Why would God give me such a capacity for love, and not just the capacity, but also the desire for it, and then deny it to me? Not just once, but time and time again …
These are my Salieri thoughts. My baffled hurt Salieri thoughts.
How can one bear such loneliness for so many years? Especially when, for whatever reason, it has been implanted in the heart that one needs to find a mate? And not just needs, but wants … yearns … yearns to find what Robert Louis Stevenson called “solitude made perfect”?
I have wanted to get rid of this desire for good. Because it would be so much easier. Having that desire in my heart has done me no good. All it has meant for me has been heartache. This is how it feels in bleaker moments, 3 a.m. moments. At 3 a.m. I forget the laughter, the joy of my former connections with boyfriends. At 3 a.m., it’s just loss. It has taken an enormous act of will, strength, and determination to focus on other things. It is a MUST for me to focus on other things. There are long stretches when I succeed, when I am not haunted, or bitter, or sad. I’m in one of those stretches now. I have brief relapses – coming from out of nowhere (ahem – blurpy man on train) – but for the most part, I’m not eaten alive anymore by this whole wanting a mate thing.
I see myself in Salieri. There have been times when the sight of happy couples makes me not only angry, but devastated. I feel cursed. In really dark moments, I’m a bitch when I’m around my married friends. I am very ashamed of this part of me. I struggle with her almost every day. The past year I have really moved beyond that pettiness, but it has taken a lot of focus, and self-evaluation. Also self-love, to be honest. It’s no good to be hard taskmaster, and be unforgiving towards those ugly dark parts of yourself. At least it’s not for me. I struggle enough with feeling worthless. The worst thing I can do is pile it on, pile heaps of coal on my own head. So I talk myself off the ledge. “Sheila, it’s okay … you’re just sad … you’re sick of being alone … it feels like you will always be alone … so you’re just sad … It’s not THEIR fault that this is the case … so breathe … breathe …” That struggle is pretty nearly won, now. Which is nice. I can hang out with my married friends now and not feel like I’m poisoning the day with my own bitterness, my own Salieri-esque rage at how unfair life is.
I have “put myself out there” time and time again (and I swear, the next person who tells me I just have to “put myself out there” is going to get punched in the nose) and I have had a terribly rough time. Not universally, but definitely lately. As in the last 5 years. I won’t go into it. A lot in the last 5 years has been terrific, major strides in other areas. But in that area, it’s been a disaster.
I see people all around me in couples. In dark moments, in moments when I feel persecuted by the sheer NUMBER of couples I see around me, it seems like the one thing I really want in life is being denied me – out of SPITE or something … but then I always believe that this is for some REASON. I yearn to understand God’s plan for me. I want to know WHY. Because I do believe there is a reason WHY. There is a reason why it didn’t work out with the couple guys in my past who really mattered to me. Of course there is. I yearn to know the reason that I would be given this great big feckin’ HEART, and a great big LOVE of men … and yet to have it remain unfulfilled. Steadfastly.
It’s not a matter anymore of going out and dating, playing the field. There is something deeper going on. Nobody can ever convince me that something deeper isn’t going on here.
I want to know, like Salieri, what my purpose on this planet is. And I want to know, like Salieri, what God’s plan is for me. Am I missing his plan? Am I misinterpreting it? Am I wasting my time, being sad about this or that? Because from where I stand, a measly little human being, trapped in this one particular fold of the space-time continuum, it makes very little sense. And when it makes no sense, life is a howling wilderness, I feel alone, with echoes, with the past, with sadness, with this huge drive to express myself TO someone … and no one on the other side. Ghosts around me, the men in my past, all great guys, every one … where did they go? What happened back there? Could it have worked? Or was God gently guiding me along … “No, no, that is not your path … that is not your path … solitude is your path … you must accept it, stop fighting it … It’s only when you FIGHT it that it hurts you.”
I have found that to be true.
When I rail against my “lot”, when I’m angry, when I’m hurt, when I’m PISSED … is when my solitude hurts the most.
Now that I have given over to it, and accepted it, it doesn’t really hurt at all.
As long as I don’t see any random blurpy men on trains I should be okay.
