Thursday, September 28, 2006

love is a verb, not a noun

Over breakfast of pecan pancakes with Min.

Min: You should be more accepting of your parents. This is who they are.

Me: I'm not sure that I want that. My dad calls my mom stupid in every conversation. I don't think I want to change into someone who doesn't care when that happens. I'm a passionate person. If I stop caring when someone calls my mom stupid, what other parts of myself will I lose?

Min: He actually says that she's stupid?

Me: Many times a day. He drops it casually. "Your mom over-estimates her abilities." "Three of us in our family can compute the tip, but your mom can't." It's ridiculous, because she's very smart. My mom badmouths my dad too, but more subtly. "Your dad is a good person, but his temper is unbearable. The biggest mistake of my life was marrying him."

Min: You're focusing on the negative. Look at the positives. They've done so much for you.

Me: I know, and I feel like a horrible person. But this bothers me in a way that nothing else does. I can't deal with it the way a normal functioning adult can, because it started when I was eight. I have the same enormous emotional reaction that I did when I was a kid.

Min: But they still love each other, right?

Me: Yes, deep down they do.

Min: So what does it matter then?

Me: Because love is a verb, not a state of being. You of all people showed me that. You told me how much it meant to you that based on an idle comment, Joe came home and packed lunch for you. Love is in how you speak to the other person with respect, how you accomodate them and help them out. You don't get to just say you love someone and then treat them like shit and get away with it.

Min: They're still your parents.

Me: If you started telling me every day how my mother is stupid, I would cut you out of my life right away. It's not acceptable. Why should it be any different for my parents?


Anonymous said...

remember to love yourself too :)

Anonymous said...

love is also a noun, as in "your parents' love has a few issues."

you don't just love each of them as individuals, you also love them collectively as your parents. you would still love an individual who had issues. so i know you can still love them collectively despite their issues. they don't act this way because they want to hurt each other. they act this way because of the pain and disappointments and insecurities that they have accumulated over their lives. these are things that they don't know how to express any other way.

as children we think that our parents are perfect. as adults we learn to love them anyway, knowing that they're not.

it's not easy, but the adults that we become can teach the children that we were.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you take over the blogger team, and fix them :)

N said...

I accidentally posted this twice. Copying over the comments on the other post, so that I can delete it.


I think I kind of disagree. It is true that it is not nice to say things like that to each other. But really thats the way they are and they are your parents. Chinese are often sarcastic in words, never ever say i love you, almost too cheesy, especially for older generation, but love goes beyond noun and verb. often you saw people saying love to each other all the time but they end up breaking up, and this happens a lot in western society.

Sure your parents fight a lot, but it wasn't a crazy physical fight. maybe that's the way they expressed 'love' and think about it.. it wouldn't be the same if they don't fight! Wouldn't it be boring?

By Anonymous, at 9/28/2006 7:11 AM

At least it's within the family. Take all the family problems scenario outside into the societal environment, how does that feel? It's obviously sh!t right? Would you still want to stay in that family? Obvious answer, no. Some are in that position, some aren't. Nevertheless... life, it's not about being in the comfortable zone. It's not even all about accepting one another, or understand one another.

Life is all 'bout you and the person/people next to you. When one can't handle the surrounding, that's like strippin' part of your life away.

You can feel it, you sense it, it's when you throw up in flames and forgot to enjoy the life around you by just seeing differently.

Sorry to say, but sex and rollercoaster rides are just a tempo solution. Or one can say, "being ignorant is bliss", but I would say, being open is bliss. :)

By KE Liew, at 9/28/2006 2:19 PM

I suppose it comes after living together for a while, but Niniane is an adult and has the right to react whichever way she chooses. I've told my mother to bugger off several times when I felt she was becoming a bit too controlling. Did it hurt? Sure. Did she then realise she was trying to micromanage? I think so. It's a judgement call. Not an easy one, but sometimes it has to be made.

By Hasan, at 9/28/2006 4:34 PM

l chiang said...

pu gu ship poo
Pu gu ship da.

Translated. Btwn lovers
You're so stupid
No no you're so stupid

And then after about five lather rinse and repeats... make up sex

cutebanana said...

asian men especially those from the older generations have a peculiar way of 'loving' their wives. however it is deep down that matters, that they still love each other. love is indeed a verb but without its meaning as a noun, it ultimately means it has to be both.