Posts Tagged ‘feelings’

“I thought I knew what love was. What did I know?” ~Don Henley

01_Robert-Indiana_LoveI first told a girl I loved her in 4th grade, when she stabbed me with a pencil and decided to go out with my enemy. These three things were unrelated. Or at least I think they were. I never really asked her to explain. I was too busy drowning in my tears, in the relative safety of my room, trying to forget her. Trying to forget love.

Love means many different things to many different people, but to me it means being always appreciative. That girl who I said I loved, she didn’t appreciate my love. To her I might as well have told her I was an albino for all she cared, but it was 4th grade, and I gave her a mulligan for it. She never came back to take me up on the idea of a second chance, which was just as well.

To me, when you love someone you show it. Not by flowers and candy, because anyone can get flowers and candy, but by being there, by letting them know you’re there, whether they admit to needing you there. Love means coming through for someone else even if they don’t realize that’s what they needed. It’s doing the little things because there really are no little things when it comes to love.

I’ve learned that love needs to be patient…

I realize now that I didn’t really love that girl in 4th grade. It was never really love because I had no idea what love was back then. What I felt for her was sheer infatuation, that kind of Romeo and Juliet feeling that would have petered out had they not been in a volatile situation that pushed them toward each other… and toward the abyss. That girl was lucky she didn’t reciprocate my infatuation because I’ve always been prone to exaggeration of emotion. Thank god she looked the other way.

But I’ve learned a lot over the years, because of heartache and a plethora of other issues and mistakes, on both sides. I’ve learned that love needs to be patient, that it isn’t about the physical, that the physical comes along for the ride when it is indeed requited, that it’s better to have loved and lost than… well, not quite. It’s better to love and keep loving, because love can shift. It can change, not precisely with the wind but sometimes it is buffeted. I’ve learned that love is complicit, if just because it makes you more vulnerable than anything else ever could.

Love is revolutionary, no matter how often it occurs…

I’ve been sparing with the word itself. Even with my closest of friends it took a while before I felt comfortable enough telling them how I felt. Even with my closest of relationships I haven’t been the first one to say it, not usually, not because I’ve been afraid but because I’ve been resistant. I’ve been resistant to the way saying those words changes things. It doesn’t change things for me. I already know how I feel long before those words escape my lips. But it changes the relationship in subtle ways that only I can tell.

Or maybe they can tell too. Love is revolutionary, no matter how often it occurs, no matter how many people know the feeling. It acts. It doesn’t react. But love is worth it, even when it’s not returned, because without that feeling life is just not as good. And I don’t mean the romantic love. I mean all the many forms of love that can shift and change, that can undulate around you like a snake, but that can keep you safe and warm, secure in its comfort.

But what do I know?



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easyloveLove is easy… when it’s reciprocated. When it’s neither tied down nor coerced. When it’s head and heart entwined together. When it’s not long distance. When it’s two-way street. When… well, when a whole lot comes together in perfect alignment… then it’s easy.

I’ve had two loves, and neither one was easy, not when things counted anyway. Both were easy at the beginning, when everything was shiny and new, because we didn’t know any better. We basked in the warmth of an emergent love, secure in our notion that love was all we needed.

Which is the major issue, isn’t it? Love is never all we need. It’s never the salve for everything that ails us. It can never do the heavy lifting because love wasn’t built for that. It is the emotional component to our relationships. Necessary? Yes. Independent? No. Love can be a foundation, but it can’t be the only support for a relationship.

So yes, love can be easy when everything else is in place. When a relationship also has honesty, cooperation, trust, and a host of other supports firmly in place. Obviously, bracing your relationship with all of those supports takes time and effort, takes trial and error, takes hard work on both sides.

Unfortunately, that’s why so many relationships these days fail, because we live in a world where not many people are willing to work through the struggles, to talk out the issues, to be completely honest with each other, not just about their feelings, but also about what they need from their partner. So it’s not easy, and instead of working harder on it, they let it go. They let it drift away when they should be diagnosing the problems so they can get to the next step.

11743693133_c154198945So yes, real love is easy, because it’s surrounded by a scaffold of everything necessary to keep it alive and to help it flourish successfully. My first love was young love, which thought itself self-sustaining, but all the love in the world wouldn’t have saved it. Because we weren’t on the same page, both of us thinking that love would be enough, that we would be together forever because we wanted to be together forever. When the end came we were still scratching our heads, wondering what went wrong.

The second time around, though, from the start it was difficult because we were both older, and we both knew that love wasn’t enough. We both knew that it would be challenging, but it was a challenge we were ready to take. Because we knew that if we got through the tough times, the challenging decisions, the difficult confessions, we would emerge together at the end.

So yes, love is easy. When you know that it’s not enough.


