Mad Love: Forgiveness makes us strong 

I have a friend that I typically see every handful of months. We catch up in little eateries over coffee and we engage in those obligatory conversations about our jobs, wanting to quit those jobs, our families, recent relationships, etc.  Sometimes we chat about politics or religion, but we tend to keep the content pretty surface level. It sounds mundane, but the interactions are always lively.  She’s a droll cynic, so it’s a good time soaking in her witticisms about whomever it is that has her frustrated.  She can be a little intimidating to some as she has an overwhelming personality by all accounts.  Despite, her cynicism comes from a really warm place.  She wishes people were kinder, more thoughtful, and more generous – she is a firm believer in micropolitics and thinks she can change the world by changing people.  She’s incredibly intelligent and somehow even more accurately intuitive about people and their motives. She’s also pretty aggressive toward the world when the world decides it wants to be inhumane and shitty to those who can't defend themselves. I share these traits about my friend because, upon hearing the story I’m about to share, I feel that many reading this will be otherwise dismissive about the accuracy of her intuitions toward people. I can report honestly that I’ve never heard her state a naïve or unfair assertion about anyone’s character and she seems to sniff out tendencies in others flawlessly.  Still, I can’t effectively capture her aura in a short post like this, so I suppose the above-mentioned is all the representation to her character that I’ll provide. 

The reason my friend comes up at all is, of course, because she reminded me recently of the inspiration behind the song Mad Love. Mad Love is the song I find to be the heaviest on Cosplay, and fittingly – in my opinion – is from the perspective of Harley Quinn of Batman fame.  I’d always found her character intriguing. Since I first saw her on the animated series as a kid in the 90s, I had a cartoon crush on Harley.  I was still ‘spongeing’ in relationship dynamics at this point, filling my head with stratagems on wooing and dating.  Even then, I knew the Joker was an asshole, but the areas I faulted him were not for his ill treatment of his love interest, Harley Quinn. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how parasitic the relationship between the two characters had been storyboarded. She takes quite the physical beating from Joker as early as her origination comic, titled Mad Love.  In this story, she becomes hospitalized with severe injuries because the Joker had decided to send her crashing through a window for her purported disloyalty.  Naturally, she was pissed for being ejected through the window – who wouldn’t be – but it wasn’t for long. A well-timed ‘get well soon’ card and flower bouquet was enough to bring Harley back into renewed infatuation with the bruiser by the end of the comic.  In another arc, Joker even kicks Harley into a vat of acid, bleaching her skin and other permanent alterations.  Now, for comics, that’s not anywhere close to the worst fate, and in the Batman universe, it’s actually quite common.  But, I can’t imagine myself readily forgiving and ready to forget such encroachments on my well-being.  More importantly, I believe all other characters who have endured catastrophic chemical baths in the Batman universe have simply become supervillains with sinister plans to exact vengeance. Harley seems to forgive her aggressor, and whether that’s good or bad, I think that makes her unique. 

Forgiveness takes a lot of strength.  I suppose that’s the thesis, direction, or whatever I’m heading at here. We all know how easy forgiveness is to defend as an ideal, especially as the harboring of anger is most often the path of least resistance. As I mentioned in the last blog on Taste Takers, the easy route never seems to be as worthwhile for personal development as lessons that come hard to us. As Mad Love prods, sometimes forgiveness can enable others to remain reckless and inconsiderate.  And worse, we can enable corrosive cycles in others. At some point, unless we choose to live in our denial about our role in those cycles, we require some hard-found strength to elevate ourselves to challenge those who have taken our forgiveness for granted.  Calling a relationship to a close after expending so much effort takes an absurd amount of strength, especially if done because of a sudden realization that the relationship has become caustic. Back to my good friend… 

We had decided to meet up at a coffee shop this last time in order to get updated on each other’s lives. A tall, scruffy guy – bulky, a few neck tattoos – came in to order a drink after just a few minutes. My friend got giddy and kept breaking eye contact his way, so I started to tease that she must be single again. She’d been in and out of one particular relationship with a real shitstick over the last three years, and she would date other guys in between. I wasn’t surprised to hear that she was in and out of one more ‘serious one’ since the last time she was in town, but that she was still seeing shitstick on the side. For the most part, every break for those two came about because they’d basically get into domestic MMA bouts. I guess she’s pretty scrappy and a skilled hair puller from her reports.  And, for the record, I don’t think her on-and-off boyfriend is a shitstick because he’s willing to get physical toward a woman.  Honestly, I’m swayed from the other contexts of their relationship happenings. In fact, I’ve been given the impression that physical altercations are instigated by her when shouting alone won’t determine the winner.  Anyway, they fight, they break up. They rise and repeat. They’ve done that for three years.  This last time, however, a solid shove sent her through the coffee table.  The coffee table was hers, so she was strangely angrier about the upcoming furniture shopping than the fact that the two should perhaps consider more than another break away from each other.  I shared my thoughts on the matter as any good friend should feel inclined to do, but as we changed topics into family and work, I got the feeling that they will probably get back together, and she will likely resume a perhaps flawed campaign toward fixing his ‘flaws.’  And maybe someday she will; she’s pretty damn confident of her intuitions on the matter, no matter how love-crazy they seem to me or anyone else. 

Here are the lyrics to Mad Love.  Thanks for reading. 


Mad love; 
So, you’ve finally found your passion? 
But you’ve learned that leaving is easy. 
At what cost will you defend it? 
And if not, will you regret it? 
Today, I helped the loveless in hopes to fix them (hopes to fix them). 
If deadpan can feel, my darling, like truth – I’m in over my head. 
I’ve been pointing fingers where I may.  Pretext lived; I’m past decay. 
Past these yesterdays – I’m past the shame. 
Past the shame and travesty. 
Keep your filthy heart out on your sleeve. 
(A patron saint of felony) 
So why can’t they see the passion? 
There’s no lead in love’s dystopia. 
And why can’t I force reaction? 
A strange attraction. 
And we lost it again: The cause. The medicine.  My sense.  My motivation. 
They call it a shame. 
Some things I won’t be able to displace. 
Though I deserve this, I find rival in the fact. 
And we lost it again; but I made the most of it – this heavy risk I paid in. 
We both made mistakes.  Still I forgave. 
Validation always meant the most to me. 
And now I count the ways these ears and eyes adjust to agony. 
As long as I can crawl away, I’ll serve you better, please believe. 
With the will, there is a way. Don’t forget the best of me. 
Don’t forget the best of me. 
Don’t forget the best of me. 
Don’t forget the best of me. 
You’ll forget. 
They call it a shame. 
Some things I won’t be able to displace. 
Though I deserve this, I find rival in the fact. 
We lost it again; but I made the most of it – this heavy risk I paid in. 
We both made mistakes. And still I forgave. 



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