My lack of writing about her lately hasn’t been an avoidance of the subject, or an attempt to feign some kind of detachment. It’s because my thoughts about her never fully form anymore. Or they come in little bits and pieces, lingering memories in an off-guard moment.
The careful steps I took to avoid the loose tile on the path to her house, so as not to wake anyone when leaving letters in her mailbox. Her saccharine voice when she’d ask what I was thinking, and the first time I couldn’t lie (I’m thinking about how in love with you I am). A tear we shared, as it rolled from my eye to hers. I’ll even catch that uncontrolled giggle of hers in the melody of a song that drifts in the air. So many details found in the sublimity of our time together that I told myself never to forget.
Maybe that’s why it’s still hard not to think about her. Nothing was ever ordinary when she was involved. I don’t talk to my friends about it anymore; there’s nothing left to say. Only memories that follow me like a shadow. I wonder if they avoid bringing up the subject with me anyway.
Sometimes, I still second-guess myself. Could I have saved us in some way? Would things be any different if I had let her heal, or shared more of myself, or given her more time, or been a stronger person? If only vulnerability or infatuation or hopeless romanticism was considered charming. If only love or desire was enough to win someone over.
Maybe I’m just clinging to the fact that I believe she truly loved me back. It was one of the only things in this world I knew was real, and it made my heart swell every time she was next to me. The world made sense, if only for a moment now lost to the past. Or maybe I’m scared I’ll never feel this way about someone again because she was everything I ever wanted, even flawed in all the right ways.
I’ve been ruined, and I don’t mind. Not anymore, at least.
I’d rather be alone than with anyone else. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m stubbornly trying to honour what we had, or a subconscious part of me is waiting for her to come back because my heart can’t give up on someone who made me feel so much. After all, she became my life, and to give up on her would be to give up on myself.
I know I’m not the only one who’s ever gone through this. Fate has proven foresight to be in vain for many a mice and men. Some people lose their spouses — the person they expect to be with for the rest of their lives — and pick themselves up. There’s no reason I can’t do the same.
But I’ve already picked myself up, and I’m happy. It doesn’t matter that she’s not with me now, or that I haven’t stopped loving her, or that she probably doesn’t even think of me anymore. The experiences have left me satisfied and fulfilled. Our relationship may have lasted only a few seasons, but in that time I loved and was loved enough to be content with what I had for the rest of my life.
I have all this stuff I mean to write but when it comes to typing it out, it seems pointless. I don’t mind feeling this way anymore. I’d much rather come off as witty or interesting, but I can settle for honest.
My policy nowadays is to act the way I feel. Instead of trying to cater to other people or fit into social norms, I do what I want. It takes some trust in myself to believe that I’m generally a good person, but everything seems to be working in my favour.
I have something major going on each month until December, at which point I’ll probably hermatize for three weeks until another round of holiday craziness.
The summer has been warm and fuzzy, and it’s filled me with contentment. I don’t care about the future anymore. I’m living in this moment, and thankful it’s a nice one.
I haven’t had much to say lately. Suffering has always been a prerequisite for my creativity, as I only need to write when unfulfilled or unhappy, and lately I haven’t felt either.
The realization that I was happy only came when someone asked how I was doing; I responded with my usual, generic, “I’m doing well, thanks”, and for the first time in as long as I could remember, I didn’t feel like I was lying.
Not that the desire to write has left me completely. I still want to, though only because it’s an enjoyable exercise in itself, not because I need to get something off my chest. The world finally makes sense, and I wonder if it’s necessary to have this blog a place to sort out my thoughts anymore.
I’m satisfied with the person I’ve become. I’ve stopped trying to change, or constantly figuring out how to improve. I like me.
The serenity is getting better still, almost to the point where it’s an unconscious state-of-mind. Things don’t bother me the way they used to. I can dream without desire, I can live without bias, I can give without expecting, I can think without worry, and I can enjoy without guilt.
I turn 30 in half a year, and I finally feel like I’m where I should be.
The Turning 30 Series
(Just like old times, eh?)
Tyler licks his lips until they’re gleaming wet. He takes Jack’s hands and KISSES the back of it.
I figured it out.
I had too much want.
The saliva shines in the shape of the kiss. Tyler pours a bit of the flaked lye onto Jack’s hand.
I started out selflessly — doing without expecting, giving not to receive, working not for reward1 — because all I wanted was to live in the moment, to experience as much as I could while it lasted. Eventually, that turned into a desire, a belief that I couldn’t live without what (or whom) I wanted.
One could call it love.
The old me would have blamed myself for falling into that trap, but I’ve since recognized that I’m human. That I’m prone to falling, especially when I’m so amorously intoxicated.
Jack’s whole body JERKS. Tyler holds tight to Jack’s hand and arm. Tears well in Jack’s eyes; his face tightens.
Now that I’m able to stand back and recognize my longing, and I can also see how much that longing that was starting to tear me down.
It’s like in Fight Club, when Tyler Durden is about to pour lye on Jack’s hand. Jack already knows he’s going to die; it’s an undeniable reality we all come to realize as we grow out of childhood, yet are rarely forced to deal with (or even embrace). For Jack, that reality doesn’t truly sink in until he’s faced with the chemical burn on his body.
Jack, snapping back, tries to jerk his hand away. Tyler keeps hold of it and their arms KNOCK UTENSILS off the table.
I was told it was over before it started, but that reality didn’t sink in until recently. It’s taken this long because I dared to dream of something greater, and a large part of me didn’t want to give up the wonderful memories. Unfortunately, those memories are mixed and inseparable from everything else that’s been holding me back. The fact that I think too much doesn’t help either.
At some point, I realized that I simply had to let go. Truly let go.
Tyler finally says to Jack:
Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or, look at me, or you can use vinegar and neutralize the burn. First you have to give up, first you have to know — not fear — know — that someday you’re gonna die.
I used to think I had lost something special, but now I have no desires and nothing left to lose. It’s like I’m starting back where I was two years ago, which really wasn’t a bad place to be. The world is finally lucid and clear.
Now I know, and it feels like happiness.
Congratulations. You’re a step closer to hitting bottom.
- Readers of the Tao Te Ching will recognize this language. There’s so much of this Taoist idea of paradox and contradiction in Fight Club. [↩]