When discussing those we love, the discussion often turns to talk involving how far we would go to protect and defend them. These philosophical debates begin early in life, while hanging out with your gradeschool chums, perhaps at a sleepover, playing truth or dare you ask the “truth” taker “If there was a building on fire and you could only save one person, who would you save, your brother or your sister?”. Sure, at that age your answer depends more on who has pissed you off less in the past few weeks, that you can remember, than about who you “love” more or who “matters” to you more. Remember when those questions started your gears really turning though? When the choice between your two best friends became a topic that couldn’t be so easily answered, that involved you actually weighing the benefits of saving each individual versus the tragedy their death would cause?
As we mature, our answer becomes something along the lines of saving them both: or saving the one that couldn’t save themselves because you know the other would be able to get out on their own. Or you begin to answer with “that’s not even a fair question!”. Well, it’s not supposed to be, but of course we’re feeling the dissonance between what the questions used to mean to us versus what they do now. And it comes down to the fact that, after you reach a certain level of maturity (unless you are some type of sociopath or extremely self centered and narcissistic) you stop thinking about how much you care about your loved ones in terms of weighing the values of their lives versus eachother, and begin to determine how much you love them by how far you’ll go for them: exactly what you would and wouldn’t do and under what circumstances. The dissonance comes from the fact that you’ve determined that you would risk your life for both people in the scenario, probably just as quickly for each, so you can’t see how it should ever possibly be your responsibility to end one of their lives when you know full well you’ve valued each of theirs at the level of your own.
Of course, this starts off small, slowly. After all, we have the term “baby steps” for a reason. So you start by figuring out exactly which friends you would lend money to, why, how much, and your terms for repayment. Or you start figuring out which family members you would give up that friday night date with the hottest thing in school, or which relatives loserish and terribly embarrassing sweater gift would actually end up on your body while in public when your friends could actually see you and nab photographic evidence of this shame which would no doubt hit facebook within 2 seconds flat, ensuring you have the nickname “lamby lamb pie” for the rest of your life, all because you love them enough that you want to warm their hearts and see them smile.
Of course, we also have (and yes, we have this back in the ‘who would you save from a fire?’ times, and probably before that, depending on how close of a loved one we’re talking about) the “I’ll kick the living shit outta you if you put your hands on him/her” instincts. In my opinion, these are the real, true measurements of your love for someone. Not for you them to be able to tell if you love them/cherish them/value them/etc. but for you to know in your heart how deep, selfless and neverending your love is for that person. And I don’t mean just talk: people say things like “I would KILL any man who disrespected my mama”, but do they actually mean that? And if they do, would this killing only happen under very special circumstances? Would someone be able to rectify this situation? And what if your mama didn’t want you to kill anybody for her? If you kill the person, don’t you hurt her worse than the disrespect? (OK, for the sake of argument, just assume I am not speaking about actual murder, and I am not talking about something as small as simple disrespect, although yes, people have done worse for less. I am using this example because I heard people say this VERY often in high school, and yet, yo’ mama jokes flew around the place like they were going out of style, serious or not, and nobody died…thank GOD).
But, beyond these theoretical questions about this over-exaggeration used by teens worldwide to express love and appreciation for a mother they spend most of their time openly dismissing because she’s “old” or “doesn’t get it”. What about for real? I think most (OK, well I have at least) people have someone that they would fight for. What would drive them to that point depends on the person, some people would need it to be self defense, others would need there to be no way they could get in trouble for it, others need a live camera crew. I dare anyone to really, truly f%#$ with my loved ones, especially my baby sister, my mother and my grandmother…its ON. And no, I am not over-exaggerating. It’s not even a question in my head, not even a flinch of hesitation before blows start flowing.
BUT….and here is, really, the question that started this whole post (way to get to the point, eh? lol). Would you actually KILL for someone you love? And if so, why? What would have to happen? What would the circumstances have to be? If you ever answered yes, would it be a clean kill, or would it be long, slow, and torturous (or again, does this depend on the circumstances??). I would do a lot of wicked, evil things to people should they psychologically, emotionally, or physically do harm to any of the three people mentioned above, and there was a time when I was sure I would kill for them if someone ever hurt them, I mean really really hurt them (rape, assault and battery, etc.). But now, I’m not so sure. In self defense, NO problem. Come at them with a weapon and see if it doesn’t end up slitting your throat versus theirs. Their lives versus yours? NO question.
Maybe this is one of those growing pain things again, when you begin to realize that some things are more important than eye for an eye justice. Maybe my baby sister needs me to be a good example, be successful and NOT incarcerated, maybe she’d want me by her side to be a strength to her while she is working with through the pain versus having to see me through a plastic pane and pretend she doesn’t see the pallor in my skin from the jail food and sleepless nights on my metal cot. Maybe my mom would rather me start a support group to help people like her who have gone though a similar situation, instead of having to go to church and cry every sunday about ‘why oh why are all these bad things happening and ON TOP OF IT her only daughter is gone for 25-life?’. Maybe my Grandmother wants to come to my graduation for my Masters, or Ph.D. and smile to herself and think “I’m glad I found the strength to hold on and see her accomplish this!”.
I don’t know. Does this sound crazy to anyone else? Did I just turn into a little bitch, grow some common sense, or is this just a natural progression in life?
p.s. Don’t get it twisted, kicking the living shit outta you is NOT murder and I have NO problem with THAT kind of eye for an eye justice…just saying.
p.s. when looking for pics for this post, I came across this story. It further reinforced in my mind that if it was between them and me and mine, me and mine would win, regardless of the costs to me. I WOULD give my life if it means saving theirs. Even if “giving my life” involves me being jailed for life. But this poor dude who protected HIS family on HIS property, who were tied up and held at knife point, BTW, gets jail time for it..SMH!! If you want to read more click here.