The Devil Resides in What's Lived

As I am sitting cross legged wrapped in my big blue and white bath towel (I love walking around in that thing), our Christmas tree tastefully illuminated opposite my sofa-bed (I call this period in my life my couching days, or couched-in days - whichever fits in the moment), I am willing away the lackluster assessment of my writing endeavors (Unimpressed you are). I am afraid you'll just have to cut this European with her funny accent some slack and indulge what her meandering mind wishes to communicate tonight. 

There is the shadow of a tale that has been coursing through my mind these past few days, and I started jotting down some coordinates and reference points. It's about this girl, who wishes, yearns for, craves, better yet, demands connection with the world around her. She is confined to living inside one of these cliche fairy tale-like castles that are confining and restrictive, stifling, entirely anti free expression, a realm where showing one's true colors is treated like a dirty word. The girl often finds refuge looking out the castle's most tucked away window and one day a dove finds its way to the windowsill. There is beauty to the dove, innocence, naivete, a sense of opportunity and gentle beginnings but the girl isn't pulled to what she beholds. The qualities the dove exudes almost feel too pristine, too untouched, too remote even. The girl is looking for the visceral side of life, for the undertones, for the scars and the charred remains. The sheen of the immaculate permeates the very fissures crisscrossing the walls of her confinement. The dove sensing the girl's longing for something akin to the byproduct and aftermath of experience obliges and transforms into a raven holding a blood splattered organ in its beak. It appears rose-like at first but soon, the illusion fades and in its place the girl finds deposited in her lap a still-palpitating heart of a dove, cleanly extracted. The raven, redness continuing to drip around its beak, watches the girl's reaction. Is that what she wants? Is she sure that this is what she wants, what she is seeking? Does she have the slightest idea what she is asking. She is obviously demanding darkness, but darkness is nothing she's ever faced, nothing she's ever had to deal with, nothing remotely familiar in her life. Sure, deceit is the law of the castle grounds, there is intrigue, there are devious plots and a host of shenanigans but true darkness, the existential angst and despair, this, the girl knows nothing of. That sunken, defenseless feeling when life is ripping you to shreds. The raven has seen the wastelands, flown past them, merged with the putrid landscape. That is his domain. He feels at home in the existential void, in the miasma where nothing of beauty and abundance grows any longer. The girl listens, senses, begins to understand that she may have asked for something she isn't ready to face...yet. The raven clad in darkness intrigues her but she can already feel the singe. She is aware that following the raven's call would become her undoing. She watches him make for the sky...

This little allegory continues with the girl encountering a squirrel who teaches her about the precariousness, the fragile construct that is human communication. She is shown how easily goodwill between two people disintegrates into mud flinging and alley fights. All the love in the world cannot keep the squirrel from flying off the handle. Connection becomes marred in learned silence and increasing distance. After the squirrel comes the mouse, which teaches her the nature of hording, of keeping people and things close to the chest, all calculated, all well planned, all in its place. Connection is made but within strict guidelines, and adherent to rules that are logical, simple and devoid of any messiness. Drama is inherently bad and free wheeling expression is considered tedious. The mouse is straight laced in his vision and the girl mourns the whimsical. What's so wrong with high flights of passion? The mouse will have none of it. Next is the donkey. The donkey is all about cuddles and being carefree. He is willing to dive but only where waters remain friendly. The shadowy place is not a place to visit much less dwell. It's all about the lighter side of life. There is no balance, no reveling and certainly no reckoning. The girl fails to connect because there is no meaningful dissection. Repression is the dictum of the day. Oh ruehret, ruehret nicht daran, as the German would say (oh, do not, do not touch it). The tale ends with the girl encountering a lion, king of the animals, regal in his demeanor, poised, wise and wild at the same time, both commanding and caring. There is fire in his eyes, determination in his stride, there is vision, dark and light pass each other the loaded stick. Duality splitting the precarious edge. He is feral, feline, nowhere near a neat package. He roams freely and dangerously but he approaches of his own free will. He fans the fires of adventure, of discovery, of exploration. The girl is sensing a connection for the ages, the sensation she's been dreaming of, imagining, wishing into being. The lion cannot be tamed but he invites her to freedom. Freedom from the milling mind, freedom from the lesser sides of life. The castle walls, in his presence, dissolve. There is a clearing, an opening. The girl wishes to jump in.

