Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Love vs. Obsession

Okay, I've had to admit this before, but I'm still afraid that whenever I say it, someone is instantly going to close the window. So hear me out.

Yes, I'm a Twilight fan.
No sound disturbed the courtyard's silence, but the darkness rippled with equal parts surprise and disbelief.
Or at least, my high-school self was a Twilight fan. "Fan" does not even cover it properly...I was pretty obsessed with it. I even threw a Twilight-themed party. Not a birthday party. Just a party. With trivia and posters and costumes and everything.

This was even before the movies came out. I had to find pictures of actors that I thought suited the character.
ANYWAY. Getting off subject.

I just reread the first book and was vastly disappointed. It's been about 5 years or so (which blows my mind, honestly) since I've last read them. And I can't believe how much my preference has changed. I used to think it was the best-written book I've ever read. This time through, I could hardly read a chapter without wanting to put it down.

But let's talk about Edward.

He's a charming character. He was charming when I was a Freshman in high school and he is still charming while I'm a senior in college. But I used to think the love between him and Bella was the strongest representation I had ever seen. That was seriously my thought upon finishing the book for the first time.

Okay, now let's jump now to something a bit classier.
Wuthering Heights.

This book has been listed as the #1 love story of all time.

I just finished reading it yesterday. It actually wasn't as dry as I had expected--generally, I'm not a fan of the classics. (Don't you dare say a word about me being an English major.)
But now let's talk about Heathcliff. The character that you either love or hate.

I really wanted to like him. I tried my best.
I just couldn't.

See, these two books are similar in many different ways. Bella even cites Wuthering Heights as her favorite book and mentions its characters frequently throughout the series. Both Edward and Heathcliff are mysterious. They're both famous for being madly in love. And they both wrongfully have earned that title.

What they have towards Bella and Catherine is not love.
It's obsession.

And that's where I think that the media gets it wrong so often. They portray being in love with being out of your mind and focusing every aspect of your life on this one person. It often spawns jealousy, insecurity, and revenge...but in these romance stories, that's perfectly acceptable. Because it's a sign of their undying passion for the girl.

Um, no.

Heathcliff's actions are not redeemed by his love for Catherine. The man is a revenge-seeking psychopath. He has put Catherine on a pedestal that goes beyond who she actually was; she has become his god. He worships her. And this is not a good thing.

This leads to the destruction of the lives of everyone around him, including his own.

At least Emily Bronte wrote the consequences of the obsession; Meyer simply tells her audience that throwing away your life and morals for a man will get you a happy ending.

Real love is not selfish. It is not obsessive.
It is dedication, trust, and commitment. It is endurance.

It is not holding someone up on a pedestal, but knowing their flaws and loving them through them.
It is not making them your god, but making God the foundation of your relationship with them.

My favorite love story is no longer Twilight. It's nowhere near Wuthering Heights.
Instead, it's my own. Because I know that love is real, and I've seen how God has worked in my life and in Deacon's life and somehow pulled us together. We've seen the struggles and the ascending and descending plot lines and we didn't close the book. We lived through them, and we will continue to live through them.

I don't think any book or movie can replicate that.