(set to the song Ulysses by Mason Jennings)
I’m fascinated by the Histories of Intimacy… the woven specific quality of how people begin to know each other- first impressions- the shadows left by a dream- the flow and pulse of desire- the words we choose- the words we omit- the staccato or flowing sequence of larger events that punctuate life, throw us around, subtley change how we interact at a critical juncture- when love enters bodies, hearts and truths- when love leaves- the stories we tell ourselves- the stories we tell others- the awkwardnesses and the sweetnesses- the projected images of our other and of the life we want to have with them- the lives we are actually creating through thought patterns and habits- a million inane and record-less moments that are totally forgettable and insignificant except for that under scrutiny they point back to these stories, these projections, these beliefs.
In my more fastidious and curious moments these woven rivers of past moment are mines of information waiting to be deciphered and learned from, studied and artistically rendered… I don’t know when this crosses from passionately living and learning about myself and others into monkey-mind; but I know it happens. Meanwhile these moments sparkle without memorial or note and fade into the infinite unknown history of an infinite number of lives that will be lived and seen only by ourselves… meaningful and/or meaningless.
Vonnegut talked about us as centipedes because of how all time existed at once. I see us like rivers of moments flowing, I like the way the metaphor speaks to how a river changes course drastically over time through imperceptible shifts in thought, action, and happenstance. In the course of knowing a person I see how the winding courses are affected by so much…
But, not many really want to play in that muck so sometimes I end up feeling like I have to force myself to just set the analysis and historical review down in order to not seem obsessed. I am obsessed- not with any man I’ve ever been with, but with understanding what these flows say, what they mean, how history becomes. It can plague me in moments between chopping the chard and getting the rice going, between the shower and the closet, between waking and getting out of bed, in inappropriate and inconvenient moments…
I don’t often miss my last lover. Sometimes, but less and less with every day, every important event we don’t share, with every date I go on. Mostly when I think of him I get irritated and sometimes I start thinking of letters, letters that don’t need to be written really… and certainly don’t need to be sent. They never get finished. Lord I can talk myself in a circle though! I do have a talent for it. I examine the situation from every angle, look at the events, conversations and the perceived viewpoints of said person who isn’t here to hold up their end of the conversation or to bring actual light to my experience. Different stories, different truths, none verifiable, but all leading me to remember and recognize how much I don’t actually know.
Because I’m somewhat annoyed and hurt about how it all ended, when I do find myself conversing in my mind with my last lover his position starts out two-dimensional. He’s saying something no one would really say and I get to vindicate myself with a beautifully crafted indictment where I take the high road and from my position of moral superiority point out all of the ways he didn’t live up to who he should be, to my expectation of integrity. These conversations last about 3 seconds before I realize I’ve created a straw-man which there is no glory, learning, worth or satisfaction in tearing down.
What happens next probably doesn’t help me get over it any faster: I empathize with him. I imagine some of the stories that might explain why he did what he did. I feel compassion for his position and appreciation for him as a person who is striving to do his best, and who did his best in that moment. I consider how what happened is probably helping him be his best self and serve the world better. How it was all totally necessary in the river of his life. Never mind that there could have been more compassion or care extended to me and my open and trusting (naive? the jury’s out…) heart.
To the friend who will live himself into my life with sturdiness and good humor: Please see me when my wheels are spinning and grab my hand and waist to dance me into laughter in the kitchen… make love to me through my confusion so my body’s knowing overcomes my mind’s habits and lets the understanding go, lets go of the need to know, lets go of figuring it out. I want to let my overly analytical obsessing go just as much as you want me to let it go, and I’m good at laughing at myself.
I put my desk by the window and my friend Jed brought me a big pink rose that’s sitting here. It’s easy to work these days sitting here by the glorious spring days, letting the door open and the leaves blow in. It’s getting easier to sing thoroughly, resonating in my chest and face. I’m not waiting for someone to tell me it’s beautiful- I know it is because I can hear it- and because I can feel it. Beautiful feels like a body opening in resonance after unconsciously holding back for so long.
My singing teacher said to me this week “If you have a question about whether your voice is pretty, you can put that down. That question’s been answered. But you’re not just another pretty girl with a pretty voice, what the story the anxiety in your chest wants to tell?”
That question’s been answered…. huh, I carried that question for a long time. What is the story my body wants to tell? What is the story I will create with this voice that is becoming more and more clear?
I want the quiet head bobbing with music on the couch behind me while I’m working, I want the read and shared glimmers of wisdom, life, belief, and destruction shared from the books we read, the murmurs in the middle of the night “are you asleep?”, the quiet after one leaves, the thrill of return, the surety of being touched. It’s as though my breasts have a longing of their own to be touched and felt…
So sometimes I start writing letters to this man, letters about life and what I’m thinking. It’s kind of weird, because it’s not really about him I don’t think… he was just the last person who enjoyed and encouraged my ramblings, that last person I felt seen, heard, and appreciated by. So his image is like a place-holder that I’m trying to replace with myself… oh the modern desire to be independent and self-sufficient…
and another part of me is starting to think that humans need another, or others, to see them … that it’s not neediness that inspires my imagination to conjure another when I write my innermost thoughts… that this other, this listener in the form of another human, a man in particular, that this is generating from my genuine longing to start sharing my life with someone who sees the light illuminating me like stained glass in the morning.