“I can’t write beautiful, lyrical poetry,
I can’t put my words into perfect sentences,
I can’t express all that is in my heart,
But somehow, “I love you”…
Says it all.”
– Shaistha Khan –
Does it? Do the words “I love you” really say it all?
Alain de Botton writes in his book On Love,
“Society, like a good stationary shop, had equipped me with a set of labels to affix to the flutters of the heart. The sickness, the nausea, and the longing I had at times felt at the thought of Chloe, my society filed under L but across other oceans or centuries, the filing cabinet might have had another index. Could my symptoms not easily have been identified as signs of a religious visitation, a viral infection, or even a non-metaphorical coronary attack? … How could I tell her I loved her in a way that would suggest the distinctive nature of my attraction? Words like love or devotion or infatuation were exhausted by the weight of successive love stories, by the layers imposed on them through the uses of others. At the moments when I most wanted language to be original, personal, and completely private, I came up against the irrevocably public nature of the language of the heart.”
He continues, “It is always easier to quote others than to speak for oneself, easier to use Shakespeare or Sinatra than risk one’s own sore throat. Born into language, we necessarily adopt the use others have made of it, involving ourselves in a history that is not our own. For lovers who feel they are reinventing the world through their love, there is an inevitable confrontation with a history that preceded their union [be it their own past or that of society]. My every loving gesture had a birthday that predated Chloe – there were always other birthdays, there could be no virginal declarations. Like making love, speaking of it involved me with a trace of everyone I had ever slept with…”
–On Love, pages 101-104
-Card from Etsy, seen here
What do you think? Have you created a new language of love? Is the word enough to describe it? Or does it, like Shaistha Khan described, say it all?