A Black Heart

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Most of us have learned that love is pain. By a certain age most of us have had a few relationships fail. That pain of your first heartbreak, that endures. The passage of time doesn’t make it any better. Every time your heart is broken you get to feel that pain again, each successive loss of love piles on top of the previous one. Ad infinitum. Eventually you start to wonder if the problem is you, after all, you are the common denominator.

And the rest of life is pain too. As Wesley says to Princess Buttercup

Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something

None of this, of course, means that life and love is nothing but pain, even though the black dog in your head might make you believe that sometimes. There is joy to be had even in the midst of that pain.

And there can even be joy and love because of pain. That giving and receiving pain consensually can be an act of love for everyone involved. I don’t hurt my beloved because she doesn’t like it. I hurt her because not only does she like it, she needs it. She doesn’t consent to be hurt just because I like and need it.

We both do it because paradoxically it brings us both pleasure. Because it strengthens our love and connection, because our needs mesh, because it is fundamental to how we love each other.

So while life and love can indeed be pain. For some of us pain is love. And that doesn’t mean we are broken, or that we have a black heart. We just have found a different kind of love.

Michael