Love is a blood sport. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger thought Nietzsche, but he was wrong, especially when applied to love. Maybe not entirely, but it is better stated that everything which kills us makes us feel alive. Everyone seems to chant “love conquers all” without taking into account the war-like implications – it conquers, invades, takes over, and beats into submission. We love love not despite, but because of this, relishing the sportsmanship and skills required for practicing it. And most of all, we love exercising love, much like a sport, feeling our own boundaries as we reach deeper and deeper into ourselves to find how much of it we can safely give away without dying. Love is a joust with ourselves for another. The game is beautifully choreographed, a delight to watch to the end; not until the end is the blood drawn and a victim decided. It is not quick and merciful and no one gets their throat slashed, but rather dies of many small blades, each taking their joy draining the blood only drops at a time not unlike the raw emotions of a well coordinated bull fight in anticipation of the first daggers to pierce skin.
Most of us are too terrified of participating in a bull fight, afraid of the bull’s horns and rage, but yet we seek out love as if it were candy even as we know in the center there is a needle ready to slit our throats all the way down. In blood sports that typically take place between animals, and really as much as we like to feel superior, that is all humans are, one must die in the end, or at the very least suffer extensive pain from which one will never recover. Each love has left its marks, and every time we heal it is never quite the same as each has taken a bit out of us. The more invested we were in the fight, the more blood was lost in the end. How long before there is no blood left? How many times can we love before there is nothing left? After the battle we don’t always regenerate ready for another round. Sometimes there is no fight left, and there is nothing but an empty shell with scars as reminders.
But we know all of this, and try and try again, hoping to win. Win what? There is no trophy for loving, and the very act is a tournament in and of itself where we fight to maintain that status of love, running in circles to entice the object of our affection, and keep their affection because the alternative ends with knives and unmentionable pain. We cannot just feel it, but have to show it, and do so in the most elaborate ways as to never lose favor. We cannot just outdo our predecessors, but ourselves. The other must not tire of us, and we either claim defeat or defeat ourselves in exhaustion. Yet love is not predictable or unwavering. What entices today bores tomorrow, and we are cast aside, slain to make room for another in the rink. All we have been doing is deflecting daggers all this time until one penetrates. And that is when the sportsmanship comes in as we congratulate each other on a game well played as if there isn’t a winner and a loser and the gashes left on the latter are only scratches as we recede in a dark corner to slowly die.
We treat love like a game of cards, complete with the component of chance, but also with the false nonchalance of someone who hasn’t just betted their life’s savings and their children’s future on nothing more than hope. The cards are dealt, and when we realize the outcome we bluff and stall understanding what we have done, but a little too late. Love is a blood sport. We don’t play with money, but with pieces of our souls, slowly eaten away, often to the same person, and again with hope; we hope for a return. What happens to the pieces of ourselves that we give away? Where do they get discarded? Or do they simply get used up in the transaction?
While we watch our friends and family drained from within we do not learn, but rather wish to experience it for ourselves since surely we can do better. They were victims of their own making, but we will be victors, and we will conquer that which conquers all. We know how to choose a formidable, but not deathly partner who will engage us in the struggle of love, not defeat us, and we will prove our prowess and wisdom.
And then we will lick our wounds and let our tears spill into our cuts, delighting in the pain of salt as it overpowers the small yet fierce incisions. Good game.
What better way to forget than to remember? Just like has-beens we sit around recalling the highlights. We don’t move on, but stupidly smile at thoughts of what once was, using the memories like Neosporin. Instead of hoping for the future, or betting on luck, we hope to regain the past. The human body, made of flesh, like a soft pillow cushion is ever ready to receive innumerable piercings.