Such an underrated, or perhaps more accurately, unfairly maligned process: forgetting. Maybe I’m wanting to twist forgetting into a valuable feeling because I’m in love and the boy whom I love might forget me in the summer months to come. I might not have any control over his forgetting about me. I want to forget him too. But not forgetting as obliteration.
One always assumes that to love, you constantly have to be thinking about the love object. You have to keep saying “I love you,” you have to keep phoning them, you have to keep texting them, you have to keep emailing them, you have to keep reminding them that you love them, you have to keep reminding them to remind you that they love you. These are what Roland Barthes, in A Lover’s Discourse, calls “the lunatic chores” of love. In order to love, you seem to have to maniacally guarantee against forgetting. It’s constantly bearing evidence of love. It’s burdensome.
Actually, what it may indicate is a kind of emotional misfit. You keep performing your love as a fight against forgetting because in the back of your mind, you might not really feel it.
So maybe forgetting your beloved can be a symptom of love. In forgetting the loved one, you integrate him into your emotionality, your material existence. The loved one is important enough to become a seamless part of your everyday life. Of course, this has to be a very specialized form of forgetting, because there is a thin but hard line of differentiation between this loving forgetting and taking for granted.
Which is why the above quote from Christophe Decarnin, the current designer for the French fashion house Balmain, is so resonant with me right now: “It’s a success when you forget what you have on.” The successful love is like a successful pair of jeans: in the morning, it makes your heart flutter when you see it, bunched up or folded up, but waiting, just waiting for you; it makes you jittery and charged when you’re out of the shower and naked and you touch it and hold it up and shake it out to prepare to put left leg in first; then you put it on and button it up close to your navel and get on with your day, and it is so beloved that even if it is not skin tight, its weft nevertheless fuses with that of your skin. And then you forget it as you’d forget that your muscles and bones and organs are covered by your skin; you forget it in such a way that if you ever lost it, you know you’d just die.