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Not Funny Not Bitter Holiday Post of Luv

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Wildly Exaggerated: Not Funny Not Bitter Holiday Post of Luv

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not Funny Not Bitter Holiday Post of Luv

Good morning, class.

Today I have decided to give you all a Valentine's Day present, in the form of a handy (and uncharacteristically serious) Guide to Love. I will share with you - FOR FREE - the most important lesson I've ever learned about love. Am I saying it's the most important thing to know about how to love people? No. I'm saying it was the lesson that I most needed to learn. Your mileage may vary.

Our lesson today comes to us, as all great lessons do, from the Book Movie of Forrest Gump.

I was going to embed the scene here, but it doesn't appear to exist anywhere on them internets. It's the very very very very very last scene - not the one with the title "Final Scene" on all the YouTubes, the ACTUAL final scene right before the credits. Where Forrest and Little Forrest are waiting for the school bus. Little Forrest starts to get on the bus, and Forrest, looking concerned, yells, "Forrest, don't..." Then he pauses momentarily and says, "...I wanna tell you I love you." Bust out your DVD copy and re-watch for full effect.

The lesson comes in two parts, and it's all clearly stated in Forrest Sr's parting words to his son:

Part I: "Forrest, don't..."
THIS IS ME. THIS IS HOW I ALWAYS AM WITH PEOPLE. My side of a relationship ends up disproportionately filled with:
"Don't go"
"Don't drive too fast"
"Don't forget to call me when you get there"
"Don't date that jerk"
"Don't leave me"
You get the idea. It's all well-intentioned, but it's also all clinginess or bossiness or worrywarting. And the truth is, people do what they want to do. Every time, no exceptions. If they want to stay out late, they will. If they want to date guys who take advantage of them, they will! If they want to leave you and never look back, they will. If they want to do drugs, they will. And if they want to harm themselves, they'll do that too. Not saying there's anything wrong with trying to help people, but when you've passed the point of helping and become a broken record, you need to say something else. And when that happens, you have to be sure you say the right thing.

Part II: "I wanna tell you I love you"
Everything from "Don't do drugs" to "Don't date that jerk" to "Don't drive too fast" is just code for "I love you". And when you just say that instead, everything - everything - gets a lot clearer, really fast. So now, every time I hear myself about to say "Don't..." or "I wish you'd..." or "You should..."; I try to stop myself and say "I wanna tell you I love you" instead. Because I do wanna tell them that. And maybe you do too. Because even if they go and do something stupid that means I never see them again, that is the thing I will never regret having said. Ever. Happy Valentine's Day :)

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