Friday, September 21, 2018

UNREQUITED LOVE + DEATH DON’T MAKE GOOD BED FELLOWS


When you get to the point where you feel you were meant to be with someone, particularly after the devastation of divorce and they feel that way too, and then that doesn’t work out either, you find yourself fluctuating between despondency and being really angry.  Anger is safer than hurt.  It’s easier to feel.  The energy wants to get up and out of you.  It helps if you are a kick boxer.  Sadness is harder to feel.  It threatens to drown you and make you want to leave the earth.  It has been difficult for me on the planet.  I have had so many challenges and I hate that freaking word.  The only way to use anger wisely is to kick something, otherwise you get mad at things like words.

The person I fell for died.  First, you cry for six months.  Your life is suspended in the air while you have to grapple with an event so heavy such as death.  The other thing that happens when the person you love dies, is you have the luxury of pining over what could have been.  That will haunt you for a couple of years.  It’s also that splendid place in your mind where you can idealize how it would be for the two of you, now.  You will never know.  You also never got to see the person at 2AM sick with the flu or completely lose their temper.  You never see them grow listless from too much or too little responsibility, or say, forget the gym altogether or give up on their dreams.  As a result, you can immortalize their persona of how perfect they were as if frozen in time.  But of course, no one is perfect.  Perhaps this is why trying to get with someone post-divorce in your 40’s is difficult.  You have an unrealistic idea of what the perfect man is, to begin with.  It’s warped by time, by how it was when you were young.  Also the gene pool narrows and the only men that age well are gay and there is a statute of limitations for them too. 

Maybe you have a type.  Tall and stalky or tough or athletic.  The kind of guy who has a lot of knowledge about obscure shit with a motorcycle or a Republican who likes to scuba dive or the guy who has a trike who’s into art.  <--- actually I don’t think those last two go together.  You come up with a lot of qualifications that if the person lacks become deal breakers.  “Well, he asks weird questions like how was your weekend? and I won’t live like that,” you think to yourself.  The staggering disappointment of losing something that seemed completely impossible to get in the first place sets you back.  I’ve developed permanent armor as a result.

Friends are not helpful.  They say “well you just really need to get laid.” 

So then you take personal inventory.  I don’t want to be toiling away at my career any more is part of my latest thinking.  I should be in the Hamptons yelling at the help.  “Everyone knows living room curtains go to the floor.”  (idiot).  I want an oblivious workaholic husband who’s never home but has five cars.  I want the house to be so big that I busy myself decorating and preparing for house guests.  I’ll design menus in my fabulous Cole Haan bathing suit, poolside sipping bubbly rose out of crystal flutes with the most gorgeous gay men in New York.  This kind of fantasizing is exquisite if you don’t want to feel.

I was so burned by the real one in the past and not just my marriage.  I mean when your heart is sensitive and shit just goes wrong, you’re left to deal with the fallout.  Growing up there was a suicide attempt, a divorce, a remarriage, moving to an awful suburb with an alcoholic step monster.  But the now is re-traumatizing me.  My parents have passed and I’m divorced.   I’m left on my own with a 49-year-old sibling who is developmentally disabled.  I’m talking death, disease, divorce and disability.  This is going to be the name of my one man show.  Or should I call it the one man show with tits.  Naw, that's too crude.  I'll think a somethin'.
                                                                             

1 comment:

  1. I hear this. All of it. Funny and sad, the real and the fantasy trying to drag you back into that dark hole. Been there (left by a late-in-life-lesbian about 10 yrs ago... a Boston blue-blood, too), & sometimes *still* I'm back there. We want to believe life is fair, but it too often ain't. But we're still in control of our own light switches (i.e. how we respond --emotionally, but alao practically-- to those wounding or unfair events, or our own mustakes). Your vulnerability is commendable. Feeling those feelings without doing some dumb, addictive s#!t (I hope) is courageous. Writing about them, still more courageous. Making them *funny* to keep your chin up, and have a small victory (enough for today), that's the most courageous ...a great instinct on your part, maybe your most distinct talent. Me, I'm "writing for my life", some goofy off-kilter dog-paddle in an unfriendly ocean, same as you. Might not get very far. Nevertheless, I'm approaching a safe little island for now (not deserted, but certainly lonely), and I'm here to say I heard you, I appreciate you (being a stranger doesn't mean I should withhold compassion), I'm sorry that all happened to you, but your story ain't nearly over. Keep telling it. Keep editing (esp. the bullshit lies and denial we are all prone to, out of self-protection & laziness, as you say above). Under the anger, the sadness. Under the sadness, I believe you'll find enough hard-won wisdom or occasional joy to get you through, at least to the next chapter. ...Maybe a friend, similarly struggling in Chicago... Mark Nielsen

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