Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Happily Never After
Life is a funny thing, you know, an ironic leviathan, full of unusual twists and flicks of its tail (tale?)
For example, this space was originally meant for all my unusual journeys and mischief on the road, but I find that lately it is much more about the INWARD road, the one within myself, and perhaps the heart of my own humanity, that I seem to be writing, and which hopefully resonates outward.
As such, I had NO IDEA that my LAST POST about something which seemed so small--trivial, even--would produce such a reaction as it did, making me almost embarrassed at the many kind words online, and phone calls, and general good words by friends and even strangers.
However, I am also aware that the writings on that subject--the strange subject of love, might have the affect I had not intended: the other person involved might be made out into a monster. He certainly is not, but was misguided as to what love is, and is not. In fact, I could say my own flaw was to believe that love could save everything, when certainly a romantic relationship, or partnership, is so much more complicated. Who is to say that my own views were not equally as flawed, an anxious woman whose own staunch ideas of living might be too rigid to apply to a coupledom?
Certainly, from afar, some of the things that I've done may seem interesting: a theater and dance director for nearly a decade, a beekeeper, a folk artist, a traveler for several years...perhaps that is fantastical to many, but how does that excitement translate to anything predictable?
I've known women of great accomplishment--living entirely in the1800s, moving to India and starting their own Indian dance school, and even running an entire country, and while I don't consider my accomplishments anywhere near these levels, I recognize that NONE of these women had men anywhere in their lives as they created these dreamscape lives. Indeed, there is some part of me that supposes that it would be impossible to create these feats whilst being the "wife" or "girlfriend" or "mother."
And yes, certainly there are women who also accomplish astonishment whilst being wives and mothers, I am wondering who these mystical partners are, who can love a fierce woman with fire in her soul, who is creative and determined and simply not "yes-ing" a man at his own accomplishments? Who is the man actually willing to work in conjunction with a woman so that both souls expand and grow? Why are so many "wild women" desired by men from afar, but considered "grating" when they state their own dissent, tell their opinions? Are they shackled and called derogatory names because they are feared? Can they not have their own projects, their own way of seeing things, and be true partners to someone, other than "playing their parts" in the kitchens and bedrooms of households?
Similarly, I say, in my case, I simply may not be right for love. Is love all sacrifice? Is it binding? Limiting? And if so, how much is the limitation? I find myself utterly confused. Why, you ask?
Really, I am no ace in the art of love. I have spent much of my life pursuing my own projects. College educated and encouraged to have my own voice and imagination (by my conservative, foreign-born father, no less!), I have spent my days creating my own little world. Indeed, I often feel out of step with the rest of the world in many aspects of life, locked forever in an idealistic or perhaps old-fashioned view of how life could be. It is a weird concoction within me, a certain optimism, but a deep sensitivity, and so while I wholeheartedly put out trust, and value the many different people I have met and dealt with, I lately find myself on a tightrope as to exactly how much trust I should give, and to whom.
I am no professional of high wire acts, and find myself shattered into a million pieces when betrayed.
Further, there seems to be some sort of unspoken phenomenon amongst the culture; the strange "game" of love, where hearts and lives are played to, and played with, on a whim. I am not a random-date sort of person, I can count on one hand the people I have been in strictly long term relationships with, and I am no Spring chicken. The random "hook-ups" and "break-ups" and multiple marriages and shuffling of children of these marriages, and falling out of love with someone because they gained 10 pounds or got 10 years older or because they didn't like their attitude on Thursday is something that absolutely shocks me, and makes me sad. Certainly, one should not be unhappy in a relationship, but it seems that even happiness is something fickle and short-fused in this part of the world.
So what is love? What would it take for such a thing to flourish properly? Do we say it is difficult because we must lay ourselves bare, choosing be vulnerable? Do we risk ripping our hearts out, gambling loss either the love of another rejecting us, or staying with us but leaving us through death?
And truly,who is to say we are owed love. Is that a modern belief, courageous or flagrant as it is, to stipulate that everyone will find love? Is it a notion we create for the sake of hope or goodness? Who gets love? Do beautiful, rich people stay in love forever and ever? Do broke-down, sick people get love? Do couples who have loved for decades and decades get love after one or the other dies? Do we risk losing husbands, wives, partners, parents, children, siblings to war and sickness and accidents?
At the end of the day, I am astonished that we keep putting our hearts out there, hoping for a light signal back, in the dark. At the end of the day, are we all just here, as simple as 5 year olds, offering our hearts on our sleeves, trying to share our best toys and desserts in our lunch boxes, and hoping someone will just like us--love us--back?
What is love, Friends? I would love to know. And what have I, now, here at this point? I may say I will pick up the pieces and move on, but there is a danger in that, you see. For I simply move further and further within myself. Certainly, I will be content, happy, even adventurous, but I already feel that I move too far within myself to understand the heart of another, to the point I don't see them. At times, I already feel as though the person for me is some concoction of a person with such fantastical reference points as to maybe not exist. Even at its most stripped down form, I suppose a person who may match my own interests and life is something made from a spell-book, a fairy tale or fictional story of a man. It is so absurd as to warrant this story:
My wise mother, as all wise and loving mothers do, keeps insisting there is a "man for me out there." I keep saying he is likely in Siberia, and eighty years old, wondering where in the world I am, as well.
Until--or if--that time comes, I know that I am loved by many. I will focus on these friends and my funny little life, and art, again. I will mourn a good man and the good parts about him, and the life that could have been...ghost children and phantom farms and my Happily Never After. I will continue to live by the rules I understand, though I desperately am trying to understand the rules of love that "civilization" seems to hand out.
So Tell Me Friends...What is Love?