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“Casual match in a very dry field. What could be the season’s yield?” ~Suzanne Vega

heavy_rain_001The rain is coming down. First fast. Then furious. Then so blindingly swift it ceases to be rain, but instead becomes a curtain of water shielding me from the outside world. I don’t reach out to touch it because I don’t like being wet. I don’t like the knowledge that comes with feeling wet more often than not. And even though I know when it’s coming nothing ever makes it any better.

There is this Enya album called A Day Without Rain, and it brings me back to Ireland every single time I play it, back to the lush verdant green fields, and the endless days of rain keeping them that way. I guess it’s a tradeoff then, when I think about it, how the brilliant green doesn’t come without the steady downpour. But that day without rain, it’s precious. It gives us a chance to actually enjoy the brilliant green for what it is, not for how it’s obscured in the downpour.

I called my dad this week. That in and of itself doesn’t really qualify as news, except that it’s the first time I’ve spoken with him since his stroke, which was two months ago. We fell back into those patterns, not unlike riding a bike. We pedal one foot at a time, the rotation moving us forward in incremental steps, but we never truly go forward. We just go around in circles because that is our dynamic. It has always been our dynamic. I don’t know if I expected it to be different since his own life-altering experience.

a-father-is-a-man__quotes-by-frank-a-clark-16Strike that. I did expect it to be different and I was absolutely devastated when it was the same. Something about arriving back in the same place we’ve been so often before made my soul ache, made my spirit break into a million disparate pieces. If hope truly is the thing with feathers, then the conversation grounded me in a way that few things ever have in my life. It was like I was waiting, looking up at the sky, hoping it would stay dry, but like clockwork the clouds came and unleashed the rain. (more…)

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“The ocean sang. The conversation’s dimmed. Go build yourself another dream. This choice isn’t mine. I’m sorry.” ~R.E.M.

im-sorry-480x568You know how “Thank You” has an equal and opposite partner? “You’re Welcome” always comes along for the ride, a comforting sidekick that bookends that most wonderful of interactions. It’s clean and cauterized once “You’re Welcome” follows along, and we can move on to other pursuits. But “Sorry” doesn’t have just one response. Pretty much anything can come after “Sorry.” Some of those rejoinders are positive, others are negative, and some are merely indifferent. We can be forgiven for whatever we perceived we did wrong, we can be summarily judged for it, or we can be left hanging without any resolution. It’s almost like saying “I Love You,” because the wait for a response can be the hardest and most uncomfortable wait in the world.

I should know. I apologize enough.

I’ve developed a system on the other end, being the apologist that I am. When someone else tells me they’re sorry, for whatever, for anything at all, I tell them they are forgiven. It’s as simple as that: “You are forgiven.” And that can ease the weight of the world from their shoulders. Even if it’s not as easy as all that, for me anyway. Because, more times than a few, it does take time to think about it, to dig through my feelings, to stabilize myself enough emotionally to be able to give them a solid response. But I tell them they’re forgiven right off the bat because I know it will happen. I know that regardless of how I feel in the moment I will eventually forgive them because I would want them to forgive me if the shoe was on the other foot. It’s as simple as that.

Because I apologize way too often than could possibly be healthy, and I need that kind of assurance that I haven’t ruined my relationships with others. I need that kind of protection against the harsh nature of the world, that human connection and forgiveness that can make everything else rosy. I don’t always get that, so helping others achieve that with three simple words is the closest I can get to a kind of closure I want for myself. Usually they glance at me when I tell them they are forgiven with a curious look, as if I’m telling them some kind of joke that they have to verify is a joke. But I just nod my head and smile, and they know they really have been forgiven. And yes, I live vicariously through the exchange, which is okay.

“No matter how many times you say you’re sorry, somebody is not going to hear you.” ~Pete Rose

I am the apologist. I constantly look for ways that I have wronged others, and I request forgiveness. I long for it. I need it to validate my life in some way that I still haven’t quite figured out yet. I’ve tried to evaluate it at different moments, when I feel the most sorry, but I’m too tied up and twisted in it to truly be objective about the whole thing. Others have told me that I use it as a defense mechanism, that I am so worried about the way others feel about me that the apologies, the interactions they cause, give me the approval of those I wish to impress. Of course I fear they do just the opposite, that people see me as a whiner who apologizes way too much. The problem is that I can’t seem to stop myself.

Because, you see, “I’m Sorry” is my default setting now. I think I say it more than “Hey,” or even more than “I Love You.” Some have told me that the more I think about it, and the more I try to avoid saying it as a placeholder, the less I will actually say it. They’re all full of shit, because I’ve tried, and nothing has changed. I find myself saying it, and I want to take it back, but it’s already out. So I just sit there and wait to be forgiven, with approximately a 50/50 shot at a pseudo kind of redemption that is largely unnecessary. And I know it. I just can’t seem to help myself.

