The Stuff of Eggshells

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I try to ignore Cynicism these days, but she is a hard demon to avoid. I try in my daily musings - from being out of bread, to creative differences, to problems with women - to take a moment to breathe and see things for what they are. They are often much simpler than my mind allows. But, it is hard to get past the false sheen – the onion layers, if you will – provided by my psyche.

And then there is the problem of time and timing. And the problem of seeing people for whom they are. More often than not, I see my past. Ironically, it takes looking at the past – even as recently as yesterday – to see the present for what it is. I say and do dumb things. I strive to sculpt something from the substance of emotion. I forget to be here sometimes. I look down the road and think, “This is so close to being what I’ve always wanted – to being what we’ve been talking about. Finally, life can start.” I forget that life already HAS started. And again I examine yesterday. In doing so, the disappointment in bright eyes, and reason behind it, becomes apparent.

In this, I strive to change patterns. I try to forget about “what will be…” and try to see and feel what simply is. It is not easy. Thirty-three years of cynicism, and projecting insecurities onto people who have loved me, constantly fearful of being blind-sided, I have always taken the initiative to push people away. Those that didn’t go, I left. It kept me in control.

Of course, I was only ever in control of hurting myself, and applying more blame to myself, and hating myself as a man and as a boyfriend. I stayed single for a long time for this reason.

It was only recently that I recognized this. It was, perhaps, not soon enough. Also, these things cannot be changed in the absence of love, the looming threat of loss, or the forward movement of a relationship. Without these elements, the pattern cannot be changed, because it simply would not exist. There is an element of experiment in it all – The Great Laboratory of Relationships – and in admitting that I feel distant and cold, mechanical and inhuman. In asking another human being to be understanding of my emotional shortcomings, I am asking someone to deal with a shattered and flawed man, an ill-mended heart and an oft-suspicious mind. It is not an easy thing to ask. Only actual love would be able to accommodate such a request. It is barely fair to expect someone to spend their precious time with you as you work on getting back to yourself, even when you’re not that far off.

And so, things end before the demons are slain. They simply go into hibernation. When they return, it tests not only the love and willingness of the other person, but your own ability to be mindful and to live in this moment, in the absence of past pain or guilt, and in the absence of a future that can only occur if you’re here, now, being the person that was capable of starting it all in the first place.

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