Anyway, that is a little something that has been peeking from underneath somewhere. I know that trying to come to an understanding of love is something that defies a lot of conventional thinking, linear thinking, that is often devoid of logic entirely. I remember this line from a movie I love "Playing by Heart". A young and extremely beguiling Angelina Jolie delivers this zinger: "Talking about love is like dancing about architecture." She continues saying that despite it feeling impossible (talking about it) it ain't going to stop her from trying, and I feel that that this is what I've been doing most of my adult life. Trying to bring words to the most salient topic of all, to this monster of a beast out there that lassos us in and leaves us often estranged to ourselves, bombed out shells of our more level headed selves (a professor of mine once said: Love is a form of self-betrayal - ouch) if we haven't found a way to fuel our own fire, if we failed to tend our own garden. Ideally, and in Osho's words, there should be no should - first of all - and no suffering for life is a dance and a celebration as a waft of the lilies' scent in the field graces our nostrils only to depart on the next upswing of a passing wind. Such is life - constant impermanence, nothing remains static; everything is in constant flux. There is no upside to holding on. One immediately becomes a pathetic, drowning woman trying to say no to existence. And yet, we seek lasting, enduring, deepening connections on this plane; we seek validation and safety and we wish to be desired, and to be desired in a way that makes us feel special and unique in the eyes of the beloved. Who doesn't wish to be called an Immortal Beloved? Who doesn't wish to be eulogized on canvas or on paper, on screen or on a sheet of music? Who would say no to a serenade, to an ode, to an homage for the ages? We are human after all, imperfect in our perfect guise, honing our facades, pretending plenty a time to be impervious, to be rolling with the times. If it ain't working, I am outta here. Sure, there will be a pang or two but nothing a well chosen (or better put, ill chosen) vice can't momentarily restore to mint in condition and store bought status. Eh, we'll deal with the consequences later, better...never. No one likes to show face. Dude, that shit ain't right. Pull yourself together and at least pretend like this didn't hurt.

Thing is when it matters, it hurts. And we can all get pulled into the narrative. There is always the promised land ahead of passion and adventure and nights full of fun and laughter and days playing in the sand and chasing each other down colorful streets. So many movies attest to this possibility, so why not seek it? Art imitates life, am I right? I think it's fair to say that we all seek something akin to a great love, in whichever form we dream it into being. 

I wish I could say I am evolved enough to look the shifting tides of life in the eye without tearing up and harping on 'why'. It would be so much easier to just remain stoic and let it all pass by, but when it is the depths one is hellbent on finding, then being nonchalant doesn't quite neatly fit in. I know I feel mortified for what could easily (in the eyes of society) be perceived as weakness tonight. I showed you in no uncertain terms that I care, and that I probably care too much at this junction. Does it make me pathetic? Maybe to some, but it is not about the other, it is about the fact that when momentum is cut and the carpet is being suddenly and unexpectedly ripped from under my feet, visceral pain sets in. Literal, actual pain that centers in the stomach region and leaves me unable to understand rhyme nor reason in the moment and therefore leaves me ravenous for truth. The merits of truth? Well, they are a bit dicey. Truth possesses an uneasy quality. Truth is usually not what we wish to hear once a suspicion has formed. It waits in the wings waiting to flash its vampire teeth. Ah, the pain. Tonight, I beheld eyes that only a few days prior took me in without restraint, without compromise, without fear, instead showing unbridled, beckoning enthusiasm, yes, and abandon, and certainty, and connection, bearing a destiny. To be thus deprived and find myself looking into eyes that were playful, yes, mischievous, yes, but also, quite unconcerned, and which had become in a short amount of time, non committal, felt like a dagger had been unleashed on the lining inside my stomach.

