The person. The struggle. The endless seconds ticking by. Every moment wondering if your existence is in vain. Wondering if the experiences we all feel are actually meant for something. Wondering if we are learning to live like who we are supposed to be… or only just living in a delusional state constantly chasing every character trait we have been told we need to be. On such a high at those moments where life says, “Accept this gift. What will you do with it?”
What is unknown at those moments of bliss are the challenges we face ahead. The scarred, broken, and weary understand that in order to face the enormity of such joy, one must not allow the 5.9722 × 1024 kg of earths mass to fall directly on their shoulders. How is one to strike a permanent balance between the explosive excitement bellowing from their chest and the millions of experiences that will fight to extinguish that flame?
Here I am. At this moment where everything feels right, just, and controlled. At this moment when all I want to do is take her hand and never let it go… at this moment where life has simultaneously given me a great gift and punched me square in the face with a huge choice. I spent hours today wrestling with what this all means. Why am I here? What will this decision mean for me… for her?
On my knees wondering whether or not to rise or stay down. I mean it is such a deep and forceful love. A kind that amid all of my failures I have never felt before. This one holds promise… a promise of everything I was looking for. For the first time I don’t feel like I’m in a cage. I’m free… my wings are expanded and I don’t need to worry about crushing my own dreams for the benefit of another. It has become less about me fitting into someone else’s life and more about the both of us doing it together. In the end it is just the two of us… in our own world… not worrying about what everyone else thinks. Literally leaning against each other… and it feels good to know that she has my back as much as I have hers.
It feels so good.
The seemingly mundane activities that occur behind the closed blinds of ones apartment can become their own story. I often wonder what others imagine I do in this solitude. Who do I think about? What dreams bounce from the wall of my living room to the blank canvas above my headboard? My retrospective assessment of life in high school and college leave me empty. I realize that aside from my loving family and my job, there are some cracks in the pavement. Some of them are evident and merely stepped over because they don’t pose an immediate threat. Others however are deep fissures…below the sidewalk… fault lines building tension as the tectonic plates of my mind wrestle for the same space. Even though I have an inherent mistrust for what we define as the “new year” at the end of every December… I often find myself wrapped in reflection. I feel like 2011 was the passage of a large icebreaker. As I passed through time at an apathetic pace, I destroy the masses of ice around me, ambiguous to what damage I may have caused. Where am I going? Why am I an icebreaker? What is the point? Am I moving toward resolution or am I moving toward my imminent fate of being stuck in a cold lifeless world?
I’m tired of this. Tired of the endless spin of this planet. Tired of the sun rising from the same direction every day.
My innate urge to express myself is not a sign of weakness but a privilege to be witnessed. The reasons why I hold the door for you, rub your back when you’re tired, or send you sweet text messages during the day have less to do with what you expect of me and more to do with what I expect of myself. What I am not is a coward, nor a pushover. The direct scope I give you to my heart isn’t something to be taken for granted. I imagine that what women enjoy about the “bad guy” is his seemingly impenetrable character. He is rough around the edges and it is confused with decisiveness and resolve. It is confused with strength, when in actuality it is weakness birthed from between the legs of insecurity. Insecurity in itself isn’t a weakness, but becomes one when a man cannot express those issues with grace and humility. It takes more strength and willpower to admit ones flaws, than it does to mask them. Don’t confuse my soft-spoken voice with passiveness. Don’t imagine that you can demand the world of me before you demand the world of yourself. Don’t mistake my willingness to compromise as a sign to do whatever you please, my heart be damned.
Like the lion that sleeps in the shade, I am gentle, beautiful, strong, brave, and humble. However, when drawn out into the sun I become fierce, violent, combative, dangerous, and motivated to destroy whomever threatens my happiness. I will bow to no man, woman, or god that does not reciprocate the same respect and love that I exude.
I am a man. A product of billions of years of evolution and I carry those scars within my genome. I carry the ability to fight when backed into a corner. I carry the ability to show sympathy to those who need it. I carry the power to love beyond the borders of the human imagination to a place that only exists within my beating chest. I carry everything that is man, everything that is beast, everything that is demon and angel. I choose to love with the strength and fierceness of a lion, and I will defend it with my life. I am man.
…on the tides of destruction, the butterfly whips his wings against the effect he himself set in motion. In the distance the promise of happiness seems to waver with the horizon. Certainly the small and relatively insignificant Lepidoptera stands no chance against the power of the waves. His wings will make no difference to the cycle of the tide. He is doomed.
As he fights his way through the splash of the crests and toward the distance, he remembers his life as a caterpillar. He remembers his world as a larvae… his deep sleep in the cocoon…and his emergence as a creature of the wind. The pace of his existence has constantly changed. His natural evolution through life was marred with the failure of his own free will. His will… his resolve… his choices. Those same choices he once thought would bring him happiness have only sent him further into the unknown of the blue abyss… an abyss that no butterfly could survive in.
