Start Again


I am more than often a catalyst and rarely a solution.

There may be no solutions.

The difference between me and other people was once explained to me this way, "Most people walk around with questions they are looking for the answers to. You walk around with answers you are looking for the questions for." It might be poetic but I'm not sure it means anything.

I am the priest she confesses her sins to. I am the seer who opens her eyes to what they were closed to before. I am the hand that takes hers in mine and guides her from the rough currents to the safety of shore. I am the whore of Babylon, allowing her to act upon all those impulses she would otherwise keep buried eternally. I am the one whose code makes sense to no one other than myself and those who have been close enough to me to understand. It requires intimacy, and my kind of intimacy is nothing like yours. If I put my mind to it, there is no woman I cannot seduce, on some level, and you'll fail to grasp the meaning of this because you are thinking only on the sexual level. Sex is merely the exquisite dessert I usually end up not having room for at the end of the meal, and all I want is to see her sleep one night in a state of peace that only comes from not wanting to sleep at all.

And yet, I will tell you, brother, there is one thing in this life I am not capable of. I am completely incapable of maintaining a long term relationship with a woman. This is the curse that laughs at me as it sits on the plate alongside all my blessings.

And my penance is as such. I must extend myself beyond the robes of my less than sacred duty to ignite the torch that lights the darkened path ahead of you. There are many promises left unbroken, for in my own confession I have been with many a woman whom another claims as his own. I don't believe in owning people any more than I believe in owning property, and my rules are written on a different color paper than those you may abide by. I am merely after that moment of peace, happiness and release that I sometimes find in the eyes of a woman. I am in it for that moment. You are in it for the extension of that moment. I don't know how to extend the moment except to repeat its effects endlessly and that takes too much energy.

I might be an exceptional catalyst, but I can't maintain a steady current.

You know you are out there. I see you. There you are, struggling in vain to hold onto something that seems to be slipping through your fingers. Nothing you do is working. Nothing you try is changing the course of things. What once was beautiful and true has drifted into chaos. You don't want it to end, but things have gotten out of control. You cling to it, you hold onto it, you try to force the river to change directions, but it keeps flowing away from you. This feels like slow death, ripping your heart ever so meticulously from your chest. This you shall not survive. This is failure. This is defeat.

It isn't about you.

It never was.

Thinking it was about you is the reason the river changed directions.

It hurts like hell because you've made it about you. This isn't hard to explain in a society that emphasizes the self as being of primary importance. This makes us emotionally impotent. Once you start thinking about "What's in it for me?" you have already lost. The only way a relationship works out in the ultimate long term is when both parties care more about the other than they do themselves. The danger, of course, is when one cares more about the other than they do themself and the other is self-concerned. This leads to manipulation, emotional abuse and worse. It also leads to being gun shy and an impacted sense of being protective of the self because so often the self has been shattered by the actions of others.

Love is a dangerous place to be.

Someone once told me, "You may not have an actual degree in anything, but if you had a degree in anything it would be in women." I'm not sure such a degree would exist in anything other than a very warped world, but what she meant was that I try to speak from experience. This is the reason I tend to go off on what seem to be tangents, telling stories that seem unrelated, although to me they are quite definitely related. I made what might be called a terrible mistake in recent history, investing myself entirely in someone who I loved very deeply, who was coming apart at the seams. I had to invest myself completely in order to know what I needed to know, which was that she cared nothing about me other than what I could give her and do for her. She was willing to sacrifice me and let me die as long as she would get what she wanted. Once all the cards were on the table I walked away because I had to. She violated the very foundation of what was between us, a foundation she had built up under false pretenses in order to achieve an end. For my end, it was not only my own survival that dictated having to walk away, it was the knowledge that nothing I did or felt had any real impact on her other than being a drug she needed to stop being addicted to in order to change course. With that in hand, I could walk away knowing it was the best decision for both of us.

Would that make the two and a half years I spent with her, and the previous twenty years of our friendship invalid? Not at all, and this is where things tend to get tricky. It is the concept of investment. The more time and energy you invest in something, the more you feel you have to expend effort holding it together. It is a snowball effect that makes everything more difficult, but if you think in the present tense, if what has been was great and wonderful, then that is what it is. The past has no imposition on the present or the future. Just because something has been doesn't mean it needs to continue to be. The moments of our lives have value. They don't need to be forcefully extended to the point where they no longer have the value they once had.

Don't try to hold onto your partner when it is obvious they don't want to be held onto. Don't dig into your bag of tricks looking for was to convince them of things they don't really believe in. Don't coerce. Don't force. Let go. Let go with a blessing, not a curse. Love is about accepting others as they are and not using every means at your disposal to convince them to be someone else. Or to be someone they once were but no longer are. You can invade their territory and demand they establish a system of belief that parallels your own, but such things are an illusion and they never hold for long. Everything and everyone eventually reverts to their natural state, just as the river knows which way it wants to flow, and rivers rarely flow in a straight line.

If you love someone, you must also believe in them. You must believe that they will choose the course they need to take. You can write directions and instructions down on a piece of paper for them, but they won't always follow them. Pride leaves us to believe we know the one and only course to take, but reality is subjective and perception is nine tenths of anything.

Letting someone you love take the course they choose, even when it is a course you believe will lead them to sorrow and disappointment, is not the true measure. The true measure is not passing judgment when that sorrow and disappointment bring them back to your arms. Being there for someone, and loving someone, even when they have turned away and disregarded you is very difficult, but it is the very definition of love. At the same time you must know the difference between catching someone whose arms are open and someone whose arms are crossed. Therein lies the challenge.

This morning, while you were still asleep, your husband called. I tried not answering the phone, but I did anyway. He said he'd try again later.