The Beauty of Choice

If I have to fight for it, then it wasn’t meant for me.

It’s a pretty lovely belief, really, to think that you can’t force yourself into something that you think is yours, because it’s already yours, and that no matter what you do, and no matter what happens, you’ll find each other in the end. The entire system of the universe will bring you together, because that love has been yours from the very beginning, and no matter what happens, it always will be. It’s the entire Red String of Fate Philosophy. And it seems pretty sweet like that, but then I told her:

Love is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

–Howard Walowitz, The Big Bang Theory

“It is a relentless pursuit…” Love is a job. Love is a lot of hard work. If you want it, you have to get off your ass and get it, and do everything it takes to have it. And when you have it, you have to wake up every morning to take care of it, and get to bed every night to prepare for another tomorrow of it. Love is years and years of hard work, making sure it doesn’t fall apart. Love is doing everything to make sure you don’t give up all the happy moments because of a small bend in the road.

I do believe, to some extent, that there is a specially wonderful certain case when you were meant for each other. Genetics suggest that some people are just biologically born for each other, and that their genetic make-up will create perfect offspring. I think some people were born for each other, in a sense that there are certain physical traits and some other things, like small habits and emotional characteristics, that no one else will find totally attractive but that one special person. But it doesn’t mean that the world will bring you two together because of that, or that the system of the universe will conspire to put you in that place. And everything will go perfectly for it.

I think ‘destiny’ or ‘unique design’ stops at that. You were born with the unique traits, and raised with a certain set of habits and skills that only one person in the world will find particularly attractive about you and no one can ever doubt that you were made to be together. But you still have to find that person, do everything to be with that person, and when you’re finally together, you still have to face every new day of fresh hell to be with each other, come what may.

You don’t give up because of problems. You don’t sneak out of bed in the morning because you think ‘this isn’t going to work out’. You don’t just hang up the phone because you’re tired of the dozen times she’s nagged you about some non-existent woman she’s afraid you’re flirting with.

Love is tiresome, and draining, and difficult, and convoluted.

But love is also beautiful and true and pure. And what makes it so is because of all the effort you make for it.

One of the best philosophy lectures I’ve heard about freedom was delivered by my professor, Mark Anthony Dacela, who shared with us the story of the night he had to go pick up his girlfriend from work. He had a couple of teaching jobs in three different places, and his girlfriend was at the further end of the city. He was running pretty late, so as he hurried to get there, he slipped in a dark alley as it rained. He also got chased by a thief. And when he was near, he received a message from her that she was going to be late. So he went to a nearby bar, waiting for the rain and the mud to dry off his clothes as he contemplated on why he has to do this every single day. Everything seemed like a futile effort. “What for?” He asked us in class. He said that it seemed like love is just a learned habit, that he’s being controlled by this notion of love into doing something over and over again.

But then he said,

“I saw the reason why I do these things for her. It was because I loved her, and I choose to do everything everyday because I love her. No one’s controlling me to do it. Don’t you think that’s more beautiful than the so-called destiny? Isn’t love an expression of true freedom?”

So I honestly think that love is beautiful because it is difficult. Just like any art. You don’t hail someone for singing Twinkle Twinkle unless she’s four-years-old. No, you praise the talent of the soprano who spends months rehearsing, carefully tending to her voice and superfluously delivering every note. You don’t frame a crayon doodle in the Louvre, but you honor the painting or the sculpture carefully crafted with every detail painted with such masterful delicacy.

Hard, back-breaking, mind-wracking, heart-shattering work is what makes something so insanely beautiful, more so when you actually choose to go through with all of it. When you choose to love, and choose to do everything, to fight against all odds to be with that person and let that person know how much love you have in your heart, when you choose to allow love to consume your being, your very existence, that’s when love is true.

Love is true because it is free.


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