My inner self has had light cast upon it for the first time in many moons.
This blog of mine has long been a repository for whatever has come across my mind, and if oft a place where I am quite blunt and honest, something that may seem surprising for an aloof, asocial introvert. My goal has always been to provide catharsis for myself, and to hopefully provide a similar relief to those of similar mind or circumstance, to remind them, they are not alone in this.
However, even in the baring of my struggles to the world at large, there was still a shell around me, a layer built up over many years of practice to deflect the world at large. This shell was designed to shield a romantic heart, and soul, if you will, from a world in which I believed romance and love was dead. My armor was built to carry me through a world where I figured the best connection I would ever get to have with a woman was casual dating, with sex being a byproduct of it and not part of a larger, more dynamic whole. Over the last eight years I have successively opened up that area of my life to people who only wanted to use me, who were perhaps bored, who were lonely and desperate, or who may not have been bad persons but were a bad fit for me. Each time I compromised my ideals a little more, on the meager hope of finding something meaningful in the mess, someone who wanted to stick around for more than only the good times or only for a short while. For a long time I’ve allowed my eagerness to please, to be wanted, needed, to override my judgment, and the deepest part of my heart and mind that knew I ought to hold out for my ideals but was clouded over by despair, heartbreak, and loneliness. Somewhere in the cracks of my defenses, a certain attitude seeped through, one of taking what little fleeting bits of happiness existed, and accepting that as the best life was ever going to offer.
This goes beyond romance in the context of romantic love. I have long also held onto the ideals of what I am supposed to do in life. I’ve spent my life spinning in place, banging my head against a wall instead of walking around it. I’ve wasted staggering numbers of hours in misery, in the cold embrace of American retail, and the murky swamp of an office job in the financial industry. Slowly, I have felt the life drain from me, as despair wins battle after battle in its long, bloody war against hope. I’ve languished in despair, even in the midst of creative accomplishment, because of the oppressive, crushing loneliness, of feeling like you’re only understood and accepted as you are by the smallest number of people in a culture obsessed with money and status. I’ve felt like I was dying many a night, as the bottom of my literal heart clenched upon itself, my breath drew short, and every movement was accomplished only with the greatest effort. When I didn’t think my body would let itself expire fast enough to end my misery, my thoughts turned to accelerating my demise artificially.
Because of the family and friends I am fortunate enough to have in this world that do care for me, I did not pursue that course. But every day became a greater challenge to live. Every interaction I had with someone outside my circle, in the vain hope of perhaps finding myself a little less alone and an outcast, it was all for naught, and only made things worse. Despite my guts and experience telling me otherwise, I still allowed myself to be used time and again.
There is no miracle cure for this kind of despair, the one with its clutches around the hope inside you. It’s also unfair and unrealistic to expect someone else to be able to save you, to take your burdens as their own. Yet, as a deep, hidden part of me always suspected, there can indeed be someone who comes into your life who is so extraordinary, so moving by their every word, their mere presence, that you can be reminded of what it is you have to offer the world. Such an individual casts light on the worth you forgot you had. Working together, you can save yourself, and each other, from the despair that so much wants to extinguish you.
I have found love, in a truer sense than I ever knew of it previously, even above what my long-hidden ideals dared dream. That sort of awakening, a kick in the pants if I’ve ever had one, casts light not only on my heart, but also the life I’ve allowed myself to fall into. My real, younger self never pictured me in the throes of misery in the corporate world, with no hope of a future, no hope of ever being taken care of. My vision of the future became one where I was left a broken, worthless man without a penny to my name, whose only contribution to the world was how many dollars I could make for the precious American economy. Now I am a reawakened person who remembers, not merely in flickers of subconscious thought, but in my active mind, the dreams he used to have, and the mark he wanted to leave for the world.
My mistakes are embarrassing. The choices I’ve made as to who I’ve at times chosen to interact with, are puzzling. I don’t have a degree. I’ve never owned a home. In this culture and this country right now, there’s a fat chance of me ever being able to retire, further my education, or care for my health without inheriting crushing debt and despair. But then again, that’s all a wall, isn’t it? Time to stop banging my head against it, and walk around it.
Better yet, time to fly.