Saturday, January 10, 1998

Lust, Love, and Loneliness

I realized just a few weeks ago that I have not once mentioned on my pages (except in my poems) the one true and deep love that I have experienced in my life…so far anyway. And through the holidays, I must say that my ex-husband has been on my mind a great deal. I suppose that happened for a variety of reasons, like his calling me just before Thanksgiving (and a couple of times since), and the anniversary of his departure from our marriage (eleven days before Christmas, two years this past Christmas). When I think of him I feel so many things…without him, I wouldn’t be where I am now…he was my best friend for many, many years. And losing him broke my heart and devastated my life for a while there.

I think I spent many years growing up thinking love was lust, or love could be spawned from lust. I also know that I sought love in many, many ways…ways which I am not today particularly proud of, but I have nonetheless learned a great deal from. I have goals for myself, and one of them is not to make those same judgement errors and confuse lust and loneliness for anything other than what they are–fleeting, momentary, repetitive aspects of life. We have all lusted after persons in our lives…sometimes we even act upon that lust…sometimes with great satisfaction followed by nothing, sometimes with great pleasure followed by horrible emptiness, and sometimes for what appears, after the fact, to have been for nothing at all. No pleasure, no emotional connection, no satisfaction whatsoever.

I did not learn a great deal of respect for myself or my body growing up. And sometimes it surprises me that I have not made worse choices for companions in my life. I did not marry a man who beat me, or who verbally abused me…I married a man who was: an addict, incredibly sensitive and often very, very kind, generous to a fault, emotionally immature and unstable, and often emotionally and physically unavailable to me. I knew these things about him when I married him. We had lived together for five and a half years when we married…I knew we would have it rough…we both had difficult backgrounds. But I believed that we were both on a path of self-discovery and personal growth. Our purpose together was to be each other’s greatest protector of the other’s solitude, to unconditionally support the other in whatever needed doing in our lives.

Trust is bestowed upon others by me with great difficulty and pain. It was no different with my ex-husband. I remember that on our wedding night, after making the sweetest love we had ever made, I began to sob…I was terrified of having it all fall apart, of being hurt. I am not sure if somewhere in my heart I already knew he was using drugs again (he had been clean for two years before we married), or if I was just afraid of being hurt as I had been many times before. But I knew that I had given this man the best parts of myself…in fact, had given him all of what I was…my heart, my soul, my love, my joy, my sorrow, my pain. He had accepted and loved it all. Or so I thought.

When he left, he had a choice. He could either get help and we could work through the problems together, or he could continue to get high. The choice he made was to walk away from me, my heart, my soul, my love, my joy, my sorrow, my pain…my essence, everything I had offered to him he essentially said "keep it." There were times I thought I would die…if not from a broken heart than from taking my own life. The pain is less now…and I do not any longer wish to die…but his calls, to say he is sorry, to say how messed up it was to choose drugs over me, well, all of that just complicates my life right now. I have spent the past two years learning to put myself first. To take care of me, my body, my mind. And sometimes I reflect on the past two years and am amazed at how my mind works now, the care I have for myself. I will fight the rest of my life to never lose that perspective again.

Which brings me to the point of loneliness…I am often lonely. I miss having someone to put my arms around, to talk with and hold into the night, to know intimately and have know me. And it is not my priority to "find" someone to complete me. I am complete just as I am. But these days of loneliness creep up on me now and then, and I weep for what I feel I have lost, what I fear I will never have again. I am afraid that I will never allow myself to give of myself that completely ever again to another human being. I did not wish to marry more than once in my life. And I believe in marriage. I also believe that a person should never "settle" for less than what they desire on anything…least of all love. The most loving relationships still encounter struggles, but with some work and love, there is some victory in those struggles.

I have encountered people in my life who remind me I am aging, that finding that perfect mate with whom you feel passion and comfort and concern, happens seldom in life. I place emphasis on the word seldom because it is not an impossibility…just a rarity. I had those things with someone once…I believe I can have it again. But if I resign myself to "settling" for less, the relationship will be doomed. I talk to people and see people who have "settled" and it strikes me as so horribly sad. There are special people we could share our lives with all over the world. And if I never meet that person, or if I am too picky (as some people say), I will be okay on my own. I will encounter my loneliness, share it with friends who help to soften and take the edge off of my sadness. And I will remember that the acuteness of my loneliness will pass…it always does. I can ride this wave out, just as I have before.

Thursday, January 1, 1998

No Bridges Burned

Nothing has made me capable of erasing you from my heart.

Broken as my heart was.
Ripped apart by the insane desire to gather strength,
Endure hardship, suffer through love beside you.

Bolstered now by our separation,
My heart and soul were uplifted to hear your voice,
Resonating in my ears and in my mind.
Nothing could ever change what I feel for you.
Eternally my heart belongs to you.
Destined we are to be connected always, heart, body, and soul.