In the summer of 2013, lying in a hospital bed, mother, actor, and activist Maria Bello realized that waiting to do something isn't always an option. During her recovery, she re-read journals she'd been keeping since childhood and, in the process, began to uncover who she was, who she had become, and she found herself asking more and more questions.
Part of her questioning was about how to tell her son, then 12 years old, that she had fallen in love with a woman. Jack's response-wise beyond his years-was "Whatever, Mom...love is love." Seeing that Jack didn't see traditional labels of partnership, Maria began to contemplate the labels she herself had worn during her life.
Her essay, "Coming Out as a Modern Family," in the New York Times Modern Love column sparked a conversation about how many of the labels we use are simply outdated. Partnership, career, love, sexuality-all of these aspects of life are fluid now.
In Whatever...Love is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves, Maria shares what she's learned about love, family relationships, spirituality, sexual identity, career, humanitarian work, and her worth as a mother.
She encourages you to think about the life you lead, who you love, what you believe in, and what you call yourself; and she helps you to realize that the only labels that matter are the ones we place on ourselves.
Bello is a mother, actor, activist and the author of Whatever...Love is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves. She has appeared in films including Prisoners and A History of Violence, among others, as well as TV shows such as Touch, Prime Suspect, and ER.
Daniel Jones has edited the Modern Love column in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times since its inception in October 2004. His books include two essay anthologies, Modern Love and The Bastard on the Couch, and a novel, After Lucy, which was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. His writing has appeared in several publications, including the New York Times, Elle, Parade, Real Simple, and Redbook.