Have you watched Cinderella Man? If you have not, you should. It isn’t just a movie about boxing, a visceral portrayal of the Great Depression, or a man’s triumph over mitigating circumstances; it has to be one of the greatest love stories to ever grace the big screen.
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Oftentimes, relationships can resemble fast food: they’re cheap yet filling; they give immediate satisfaction but have long-term side effects; they’re bad for you but you choose it anyway; convenience overrides any desire to go the distance to find something more worthwhile.
So in a fast-moving world with a fast-paced lifestyle where here and now is much preferred to later, how do we know if Love is really Love? If it’s just as easy to get out of as it is to get into it, how will we know if we’ve really found this seemingly elusive concept called Love?
And then there are those individuals who desperately want to find Love, and will will themselves to believe they have found it, only to realize later it wasn’t really what they’d thought it was. What about those individuals who, after a night of deceit and misappropriated lust, go back to their significant others as if nothing had happened?
Over the years, it seems to me that saying I love you has lost it’s meaning in so many ways: some utter these words only to find that once the relationship is over, they no longer feel this way. What they’d believed was once true and heartfelt isn’t any longer, and they justify the change of heart with a laundry list of reasons why the relationship couldn’t work out. Playing the blame game seems to be so much more convenient than admitting to themselves that maybe love, in this relationship, wasn’t what they had thought it could be. That maybe they had made the wrong decision of picking someone who wasn’t worthy of their heart and time. That maybe the consumption of “fast love” had left them feeling shameful and guilty. It’s always easier to blame the cause than the enabler, after all.
Cheating, divorce, desperation, petty break-ups, and lies cheapen that which is absolutely invaluable in my book: pure, unadulterated, can’t-live-without-you type of love. Nowadays, it seems so many are willing to exchange vows, only to rescind their promises once the storm hits. Instead of fighting to keep their relationship afloat, instead of withstanding the torrent and weathering the conditions, it seems more appealing to look for sunny days elsewhere.
Love doesn’t have a 7-day forecast. It doesn’t warn you so you can make your quiet escape to the tropical islands nor is it accommodating enough to provide an umbrella for the rain. It’s not about having to weather through these conditions; it’s really about how you handle this situation and how you’ll deal with the possibility that you may come out of it just a little damaged. How will you prepare yourself for next time?
Love isn’t always convenient or easy; Love can be angry, passionate, heated, and it can very well step on toes. It can affirm you or leave you feeling defeated, but that’s what’s so appealing about it: it stirs our emotional gears and makes us feel ALIVE.
Unlike fast food, love should be that divine 9-course meal at that five-star restaurant everyone raves about: every course starting from the appetizer would tantalize us to savor each bite and anticipate what is to come next. Love, much like each course, should get better with time — not make us feel shameful and guilty for having experienced it.
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The two main characters of this movie, James and Mae Braddock, exemplify what I believe is true love.
Mae represents the kind of woman I hope to be for my partner. Through thick and thin, through sickness and in health, for better and for worse - she is her husband’s guiding light. She is the torch that’s always kept aflame should he flounder in the darkness. She is the motivating force behind his ideals, ideals which are realized through her unconditional love and faith in him. She meets his defeated ego with a hug each and every time, and carries through on her vows and promises to stay and persevere no matter how hard things may get.
Regardless of circumstance or outcome, he will always remain a champion who has won her heart, and in the end, all worldly desires melt away and blur into insignificance for nothing moves her core the way her love for him does. And no other way of loving him would be good enough for him.
A self-respecting woman will provide this kind of love for her man, and will give this valuable gift to the right kind of man. And it is this kind of woman who will be more than worthy enough to land a champion who will fight to keep her heart.