Loving For, Not Despite

I've put so much energy into defining the concept of love over the past few months, gearing up for my book release, which is aligned with Mental Health Awareness Month. I feel like I'm searching for the impossible. My journey with love is still on-going, and I'm beginning to think there may be no adequate words to describe my experiences with love. When there are inadequate words, writers often have to use more creative ways to express the ineffable. In my memoir, I used poetic license, cadence, and unique sentence structure to relay raw emotion and difficult concepts. I know it is unconventional, but that is what flowed out of my brain in 2015. There are studies showing that you are more creative after trauma -- post-traumatic creativity. In the years after Ben's death, I used poetry to express my emotions, and for the next year or so it was as if words flowed from somewhere greater than myself, as if they had been sitting in wait to finally be expressed on paper.

Much research has linked mental illness to creativity. Many with manic depression do not want mood stabilizers, as the mania can loosen the cogs in your brain, so as to produce more creative art. (This is not the truth for me, as mania destructs my ability to function and create, which only happens when stable.) When I'm cycling, I oftentimes feel like two people can fall in love with the beauty of words and art. Words describing something beyond the reach of our rational brain, somewhere in the universe, is beautiful to me. I've been thinking a lot about the merging of love, creativity and mental illness. There is a question I have and possibly a correction we need to make. People tend to say "I love her (or him) despite their illness." I'm probing the parameters with which we can love and be loved for our mind or mental illness. Can you fall in love with someone's mind, even if it is broken at times? Is there beauty in creativity produced by someone who is manic or schizophrenic? Can you fall in love with their unique beautiful minds, the words they produce, the thoughts they ponder? Kyle oftentimes tells me that he loves "all of me," and I have said this to others who have been struggling. I just don't know what that means. I accept you despite your imperfections? I'll stay with you no matter what? Or, maybe in its highest sense, it could mean I love you for your mind, illness and thought processes. Love is many things, but can it reach that far?

So, as I think through this while writing, maybe I'd like to raise the bar for love. Instead of loving despite....can we reach the highest plane of loving someone FOR their mind and all its beauty, creativity and imperfections?

I'd like to think we can.