There must be a better way. I’m sorry.


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20170114_081817.jpgSome days truly are better than others, in every way, shape, and form. It’s like I wake up on the “off” days and it hits me like a slap in the face, this feeling of despair and worthlessness, as if whatever I’m going to do on this day won’t matter. It’s like knowing I’m going to be going through the motions, knowing that I will have to paste a fake smile on my face and just not wanting to deal with any of it. Some days I really do wish I could go back to bed and wake up again when the day is done, fingers crossed that the next one won’t start the exact same way.

Maybe it starts with my subconscious, like most things. Perhaps these days begin so poorly because of the fugue nature of my dream state. I toss and turn in the night, blindly searching for some comfort, my tears soaking the pillow and my conscious self unaware of the silent struggle within. It is during these mornings that I feel most mortal, that I am reminded of the finite nature of this life, and I’m not even sure why. It might be my brain’s wake up call for my body to get it together, to physically climb up from the doldrums and to bring my mind along with it.

Or it could just be a depressive state that I don’t want to label, because we all know that labels stick. I don’t want these mornings to stick. I don’t want these days to stick. I feel so helpless and life seems so hopeless when I am like this, and I have to write but nothing positive comes out. It’s like my brain goes down a path that can’t be short circuited, that has to run its course, and I go along for the ride, a straitjacketed mess, with absolutely no control over anything.

I know when I was younger I would rely on others, like my mother and my sister, to save me from myself, to protect my fragile self from having these days spiral down into oblivion. And these days I count on my children to remind me that life is not hopeless, that I am not helpless. Instead of pasting a smile on my face, when I am with them I can still feel my authentic self despite the devastating nature of these thoughts. But I know that’s not healthy, that I should be able to deal with it myself, to develop some mechanisms that will get me over this malaise.

I just don’t know where to start.


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These beams are exposed
Far up in the atmosphere
Weathered by the weather
Stretching up to heaven
Like these arms of mine
Empty of consequence
Beseeching the clouds
For a kind of understanding
Lost in the silence
Belonging to these shadows
This substantial love
Naked as a newborn child
Learning how to exist
In a world full of hate
Where facades masquerade
As pure expressions
And most of us climb for gain
Reaching for a handout
Yet refusing vulnerability
The chance to be exposed
To see how others would see us
If we could simply be
These crossed t-beams
So high in the atmosphere
Always supporting each other
So that we never fall.


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“Till now I always got by on my own. I never really cared until I met you. And now it chills me to the bone. How do I get you alone?” ~Heart

mc-hammerI was never quite as good with the ladies as I thought I was. In fact, I would bet you that 90% of the women I hit on at some point or other never even knew I was hitting on them. Either that or they just didn’t care, and ignored the gesture, because it wasn’t like I had my own “champagne room,” or anything.

I’ve always been a little bit awkward, and you happened to be a lady who liked that sort of thing then I was golden. If not then you would have given me a “sucks to be you” look and gotten away as quickly as you possibly could. I used to try and pretend I was my favorite casanova — MC Hammer — that I was cooler than the average guy, but I don’t think I ever really pulled it off as more than simple caricature.

Besides, when it hit 1994 and Hammer was no longer cool I had nothing to hang my hat on anymore. I mean, there was no way I could be Lenny Kravitz, was there? I used to pretend it didn’t matter to me, when the ladies rejected me in increasingly more creative ways as the years went along, but it obviously. Every one who walked away was another reason for me to dislike myself, because as much as I pretended to be independent, I was all about how others saw me.

Sometimes I think I still am. At least on some level. I’m a work in progress.

sad alone boys guys emotional lone quotes wallpapers (1)And I really don’t like being alone. I never have. It’s one of those things that makes me nervous just knowing I’m going to be alone ahead of time. Maybe that’s why I hit the ladies with my charm so early and so often back then. I knew if I could just snag one, for however long, it meant I would be part of a “we,” a member of an “us” that was so much more important to me than money ever would be.

See, being part of an “us” meant I didn’t have to go to the movies alone. It meant I didn’t have to go out to eat alone. It meant I didn’t have to watch my favorite TV shows alone. It meant I never had to BE alone… you know, unless I really wanted to. Because it’s not really being alone if I know I have options, if I can choose it for myself instead of someone else deciding it for me.

Odd how that works, isn’t it? But it’s still true. And luckily for me I found a lady who doesn’t mind the awkwardness, who didn’t dismiss me just because I’m not the typical guy, who understands my issues and who lets me be myself without judging. She laughed at what I perceived was my “game” when we first started talking, but she gets me in a way that I’ve maybe never even gotten myself.

Even if I’m not MC Hammer. Perhaps precisely because I’m not MC Hammer. And I can live with that.


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