This a question that has circulated in my family for some years now, and in recent ones, something that my daughter asked me a couple of times. Let’s define some parameters here: I am not referring to romantic love, but rather, expressions of deep affection. One of my soul sisters’ love language when we were still in college was flowers. Despite our limited allowances back then, we got treated with a floral expression of affection every so often. Today those floral expressions have transformed into baked goods. Thank you MLTU!
There are two women in my life who are teachers, each with their own unique approach, but the thing about them is that they teach from the heart. Their love language is taking the time to figure out how best to approach the student so that the lessons are substantial as they are meaningful, and very few teachers understand the difference.
As you can well imagine, several of my soul brothers are photographers, and what we all share in common is translating our affection or deep connection through our photography, be it friends, family, the fields, villages, cities that we live and thrive in. When we photograph, it is a language that transcends a spoken medium and conveys the content of our hearts and minds. The manner in which a scene or portrait is framed, the chosen light angle, the particular look we choose to capture – it is a profound love for the craft, and as such, when we share it or choose someone to be in it, aesthetics plays a very small part of it. We frame, we release, we balance exposure, adjust the light and contrast.
My daughter’s love language is art. To be the recipient of one of her creations is a great honour on so many levels, knowing how many hours she poured her heart and soul into it, chose the theme, colours, and concept behind the watercolour, sculpture or acrylic painting. Each brush stroke or smoothening of the creation is loaded with an intensity and passion that is priceless. Like me, however, she has a a second love language, one that is reserved for a limited inner circle – food. Unlike others whose love language is the food item itself, with us it is the act of feeding someone, of creating a meal, sharing cookies, making sure someone has something to drink, or even binging on a tub of ice cream when spirits are low. It’s a deeply Asian trait to bond over food, so the deeper the conversation or greater the trouble, the larger the meal!
My love language? Since I cannot and will not simply speak just one language, my love language is manifested in three ways: photography, food, and words. When I ask someone to pose for me outside of a commercial realm, it has very little to do with artistic pursuit and more of an invitation into an inner sanctum that I do not open to everyone. The same applies to dedicating a photograph, I don’t do it often or lightly.
Feeding people is something so deeply ingrained in me from past generations of women in my family, It is an affirmation of our roles in each other’s lives inasmuch as it is an offering of time and welcoming you into a space in the universe where you can feel safe and at home.
The last language is obvious – words. I write from the depths of my soul to share with the world, but rare are the times when I address anyone directly, and my messaging approach is becoming more and more limited the older I get. It’s about quality and intensity, and less about quantity.
So my challenge for you today is to figure out your love language – and encourage you to use it as often as possible.