Why does it hurt so much in this moment? I admit, it is a dream that began being spun. All the written words, all the attention, the affection, and the caring, days and nights accumulating in your presence, led to a feeling that grew, and grew, and grew, and continues to grow. I felt scared from the beginning despite your assertions that my reticence was misplaced. And yet, tonight, my hesitation may have proved to be an inkling, for duality has a way to even itself out. Do you have a right to have a change of heart? Absolutely. Does it constitute malice if one day there is love and the next there is numbness? Of course not. Is it better to be up front instead of constructing lies and live the life of a hypocrite? It is better even if some (or many among us) claim that living a lie is maybe the only way this thing will work. I am reminded of a movie quote from "XX/XY": There cannot be any honesty in a healthy relationship....At the time I thought, Wow, what a statement to make. It felt wrong from every angle, and yet, after a few more years of living, I realize that many a seemingly steady relationship is built on omission, and quiet compromise, and a certain level of settling. Simple does it, easy does it. On the ship, my girlfriends and I used to say that we weren't the easy choice. We were differently demanding. We were high maintenance because we wished for an honest connection, for someone to be willing to go emotionally scuba diving. But no....ship life is about bed warming, mostly: Be a carefree girl and I'll have you. I'll shower you with hallmark approved gifts and show you a good time, but don't expect real effusion or vulnerability. No, not while we are on here. Carlos told me yesterday that I needed to make myself more vulnerable. In my past relations, I had not made myself available enough, always adhering to the societal etiquette of not extending my welcome for too long a stretch of time. I therefore made my presence rare, stayed away at crucial times, and thought the less I am imposing the more I will be seen as sensible and caring - bullshit. So, when I met you and you so enthusiastically swept me up, I allowed myself to be swept along. I felt from the very first moment that I wanted to explore you, that we have beauty to offer the other. We are both wounded beings (I, on the other hand, believe that our souls remain intact, waiting to be liberated from the skeletal prison that is our body) no doubt about it. We wear darkness on our sleeves. We each have our burden to unload, to look at, honestly look at and do with as we see fit spiritually, holistically. We are similar in ways that bring us close and also make this closeness an arena where we either confuse and refuse each other or allow ourselves to be seen. I wish I could love you with no hang ups, with no dark night of the soul moments, without a welling up of tears because in the moment, the thought of being deprived of your touch and your effusions is utterly unacceptable and it fucking hurts - it simply hurts. Does that make me weak, dependent, needy, clingy, as I said on the phone earlier? In a societal sense, yes, it probably does. It feels like I am losing my composure, my confidence. It ain't a pretty sight, but then connection is what I've been saving myself for all my adult life. Finding someone willing to jump in best Titanic fashion. When I was reading your letters and later your sonnets, my being became illuminated. I could feel the light come on. I felt thrown into a space so rarely accessed, where two people meet on equal footing and on equal terms, where Magic happens, plain and simple. Sex is not a physical act for me, it is a sacred union to be cherished. When I enter this dimension, I am seeking oneness not just for the moment of orgasm, I am communing on an existential level. Yes, I have intimacy issues, Yes, I want to work on them, and especially now because I met you. There is no urgency to the matter when one is alone. There is a numbness, sometimes comforting but mostly unsettling. When you told me that you were feeling numb tonight I thought of a line my friend Shiva regurgitated for me: The opposite of love isn't hate. It is indifference. Tonight, I saw a glimmer of indifference in your eyes, and all I was thinking was, no, no, no, please no. How can I convey that this is no throw away matter, no matter the situation at hand. No matter the demons, and the necessary clearing away, the going through the motions, all the change and the tying up of odds and ends, this, us, is universe given, and it's to be held and cherished. I felt distraught at your change of words and tone; I felt betrayed at first, manipulated, yes, taken for a fool....foolish little girl (The play "The Shape of Things" has been playing in my head - the agony..,). There were no words in my vocabulary that would have changed anything. That's what it felt like, and I was at a loss. I felt that if I left right then and there then this tale would have seen its conclusion. I couldn't rip myself away for as imperfect as I am and as budding as my feelings are - there are feelings at stake, uncommon, strange feelings (exhilarating and strange) and they tear at our sturdiest fabric, they make us naked, so utterly naked and we wonder if we've become ugly for feeling in such fashion - Eskimos have many words for the term love, we have only one, and I knew from the very beginning of our encounter that like is not what I can ascribe and attribute to what I feel for you. No, that wouldn't be accurate; it wouldn't represent the truth. 

