A Thin Line Between Love & Hate

The title of a 1996 film featuring Martin Lawrence and Lynn Whitfield in which one of the ‘conquests’ of a serial party man and ‘playboy’ comes back for revenge in a ‘Fatal Attraction’ style comedy thriller.

A somewhat ironic suggestion from my Netflix account on the evening I was contemplating exactly how thin that line is…

What is love anyway? And in that paradox, what is hate?

The urban dictionary defines love as ‘nature’s way of tricking people into reproduction’. Cute.

The oxford dictionaries instead choose to describe love as ‘a strong feeling of affection and/or attraction towards someone’, and ‘to like and enjoy very much’.

Hate, by contrast, is defined as ‘to feel intense dislike toward someone’ according to the formal dictionaries, but my personal favourite is the one offered by urban dictionary:

“Hate is a special kind of love given to people who suck”.

Of all the definitions that I spent my evening pointlessly researching, only the online comedy dictionary could draw a reasonable parallel between love and hate. Clearly not a subject meant for scholars, but rather for those with too much time, or too much wine.

So in my bid to understand this supposed ‘thin line’ that exists between the two emotions, and why as humans we so often use it as a skipping rope, it occurred to me that perhaps I never really allowed myself to experience either. Or perhaps I experience them so frequently that I am almost numb to the paradoxical effects, as the passions that ferment in my hormones are about as intoxicating as shandy is to an alcoholic.

Am I drunk on love? Or hate? Or both?

Actually, I think perhaps what I’m addicted to, what we’re all addicted to, is ‘FEELING’. Feeling makes us alive. It gives us drive, focus, a motive, intention, power from within… feelings to which we don’t bring awareness, and so we allow them to take control, not swallowing the bitter results of our subsequent actions until we’ve sobered up.

Hate isn’t the opposite of Love. Indifference is the opposite of Love. Indifference doesn’t bear the fruit of FEELING. Love is the most all-consuming feeling there is. Actually, maybe hate is. The two battle for first place in a futile war over what? … Ego?! Within that battle lies the line. A line we play with, tormenting ourselves, pushing our emotional boundaries to limits as we taunt each other with insecurities, jealousy, anger, betrayal, distrust, disrespect, loathing… poisoning ourselves and each other, in an attempt to achieve what… more of that intoxicating sense of FEELING? To feel alive? To feed the ego?

We’re like mosquitos, only we suck the life blood from each other, leaving a mess, a lump, an itch, a mark, a scar…

I despise the notion that I can’t control this line. Why is it so seductive? Like the man himself whom I love to hate, hate to love, who causes me to yearn for indifference, and retract in fear when I come so close to fulfilling that desire.

Is this line the tightrope we walk when we find true love? Is this the fatality of such a powerful attraction? When love sweeps us off our feet, does it replace the foundations of everything we used to feel below our feet with a thin line instead? One which we must conquer? Or perhaps one we must simply accept.

Every relationship has compromises. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Perhaps for those of us in the intoxicating, explosive, and occasionally contumelious relationships, acknowledging that Hate isn’t the enemy, is perhaps the only tonic we need. If we slip into indifference and the ‘feeling’ disappears, then we’re in trouble.

Until then… jumping the rope needn’t be so fatalistic, even when it sucks.

With love

Harriette x