Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It’s not often I am touched by the words of others. At the risk of sounding shallow myself, I tend to find mere words just that - shallow and without the force needed to move a soul already weighted down by the realities of life. That makes me sound grim but don’t be fooled, I am not grim. Just at this point in my life I have seen and heard and read and said billions upon billions of words. Words have to work hard to impress as their power wanes over the lengthening years. They batter my rocky surface unceasingly but still I remain firm and unyielding.
It was the words of someone important to me that rent the surface. Not simply because they were well-written, but because it gave an insight on how this friend is structured mentally – emotionally even - and how they came to be who they are. A mystery I’ve often secretly tried to solve. It was interesting to see the reflection of the adult that I know in a story about them as a child which I can never know. It filled in an incomplete tapestry that I had been painting in my own mind, pieced together from clues that I pick up littered along the path of our friendship during the short time that we have known each other. I feel safe to say that after what I learned, my painting was far from accurate. Not in the way that a child’s painting is accurate in spirit and concept but not in the details, but rather inaccurate in the way you might try to draw a cabbage and it ends up being a boot.

All of this got me thinking about how I came to be, and my own childhood and what events might have shaped me. It made me ponder my qualities and where they came from. There are some things about myself that I would proudly claim as my traits. There are also many that I am ashamed of and work to be rid of. Just like everyone, I imagine. It’s no secret (to myself at least) that my friend has a certain intensity of spirit and will that I not only admire but am slightly envious of because it is something that I lack, and unlike other qualities I may lack, I am AWARE of this one. It makes me wonder why this aspect of my personality did not develop like I feel it should have.
She cites specific adversity in her childhood; moments in time when facing challenges and turmoil that things became clear and she realized truths about the world, about herself. I don’t know that I can pinpoint any such time in my life in either childhood or my adult life. For not being a very mysterious person, I remain a mystery only to myself; I don’t yet know who I am.
I had a great childhood where the worst thing that ever happened to me was falling out of a tree and nearly dying from drinking tea made with contaminated water. They were bad times, to be sure, but not exactly emotionally scarring. My memories of being a kid are all pleasant and for that I am certainly thankful. I have a fantastic mother that cannot be matched, and any failings of myself as a person are my own. She was a single mother for a good majority of my life and she worked hard to raise me and prepare me for the world. Yet somewhere along the way, a few important lessons were missed. And I wonder if everyone with these qualities had to suffer adversity as a child to really grow into this type of person? Is there not another way? Is it too late for me?

I’ve felt a growing sense of…unease the last few months. There is a dread in me that has usurped my heart when I was looking in another direction. Comfortable in its new home it occupies its time by sending a feeling through my body that I can only describe as desperation. I have begun to feel ill-equipped for my life; for work, for relationships, for many things. And I can’t help but feel these missing attributes are part of the problem. What opportunities have I missed due to my lack of boldness? Have I missed out on something amazing because I did not take a leap of faith? It's an issue I've tried to focus on but it's tough to catch up when you're so far behind.

And this makes me think about relationships, one of the areas where my lack of directness is painfully obvious. I’ve written a lot about relationships lately. That is of course relative as I do not write much of anything these days. It’s a tired topic, I know, but it’s something that has been weighting on me. Only in recent years have I realized the truth about myself when it comes to relationships. It’s simple; I am a loner who hates to be alone. And for a while I was okay with it all and I thought that being on my own would be ideal, but every day I find it less appealing and every day I am reminded of what I am missing. I suppose that means I’m not a loner anymore.
There is no problem in realizing a need in others. The problem comes from not taking any action to remedy the situation. I will hold back taunt like a coiled trap and only spring after it is too late.

I have three weddings to go to in the next 5 weeks. I couldn’t be happier for my friends, but as I arrive to the weddings to watch people I’ve known for years give themselves to someone else, and as I watch our mutual friends arrive with their wives and new children, I feel empty. I am usually able to take great solace in joy in small things, but it makes me feel like the things in my life are insignificant. As I endure a barrage of "why are you still single", I am speechless because I'm not sure what the answer to that question is any longer.
I’ve been living for myself for so long and I’m at the point I want to put effort into someone else but I didn't really realize it until now
. If I can be honest, I wasn't capable before. Oh, I pretended I was and for a while I fooled people. I certainly fooled myself. But it wasn't until recently - and I'm talking mere months - that I think I really had the capacity to understand how fragile such relationships can be and what a responsibility it is when someone puts their faith in you. I miss that strong faith being put into me; it's a vast responsibility but one that I miss carrying. It opens up levels of intimacy that you can't really substitute. I miss the intimacy of being able to share parts of yourself that you can't even reveal to your closest friend. I think I might even need it.

My new found clarity is not a skill I can put to the test however. I've mentioned this to a number of friends, but I've been on more dates in the last few months than anyone should ever have to suffer through in their entire lives. I've seen some pretty unappealing sides of people. And as I meet more and more individuals, I am learning that the people I really find the most interesting are already in my life. Taken and off-limits, but in my life.
I find myself drawn to those that I think can break me out of whatever shell I have sealed myself in. I cannot decide if this is an insult or a compliment to them. I used to be drawn to the meek. Now I am drawn to the adventurous of spirit. But the spark I may feel from this draw usually amount to nothing but my frustrations. My sparks are ever one-sided. And that leaves me powerless to change things. I am not the type of person people leave someone to be with. But then, I don't wish to be that person. I want to be the guy picked for other reasons. For my sense of humor, loyalty, or simply that I feel right to someone. But I'm not that person either. I don't have an allure or hook that people look for. Not that I know what they look for, I merely know that I lack it. So I watch from the outside as the men in their life make mistake after mistake, time and again, and I wonder how many chances he will get and what it is she sees in him. And I ponder if I can perceive so many mistakes from such a distance perspective, how bad is it on the inside? I watch from the outside waiting on a chance to make my own mistakes. I won't fool myself, I'm a man like any other and though I try hard, I will make mistakes. I am full of imperfections, but I will make weapons out of them.

1 comment:

jayd said...

Hello, my friend.
You do not know me, but I feel I know you.
It happens when you open yourself up to others. To answer your questions of it being too late or not for you to see true realities is that it is never too late.
You may have experienced a lovely childhood, but you should never curse that, which I'm sure you don't.
It is not your fault that you cannot understand certain realities without the assistance of those who can view them naturally. Those are the pros and cons of experience.
If you truly wish to know more about yourself, as you state, which is your largest mystery, you must begin to put yourself through a series of tests. The unfortunate truth is, only through suffering can we really begin to gain true knowledge. If you have a strong belief in your heart and mind, you will come out just fine. However, it will not feel good. You will hurt. You will suffer. You may even question your own existence's validity. And this will not happen overnight. You will most likely suffer for a few months, at the least.
Most people are perfectly willing to wait until some natural tragedy occurs. Why would you want to inflict pain upon yourself? Because of these reasons, you must never let anyone on to what you are doing.
You may have to give up everything you have and simply travel to no place in particular. Or place yourself in a situation that you know most any sane person would never try. Or you can try fasting for 30 days in complete solitude, or you can surround yourself with as many people as possible, say NYC. Live homeless with no connection to anyone you know, or love. You will gain knowledge from society and\or nature.
If you are not willing to suffer, you will never gain real insight to your realities, and yourself.