I love you - though - feels like such a throw away word/ phrase these days (or maybe it's felt that way on many days of our industrialized, so called civilized past). It's almost become on par with How are you? Rarely ever properly tended to. It's like we have guns with which we shoot out these proclamations, Shakespearean as they may be, penetrating as they intend to be, and yet, to shoot a gun creates distance. What if - I love you - were a sword, a knife with which to plunge oneself into the other's marrow and sinew. Would we dare as much, express and proclaim as assuredly and as trigger happy as we do? Wouldn't we hold back, take stock first, make sure we found the correct move, the right spot to seek permission to incise? I love you - is sacred and so is sex. These two ideals - concepts, living entities - I treat them like silver in its purest form (I prefer it to gold). When these two combine, create a unity, a dyad, I bow. I wish to surrender. I am in awe. I take my time with it. In my head, I create some space to ponder and honor it. It may not show on the outside quite the same way. It may seem that I cower and duck and am reluctant to relent. But on the inside - I am swooning. Lying in your nook has left me blissed out when waking up to the morning light or in the dead of night. I have been intensely aware of this felt moment, this shared moment, and its intensity is something I wish to engrave and relive again and again and again, on paper, in my head, and most ardently in deepening succession with you. Am I greedy? Yes, I am. Greedy for more of you. I am sorry my Love, but I am. Is it misguided, precipitated? Well, logically spoken, timing is a bitch and upon it rest in unrest many a potentially sacred union gone astray or abandoned on the wayside. It is not how I feel at 41 with my silver strands glowing on the sides of my head. I have always felt this way. I never dealt with love and its outcrops in a laissez faire attempt at filling the unfulfilling minute with tentative meaning. I have always wanted all. And so I have come to travel light. At 41, my net weight of things accumulated in life, is less than it was at 25 and I like it this way. You mentioned travel and here I am two suitcases to my name. In theory and pretty much in practice I am ready. Now, do I need to see the globe? Is this what has me tied to you? No, if you were to lose recent good fortune and found yourself without means to physically move about, it wouldn't matter and it wouldn't deter me because you matter. I am ravished by your being. You are Shane made manifest in so many ways. You exhibit what I have been dreaming of and about and been either too lazy, too distracted or too shy and temporarily forgetful to do and execute. I have so much I wish to explore with you and learn within myself.

Is my feeling of us being meant for a stretch of time that amounts to more than a whirlwind month and finding out the exact measurements of a pad Thai recipe deluded? See, there are many questions in my mind that I answer in ways you read on here. Shane truly asks. She is full of questions. The human condition fascinates her endlessly. There is no endpoint to her wonderment. Does she think too much...analyze too much...where is the line? At what point does it become detrimental to living life and living the moment? I am sure I have a few chapters in the rule book of breathing - you are exactly where you need to be - to go over and maybe assimilate. Letting go is hard to do for someone like me. You are emotion. I am information. You emote, I evoke. Does it mean we are ill matched. Again, what I said in the car, I stand by. I don't believe for one second that we are chemistry gone wild, pheromones on high. I see more than that. I see Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. I see Dali and Gala (although I don't know that much about their actual union). I see companionship past the ravenous and rabid desire to devour every ounce of what you offer up for the taking. Denis keeps mentioning how we met on such a sweet note. He is a burly Russian not prone to tender words and especially not about lovey dovey stuff, and yet he has repeated this statement. It gives me pause and also validation in what I feel to be true.

