To Want to Love: To Wait and Become

By: E.H. 

men-holding-hands

This is not a cry for help.

This is not one of those articles I hope goes viral and gets a million likes on Facebook.  I fucking hate those “pity me” articles that some 21 year-old twink writes and accompanies with a sad shirtless picture of himself in a vain attempt at winning attention, and I fucking hate people who are like: “yul B fine, yur so SEXY I luv U!”

This is not a “pity me” article, though I’m okay with everyone thinking it is.

This is not anything other than me outletting an odd and difficult feeling that I haven’t been able to express as candidly in any other way.  Maybe someone else has felt this way too.

I should probably see a psychologist, but I can’t afford one.

All this gay marriage stuff going around has really got me thinking about the purpose of marriage in the first place: to form a union with someone you love.  I support the movement of course, but I’m not so passionate about it.  Mostly because it doesn’t apply to me, since I don’t think I’m capable of love.

When I bring this up with friends they scoff it off, and I don’t blame them, I’ve shown a remarkable facsimile of it.  I’ve gone above and beyond the normal call of friendship on many occasions, all in the name of this paramount emotion.  I’ve taken and offered comfort from them, but as much as I care about these people and as much as I know they care about me, there’s still something missing.  It would kill my closest friends if they knew I could move on without them and barely skip a beat. They would insist that isn’t true, but I’ve already done just that on many occasions.  I look back nostalgically on old friendships, but akin to the way one reads an old novel they enjoyed.

It’s not romance I’m missing.  I’ve had both women and men in my bed and my brain and no matter what happens it never gets very far, despite how long the relationship lasts.  My friend insists this is because I’m “afraid” of getting close and I acknowledge that possibility, but I have never been one to shy away from fears – I fucking face them.  The reason they don’t get very far is cause I don’t want them to.  Not because I’m afraid of them, but because nothing compels me to continue.

“You haven’t met the right person”

“You’re standards are too high”

“You shouldn’t settle anyway”

“You’re so young”

Explanations/Excuses – whatever.  I’ve heard them all and there’s no way to know what’s true.  But when I’m drawn to someone, it doesn’t last.  I inevitably wind up with the power and after that I’m no longer interested.  I makes me wonder if I really am nothing but the male stereotype of command and conquer.

There have been two instances when I haven’t had the power (and in a way, I still kind of did in both situations).  One was in college when I became infatuated with a boy who was infatuated with me, but who wasn’t ready to come out.  I kept his secret and didn’t pressure him.  We never even kissed.  He evolved on his own time but into the arms of someone who wasn’t willing to be as patient.  There’s no way to know how that could have developed had I made a move despite his reservations.  I could have easily let that encounter cynicize me, but I still believe I did the right thing by respecting him.  Nice guys finish last, sure, but they reach the goal – at least that’s what the world will have us believe.  I try to have faith that that’s true.

The second was a straight boy, of course.  I thought I was out of the woods when I never fell for any of my childhood friends.  I had developed that shield that all gay men must develop when they meet charming hetero, but somehow this one slipped under the radar – aided most likely by the fact that we slept together on several occasions and many believe he is in fact gay.  I know different.*  I was drawn to him in a way I had only been drawn once before, but it had no future, I accepted that and moved on.

Could those two experiences have led to me feeling love?  I wish I knew.  Some say that I’ve already felt it because of how I felt about the two of them, but from everything I know about love that can’t be the case.  In each instance my rational mind was in control.  It wasn’t what songs are about or what people die for.  It was just a possibility.

That was almost ten years ago.

I’ve dated since then.  A lot.  I’ve gone out of my way to meet people, get to know people, put myself in new situations, explore the world, get out of my comfort zone and into new social circles.  I’ve been intimate with a lot of people and tried to convince myself that I care and I do… to a point.  But I look around and see how other people love – not just see, feel – the way they gush, they way they glow, the way they spark, they way they can’t live without each other.  I also experience how people are devastated when they lose someone.  I understand love intellectually, so much so that I can recreate it artificially, but I still can’t experience it.

As a writer it’s my job to study and recreate humanity, and I’m actually pretty good at it.  I’ve created many moments that have brought people to laughter, tears and everything in between.  People have told me that I have the deepest understanding of love and humanity of anyone they’ve ever met.  I can’t help but laugh at the irony of that.  “Of course I do,” I want to tell them, “I’ve been trying to figure out how you all do it on a daily basis!”  I can put myself into other people’s shoes no problem, but I can’t seem to put myself into my own.

Oh god, my family.  I should probably talk about how or why I don’t love them.  God, I just don’t want to.

want to love.  I’m not being this way cause I want to be different.  My friend says I love being a mystery but I really don’t.  (And PS I’m not that much of a fucking mystery, it’s just that you’re not paying attention!)  I’m complicated, yes, and I enjoy the fact that I am.  Simplicity doesn’t suit me.  And I do have a tendency to hate things that are mainstream, mostly because I hate the American lemming mindset, but this is different.  To love is to feel fulfilled, and I don’t care how mainstream that is, I want it.

