The Love Scale Of Pain

1 Jul


The other night Luke and I went on a run down to the beach.

I know how cutesy that sounds, a couple exercising together, and I apologize for that.  This is a real thing now and we’re all going to have to live with it.

On the way down we stopped at the MAC store because I’ve had a hankering for a deep, blood red lipstick.  I have a to-do list on my phone that I check rather obsessively, and the number one thing for the past several weeks has been “blood lipstick.”

One can never underestimate the power of a new lipstick.

We got to the beach just in time to see the sun set. To our left was the Santa Monica Pier, lit up in neon and screams, almost smelling of cotton candy.  To our right were the Santa Monica Mountains, swirling under the sunset.  Just beyond that was Malibu, twinkling ever so slightly out of reach, as Malibu always is.

We sat for a moment on the bluffs watching nature take its course and speaking very little. It was a content silence, punctuated occasionally by a hand squeeze or a comment on the sky.  After it ended we ran the 13 blocks home and went out for a little Middle Eastern chicken with a lot of extra garlic sauce on the side.

It was lovely night.  And also, you know, just a run.

Earlier this year I told Hilary that I worried for myself.  I worried that I would never love like I once loved, with an intensity that made me want to die every moment of every day.   I worried I would have to go through my life only feeling that once.

Hilary, in her wisdom, said, “Jill…why would you want that?  Why would you want someone who makes you want to die?”

When I relayed the story to Caitlin she tacked on, “Jill, you’re saying, ‘I’m afraid I’ll never again find someone else who doesn’t understand me.  Who makes me feel terrible about myself.  Who mocks my beliefs.  Who makes me feel desperate and out of control and like I’m going to die of heartbreak every day.  What if I never find that again? Oh no!’”

And when you put it that way,


One of my biggest challenges as an adult has been learning how to love.

Not learning to love.  That part was easy.  Love just swept me away from a young age without any trying on my part.

But how to love.

That’s a different beast altogether.

For so long my idea of love was wrapped up in my idea of pain.  Love is pain.  Love hurts.  Love makes you want to die, but all of the good ones do!

I even began to measure my love on a pain scale, inadvertently.  How much I loved someone was directly tied to how much they could make me hurt.

He doesn’t make me want to die, thus I must not love him very much.

When I’m around him I am calm and content.  I guess I don’t have any feelings for him.

Alecia Moore put it another way when she crooned, “I hate you.  I really hate you, so much I think it must be true love. No one else can break my heart like you.”

I have a very difficult time registering love if it isn’t hurting me.

Which, when I put it that way,


I don’t really know how this ties to my run and sunset watching the other day, but I think it does.  I think last week I went on a run and ate some garlic sauce and wore blood red lipstick and it was good.

I think this something.


I’m working on a new scale.

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