February 19, 1995
It is so terribly strange how the absence of love has left me in such an odd state of angst; while, when in love, I was driven to such a horrid state of depression. It seems that no matter where I turn, my fate catches up to me and leaves me with only confusion. It is not as if I am trying, by any means, to avoid the “pursuit of happiness,” it is just that in the chase I seem to have fallen into a ditch that merely parallels the road.
I find myself without anger, without any real sadness or emotion, instead, I realize within me, a tremendous fear of confronting them; as if, by not being absent, they are in reality being held by some rickety dam waiting for that instance, that impetus, to send the broiling waters crashing once again upon my being. And what of being emotionless? The true stoic need not worry of feelings nor pain nor suffering nor distraction. Simple reason. Clarity of mind. Cleansed of soul. “Clarity of mind” I may have, but my soul feels like the stinging reek of fermenting filth; I am a faux-stoic riding the tide of emotions into the free air; a mere human being hiding from the skeletons of the past in a brazen attempt at shielding myself from the present and the future. So what if I have days of loneliness, so what if I have days of despair? The rest of the days are pure, exact, full of reason and understanding; Surely these are days worth the price of pain.
In love, there is the bittersweet feeling of caring, and understanding. Of holding, and being held. Of listening and being listened to. The crushing dam of emotions is loosed in cleansing shuddering sobs: easing all the grief, releasing the guilt, and imbuing soft inner strength where before were makeshift barriers. I say, “I get moody.” She says. “I know.” I say, “I need hugs.” She says. “I know” I say. “I may not always understand things and on those days when the full moon obscures the sun in unholy eclipse…..I may even get angry sometimes.” She still says, “I know.” I say, “I love you.” And she says …”I know.”
I’m a wimp. What can I say? It’s true, I admit it, there’s no doubt about it. I, unlike all the macho-babe-catching-bench-pressing-sports-watching-beer-swilling-guys out there, am a wimp. I need to care and be cared; to understand and be understood; to love and be loved.
It’s not as if, in the whole of my life, I have never been in love. I have. It’s just that…it’s been fleeting, heart-wrenchingly hard to grasp, hard to hang on to. When I was little and something good happened to me I felt as I had to pay for it or God would take it away from me. Love was so good that I didn’t want to give any of it up. I guess then God stepped in.
Love itself doesn’t bring depression, it’s the absence of love that does it. (Kind of like, “Money isn’t important, its the absence of money that is…) When you fight, its feeling like love is disappearing that makes you so scared. When you are apart you wonder if you’ll ever get to be together again. (Maybe it’s only me, but when she would go away I would be in terror that something horrible would happen and she wouldn’t come back.) And then sometimes you just want to be with them. You know? That’s what is depressing.
Which brings us up to the great absence: The lack of a loved one. (Not “death of…”: that’s a whole another issue.) No longer is the carrot of togetherness bringing you up and down. You don’t have to turn down the guys to go to the bars. You don’t have to feel jealous at imagined or unimagined things. (I get jealous, I’m a wimp remember?) There is no pressure to put away your laundry, there is no waiting in turn for the shower, there is no reason to not to watch Star Trek. Simply, there is no longer a reason to feel depressed.
No reason, that is, except the emptiness of that space on the bed. The conversation across the table. The other half of the la-zy-boy. The laughter, the brightness, the joy that used to be there.
Clarity of thought. Purity of reason. An endless opportunity to achieve the impossible.