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dating me

Im sick. OK, I am man sick. I have a cold. But, In my defense, this cold is the kind of cold that, if used maliciously, could deplete armies (if they were men), decimate populations, and be a general nuisance for millions of drippy noses everywhere.

When I am sick, I become very nostalgic. I run through the events of my past and consider my path. I think it is like life flashing before my eyes, but in slow motion. I get the opportunity to see how things have changed and the threads of existence that have played such a factor in weaving through my life.

This cold, being a decimator and depletor, has me considering advice I have gotten. I think that, in general, advice is meant to be helpful. At a minimum, it is to help avoid negative consequences. However, no matter what decision we make, there will always be a negative consequence. If I decide to now jump off a cliff, I miss out on that feeling of free falling, which if Tom Petty is accurate, sounds delightful. I have gotten some pretty bad and some pretty good advice in my life. I cannot think of any advice that didn’t have negative ramifications, however.

After my divorce, I dated as often as I could. Dating is a liberal term in this circumstance. I was a bit of a whore. A troll, if you will. The advice I originally got was to go out and experience life. Unfortunately, it was advice I gave myself. There were benefits, obviously. The drawback is that there was no real relationship involved. There was no emotions. I had left a love free marriage to experience even worse. I was left depressed. OK, after a year or so, I was a tad bummed. However, I wasn’t fulfilled. I felt lonely. I wanted someone to complete me, a soul partner. I wanted a reason to live.

The advice I got was to date myself for a year. My first response was that at least I knew Id put out. (It had been a long year). He went on to explain that the unhealthy thing we do is to look to be completed by another person. ?He said that isn’t a partnership, it is parasitic. He described it as me inviting a tape worm into my limbic system. Naegleria Fowleri is an amoeba  that lives in hot springs, it worms it way into the nose and eats brain material, like a mono cellular zombie. I think that is a more apt analogy, but I didn’t say so at the time. He described that until I knew what I was like, what I liked, I had little to share. I had little value to someone else. Basically, my tape worm girlfriend, would decide what I absorbed from life. Or the prehistoric zombie would decide which thoughts I could keep, Either way, I was no longer in charge of my direction. If I dated myself, and honored the differences and changes in myself, I could be in a partnership later.

Well, that sounded just lovely. I get to spend a year just hanging out with myself and trying to figure out who I am. And, I had to be alone. I have no idea how I could ever be left alone. The noise of silence is deafening. I watched allot of TV just to keep things quiet at first. I had just gotten a house and decided I was going to paint it. I spent hours trying to decide what colors I liked. My house, in Colorado, looked a little like a tourist spot in the Caribbean. There were some funky colors. I loved it. The agent who sold it, didn’t agree. His advice was to paint it back before I sold it. My second house went through the same changes, twice. My third house did not get painted. My current house has seen three different colors in two years. They are much more neutral that the Caribbean whore house. I am now decorating on a theme instead of individual things I like. I called it eclectic, but it was really just narrow visioned.

That advice was good advice. I have a better understanding of who I am and how I change. I can see the history I have been through and how it affects me in moments. I can see the pain that causes avoidance, I can see the joy that causes longing. I can be alone without being lonely. I can even be alone without the radio and TV on. I enjoy being alone for the most part. Now, there is the rub. The negative consequence. I have avoidant-dependent tendencies. I want to alone and with someone at the same time. Someone told me once its a Taurus thing, but I don’t know much about that. My fear is that I am always going to be alone or never be alone. What if this self dating experiment resulted in a long term monogamous relationship? What if I can only be with me perpetually? Wont I get tired of my stories? Wont I bore myself? What if I know everything there is to know about me, and it is lacking? What if I withhold from myself, or lie about stuff to me? What if I squeeze the toothpaste wrong or put the toilet paper on backwards? (I have dated a woman who turns my toilet paper around each time she was over.) What if I am not enough? What if I am no longer capable of being whole? What if no one wants to be in a mutual partnership?

Sure, everyone I have ever dated says that is what they want. I say everyone, but that’s not true, one wanted my money, and one wanted sex. I might be the only guy I know who was jilted because I wouldn’t put out. Most, say they want a true relationship. They want to be whole, and encourage each others wholeness. And then, the expectations get started. If you were into me, this is how that would look. I have explained that is how that would look if they were dating themselves, but to no avail. People talk about being free and together. Not in the “open relationship” kinda garbage, but truly encouraging each other to grow whether that means together or apart. It sounds great, but impractical and seemingly improbable. I have no idea how anyone does that all the time. I have my doubts that anyone really does. However, it would be nice to be in a relationship that was the target. When I was dating myself, I allowed for growth and change. I let myself be wrong and right. I let myself learn. I let myself struggle and succeed. I was nice to myself. I learned to encourage rather than discourage. I learned to be real rather than dogmatic. I generally, learned to like my journey more than who I was at the moment. The empowerment of wanting to be with someone for how they grow and experience life was tremendous. Thats what I want. Does it exist?

