone than to be with someone who makes life worse.

Let us rise from the ashes, again and again.

AllureVanSanz said...

@ Danielle I get where you're coming from. For me, I hate being made a fool of. Not sure anyone likes it, but I can forgive a lot of things, except that.

@ JS. Hi! Thanks for stopping by. A friend of mine once had a major crush on a woman who only wanted to be his friend and nothing more (of course she told him that AFTER she led him on). He never was able to let go of that. Even 15 years later he was still clinging to the grudge. I'm glad you were able to overcome and find happiness.

@Cara Wow! That was the first book I read that didn't end with HEA and I both loved and hated it! How could they not end up together?? You're right. Her meeting "Colin" in the end, an obvious reincarnation, just wasn't enough.

@CMK ...I don't even know how to respond to that. A brain tumor that didn't exist? How does someone live with themselves? What a coward. Also...I'm sorry to hear you're going through a bad patch right now. I know exactly how you feel and I'm here for you if you need to rant, lament, or just hang out and be goofy. Hang in there!

Meg said...

I enjoy romance books, particularly when there are happy endings. I have read those without happy endings as well as seen certain movies that I was crying over. But I would rather read and watch something with happy endings when given the choice. What a thought provoking blog. I have had to overcome certain obstacles in my life though love seems to be the one that's the most elusive. Thank you for your words and I can relate in some ways. A man that I loved deeply one day walked away and said some rather cruel words after having promised to always be there for me no matter what. I felt like such a fool and as though I had been betrayed and abandoned. They say everything happens for a reason but to be honest there are times when I can't help but wonder "what if". I feel that after three years of losing a love that I thought would last the rest of my life, I'm starting to get my head above water. I hope to be at the waist so to speak before the end of the year. It's rocky at times but I hope that it will pave the way to something wonderous. I have yet to meet someone special but I am not in a hurry.

@Dani- That really stinks.. especially for him to not have the guts to tell you what was going on. I was really into someone who seemed to be into me and when things were starting to go south, he didn't have the guts to come clean. A mutual friend broke it to me that he had fallen for a friend of his he had known a long time. It hurt that he couldn't be honest with me and I felt like the gum on the bottom of someone's shoe that had been scraped off. I haven't said anything to him since then and I don't say much to the mutual friend these days.
@JS- I'm so glad that despite what you have gone through, you found a woman who would love you for you. Amazing where love can turn out sometimes.
@ Cara- I loved that book! I was hoping that the woman would end up with her Knight in Shining Armor and cried when she didn't. I'm glad she was able to end up with a reincarnated version though it's not the same.
@CMK- I am so very sorry.. I can relate to being lied to and when finding out the truth, there's so many questions. Sounds to me as though he was not strong enough to stand at your side. I am so sorry about your marriage.. It's not easy when having to make a decision knowing that either way there is going to be hurt. Here's to hoping that you find love again *hugs*

Slainte to you all :)

Margie Church said...

The pain and joys of love have shaped me. They are explanations for how I got where I am, became who I am. They aren't an excuse to become bitter or trifle with someone else's heart. But how dull would be a pain-free life?

C. Margery Kempe said...

Thanks for the kind words, Allure and Meg. Margie's right: if you risk nothing, you gain nothing. You have to have the confidence to believe that you will find love again -- and generally, it seems you do.

One of the things I enjoy about romance writers and readers, is that they so often seem to be optimistic and upbeat. Optimism is all about choice: choosing to think you will succeed.

I choose to think I will :-)

AllureVanSanz said...

@ Meg You have the power to turn things around and if you do believe everything happens for a reason, then you know your sunrise is coming. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a part of your experience. I know it isn't easy to admit when you feel someone took advantage. It's a brave step and I'm honored you felt comfortable sharing here.

@Margie. Exactly! Tragedies are part of what makes us who we are. And I like me! Most of the time. Except when I'm procrastinating. LOL

@CMK That's right! It's all about choices... Just like with books. My choice is hot reads! Stories that start out tragic and end up beautiful.

Neecy said...

Okay, I love stories that are human. Every one has gone through tragedies in their life, it is what shapes us into the person we've become. We want to feel what are h/h are feeling-- it's what draws us into their characters. If one minute your crying, the next your laughing, as long as in the end love conquers all I think you have a great book. Off the top of my head I thought of Steel Magnolias. I balled, then laughed to the point I couldn't stop. In the end I still felt Shelby's love.

Donovan Rush said...

Personally, I'd love a pain-free life. But it wouldn't at all qualify as human experience, right? I love stories where you can feel that the person who suffered really learned something, that the pain was transcended, or that it was going to be. Then even if it ends "tragically," the reader can come away with a sense of redemption that's even more powerful than the sadness.