All of this was brought to the forefront by watching that movie last night. I probably sound sadder than I am. I’m not actually that sad. More contemplative, reflective. Salieri’s relationship with God is what really impressed itself upon me this last time. I recognized some of my own thoughts, feelings, in Salieri. The movie, of course, is about talent, and genius. What is genius? What is it? It seems so random. Genius suddenly APPEARS. Ever since I was a tiny girl, I’ve been the kind of person who feels joy so intensely that it hurts. I would lie in bed, age 6, and press my hand down on my heart, when I was really really happy, because it felt like my heart would come out of my chest. When I’ve been in love with someone, that’s what it feels like.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
If I can’t love someone like that, if I have to “tone it down” in order to get a mate, then obviously love is not for me. Because I can’t. I can’t tone it down. I have the presence of mind to know that that very intensity is really the best thing about me, and if I have a gift to give? It is THAT. And I can’t compartmentalize it – although I have tried that too. I’ve tried to put that intensity into my “art” compartments – save the intensity for my creative life – and try to be a nice normal steady girlfriend in the OTHER compartment, and not frighten him away. Naturally, this does not work. It’s all or nothing.
For the most part, though, (and this probably isn’t surprising) – the men who are drawn to me, the ones who have pursued me, and who have fallen in love with me, are guys who DIG my intense quality, who want to be near it, part of it, who love it when it’s focused on them. The type of guys who LOVE that I get so excited about a movie or a book that I gesticulate wildly, and my cheeks turn red, and I trip off the curb as I try to walk and talk at the same time. Stuff like that. I generally don’t attract men who are looking for stable settled energy, or who would find my messy brand of enthusiasm embarrassing.
But like anything else in life, I have paid a price for loving people like that. The heart-break of letting someone go is fiery red-hot. Like a poker. It takes me forever to get over things. And, maybe ever since the doppelganger , I feel like there might be a little less of me to give now. Like something finally got killed back there, for good. I don’t regret much, in terms of romantic entanglements – believe it or not, I haven’t made that many mistakes or errors in judgment … but man, I regret that one. Not because it turned out he was a jerk, but because the pain was searing and something, I feel, something precious was lost in the transfer. It was the proverbial straw. I’m not sure about that, though. I always say that after a disappointment. It’s become a joke in my group of friends. Or, not a joke, but … a predictable phase of my disappointments. I make wild proclamations. I am VERY firm. “Okay, that is IT. I have had it. NEVER AGAIN.” Well, naturally there is usually “an again”. And because of my makeup, and because of the rarity of such connections (I’m not attracted to many people) – it’s intense. I can’t not be intense. And I’m not talking about “ooh, I’m so deep, let me play ‘Joe Lies’ for you 20 times, and strum on my guitar…” I’m talking about intense joy, too, intense curiosity about things, an intense love of the art of conversation, intense passion, intense laughter, all that stuff. It’s who I am.
My desire for an appropriate mate … to share my solitude with someone … to find “solitude made perfect” feels like it has come from outside of me. From God. Or maybe it feels like it is so deep within me that it is intertwined in my DNA. Nurture has nothing to do with it. It feels like it’s all Nature, I was born with this, and it feels indestructible. Maybe it is. It hasn’t been destroyed yet, which shocks me, on occasion. How on earth is it possible that I – who wants to love someone – JUST ONE PERSON – so badly – and who has had her heart broke a gazillion times … how on earth is it possible that I have not become jaded and hard? WHY THE HELL am I not jaded?
In my more hopeful moments, I think to myself – if you become jaded, Sheila, if you become bitter and hard, and “over it” … then the type of man that you love, and the type of man who has always loved you … will no longer be drawn to you. Because you will have killed the very thing within you that would attract him. My friend Maria said this very thing to me once, in the wake of the doppelganger I think, “I’m really afraid that you’re gonna get bitter, Sheila. I couldn’t stand it if you got bitter. Bitterness would hide that light you have inside of you. And then the man out there who is looking for you would no longer be able to find his way.”
I believe this to be true as well. But oh. What a struggle. And it’s not a struggle with any discernible end in sight. It’s really just the struggle of living a good and happy and meaningful life. Of not letting the goodness within you get killed, not being tempted by cynics, by those who only see the dark side, by those who treat openness and excitement with contempt and suspicion … This struggle needs to go on whether or not I find a mate. Life is beautiful, life is a gift, life must be lived fully … Regardless. There are worse things in life than being alone.