Back to the drawing board. Back to excessive drinking and eating, and random late night crushes. Somehow I thought my late twenties would be different, that I would be smarter, that my problems would be different. It turns out that I just feel as if the last three years did not happen. It seems like I am back to being 23, with a few added scars that have not actually enlightened me in any way. That isn’t true actually, I have come to realize that I have been too nice, too patient. I should have just left his suitcases in the street for him to pick up and be on his way to his shitty life. Liam did however teach me a new kind of patience that I did not know I was capable of. Whether I like to admit it or not, he made me grow unknowingly. Moving forward, I am still truly struggling with knowing what my approach “should be” when it comes to protecting myself. I feel that other women are much stronger than me when it comes to asserting themselves. I feel that as strong as I am standing up for my decisions and building a life that is centred around my own self, I may never know how to ask for “what I deserve” from someone else. I am fiercely independent, always have been and that may play into it. I see women who know exactly what they want, and they are very good at this. They demand and command. Since I have always been a bit uncertain about what I want and what that would look like, I have no ground to stand on and demand particular standards. I am struggling even more to understand or decide whether that is something I want to do at all. Do you need to be bitchy to teach’em? Or do you keep trusting blindly that someday, spontaneously, someone will know what to do with you?
I recently polled my friends about the main things that scare them in a significant other or prospect. By far, the main no-no was narrow-mindedness. I could not help but question whether it is narrow-minded to want everyone to be so open? I mean this is going deep into the philosophy of modern relationships, but out of over a thousand people whom I asked, only two (women) responded inwardly. They were scared of themselves losing control and not being good enough for the other. How beautiful is that? The realization that fear comes from within and that all the feelings you have are only your own. The other major red flags related to egos, lies, jealousy, essentially all confidence-based issues. All of the usual suspects relate back to confidence I say, because how can you trust someone if you do not trust yourself. Ego and emotional unavailability, or possessiveness are all byproducts of a lack of a moveable sense of self and faith in life. Hence if you chose to trust, and not fear, all you need is effective communication according to these answers. This is the paradox with modern relationships. We live in a world where the discourse is dominated by fear rhetoric, and where we are not taught to talk to each other anymore. No wonder these are our fears; we are fed all the tools for paranoia and ego boosting. How are we expected to know any other types of behaviour without being taught? I tend to believe that this open mindedness, this ability to question and change one’s mind that most of us seem to be seeking, is really a deep yearning for true exchange, for veritable, meaningful moments of intimacy. If we all decided to agree that vulnerability is beautiful, we could trust and breathe again perhaps.
I have been learning about this myself. Particularly that year in France, spent living literally day by day. It is one thing to be independent, but am I leaving any space to let anyone in? I was asking myself to be open minded, to accept that all my experiences are worth living, to stare right at the fire. I spent some time alone reflecting, in between the drunken socializing marathons. I realized how much time I wasted being nostalgic about certain times, certain moments in my life that had passed, and when this past came back and surprised me, I wondered how I ended up back there. Being single again, there are some feelings and head-spaces I re-discovered. I had forgotten about the anger, the bitterness and the remorse. I romanticized these moments spent on a beach alone, eating seafood and writing. I forgot about actually being alone. I remember wishing I was alone when we went to Cuba with Liam. I sat on this rooftop overlooking Havana, where Hemingway used to live. I pondered about his times spent there writing. I am fairly certain that he sat alone. This may be very presumptuous of me to think that I know or understand him, but I do think that. I wondered how different sitting there, sipping on a mojito was for him. Did his hold more rum than mine? Was he more secluded? The nostalgia that I suffer from was creeping in then too. La mondialisation est la mort des cultures. I am unsure who said that, but it kept ringing in my ears. I felt myself mourn the loss of authenticity that I imagine has since happened. And I don’t mean it’s happened to Cuba. I mean I am consistently told about the superficiality of our times. La belle époque, the twenties, all that jazz. As Hemingway would say, have you ever fought a lion? I haven’t.
I sat there having my deep writer thoughts that would depress anyone who was not sensible to the preciousness of time slipping away. And I wished he wasn’t there. I only remember this because I wrote it down.This is the thing about writing your memoirs as you go along: you cannot hide from your patterns. They stare at you glaringly when you re-read your own words. You think to yourself: how wrong was I about this, yet so fucking right about that? Should I have feared Liam’s lack of confidence in himself? Clearly. Did I? A friend of mine keeps reminding me that you cannot make a race horse out of a donkey, but was it wrong to want to help him grow? Or was my mistake not seeing that he was not focused on helping me grow and without reciprocity the process becomes useless? Times are clearly changing and so are we, but we seem to be devolving. We seem to have forgotten about being kind to each other, being true to ourselves and facing our faults. If this is my one act of rebellion in this world of fear and hate, I will keep questioning until my face (and your eyes) go numb.
Somehow my “over-thinking”, my constant restructuring of what I see and how I feel, is aimed at the simplification of it all. It does seem contradictory but I truly believe it. Everything from today’s rules of dating to our political context, is aimed at making us dumber, further from our true essence. We are but people. People who love, fear, hate and want. We are vulnerable and we need each other. If we gave people the space to feel all of those emotions without so much repression, maybe our actions would change. Maybe it is the frustration of consistently being told what to feel, how to act, how to exchange with others, that is at the root of all our insecurities. We have become shadows of the moulds prescribed to ourselves, and Plato would be very concerned. I have this mantra in my head lately that I keep unwittingly repeating to myself: It’s time to rise. RISE. It is hard to be headed towards the high road consistently, it is even harder at times to simply get out of bed. I think however that as long as I want to see a world where need is not a bad word and where I can be whoever I am with other people, I need to keep rising, rising up to the challenge, never stop asking the questions that hurt, facing the feelings that shatter, and I need to know that for every pit in my gut, there is conversely space for butterflies.