Friday, December 08, 2017

An answer

What am I thinking, you ask?

How could she? You agree with me that there was nothing owed at the time of parting. It was understood that what it meant was that our paths were now no longer entwined.

Now, your point may be that it is rather soon to have found someone else. Given that you've spent most of the last six months either deflated and depressed, or awash in nostalgia and longing, it's unarguable that you've been in no shape to even consider starting something new. She obviously was. What else is there to say?


So she forgot me so quick? It's not as though she completely barred you from her sphere of existence. But for particular feelings, yes, they seem to have been put aside in the span of a few months.

Your worry seems to be that it implies that maybe the feelings weren't that strong to begin with. How to measure these things, you tell me. I would however say that it could be more steel-cold pragmatism on her end. Her circumstances dictate that she cannot afford to have six months idling away in her living room, lamenting fate and circumstance. It's actually admirable, if I may be honest, that she was able to put aside genuine feelings in a situation she felt was untenable, and make a plan to find another way to her destination.


But why did she break it off, again? Look, this one, I will give you -- I don't actually know. We can start with what she said: that the challenges were too great, and if things failed, they could've ruined your friendship. This seems somewhat odd to me, since by breaking it off, she effectively called the partnership a failure from the get-go, and severely strained the friendship. So you basically had all the lows of a break-up, with none of the highs. As to whether the challenges were indeed too great is also something that is in doubt. I mean, sure, they did exist, but they were offset by something strong that drew you together. It's not obvious to me that things couldn't have worked.

We could then move to what she may have meant, even if she didn't say it. I'd prefer not to indulge in too much speculation, though. Suffice to say, you have my sympathy: there wasn't a clear reason why she had to walk away. A tough-love kind of conclusion would be, what does it matter? The decision was made. A more forgiving conclusion would be, maybe she made a mistake, in which case you should hardly feel like you erred.


Could it have worked? It's hard to say for sure, but it's easy to answer the alternative, which is whether it was doomed from the start: clearly, the answer is no. If only because you were able to spend so much time together, and feel so comfortable in each other's presence. Given this, you certainly have my support that exploring this slowly would've made a lot of sense.



Did I make a mistake? Your question is perhaps really asking whether you could've done something to have made her change her mind. And I'll give this one to you, too: I don't really see what else you could've done. You did put in a lot, which is why you're understandably upset. And it's not as though there was anything other than circumstance that was presented as being a challenge.

There are only two possible exceptions, of course. The first is your immediate reaction when she first presented you with her feelings. If you had the chance to do that scene over again, you could've handled it better and with more honesty -- after all, what you were feeling was genuine, and it wasn't easy for her to open up so candidly. It's possible that she felt a little left in the lurch by your relatively subdued response. But, you did almost immediately correct that quite emphatically. So, honestly, if that's what it came down to...I wouldn't hold it against you.

The second is your strategy of putting things on hold until you discussed things with the folks. Of course, now it's easy to look back and lament what you have lost, and try to put fault at this decision. But bringing the realities of circumstance (yours and hers) more to the fore, you could also paint the decision as an attempt at being responsible. After all, if you just decided to go ahead and not talk to the folks, there's no guarantee that it wouldn't have hurt that equally (more) important relationship. Again, circumstances were challenging, and you were fairly upfront about the necessity of the things you were doing. Plus it was only just a week that things were being put to simmer.

So in sum I would say, a partnership can't be so unforgiving, given the circumstances that both of you were up against.


Did she make a mistake? We have concluded that it is not clear as to the reasons for the partnership to be called off. You certainly wanted things to proceed; I think those reasons are valid; ergo, I can't find a way to justify her decision.

But that doesn't mean it was a critical mistake, because she could still find someone else who's as good a fit. Sorry, but it's true.