I know tonight wasn't my best performance, but that is good. I must not perform. I must be real. The ugliness of what it means to have a man stand in front of you who has tunneled into you, bore his fangs into your re-virginized skin, who has physically and metaphorically demanded entrance and insistently asked to be claimed - vacillate - it creates a whole body, whole system spin. Is that what Picasso's lovers and muses must have felt? Eternalized on canvas but quickly discarded on this earthly plane? I never wanted to be one of the many, the flavor of the month, the fancy that rises high only to deflate quickly and mercilessly like a sorry ass flan. Hells to the no - to hone my pitiful Ebonics - I felt your gaze linger on me while visiting the Pichardo's. I felt your touch claiming me in their presence. I felt a warmth that lingered beyond the moment. Am I outrageous to think that I could want something more than passion that skyrockets only to fizzle out in a sudden tailspin? I hold my share of poetry and drawings and bold statements that have rendered me timeless and universal and no man until now has lived up to the words and actions so boldly envisioned. No one stood the test - of depth that comes with time. You, my Beloved, took out the Book of Secrets, a book I bought in 2010 in Mexico City because I wanted to unhook its wisdom, cloak myself in it, bathe and bask in it, but not alone - in sacred union with a soul of my caliber. People see intensity in me. Intensity of the kind that attracts and blinds and makes for tearful exits and departures. I want more, I want it all. It's been a month so yes, I am coy at having my picture taken naked, at being spun around in public to Latin beats. I am still shy in many things, but it's only the beginning. Allow me to gain my strength, to find my stride, to create the leap that always comes anyway. With time, with patience, yes, with patience. Can I give you patience? If it means there is a way out of this sudden numbness then yes. And the numbness only scares me shitless because I've felt numbness, and it's soul trashing. It is laced with too many Lara bars and entire evenings spent lying horizontally, haphazardly watching and not quite caring about Gilmore Girls, and that's the tepid end of it. Numbness has been my almost constant companion for months and probably for the better part of two and a half years. I hated it. I hated it, hated it, hated it. To be creative one must have a muse. Yes, there is nature, always. I will not dis her - ever. She bestows her equalizing beauty onto us mere mortals. She is here - always, but sometimes we fail to receive the nurture because we also need real lips, real hands, real touch that make us plummet to the core of desire and its unfolding, its transmutation into mysticism.

I wish to merge with you. We began the journey and we haven't seen nothing yet - I agree with you in that. I cannot picture getting bored at all because of how you read and see me. You see through the excuse and the sabotage - the self-sabotage. I think our darkness, our individual journeys through the valley, allows us to see the other and to not simply run. I may be wrong. Maybe all that I've penned throughout this night, half asleep at 6:04am is the rant of a mind made reality. But isn't all this a mind made thing? I see you and all else around me freezes, becomes inconsequential, nonexistent. You throw me into orbit - our orbit. Am I senseless to wish this union to be of you and me - for now at least? Allow it to be anointed in trust and openness, in exploring what our bodies, minds, and hearts have to offer each other? Again, I can only speak for myself and from experience that when the mind is given too much room to assume and speculate, nothing truly vulnerable and naked and real will be able to flourish. I can't undo myself, restitch myself differently by tomorrow or tonight. In that I may be deplorably traditional. I am sorry...I wish to see you smile. I adore the mischievous grin. Your touch galvanizes every cell in my body and arrests my mind for one tender/torrential time scape. How can I not 'fight' for it? How can I not suffer through it if it means I can keep hearing from you and seeing you? Friendship would be sweet torture at this junction but I'd take it. With a bit of readjustment and release I would try it. But take me any further than this, and I would have to ruefully decline for a time. I can't see you and not gravitate toward you. I can't be La-dida when you enter the room. I saw you tonight and I felt the illumination. I felt the light spreading on the inside. Corny analogy, tired old metaphor? Tried on too many times in the form of art? Yes, light is the go to image. But that is what I felt. I can't put it any other way. I am transfixed by your presence, and maybe my age makes this statement slightly pathetic. Maybe I am the tragic heroine of "Sweet Bird of Youth" or "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone". Maybe I shouldn't issue such words to a budding 30 year old. Thing is, I don't look toward age to guide me. Age does not maturity forge. Age is tied to one's experiences and what we took away from them til now.

