Some guy I've been spending time with recently asked me..."if you're such a great catch, then why are you depressed so much?" Good question. The simple answer is this: "I'm not actually depressed that often." While it's true that some might say that I have a melancholic temperament at times, I am also blessed with an optimistic nature and a tremendous capacity for appreciating the wonderful life I am fortunate enough to live each day.
There's a song on the Philip Glass album, Glassworks, called "Opening." It is a beautiful piece, riddled with minor notes, that always transports me to a place of reflection and melancholy. While it's not a place I tend to dwell, it is a place I love to visit; it's a place that houses all the loss and perceived injustices that have frayed my spirit along the way. Going there helps me to feel my life, to process it...sort of like rubbing my tongue against a spot on the inside of my cheek after I've accidentally bitten it. There is something very human about this impulse. Maybe it is the way we become inured to the pain in our lives...through repeated exposure. As you all know, I lost my dog recently. In the first several daze, I compulsively thought about the last moments of his life...moments that were spent in my arms. Perhaps I would have cried less had I filtered out that memory. But here's the thing...I am so profoundly grateful that I was strong enough to hold him in my arms for his last moments. I know there is no place that he could have died, in which he would have felt safer, more loved. At the same time, the image of his lifeless body lingers. Revisiting that memory helps me to process my grief. Is that depression? Perhaps. All I know is that I feel my life, my loves, my losses. That being said, you won't find someone more aware and appreciative of the magic in her life than I...and I have to admit, with all the loss and pain that I've endured, I am profoundly fortunate. There isn't a single human, past or present, famous or rich, with whom I would exchange lives.
I am the oldest of eight children. My parents divorced when I was young and there are two kids per marriage. My brother Morgan and I are from the first. My mother had two with her second husband; my father had two during his second, and one with his third and adopted his third wife's son from her first marriage. It's a complicated family dynamic and not all of us are as close as I'd like, but I am proud and feel privileged to be a part of such a marvelous clan. The relationship I have with Morgan is perhaps the most complicated. We grew up together and experienced many of the same difficulties. The closeness in our ages, as well as our competitive natures, has often precluded us from having the kind of compassion for each other that we easily give to our other siblings. Nonetheless, my relationship with him is one that has enriched my life as no other could. We may not always get along, but I adore, respect and love him. I know him to be one of the most intelligent, kind, generous and interesting humans on the planet. How lucky I feel to know him...even when he makes me crazy...or thinks I'm crazy.
Maybe I'm not a 'great catch.' Maybe getting caught isn't what I'm looking for...I know I have no desire to catch someone else. Which begs the question, "what do I want?"
I know that my life without a man has a lot of advantages. I own a beautiful home. I never have to worry about the extra hours I put into my career, my work. I don't have to worry about looking 'cute' on a Sunday morning when I'm sitting in my back yard reading the paper...which I don't have to share. I never have to wonder about how much the people in my life love me; they love me completely, no matter how many times I cry or laugh. They all think I'm beautiful, even though they've seen me at my worst.
So this guy, the one who questioned my 'catch-ability'...he said a few shitty things in the same conversation, and I haven't spoken to him since (which has been almost a week.) I'm sure he thinks I'm punishing him for being 'honest,' so I'll call him Honest Guy. Among other things, he said that he didn't think, "Wow, you're hot," every time he saw me, because I'm not his type...and that he sensed that I wanted him to feel that way. Is that what I really want? I guess that's cool...I've had that...and it was cool. What I really want is someone who is capable of loving me as much as I love myself. When I look in the mirror, I don't always take my breath away...sometimes I look like shit. But I always recognize the girl I love. To me, my features are beautiful, just as those of my sisters, mother, father and brothers are. They are magnificent in the same way a sunset is...the natural glory of what is. And then, sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "Wow, you're hot."
The truth is, Honest Guy isn't really my type either. I'm not sure why I was so attracted to him, but I was. He managed to capture my attention and that is hard to do...even harder to keep. His generous and open attentions to me during the time before we met in person opened a small window within me, from which my affection for him began to bloom. But the truth is, his honesty last week reminded me that my attention is all he was really after...and I'd rather not waste it on someone who isn't interested in winning my heart and mind. I'm not even sure he could if he wanted to...as I've said before, doing that requires an unusually strong spirit who is nourished by my attentions and in turn feeds my soul with his, no matter what emotional or physical obstacles we encounter. The only man worth opening my world to would have to see me so clearly and compassionately that he would continue to believe that I am a beautiful, passionate, successful, intelligent, strong, confident, independent, articulate, creative, joyful, affectionate, and worthy woman even once I have revealed to him that I am also occasionally insecure, fraught with self-doubt, anxious, uncomfortable, ignorant, speechless, vulnerable, neglectful, withdrawn, unhappy and self-absorbed. I am fully aware of the value of my attentions and don’t distribute them lightly. The full expression of my attention, energy and thoughts is a powerful force that is capable of profound magic that can transform and enrich the life of the man fortunate enough to engage me. I have seen its effects in the lives of my friends, family and loves. Because this magic is not something that I can release at will or without inspiration, I don't consider it to be completely of my own making and am thereby humbled by its power at times. It is a lovely energy that drives me and the people around me to be better people.
What do any of us, who already have all that we need, really want? I long for someone to share my lot. To cheer for my victories, to give me solace when I lose...to be on my side either way. It's funny, because Honest Guy is really into sports and he has this theory that you can't really be a fan if you've only been one when your team is winning. You can't really be a fan unless you've gone through a losing streak with them. I tend to agree. As I've said, I struggle with inner demons, with fears that my time on earth could be better spent, that I am somehow not good enough...or pretty enough. On the other hand, I am also blessed with a deep affection for myself. This ability to unconditionally love myself has made it easy for me, in the past, to project an outer confidence that precludes most people from seeing my weaknesses. I never used to let a guy see me lose a game. Not hiding my fears and struggles from Honest Guy is something I chose to do differently this time. How can we really know unconditional love, if those who love us don’t really know who we are...both light and dark? Don't we all look for someone we can trust to be the person with whom we can be our whole, magnificently flawed selves?
Well, all I can say is that human connection is a complex and delicate phenomenon. Letting my fear of rejection or emotional discomfort overshadow my willingness to fully investigate the potential connection between Honest Guy and me was something I refused to do. From the time we first met, I watched as his doubts began to drown out his ability to contribute to our connection. Nonetheless, I continued to see him, hoping we might get to know each other better, before we made any decisions that would preclude ever knowing if we were capable of finding the kind of joy together that we had hoped for in those first couple of weeks...mostly because my experience had been that he was a kind, intelligent and sensitive soul who had demonstrated the potential to appreciate and cherish me. But, at the end of the day, his doubts were stronger than his potential.
Admittedly, I am a lot. I think a lot, I talk and write a lot, I do a lot, I know a lot, I feel a lot; and while I was attracted to him because I believed we were kindred spirits in this way, the guy upon whom I lavish my attentions, must also be prepared to handle a lot...and know how lucky he is to do so. Honestly, isn't that the point? I don't care if someone looks at me and thinks, "Wow, you're hot." What I really want is to look at someone, knowing how lucky I am to be with them, and know they feel the same way.
In the meantime, it's a good thing I find myself so fucking entertaining.