The thing is, I should have it already.  I have a big family with moms and dads and siblings and cousins and I have great friends and I’ve had boyfriends (and girlfriends) and I’ve had people that have been worthy of my love all over the place.  It’s not like I’m surrounded by douchebags.  Well… I mean maybe I am.  I can’t ignore that possibility.  Maybe everyone in my life really isn’t worthy of my love, but how likely is that?

If I am scared, what am I scared of?  I’ve had so much life experience that there’s nothing left to be afraid of – it’s happened already.  I’m not afraid to open up to people, I do it all the time.  Yes, really open up to people, in ways that I doubt others ever have.  I’m not afraid to be loved.  It feels wonderful to be loved, but in a way it makes me feel worse because I’m not returning it and then I feel like an asshole which makes me not want to put myself in a situation where I’ll be loved which makes it harder to love which I recognize could start a vicious cycle so I do it anyway and then am just an asshole over and over.  Whether I’m in the pattern or not, it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

I guess my question is this – do people actually love or is it just a bunch of actions they do?  Does everybody actually just decide one day to “love” so they settle and start a family?  I know too many people where I wanna be like: “what are you doing you don’t belong together” but I also know that it’s not my place to judge but at the same time we all know “those” relationships that aren’t going to work and we’re never wrong.  We’ve all seen how forcing love never works.  I don’t want to do that, that’s fucking stupid.

Yes, yes, wait, be patient, I know that’s the answer.  That’s the only answer.  There is no alternative.

As I said before, I know when I’m afraid of something.  It rarely happens, but when it does, I can acknowledge it.  Like right now.  The fear that I’ll never feel it.  That I’ll die without ever knowing what it means to want to live.  Not that I’m suicidal or anything, I’ve actually never been happier in my life, but there’s a difference between not wanting to die and wanting to live. That’s supposed to be love.  Everyone agrees it’s love.  Centuries and centuries of love love love love love have made everything happen and it connects us all and I can’t be the only one out in the ether, that just doesn’t make sense.

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that I haven’t felt it yet – cause shouldn’t I have?  I have all the ingredients.  I understand the recipe.  And if this has been going on for as long as it has how is it every going to change?  I know the only thing that can change it is me, but I have no idea how to do that.

I could die any day and what would I point to as my crowning achievement on Earth?  Some show I wrote or friend I had?  Is that it?  Is that enough to live for?  I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter anyway cause we’re all specs of dust on a spec of dust rotating around another spec of dust that’s doomed to oblivion but that’s exactly why it does matter. Love is supposed to be the consolation prize for being specs of dust and if I’m truly incapable of that then what the fuck?

I know, I know, I know, be patient, you said that already.  But that’s why I’m writing this.  I’ve been very patient in my head and in my life and if I’m any more patient I’m going to explode patience all over the place, so now it’s here instead.

I guess I’m writing this in hopes that anyone else who’s ever felt this way can know that there’s someone else who feels the same.  It’s a familiar thing to feel like we’ll never be loved, but I’ve never met anyone who feels like they’ll never love. Statistically speaking they have to exist.  Maybe someone’s worked their way through it and has a suggestion.  (However, if all you have to say is “be patient” then please be silent because I know that one already.)

In the end I guess we are what we are, and will become what we become.

*It’s funny how people (especially gay people) will insist that a man must be gay if he sleeps with another man, but it’s those same people who maintain that shades of gray exist in sexuality.  Why is it so hard to believe that in this day and age, when non-traditional sexualities are becoming more and more acceptable, that a straight man won’t explore himself?  I bet each of us has been with someone that fits that description.  These men aren’t too scared to come out; they’re actually brave enough to experiment.

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2 responses to “To Want to Love: To Wait and Become

  1. yes, there are others. i identify with 100% of what you wrote. and i know the pain and confusion it causes.

    the problem i see here, and one i’ve struggled with, is an oversimplification of concepts like love and marriage. one aspect of marriage is, as you say, is “to form a union with someone you love” but that is not the whole of marriage; feeling butterflies and fantasizing about your boyfriend all day may indicate love, but it is not the whole of it. there are many shades of gray.

    i’ve gone through all the mental traps you mention – i’m too picky, i’m afraid to open up, i’m defective, i’m too complex – and it got me nowhere. it has taken a long time to accept that i am capable of love but the way i love is different and i’m no longer ashamed to be upfront about who i am to people i meet. my asexuality is only one aspect of me and i hope to meet a guy who respects that and recognizes my loyalty, protection, and devotion as the “love” that i give.

    i can’t tell you how to feel the intense emotions you seek but i can tell you that joy and satisfaction exist in the subtler shades of love.

  2. love is a weird thing. I can feel it for someone and then if they piss me off I look at them and think, I don’t even like you, mate! For me, it’s something I feel in the presence of some people, but not in their absence – when they’re away it’s more of a theory. And yet some people are like cigarettes, you think you don’t care about them when you’ve just had one, but after a couple of hours/days/weeks, you start really wanting them around again. Is that love? I also feel like you do with my friends – if they disappeared, I wouldn’t mind too much. My kids now, I really DO love. It’s as if they have part of me in them which would die with them, painfully. So I think, hey, you feel what you feel, no need to feel bad about it. Not everyone has the capacity for love, it’s a brain chemical thing. Don’t stress about it, just be how you are. I wouldn’t say that however if you were inclined to axe murder people.

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