Lovable . . .
I have looked in all the normal places - my parents were negligent, my head and heart were trusted to the wrong people, I don't get enough iron in my diet, that one time in the third grade when I was completely IGNORED while picking teams for kickball, etc. etc. etc. No dice. Apparently it is something deeper than that.
My shrink (and I'll not criticize her here under threat of losing her highly-valued services and counsel) seems to think that my wiring - like the circuit I tried to build for the Electronics merit badge in Boy Scouts - is just not enough to earn me an embroidered patch (my words). Fine. I get that. And I understand that there are probably things I can do (self-help books, retreats in the Ozarks, group hugs, asking for and absorbing criticism on how I behave in relationships, etc.) that could help me maybe fix the wiring if ONLY enough to get the LED to blink green when I flip the switch on the last day of Boy Scout camp. I could learn. I could practice. I could try.
And yet . . . I don't. It is not truly spite that keeps me from this effort. Nope. It is the fault of those that come in to my life. Yes. That's right - I blame you (No, really, I don't blame any of you but I wonder if maybe you could hold me to a higher standard that forces me to be better). Here's the thing . . . despite my general lack of interest in it, there seems to be a very, very small portion of people in my life (approximately the same number of people, proportionally, to the world's population that believes in the tooth fairy and/or the Tea Party movement) that find me "lovable".
What does that mean?
"Lovable" is defined as "inspiring or deserving of affection". From there, the word's defining traits and characteristics quickly devolves to contexts like being "cute" or "captivating" and an adjective that, while I adore as a word, makes me crazy "winsome".
So - to be clear - lovable means that you deserve a hug or two. If affection is a physical, tangible thing (and we'll go with hug here since this blog is PG-13 at its worst) than I am worth of that. Wow. That's quite the ringing endorsement for who a "lovable" person is at their core.
I want to re-define lovable (are you listening, Misters Merriam and Webster?). I want it to be "inspiring or deserving of your 'lifeline' call from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, your one call from jail, the primary benefactor of your estate in the event of your untimely demise, someone you would change your Facebook relationship status for, and - finally - someone you would be willing to take a punch to the face for. From a very large, very strong man with an anchor tattoo on his forearm and spinach on his breath."
I'll be candid (and this is not smoke blowing) . . . I would still love the people in my life that I claim/profess to love under this new definition. Maybe I would love them more if it carried this weight. Sure, sure . . . I would be less casual with my use of the word love (sorry people who I claim to "love" solely because you are funny on Twitter or make good music, movies, etc.) but my REAL love - my familial and or relationship love would stay in tact. I would still love all of them/you. I don't know how that would work for my phone calls - some of you are smarter and some of you have more fluid assets and patience for bailing people out of jail but my estate is not all that flush anyway so . . . I digress.
I don't know what makes me or anyone else lovable. I think I get more than I deserve on most days. I have no doubt that I am love-able (that is the grammatically correct way to state that I am able to give love, yes?) and I feel very good about giving my love and affection and feeling good about the people I give it to but I don't know how many more weekly sessions it will take before I feel lovable. That number is likely in the hundreds. But I appreciate the fact that some of you will heap your goodness on me in the meantime.