Can she find someone better? Ok look, clearly you did offer something. I suppose your last note was an attempt to convince yourself that many of these were things that are hard to find. I tend to agree, but will remind you, per your note, attraction works over many dimensions. Can she find someone who offers precisely the things you did, and more? Maybe not; I mean, almost axiomatically, your somewhat unusual life trajectory has bestowed you with uncommon ways of looking at and thinking about the world and people.

Can she find someone who offers her some of what you did, and some other things you didn't? The answer to this, I'm sorry to say, is probably yes. You're looking at me to ask what exactly these things you lack are; ironic, given that you've spent all this time on the blog exploring precisely that. Ok, well not to put too fine a point on it, but for a start, maybe she could find someone more self-assured? You have to admit that your utter lack of self-esteem, while good for the occasional (genuine) laugh, can also be quite emotionally exhausting to deal with. It can seem like when you're putting yourself down, you're really fishing for compliments.

I know this hurts, but you did ask, so here's one more: she could find someone more outgoing and positive. Long before knowing her, you've been living in self-imposed exile from society. It isn't particularly healthy for you, and I think it does tend to warp how you view people around you. Plainly, you can come across as unfriendly and negative. Of course, she was able to meet your secret self, but my point is that for someone as outgoing as her, it may have been a source of tension if you were continually putting down people (after putting down yourself), and suggesting distance from the rest of the world.

Ok, you're looking at me quite funny now, but I'll give one last one, which isn't a flaw on your part: she could find someone with whom the circumstances are less challenging. Not much to say on this point, except that life really sucks sometimes.

And fine, for being such a good boy, here's a peace-offering: it's hard to imagine she can find someone who's so sensitive to her needs that he's willing to sacrifice himself to make sure she's happy. I'm not sure that's actually a good thing, but if it makes you feel better, there you go.


So you're saying what we had wasn't special? Hmm, not exactly: it was special, but there's no reason that she couldn't find other partnerships that are special in different ways. The world is a big place, and hearts even bigger -- there's room for a lot to happen.

If you're asking whether what you had was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of feeling, then I'm saying that you can't meaningfully order these kinds of feelings.

If you're asking whether what you had was perfect in every possible dimension, then I'd have to politely tell you the answer is no; if only for the simple reason that (that word again) circumstances were complex.

If you're asking whether what you offered was so unique that it's hard to imagine another who is similarly off-the-charts in certain dimensions, then I will exhaustedly reply, maybe. I would however gently remind you that being unique doesn't necessarily mean being good. If your objective is biased that way, great. Maybe hers isn't.


Will we ever be that close again? I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but the answer is no. This is just one of those things in society. There will have to be limits in how you interact.


Will there ever be another? I don't know, of course, but I would point you to the archives. They don't paint a particularly great picture, but they do establish that there is room enough in your heart to welcome an additional master of the vault. And that in each preceding period of solitary confinement, the thought that the answer was negative grew increasingly louder.

This past time, you could say that it was a case of extreme chance or luck that allowed for things to be different. So, sure, maybe in numeric terms, you'll have to wait a while. But this raises the point that more active searching can only possibly help boost up that chance. And that's something you may have to face up to as being an option to explore. After all, you can't tell me it's worse than writing letters to yourself.


Where do I go now? It's for you to tell me, but can I make a few suggestions?

  • an obsession with the past is a dead fly. You know the horrors of stagnant thought, and how the lament of that experience is very genuine and warranted. So, you have to find a way to stop pondering about whether you could've done something different. Like I said, my feeling is, not really. If you accept that, you have to then accept the card that has been dealt, and look to where you can go now.
  • pick up where you left off elsewhere in your life. You've stalled several avenues that, at one point, seemed like the most exciting things in the world. (Like, er, writing?) You know the mania of an idle mind, and the pleasure of an active one. Simply sitting in the corner and staring into space doesn't make the task of looking to the future any easier. Unless you happen to be meditating (which is fine by me).
  • figure out what you want. If you think that, as you once told me, you're actually ok by yourself, then accept that and look to invest in improving that self so that he can keep you better company. If you think that you can't survive another second spent in isolation, well, then you have to do something about it. You have to start meeting people, either organically or algorithmically.
Good luck, and peace be with you, brother.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ok chum, you've earned this one; closing in on fourteen years now, a tacit aim of this repository has been an exhaustive cataloguing of my manifest flaws. An aim as worthy as any, but never kick a man when he's down. And I'm down, brother.