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2020 in divorce, journey, life

 

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dig dug

He dug deeper.

He really didn’t know why, but felt a need to dig into the rich soil. He had a question about what made up the ground. He stared at the surface for a long time. He thought if he understood everything from the outside, the inside would also be clear. He admired the outside, and showed it to everyone else. He garnished praise and applause. He thought that made it more valuable. The surface was very well defined. It had absolutes and margins. It was clear what was and what wasn’t. There was no gray.dig

He dug deeper.

He asked the question, “What is under the surface?” The answer seemed obvious, but he hadnt thought of it. “Dig deeper and find out.” There was a sense of foreboding. Trepidation filled the air. Anticipation. He dug. He used his fingers and scratched the surface. There were no more answers, just more questions. The tiny crack was a window beyond and ,in it, he saw the much larger world. Fear and longing. He couldn’t ever be the guy who didn’t know there was more through that window. He was afraid and consigned. He dug around the crack. He climbed through into the vastness of the deeper world. The edges seemed to blur. There were hints of grays. The questions lined up. He tried to relate to them as he had on the other side of the crack. It failed and the answers laughed at him. The questions taunted him. He learned to handle some ambiguity. He learned he couldn’t learn it all. He became more open to less absolute.

He dug deeper.digging

He opened another crack, crawled through another window. The answers were more ambiguous. The margins less defined. He kept digging and the more he dug, the less the answers were clear. The questions mounted and became overwhelming. He felt lost and lonely. He screamed and cried. The pain was excruciating. He crumbled in uncertainty. He cried out, “What is the answer?”

There was a whisper, a wind, a sound. It spoke in breathy absence. There is no “the” answer. The answer you seek doesn’t exist. As you dig deeper into the foundation of yourself, of your world, it grows in wonder and amazement, but also in ambiguity and margin-less freedom. You are free to ask and answer and question again. The answers are accepting the lack of “the” answer.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in journey, life

 

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in a maze and a haze

I saw “Maze Runners” recently. It was an ok movie, but it really got me thinking. In the movie, several guys are trapped in a park in the middle of the maze. They have created a society within the maze and have been mapping out the maze for several years. A select few are chosen to be maze runners. The trick is that the maze changes every night, amidst horrifying noises. Near the end of the movie, we discover they have mapped out the entire maze and its various changes. They think they have discovered there is no way out of the maze, but have made the decision not to tell the others for fear of stealing hope.

It hit me this weekend, the movie is an allegory for my life. I was placed in the middle of a maze. Periodically, I add new facets to who I am. Together we have made a society. I have the runners, the enforcers, the scared boys. I have boys that rail against the system and ones who meekly keep working. There are boys who seek the bigger answer and those that are content to trudge along. In the movie, and in my heart, there is a time that a new facet arrives. He is different. He thins different, he is inspired by some different knowledge of a greater force. He resolves to figure a different solution.

However, before that. I imagine when there was just one person, who even a few. The decision to venture into the shifting maze would have been a tough one. In the movie, at night creatures arrive at nightfall as the entrance to the maze closes. Occasionally, someone is exiled to the maze at dark or gets trapped there. I imagine being the first one to be caught there. The darkness falls and the noises continue. You see the creature and run. Dead-ends and moving walls make it harder to hide. The terror and bewilderment begin to close in and panic ensues. I have felt like that rat, ramming my head against a wall again and again. I was afraid and confused. I was separated from any potential goal and just trying to survive. The creatures claimed part of me that night too.

I have felt like the boy consigned to be a hanger-on. I never ventured into the maze, figuring I deserved the isolation and disorientation. I pretended it was all going to be just fine living inside. I ached for the outside despite not remembering what it was.

I have been the warrior, bound by the rules. I held strict guidelines, never to be broken. I did the right things, said the right things. More to protect me from myself than the outside world. I wouldn’t leave the maze either, unless to enforce some rules.

I have been the maze runners. I see the changes. As I think I figure out my maze, my consciousness, it changes. As soon as I know a turn or twist, it morphs into something else. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was. As I captured it, it changed. Walls and barriers shifted. Heart delighted, and heart defeated. Running from the creatures of the night, feeling brave and triumphant during the day. I was as confused then as any other time.

I have been the new person, unconcerned with the shift. Seeing the maze as one overall picture, rather than pieces to be explored. I confronted and defeated the creature. I used that experience to forge ahead and develop a plan. I returned to myself and took the braver parts with me. I found a way out of them maze.

Like a rat picked up from the cheese, I longed at times to return to the familiar. The force lifted me above the maze and I could see what it was. I was not to be in the maze. It isn’t the plan for me. It was a self created barrier. I thought it kept me safe from the world, but it was my prison. The creatures, the shifting walls, I designed to keep others out. I saw it now, and I thought I was free.

Another force announced there would be another test. I have more to learn, more to face, more to love.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in journey, life

 

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