Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stupid in love

It happened almost a week ago, and I am still really, really angry. So angry I hit a cab for not stopping at a stop sign to let me walk in front of it. So angry, I yelled at a pregnant woman in the park. So angry, in fact, that I feel like I'm revisiting those confusing, messed-up teenage years again, where all of these things just seem to be happening to me, and I don't have any control over them or my reactions to them. I haven't been sleeping. I've been buying (and smoking) cigarettes. I've been eating too much. I'm hurt. And because I'm wounded, I'm lashing out at anyone who gets close enough.

All because of a stupid, careless boy who was so wrapped up in his own feelings that he didn't stop to consider mine.

I guess part of the reason I'm so angry (or maybe most of it) is because i feel stupid. I should have seen this coming. But I didn't. I got wrapped up in my feelings, in the idea that i really really liked someone who really really liked me back, and i didn't want it to be anything but magic and so i believed that it was, in a way, magical. Because for all of my cynicism and feigned disinterest and obvious lack of emotion, what i really wanted was something real. and this guy came along and he gave me the illusion that i was looking for. and i let my guard down. and i let myself believe the things he said that i wanted to believe. and i trusted him.

And, here's the most embarrassing part. I even fell in love a little.

Now, I don't know what his side of the story is, but I thought we were on the same page. I thought the sparks were flying for both of us. I thought we were well on our way to happily ever after.

Because sometimes, you just have to believe in it, you know?

And then the rug was pulled out from under me. I was jolted from my dream. The boy said in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, he had only said he wanted to have fun, that there were no sparks, and that this was the end. "But, wait," I thought. "It's barely begun."

And once again, I found myself face down on my bed crying aloud, remembering how these feelings feel when they wash over you: the pain, the disappointment, the feeling of absolute and utter failure, the nagging questions. "What is wrong with me?" "Why doesn't he want me?" "What did i do wrong?" And even if you've done nothing wrong, it is still your fault, somehow, not his.

And once again, you realize that it is not the boy that you are mourning but the ideas you had about the future with that boy.

Maybe the truth is that he did like me a lot, but he got in over his head, he got scared, and then he realized that maybe he didn't want what he had said he wanted all along, and so he said he couldn't see me anymore.

But from my point of view, it seems a lot like this: He treated me like shit. He had absolutely no respect for me or regard for my feelings. He led me on. He lied to me and told me what he thought i wanted to hear so that i would trust him, and then he dropped me.

And honestly, the worst part is not what he did. It's that I fell for it. And it's the oldest fucking trick in the book.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What can you expect from love?

Please read this. It's an essay from The New York Times about love, and I don't think I could have said what this woman says any better than she does. Especially the part about always wanting men to stay and the transient nature of our modern relationships.

On a related note, the article in the New York magazine this week about men, cheating, monogamy, sex, etc, here.

My married friend Katie asked me the other day if i was sytematically dating every commitment-phobe in New York. I didn't know how to answer her. I mean, isn't everyone a commitment-phobe in this town, myself included? I have just passed the 2-year anniversary of the break-up of my longest, most meaningful relationship, which lasted 3 years. And it is just within the past month or so that I have come to a point where I am willing, nay, wanting, to enter into another committed, monogamous, "possibly going somewhere" relationship. I fully understand the hookup mentality, the friends with benefits, the late-night booty calls. I understand the separation between love and sex, feelings and fulfilling a need, intimacy and orgasm. I understand why we do it. In my case, I did it because I wasn't emotionally ready or available to enter into a relationship. A "friend" of mine is biding time and having fun until he's ready start looking for a wife. Another "friend" is 35, with no real career, who is a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe because he is afraid of becoming the absent father that he had.

When it comes down to the real root of it, we are all broken, and most of us realize that love isn't what we need to be fixed. We've been around the block a few times, we've been hurt, cheated on, lied to. We've had our expectations crushed. We've had our feelings not returned. It is so much easier to find someone to have a good time with, to have sex with, to spend a night with every once in awhile, than to think about a real commitment. Because commitment isn't fun. It's not exciting, or thrilling. It's monogamy, boredom, having to put up with someone else's bad habits. It is long-term. And for many of us who come from broken homes or whose parents had terrible marriages, it is fighting, and anger, and resentment. It is heartbreak and failure. And it is simply not realistic.

I still don't know if I believe that a happy, monogamous marriage is possible. And I'm still not sure that it's something I ever want to gamble on.

The New York mag article mentioned a book called The Ethical Slut. Here's the quote they used, in the context of polyamory, which (if i understand correctly) is having a primary relationship with many sexual partners: "With practice, we can develop an intimacy based on warmth and mutual respect, much freer than desperation, neediness, or the blind insanity of falling in love."