Instead, then, here's an attempt to paint positive the news that, as it always goes with these things, she delivered so nonchalantly.

Let me say first that if she's happy, then some part of me is, or will be, in time. But this isn't why we're here today.

So, this chap. I know he must be many things -- she wouldn't have it any other way -- but what are the chances he's all I am, and more? Slim. (Hey, for a start, I wouldn't even dream of meeting the way I presume they did.) Which doesn't mean it's a bad idea -- it's not a contest of who is "better" than who in some absolute sense, but rather, one of degrees of compatibility, in which case certain dimensions matter more than others. With that understood, and as an unashamed pick-me-up, I'd like to remember a few things I offered her, and might offer someone else with time.

Listening to her idiosyncratic, scrapbook diction as she relates one of her confusing stories, and noticing the glistening of her eyelids. Friends would point to it and remark how strange she was, someone who was lost in some private struggle that they didn't know how to express. But I remember my heart sinking as her eyes brushed away the teardrops, and the urge to reach out a hand and say, This is yours whenever you need it. Simply show me you are vulnerable, and I promise you that I will be on your side till death's door.

Crafting a reply with a care that I forgot I possessed. The delicate balance of words, with the gentle pull towards emotionality smoothened over with something approaching wit. These arts have little value or purpose in our world, but when she saw my wry smile punctuate a response, and let the thought linger, I could see a genuine smile form. The words were effervescent, but honest, a respite from the cold world of fact and logic we both lived in.

Putting this language to further use, and affectionately twisting her name. Going against a battalion of friends who thought her frightening, and impenetrable, and trying to demonstrate what I knew must be true: underneath that stern and formal shell beat a heart of purest silver.

Telling her I wanted to see her again, but in the gentlest possible way; standing at the edge of the cliff so that she could step back if she wanted. Never pushing my luck by pressuring her into things she wasn't comfortable with. Always being willing to walk home alone, as long as she was happy.

Peering into the private corridors of my heart, and finding there is room for a universe. And being willing to offer up all I have to welcome her there.

Accepting the final rejection without question; swallowing the bile and poison my heart was spewing, and accepting that I might again have to walk many years by myself, keeping these thoughts and feelings locked away. Promising that, shattering as it would be, I would not push back at all, and simply accept the card she had dealt.

I expect she will forget me, because it is the rule of this game. Yet I will keep the memory alive. And what better way than by being once more the person she once thought was special, and letting the rest of the world meet him.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

I don't own you; you don't owe me; but I may as well admit, you've hurt me. Six months on, and I've just about worked up the strength to pry open the door to the tomb, and stare at the outside world. And the first sight I see is your beaming smile, one which I have to painfully mimic as you tell me the big news: you've met someone, and this time it's serious.

Was I the more loving, or just the more foolish one? I gave you everything -- the only thing -- I had: an earnest heart, which was filled only with the thought that you were its one rightful captor. I can accept that circumstance meant that could not be. But I am surprised you could go hunting again so soon.

Of course I hope you find happiness, and all my prayers are with you. But would that for once, someone pray for the phantom who now retreats back into his cell. Even if the chance at equal affection has passed, a drop of compassion goes a long way in the dungeons.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Winter's harsh enough without us having to force our hearts frozen shut. The sky is an oppressive grey, and the sun is many hours away from even considering an appearance. Tucked away in my quilt, I feel warm in body but utterly chilled everywhere else. It will be some time yet before the images of you start to thaw. Sometimes, it seems easier to just go back to sleep, in hopes of a dream of pitch black.

