‘Tell people you love them before it’s too late’
This is a saying that you hear all the time. People say that you need to tell the people you care about how much they mean to you while you still have a chance to. Fuck, I’ve even said it myself. The inference being that someone could die at any moment, so don’t let them die not knowing that you love them. Sounds good, right? Course it does. Humans are amazing at coming up with any old bullshit in order to alleviate their guilt. The truth of the matter is though, ‘I love you’, ‘I care about you’, ‘You mean the world to me’ – all sound nice and they fill up 30 seconds of what would otherwise be silence, but they’re just words. Yeah, telling people you love them and they mean the world to you might make them and you happy, but the words don’t mean anything on their own. When someone we love dies, we spend our time wishing we had told them what they meant to us, wishing we had told them we loved them more. The reality of it is though, in my opinion, we only think shit like that to ease our own guilt. We place so much value on words, we forget that we actually have to show people we love them for it to mean anything. So, you didn’t tell that person you loved them every chance you got? So fucking what. Did you check in on them? Did you ask them how their day was? Did you make sure they had enough to eat? Did you listen to them? That’s the stuff that actually fucking matters and the reason why you feel like you should have told them you loved them more is because, deep down in your heart, you know you didn’t do enough of the stuff that matters. My family have never been very demonstrative when it comes to love and shit. To my knowledge, my dad has never hugged me and I don’t think I’ve ever told my parents or my two brothers that I love them and they have never said it to me. Don’t feel sorry for me though because it isn’t needed. I know that my parents and my brothers would die for me if they had to and they know that I would do the same for them. I don’t have any doubts about their love for me, it doesn’t need to be said because every day it is shown in a thousand small ways that mean so much more than a shitty four letter word. My dad will check if I need anything from the shop if he’s going up, my mum will pick up something that she knows I need, they’ll make me a brew without me having to ask or bring me down a plate of food if they know money’s tight. They’ll ask me if I got enough sleep or if I need help with anything around the house. If I’m not well, they’ll check up on me regularly. I could go on, but you get the idea. To say to them ‘I love you’ just because they’re on their death bed would feel disingenuous and completely unnecessary. My dad would probably tell me to ‘shut the fuck up’ (in case anyone was wondering why I swear so much, he’s your answer). Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ to your loved ones, I’m not that much of an idiot. What I’m saying is, you don’t have to feel guilty about not saying it. If you’re a decent person and you’ve SHOWN them that you love them, then there’s a pretty good chance that they already know how you feel, without you ever having to say it. Words literally don’t mean a fucking thing. You could say ‘bendy spoons and shortbread’ to someone and it would have just as much meaning as ‘I love you’.
This train of thought got me thinking whether telling someone you love them when they don’t know how you feel is a good idea. We’ve all been there, right? The old unrequited love. Loving someone from a distance (no, I don’t mean from a bush in their back garden. That was never proven) when they have no idea how you feel. Surely the same principle applies – you never know what’s around the corner, do it before it’s too late, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Would you ever do it though? Risk rejection and humiliation? You’d have to be very brave to do it. I think sometimes (alright, quite often) how I might react to someone telling me they love me out of the blue. In my fantasy, obviously, I’m chuffed to bits, but in reality, I’d think it was a little bit creepy and would be worried that I could potentially end up shackled to a radiator in someone’s house (it has never happened though, so if anyone would like to come and declare their love for me, that’d be belting). As the pinball of thought bounced off this idea, I started thinking about at what point couples decide to tell each other ‘I love you’. I’ve been in love a few times, but when I try to think back on who said ‘I love you’ first, I just can’t remember. I definitely don’t think it was something that we sat down and discussed though, it just sort of happened, I guess. I’m assuming it must be the same for everyone? I’m a pretty low key person, I’m not into being affectionate in public or any sort of over the top declarations of love. Shit like that makes me uncomfortable because I don’t like the spotlight to be on me unless I’ve put it there myself. I’m not saying that everyone should be the same way though. Obviously, some people love showing the world how much they love their partner and, to them, it’s important. You see it all over social media on a daily basis, birds writing things like, ‘I love you so much, baby. Don’t know what I’d do without you’ on their fellas Facebook for the whole world to see and I can’t help but think, ‘Haven’t you got his number there, love? Can’t you text him to tell him that, if you do really need to get it off your chest, like?’. Immediately I feel like an absolute cunt though because who the fuck am I to be any kind of authority on love and relationships? It is literally none of my business what other people choose to do. I just can’t help but feel that public and sometimes ridiculously ostentatious declarations of adoration have given us unrealistic expectations of love and what we should be getting out of it. We shouldn’t need everyone else to know that our partner loves us because we should already know it. To want everyone else to know suggests insecurities and a lack of self confidence (no judgement from me. My insecurities have got insecurities at this point), but these public cries of love don’t mean anything. Do they ask you how your day was? Do they check if you’ve eaten? Do they want you to let them know when you’ve arrived somewhere so they know that you’re safe? Do they take the time to listen to you? Are they interested in the things you say? Do they encourage and support you when you need it? That’s the kind of shit that actually matters, if you ask me. Words on the internet might stay there for the rest of eternity, but they don’t mean a fucking thing. Love is just a four letter word, but, then again, so is cunt.