THE “D” WORD
(Love Songs) Speaking of IBD, you may well ask, “What’s Love Got To Do With it?” In fact, in this day and age one might ask what’s love got to do with anything? But I contend that there is yet the romantic in all of us. And as we’ve watched our youngsters struggle with IBD, occasionally we’ve wonder if they are ever going to have a normal life. By that I mean a love relationship, married with children, etc. So I find this topic perfectly reasonable.
It dosen't seem that long ago that I spoke with my daughter and heard her lament that no one would ever love her. She’d never have a boyfriend. To which I burst out in song, “Mama said, ‘You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait…’”
At least my off key rendition of the Supremes’ advice got a chuckle. If I’d said the obvious, that she is perfectly darling, extremely loveable and has guys interested in her all the time, she probably would have hung up on me. Actually, you don’t have to have IBD to wonder where love is. So, sing along with me now as I try to shed light on the question.
1. “Where’s Love?” When you have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, you have spent time searching for bathrooms, dealing with medicines, visiting doctors and perhaps even time in hospitals. Dealing with this as a teenager can set you back. While other young people have been learning the skills of dating, you’ve been courting a cure for your IBD. It’s no wonder that this side of your life may take a little longer to develop.
2. Looks count. You’re surprised I say that, aren’t you? You thought I’d say that it is what’s inside that counts. Well, that’s true, but let me explain.
I used to take the bus to work everyday. And everyday, I’d see a young woman that was always sitting in the front seat when I got on. I thought she was very unattractive. She always had a scowl on her face, dirty, stringy hair and colorless clothing. One day, I got on and I didn’t see her. As I took my seat, I realized that the pretty person I’d just passed was her. She had her hair done and was dressed up and wearing make-up.
Obviously, the makeover made her feel pretty and that was reflected in the expression on her face. She actually smiled. I thought she was beautiful. When she got off, I wanted to tell her to wear that face more often. And I didn’t mean the make-up. So, “Put on a Happy Face” or at least, let your face reflect your better inner self.
All of us, even people without health issues, feel that we’d have everything we want including love if only some obstacle weren’t in the way. The obstacle could be that you’re too fat, too skinny, too dumb, too smart, too… well, just fill in the blank. So, think about how you would act if you didn’t have this obstacle in your life. Now, act as if it weren’t there and see what happens. Just be aware of how you limit yourself.
3. Are you looking for Mr./Ms Perfect? Did you ever hear the story of the guy that searched the earth for the perfect woman? Yes, he finally found her. She wasn’t interested in him.
This story actually has a twist for you. You know better than to look for the perfect person. You realize that every one has their little imperfections. Look around at the people you love. The only thing that makes them perfect is that you love them. Then what makes you think you have to be perfect to be loved?
Keep singing, “Some Day My Prince (Princess) Will Come” but s/he may just be a computer programmer. And you don’t have to be a princess/prince.
4. “Mirror, Mirror on the wall.” I’m not a big fan of affirmations. You know, standing in front of your mirror and saying, “I’m beautiful.” It never works for me because my mirror talks back. And it’s so rude. So I wouldn’t suggest this. But you are probably a lot better than you believe. You are the one that you really need to love and trust.
5. Trust. Here is the heart of the matter. Being in love is a very vulnerable place to be. We have to trust the other person. How is that possible when your own body has been so untrustworthy? How can you expect that body to give and receive love? That same body that has attacked you. The one that has been poked, prodded, injected, given drugs, not grown, gotten thin, gotten fat, hurt.
And you wonder how I can be so glib as to sing love songs when you are dealing with all of that. If I could take you in my arms and make it different, I would. I can just tell you that in spite of it all, you are very loveable. Take the chance to let someone into your heart and be loved. Trust. And though I can not guarantee that you will not be hurt, I still urge you to take the chance.
6. Love is in all of us. It takes a certain amount of energy and practice to see beyond our own problems and care about someone else. Share your love and you will be surprised to see how much you are loved.
There you have Mom’s advice on love. I wish there were easy answers. Check out all the songs written about love - wanting love, having love, losing love, hating love, loving love, etc. You will agree that love is not a simple subject, but one about which many sing.
So much for “My Foolish Heart.” Remember, “You’ve Got a Friend” and “I Wish You Love.” Keep singing. Love to you from this Mom.
Copyright 1996 - 2002 Arlyn Serber