My father looked at me with a sad tenderness in his eyes, when he told me on my last day in Europe this summer that I have a youthfulness about me that could make it difficult for me to find a 'suitable' partner. The young ones are attracted but if they want kids, I am on my way out. The older ones seem almost like fathers and the picture feels off. That is of course an overly simplified rendition of what my father expressed. But he seemed sad. His daughter straddling the fence on one more thing in life. Not quite belonging to either and therefore dangling, stuck on the metro platform of the third Matrix. Limbo is a sorry state. It's neither here nor anywhere or as Morgan Freeman's character declares with gravitas in "Million Dollar Baby" somewhere between nowhere and goodbye. 

I am so tired and soon the house will be stirring and with it the dog (he's been restless and barking intermittently all night - Dogzheimers), Bev returning from Jeanine's and the sun peeking in. I have maybe another hour before the day greets me and I have to find footing once more. I love when all is oh, so quiet, when most everyone is asleep and even the birds have halted their chirping. It's darkest before the dawn.

You know what I find most tragic in matters of feelings and love? When two people are attracted to each other and love each other and yet, it won't work. I have lived through it, and it's searing, blistering, scathing. It's one thing when someone tells you that they failed to develop the same or similar emotions and thus must let you go to find a more Tetris-like match. It hurts but you feel deep down that they are right. It wasn't quite clicking into fruitful gear. I have had instances like that on both ends and I licked my wounds all the same but regret didn't linger. It is an entirely different ballgame when you feel someone's flame intermingling with yours, rising on a joint watch only to disband for reasons unrelated to love - I love you but I can't be with you. I love but it would hurt too much. I love you but I have shit to do and I can't be tied down. I love you but I would lose myself in you and that wouldn't be healthy - whatever the reasoning, the knowledge that the passion is intact, that the tenderness is intact, that the attraction is intact and yet, and yet...that is the killer. I wonder if this is the scenario and the premise that yields masterpieces of star- crossed lovers and love dying on the pyre. Am I painting a dramatic picture? Well, yeah, it is dramatic because I believed that where there is love and passion, depths are waiting to offer up their treasures. You introduced me to Olokun and now I want to know. You pried me open and I am finding myself in my bra and underwear in an arena of light flooding in, ready for the viewing.

I am here. I am, like you, changing, undoing, regrouping. In my own small ways, I am seeing color where I saw grey before, where I felt dead before. I may not have contemplated suicide but I felt as if I had lived my life and was only looking back, sort of like Celine and her 93 (was it?) year old woman, in whose memory she imagines living. There is so so so so much I wish to show you and share with you. Yes, many of those things are movies. This has been my go-to art and I want to see what you feel and think of pieces that have come to mean so much. There are places on this earth that you have gotten me excited about showing you or discovering with you. In front of me lies the book of Sacred Places. Stonehenge is where we are supposed to head first if destiny was the one guiding my hand while showering in your mother's house. The imprint of the word remains on the shower door, since then cleaned by Marci, but still whispering, ethereal.