“I am nothing special of this I am sure. I am just a common man with common thoughts. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, that has always been enough.” ~ Noah, The Notebook
There I was, sitting with my cherry red toes perched on the arm of our cream coloured sofa, and slowly sipping my glass of red wine that evening while I was pondering over a movie I had seen recently. You see, on nights when my mind has been stretched beyond exhaustion, I have this ritual of pulling out a favourite movie and letting it run its course. Even if I have seen it 2, 3, 10 times, my fingers will reach for the chosen title, and happily insert it in for playing while I breathe a small sigh of relief. The other day, I randomly decided it was time again… I laughed, cried, and hung on my chair with biting anxiety in The Last Song (By Nicholas Sparks), and I thought it fitting to talk about, Mr Sparks’ most iconic creation – The Notebook. Granted it was in movie form, but regardless, it did remind me of what I treasure most about what I do behind the camera. That is, Love. (For those that do not know, I photograph couples in love from time to time, but we won’t talk about the job here :P)
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People have often asked, what is it that you draw your inspiration from? What moves you? What pushes you to press those buttons when you shoot? What draws you to those decisive moments? What are you thinking? And I have to say, it is love. Because really, I could be a nerd and say light – which is true in some sense (we photographers are technical to some degree), but any tech-head can read and learn to see light after awhile, but what I am really really thinking is about love. Because honestly, in my heart of hearts, I am a romantic to my core. And I’m not talking about getting flowers from my man, kind of romantic, not the big gestures of public proclamation, kind of romantic. But the romantic that sees love in simplicity.
I see love in a look. A look that says you are beautiful, even with bed hair, bad breath, and all. I see love in a laugh. A laugh that grows until your insides hurt. I see love in a kiss. A kiss that is stolen and shared when you think nobody else is looking. I see love in a reach for your hand, even when he is around his friends. Love is when he kisses your eyes to sleep, when you have been crying so hard about something that has hurt you. Love is lying on the grass one night, watching the stars, and listening to each other breathe. Love is shaking your head because you think he is being so silly, but you adore that anyway. Love is when he finishes your food, because you decided you didn’t like it anymore. Love is carrying you to bed, because you are too sick to walk on your own feet anymore. Love is spending sleepless nights apart because you are so angry at each other, but really thinking how much you miss him/her instead. Love is an “I’m sorry” after an epic fight. Love is an “I forgive you” when he has done something which cut. Love is when his fingers reach for yours, as he is driving…. just because.
So you see, that is why I love the quote above from the Notebook. Love is enough. And I am not talking about love as a feeling. I am talking about love as an action. Because really, in a world being dominated by fluff and unrealistic perceptions of this elusive yet ‘everywhere’ ideal, I like to be reminded by what love truly is, and that is deeds and actions. Sure, the feelings are well and truly important, but the feelings only come when actions speak louder than words do. When beauty fades, when the fireworks become dim, I see love in sacrifice. In what you do. I see it in the constant bearing, and giving of oneself for the other, even when you don’t like it, because you know it brings the other joy. It isn’t easy. In fact, there are days when we scream in frustration from its wheels of difficulty, but we do it again and again and again, for no other logical reason but because we love the other.
I sometimes think we put unrealistic expectations on the one we love… desiring them to shape up and be what the world tells us the perfect partner should be, and we forget the very reasons that amazed us about them in the first place. So on those days where cranky words are exchanged, when tears are more common than loving embraces, when hurt rises to become that lump in the throat, on those days when you forget why you love him/her, choose to remember. Remember as best you can.
Remember when they do your dishes because you were too busy. Remember the days they buy or pack you lunch so you don’t work with an empty stomach. Remember the days where they stayed up at night to look after your baby because you needed sleep more. Remember the time when they called you, to see if you were ok. Remember…
Now, I don’t profess we have a perfect marriage… in fact, far from it. The number of days we drive each other crazy proves it. But on those days, I choose to remember how much my husband puts himself out and sacrifices of himself to put me first, because he knows it makes me smile :) You see, it’s so easy to love when love is easy. But loving someone, when they test you beyond what you can tolerate, that’s real love.
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly” – Sam Keen
If any of you have even just one thing your partner has done for you, out of love, please share with me in the comment box! I’d love to hear :) Besides, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to reflect and appreciate what our other half has sacrificed…. send them a text to tell them what you are thankful for, about them today :)