Love as an art form — not as good as it sounds.

Anastasia Sukhanov
4 min readMar 3, 2019

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Photo by Elisabetta Foco on Unsplash

“So, what’s your job?”

“I take slabs of my heart and share them with the world for a living.”

- Janne Robinson

I’m 29 years old and I always thought a man would come and figure out my life for me. Maybe not entirely remaster it, but give it direction, make a few decisions and round up all these random choices I’ve been making and mold them into a life that “makes sense”.

I always loved fearlessly. I made drunken confessions to my crushes, got on numerous planes to little known countries to see lovers I thought I couldn’t live without, wrote beautiful heartfelt letters to men who didn’t care enough to try and understand them. I once ran through the King’s Cross train station and almost broke my foot to hug a guy who didn’t muster the courage to tell me he liked me in the year we spent studying together. I spent all of my pocket money to get jazz concert tickets for an Italian who teased me by saying it’s well possible to love two people at the same time (the second one being his long-term girlfriend). I organized a surprise Rolling Stones concert trip for a guy who confused that weekend with another one, so I ended up taking a girlfriend instead. It must all make me sound crazy, or like a loser, or maybe both. In retrospect, I could have saved a lot of money and avoided unnecessary self-induced sadness.

But it all made sense. Love was the only form of art I knew, the only way I could express myself to the fullest, to feel like I’m maxing out, going into overdrive, reaching the bottom and reaching the absolute height. It wasn’t about the men, it was about the utter misplacement of a creative stream that I didn’t know how to channel.

Have you heard Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Grammy-winning “Shallow”? I have, many times on repeat. At home, while driving, while making breakfast and while trying to keep my unread inbox under a 1000. The song made me marvel at Lady Gaga’s voice, at the depth of Bradley Cooper’s artistic ability. It made me cry and it made me smile through tears of joy. And inevitably, every single time, it made me want to text the man I love right now — who I dated, broke up with, got back together with and know I wouldn’t last with. And yet it made me want to tell him that I loved him, in all the excruciating details, entirely and forever.

I paused to think why “Shallow” is making me want to open up my heart to someone I know isn’t worth the impulse. And there it was, the revelation. I was still using love as an artform, as a means of self-expression. Listening to a voice as powerful as Lady Gaga’s, with lyrics to die for, braided into a perfect tune, hearing her sing her soul out… It was making me want to do the same thing, make a creative statement of an equal measure. It just happened so that I only knew how to do that through love.

Love is the biggest canvas, the longest keyboard, the limitless vocabulary for self-expression. In love there are no rules and all means are justified. Being crazy, spontaneous, irrational is all part of the deal when it comes to love. Love lets you reach an unprecedented depth of feeling, all the way from the darkest despair to the purest joy. In a way, love is the perfect art form.

I didn’t write that love message in the end. Instead, I wrote this article. There is nothing wrong with loving fearlessly, as long as you really focus that feeling on the person in question. But if like me, you’re abusing of love because you’re struggling to find your way of creative expression — stop it. I had feelings for all these men, of course I did. But more than anything I made them the protagonists of my imaginary novels and fell in love with the vision that was entirely mine. I always expected that fictional future to be life-changing, to bring me everything that was missing. I was convinced it was all down to meeting the one.

I no longer expect a man to bring meaning, structure or direction into my life. Neither do I feel like I found all of that myself. And yet, by switching the means of looking for those things, by realizing that my voice is “the one” before anyone else can be, I feel more on track than ever. I’m a writer, that’s my voice. And I’m leaving love out of it, so that one day I can live it, instead of using it.

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