I keep thinking that there must be some better way of playing this game, and that surely there is a happy medium than the callous isolation that I have found myself left in. But, I'm willing to accept that there is much I don't know about these matters. Whatever the case may be, it's clear enough that the state I'm in simply can't continue. Where exactly does that leave me? I know standard response is to try and move on. I just can't imagine staring into another set of eyes, though. Not now, and not for a while yet. Which might have been alright ten years ago, but time is another ally I found a way to betray.

I'm willing to accept that situations like this aren't anyone's fault in particular. It is however only natural to ask why I seem to find myself on the receiving end of so many failures. If, for sake of argument, there is some arbiter that chooses not to intervene, but rather attempts to educate us through our mistakes, I would simply implore them to consider the possibility that some people are beyond learning. It's not as though I don't have all the information in front of me, the cold facts as to the choices I made that left me shipwrecked. I think I can even put together the puzzle pieces. It's just that I don't want to acknowledge the picture I then see.

I'm almost entombed here, amongst boxes, papers, and other scraps of the past that simply will not let me go. Having lost her convincingly, it's hard not to look back at the last four years as some kind of failure. Not so much professionally -- though of course there is plenty of room for that interpretation -- than in terms of actual emotional progress, where I can't point to anything meaningful.

Having successfully pushed myself away from everyone who ever had a kind thought about me, my days are spent hiding away from the outside world, and myself. There is a desperation in my attempts to fill up the never ending hours that offer themselves, where all of life's treats and mysteries are available, but seem profoundly empty as I think of partaking them just by myself. I don't know the exact moment where I cut off the last healthy friendship, but it was long enough ago that now even the suggestion of an outing is enough to get me through the week.

Oh, I will admit it -- she still occupies my mind far more than is healthy or helpful. I still can't quite figure out what lesson I'm supposed to take away from the whole experience. While I'm more than happy to flagellate myself for my many failings, on this particular occasion, I'm not sure I'd done anything so profoundly evil as to deserve being so cruelly denied an opportunity of happiness. I replay several key moments again and again, perhaps in hopes that through some sorcery I might go back to those times. And when on occasion she leaves me a short note, or just otherwise lets me know that I'm not completely out of her life, I have to work hard to suppress those giddy feelings of hope, that perhaps this is the restart that I've been spending all my idle hours conjuring. But, curled up in a cold room, speaking these words that she will never read, it's all too clear that this is just more fantasy. And I don't know what to do about it.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Pretender

I run into a colleague while making my way to the stairs -- this will be the fourth time in the day that I've had the overpowering need to leave the office, and perhaps the planet -- and realise that his banal chit-chat no longer bores me, but rather actively hurts me. I put on a smile with no care for how obviously fake it is, and stare blankly at his moving lips. My vision is blurry, my hearing warbled; all my energy is taken up by my mind, as it tries its hardest to think of anything but her.

A lifetime spent in careful dissection of song finally has some value, at least -- I know just the people to turn to, the phrases to wait for and experience with an age of experience since last they crossed they mind. They do help, and remind me at least art's good for something. At the same time, even this act has a touch of the unreal, and I find myself questioning just how deeply the composers mean what is being sung. After all, it seems that to the world at large, it's just something that goes on in the background, to be discarded and forgotten when life resumes its natural course. Not for me; for me, I know that the closest I will get to life is listening to other people sing about theirs.

I'm not sure what exactly I'm supposed to do from here. Even if it never really began, it's certainly over, so that chapter is closed. But what comes next? When I think of the vast expanse of time that now welcomes me, all I see is emptiness. And yes, I've long thought that I would walk those plains alone. But given a glimpse at another path, only to have it snatched away again? Even for me, that seems too cruel.

