February 14, 2012 • Podcasts
The Labour of Love
What is love? Is romance its most vital form? ‘The labour of love’ is a documentary about how four women in their twenties, from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds and sexual orientations, living in St. John’s, Newfoundland, define what love is, and the struggles that come along with it.
‘The Labour of Love’ was originally broadcast on radio show WOW! or Women on Women: A Show About What Women are Doing, Saying, and Making, on CHMR FM in St. John’s.
Take a listen here:
For a transcription of 'The Labour of Love' read on:
Sarah Feldbloom: Hi, I’m Shameless Magazine’s Web Producer, Sarah Feldbloom. A few years ago I was living in Newfoundland. I moved there in large part to be with someone I had fallen deeply in love with. During that period of my life I was consumed by the act of loving. I felt like everything had to do with that feeling.
I would spend a lot of time inside my own head, thinking about what I was going through and watching the same questions present themselves over and over again.
I felt isolated in my experience of loving, and didn’t have many close friends around me to talk it through with.
At the time I was producing a radio show for CHMR FM in St. John’s called WOW! or Women on Women: A Show About What Women are Doing, Saying & Making. I decided to ask some of the people in my life there to explain to me and my listeners what they thought love was... what it meant for them. The documentary you’re about to hear was originally broadcast on WOW! It features four women in their twenties from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds and sexual orientations.
Something that really surprised me while talking to these women was that romantic love, which is what had me obsessed, was the not the type that seemed most relevant overall. It was quite a revelation, since I’d been working for the kind of romantic love I was exploring for basically my whole life. And experiencing it the way it did, it was almost like I was wrapped in a sheet, which lay between me and the world beyond.
A few days ago when I went back to this recording, and listened to these women explain to me again what love is, it occurred to me that I didn’t really hear them fully the first time. It reminds me that we can know something and not understand it or be able to use it until it proves itself to us in our own lives. Regardless it’s important to talk about our feelings and not isolate ourselves, especially in romantic relationships. It can be so easy to get lost and find ourselves dependant and in situations that are unsustainable and unhealthy. I’m single now, and as cliché as it sounds, I finally feel like the most important love relationship is the one I have with myself.
[Sound up on interview]
SF: What do you think of when you think of the word “love”?
Women 1: Wow, that is difficult. Um, when I think of love, I think of love for oneself. That’s, that’s always the first thing that comes to mind...
Women 2: Umm, you can’t just say what it is. There are so many things to say about it. You can’t describe it really; nobody really knows what it is and I’d say—this is such a stupid thing to say because everybody says it—but you don’t know what it is until it actually happens and all that kind of stuff. But I don’t know…you’d never be able to pinpoint it. I guess it’s just a weird feeling and you know when you know.
SF: Was there a time where you thought love was something different than what you just described?
W2: Yes. When I was young I just thought that TV was what love was. I thought that it was going to be like some cartoon. I don’t know…I was going to be some sort of warrior princess and it was going to be perfect and my warrior prince was going to come get me. I don’t know; it’s just not that like that at all. It’s so much more difficult than what I thought.
SF: What do you think love is?
Women 3: Oooh, okay…that is a big question. I think it would really depend on the context in which it was being presented…and also on the person. Seeing as how Valentine’s Day is two days from now, right now I’m inclined to kind of think of romantic love.
I might have a similar perspective on this, but I really see it [love] as something that was commodified by capitalism and really kind of marketed towards us, you know? We have a day every year where we’re expected to celebrate and buy certain products for our so-called loved ones and we’re kind of compelled to be in these relationships that are primarily economic arrangements more than anything else and if you look at partnerships and people who are mostly likely to marry or have partners within their own class and then it perpetuates that [mentality] with their kids and all that. And the way it’s marketed I see as really plastic but also a real opportunity to profit off of [romantic love] which is why it’s been so successful for so long. But having said that, I am currently in a partnership right now and every relationship is going to be different and going to feel differently. What it [love] is for me is passion, where you care deeply for another person. Whether you call that intimacy on a different level or whether you call it love I don’t think is all that important. I mean, how do you label it? If it’s so meaningful and important to you, that’s kind of the main thing.
Women 4: I think love is a connection between two people when you’re able to put your own feelings on par with someone else and when you would do almost do anything to be with that person and make them happy, but without compromising your own happiness.
W1: I think just being fully satisfied with who you are and just feeling like no matter what, you’re always going to be there for yourself. A lot of people say that about others, you know, ‘No matter what so-and-so is going to be there for me,’ or something like that. But, I think knowing that you’re always going to be okay and you’re always going to have yourself, and being okay with that and being okay with the face that you are alone in the world, I think that if you’re okay with that it actually demonstrates that you love yourself. And once you love yourself, then you can actually love others and I think that’s the only way you can ever love others, so yeah that’s what I think.