All too often, it seems that we are afraid to say the three words: “I love you.” Perhaps, fear is only attached to the romantic usage of the phrase, but it seems that we are also stingy with these words in non-romantic usages as well.
I don’t think that using these words de-values the words, nor the depth behind them. There are words and phrases we use far too often that are crass and vulgar. Why not use words that are empowering and stir up good feelings in others and in you? What is the harm in overusing these words?
In Milan Kundera’s must-read novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he writes: “Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass. The second tear says: How nice to be moved together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.” I have come to the realization that I have a great fear of kitsch, and abstract words describing emotions, such as the word love, often can be kitsch. Kitsch is inherently tied to sentimentality, which perhaps is a writer's greatest fear.
While it is one thing to be wary of being sentimental in writing, why do I fear being sentimental in every day life? This is a question I’ve long asked myself and been asked. Why don’t I like the words date or sweetheart or cuddle? Why don’t I indulge in some hand holding or god-forbid a public kiss? For fear of being kitsch.
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, the girls at Harpswell always say, “I love you.” Whether it is through an email or during breakfast or just in passing. And you know what? It feels really good.
So, for this Christmas, I want to say I love you. I love you Mom, Dad, and brother. I love you girlfriends and boyfriends. I love you to all the girls I’ve met here. I love you America. I love you to the land I’ve come to know here in Cambodia. I love you watermelon, kiwi, and rambuttan. I love you cold Colorado air. I love you ex-boyfriend, and ex-ex boyfriend. I love you boots. I love you rain. I love you puppies, really cute adorable puppies. I love you kitsch (maybe).