The waves are crashing harder and the horizon seems only further. What choice is there to make for such a poor and flawed creature?
He will rise above the force of the water. He will rise into the essence of which his existence was born. He will rise into the wind. He will no longer fight the waves but will join the push of the breeze. As he rises the waves crash together and grasp at his chances of life. The ruins do not want to let him go. The higher he goes the more he realizes that his battle was never with the waves but with himself. He settled for an existence just above the sea, when he was always meant for the sky. At this moment he recognized that the true path to happiness was always within himself.
In the bellows of his thorax he now knew that he was not meant to fight… but to fly.
It’s like existing in a black hole. The more I try and pull myself up, the reality of the situation brings me down. Since when was love this terrifying? Why are my insecurities monstrous dragons spawned from the pits of hell? What the fuck. Is this any way to exist? Should my worth be defined through this avenue? What is it about her? What is it about me? Some men create so much work for others. What the fuck.
Trying to wrap my mind around a life without marriage. For someone like myself it is maybe a bit harder than it is for others. Some men see marriage as a “ball and chain”… and limiting factor to their potential in life…and that’s before kids. Some men see marriage as the proof in the pudding. The legal and contractual obligation of their wives to love them no matter how many times they fart in the covers, leave their underwear around the house, forget anniversaries, and abandon them every Sunday during football season. I guess I’d have to be somewhere in the middle of this whole thing. When I think of my life in 30 years, I hope for just a simple happiness. I think of a commitment that exists outside the realm of a legal contract or an overpriced diamond ring. Two antique rocking chairs facing the East. I’d want to see the sun rise rather than watching it fall. A beautiful woman, both inside and out, by my side. So my mind has been obsessed with trying to figure out how to gain confidence in a relationship that does not involve the worldly declarations of commitment. How can I be sure that a woman loves me and is truly committed to me? How can I circumvent the insecurities I have without that commitment? Is there an inherent risk that I need to accept that may be more than the average “marital nominee”?
I say that I do need to accept the inherent risk. So I wondered how to do that while continuing (as is every human being) to battle my insecurities. My answer is indifference. Not indifference to loving or commitment, but indifference to the things that I cannot control. Now in order to have this kind of indifference you must trust that your heart can handle anything. Placing this kind of responsibility and active function on your heart is absolutely tantamount to insecurity. That is how I function today. That is how I need to function tomorrow. As time passes I believe I will be able to eliminate the insecurity as I embrace the indifference. Eventually, I can care without fear, and love without boundaries… eventually.
If our hearts were books others could open and close them with no apparent damage to anyone else. Unfortunately in this world the work of opening a heart is akin to lowering a drawbridge or lifting the gates on a levy. It takes work, it takes trust in the infrastructure, and perhaps most importantly there needs to be an anticipated benefit. My heart would be the Hoover Dam.
It exists as a strong and awe inspiring structure that completes it’s normal function of providing power to the surrounding community without much fanfare. In it’s simplest state it provides power from safely trickling the foot-pound force of water through relatively small hydroelectric generators. The forces of the water turns the turbines and can light up an entire city simply from the natural force gravity imposes on the water. Its walls are virtually inpenetrable and can only be breached if the owner of the dam decides to let the gates rise. Much like the dam, after the rain fall passes and the reservior of emotion behind the walls becomes too powerful and too much to contain… something has to give.
Unfortunately when the gates are opened and the water molecules occupy their volume in an uncontrollable expression of passion, excitement, love, infatuation, and lust… there is no way to put that water back behind the walls. Everything downstream is going to be affected and you can only hope that no one gets hurt. As the shoreline rises and others are affected by this release there is no telling if it’s reception will be scorned, adored, or even reciprocated. Either way… to have to go back and close the gates again is a much slower and energy dependent process. At that point you are going against the grain, against gravity, and having to use exponentially more energy to stop the flow of emotion. It’s confusing, painful, and unbearable at times. Makes you wonder why anyone would induce you to open the gate in the first place if they weren’t ready for what was coming. Then again, not everyone realizes what they are doing. Not everyone can expect to be bombarded with the force of someones heart. Everyone is different. Others take much more into account before they open thier gates. Their process is vetted over and over again. They try so hard to anticipate how the water will flow but are supremely tormented by the fact that the water will do what it was meant to do… occupy any open space in it’s path and change it indefinitely. Others never open thier gates at all and they only allow others to experience a small fraction of who they really are.
As for myself. My heart is just as strong as the Hoover dam and regardless of who tries to break it, I’ve always been able to painfully close the gates when necessary. I’ve been a bit more skeptic over time about when I open the gates, but in the end I always realize that I can only exist one way. I can’t exist in a small trickle of emotion because that isn’t what I was built to do. I was made to withstand the rain and turn that excess of water into a positive emotion. Love.
Sound the alarms, here comes the water