On some level, in order to have noncommittal "encounters," you have to have this kind of shallow intimacy, where you care about and respect the other person, but without the proprietariness, or jealousy, or, consequently, love. It is based on warmth and mutual respect. They are yours when you are with them, and you don't ask about what they do outside of that. What I don't know is if these kind of "relationships" are sustainable long-term. I kind of want the blind insanity of falling in love, don't you? And why can't you have monogamy without desperation or neediness? I think you can. I ordered the book from the library. I'll let you know how it goes (that is, if I can manage to read a book that isn't fiction. I usually get a couple chapters in and abandon ship).

I guess, in the end, we all have to decide what works for us. But is what works and what we want the same thing? I asked my friend Pat the other day whether I date (excuse the cliche) all the wrong guys. His answer surprised me. He said no, I didn't date the "wrong" guys (what does that mean anyway?), but that I was continually hopeful that each of the guys I dated was going to be the right one. It's that hope, I think, that has led me to this place where I'm tired of meaningless hookups, and I'm tired of the shallow "mutual respect and warmth" that stands in as a shoddy pinch-hitter for love. Really, at the end of the day, I'm just plain tired. But what can you do? I still, deep down, want mind-bending, heart-palpitating, I can't help but love you love that, when the dust settles, effortlessly (or effortly, for that matter) morphs into the kind of long-term, in it for the long haul, deep commitment and intimacy and friendship that can be sustained throughout a lifetime. And, honestly, deep down I do believe it's possible. I don't think it's easy to find or to keep or that a whole hell of a lot of people have it, but without that hope, that belief that it is attainable, that i deserve it, that i someday will have it, well, what's the point of continuing to date all of these not right guys if there isn't the possibility that i'm going to find the right one? Hell, maybe I've found him already, and I just don't know it yet.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a little poetry...

firstly, a quote: “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.” --Johann Wolfgang Goethe

nextly, a poem about a lemon by Pablo Neruda, who i am in love with.

Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love's
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree's yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree's planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
the harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.
So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

Monday, May 5, 2008

People You May Know

Monday 9:20 AM. I sit at my computer at work. Nothing has come across my desk yet, and so i'm checking my two personal e-mail accounts, myspace, facebook (in that order; every day in that order). I log on to Facebook, read the feed, see what everyone's up to, change a few things in my profile (delete, mostly--i'm feeling reclusive today), and notice, over the insistent throbbing of a growing migraine and under the heading "People You May Know" the profile of Ben Harris. Facebook has no way of knowing, of course, that I was in love with the man for 3 years (and if we're being honest, probably longer). It has no way of knowing that i fully believed that I would marry him and have his children. It has no way of knowing that, finally, 2 years after our breakup, am I just getting to the point of wanting another relationship, and that even now the thought half-terrifies me. I remember that he friended me about a year ago, and I accepted his friend request, but my wounds were still too raw to have him in my life even in this sterile electronic environment, and after a week or two of me sending him "What do you want? Why are you talking to me?" messages, he unfriended me because I was "obviously too stressed out" about the whole thing.

Taking my recent change of heart in the relationship department as a sign, I clicked on the "Add as Friend" button. I clicked "Add a Message," and I wrote, "Let's be friends. I promise not to freak out this time. J." And then I wondered what he would think when he read it. And I realized, due to recently relatively unrelated circumstances, that this may be a promise I can't keep. I looked at the Send button and hit Cancel.

Sometimes I realize that I haven't come as far as I would like to think. And I realize that no matter how long it's been or how much I would like it to be true, Ben will never just be one of the People You May Know.


It is 9:30 am and i have about a half-blown migraine headache. Note that this is after having zero hangover yesterday (after drinking for a full 12 hours Saturday). Note that this is after getting a solid 8 hours of sleep, eating well, and experiencing relatively low levels of overall life stress. Note that i haven't had more than a twinge of a migraine in several years (which i promptly expel from my body by popping a coupld of Excedrin migraine, the drug of the gods). Note that i thought of something relatively profound to blog about only to have it obliterated by said migraine. I'm gonna try this again later.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Years of Therapy

So, two absolutely ridiculous things i found by accident on the internet today. Both of which border on cruel and unnatural things to do to your children.

First, this, when i googled "coulot" because it was the answer to a crossword clue and i didn't know how to spell it (no, that's not cheating. no it's not. okay, maybe a little)

and then THIS, which came up as a GOOGLE AD in my gmail, titled "You Can Make Tiered Pants." and i thought, "Good God, what are tiered pants?" Those. Those are tiered pants my friend.