It's not very becoming to admit to feeling this way, at least, not when removed from the immediate aftermath. I'm told that I'm supposed to shake off these feelings, and remind myself of the mythical fish that live in the sea I've never seen for myself. Looking back at the mess I've made of these intimate interactions, though, I can't quite imagine there being another one. Yes, I said that last time, and the time before. But I was younger then, and still had reasons to hope.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

She offered me a hand, and in a moment of disbelief and delusion, I thought I might reach to hold it. But now things are in their right place again: as I reached for that elusive grip, she backed away and let my fingers feel the cold air of nothing. Back to where I began; fallen, in a pit, no light in sight. My friend tells me, it's all my fault, that I shouldn't have hesitated the way I did. That may be, I say, but why fault something if it leads to a state of right? I close my eyes and accept that the touch will belong to someone else. I am left instead to grab at the air, slowly getting the sense that my hands themselves are softly disintegrating. Perhaps when I am no longer solid, the air and I will have a chance to make it through together.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

There will be no more chances. Three is enough for any lifetime. It took a certain ingenuity to throw each of them away so casually, and with no apparent concern for my future. My future! I suppose that's a more optimistic way of speaking about the void that beckons, one which started in my mind and now has spread to where I once had a heart.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I've missed this; the familiar sense of my fingers finding synchronicity with my mind, as they help trace out a thought that's hiding just outside the horizon of consciousness. For a moment, I'm released from the dull rut of existence, and I focus everything on the goal of sculpting the words into perfection. They're dedicated to someone important, who will know if I have let my standards slip; assuming, that is, that theirs haven't either. I measure each adjective carefully, knowing it's best not to overstate or overpower; the mandatory joke is similarly desiccated to my taste, and placed delicately at the tip of the opening para. When it's done, I look at the result, and for once have to admit that not everything I do is completely trite; it's a perfect capsule of my life, a blend of the hazy present and vivid past that startles even me in its lucidity. I have to sigh in disappointment that I can't just call it a day here and cruise along. In these words, I have found a home that will not refuse me. Would that they helped invite someone else to move in as well.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

 I'm clinging on desperately to every smile, every laugh, every acknowledgement that I exist in some form of positive light. My nights are spent in careful dissection of the day's events, as I try to come to the conclusion I want to hear: that this could be something. But when I get the opportunities that I spend all weeks trying to create, I'm left crippled by a cold dose of reality. I see snatches of an actual life being lived, with friends and hobbies and a general sense of purpose. What is it that I have to offer in addition to this rich world? Perhaps when I can answer that question, I might have more luck. But somehow I think it's going to be a while.

Retrovertigo

Something is trying to find me, but my mind doesn't let it in. I've sheltered it now for the last few months with all manner of work, thought, and really anything else I can find that will help create some fortification. Now that I find myself without any excuses to fall back on, I can sense this stranger approaching again. It is trying to tell me something true, something I should probably hear; but even before it speaks, I know I'm not going to be able to handle it.

Looking ahead, it seems I have a couple of choices. One is to keep building my wall, and embrace a life that is lived running away from something. The other has the nobler sound to it: confronting what it is I fear, and in the process coming to some great realisation about myself. But am I being too cynical when I say that all may just be too late? You tell me what I'm supposed to look forward to. You tell me where it is I'm suddenly going to find my purpose. The time for all that has passed; in whatever time I have left, am I not better off spending it doing something productive? And so what if that life makes me unhappy? It's not like the alternative is any better.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

This hit the spot.

“Having made an utter failure of my life, one day I found myself in the midst of my poverty and wretchedness, thinking about the female companions of my youth. As I went over them in my mind’s eye one by one it suddenly came over me that those slips of girls – which is all they were then – were in every way, both morally and intellectually, superior to the ‘grave and moustachioed signor’ I am now supposed to have become. The realisation brought with it an overpowering sense of shame … And I resolved then, however unsightly my shortcomings might be, I must not, for the sake of keeping them hid, allow those wonderful girls to pass into oblivion without a memorial.”