As a longtime producer of television in Hollywood, I had begun to feel dissatisfied with the kinds of projects I was involved with. So in 2004, an election year, I decided to make a documentary film with some friends about the March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. While the gig didn't pay well, it was thrilling to be at the helm of a project that I found meaningful. My political activist side was lit up and I knew that for me, finding meaning in my work life was no longer a luxury, it was an absolute necessity. After that project ended and I found myself in a black hole of filming reality television shows, I longed for something more. I longed to be in love with my work. Like some of the contributors who share their stories in the pages to come, I think falling in love with what you do can absolutely result in a healthy, satisfying relationship that offers plenty of sustainment, in addition to the belief that finding love in another person will come.
The final kind of love as defined by the Greek philosophers is beyond the earthly pleasures of lust, family, and work. It is the all-encompassing Agape, which, appropriated by Christian theology, is the paternal love of God for man and man for God. However, I would argue that Agape is the purest form of love for each other. The concept that love is peace and mutual respect, if truly practiced and adopted, might end all war. Imagine that! John Lennon certainly did, and along with the other fab three put that idea into words, giving us some of the best love songs ever written. "All you need is Love"—the Beatles abridged Corinthians!
A primer on how great thinkers define love wouldn't be complete if I didn't include the man who wrote arguably the most powerful works on the subject: the Bard himself. Anyone who has ever fallen hard can identify with Shakespeare's plays— particularly if they pick up one of his tragedies in the aftermath of getting dumped, since Shakespeare's idea of love unfulfilled was tragic. You either love or you die, in the case of Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet and Ophelia.
When Ben, my first love, let go of my hand and broke up with me, I felt like Juliet and Ophelia one hundred times over. I stopped eating. I cried all day, every day. I cried before school; during math, history, and English classes; and after school working as a checkout girl at the Tom Thumb grocery store. The bags under my eyes were so big I could have packed them and gone on vacation. I literally begged Ben to take me back, in between sobs, sitting in his banana yellow Cutlass Supreme, where our hand-holding began. I told him I couldn't live without him, and I meant it. He was very sweet when he told me he was sorry, it was over. And to top it off, my tragedy played out the same week of cheerleading tryouts, which in Texas is tantamount to the Olympic Trials with pom-poms. To add salt to the already open wound, I didn't make the cheerleading team. It was Rejection with a capital R. Fortunately, no one in my Shakespearean tragedy died. But it felt like death at the time.