We pilfer our past.
We rifle through our lovers’ comments over dinner.
We poke our fingers into our daily vignettes
like children with clay.
We chew on things like a cow with her cud–
perhaps, eventually, to spit out something useful
(and maybe not).
We forage among dendritic tangles of old memories,
real or created. (And is there any difference?
But that’s another matter.)
All of life–and everything else–
is fodder for the imagined.
Nothing is spared.
Even an unwashed coffee pot is grounds for prose.
-Dedham, MA, 2015
“You see, little brother,” she says,
“No place you can ever be
can ever be ordinary when you’ve a book with you.”
“But that’s just an ordinary bed!” Little brother says.
She wiggles her toes under the blanket,
then turns the page. “Not at all,” she says,
trailing off. “Not at all.”
-Dedham, MA, 2015
Illusions: pervasive, persuasive, and extensive, meant to keep us safe within our comfort zone. Ah, the comfort zone: where dreams go to die and abdominal fat goes to accumulate.
Illusions are hearty little lies we love to tell about any little area of our lives.
My lifetime illusions* have included, and sometimes still include:
1. If you’re not happy, then something is wrong.
2. You’re not actually smart, you just work hard (sometimes).
3. You don’t know the right people.
4. You’re not as brave and assertive as others, and in general, people are not really interested in your company.
5. Other people or things naturally must dictate your state of mind.
And other bullshit like that.
*This is not an all-inclusive list.
“What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.” -Mad Men
Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel
See also Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cecilda Jetha, and The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida.
And if you’d rather a simpler tale of love*:
Your entire life is a story, an affirmation, an experiment,
quite possibly an illusion; a rare sentient experience so fucking unlikely to have happened at all that you are completely justified in believing it must matter somehow.
Ephemeral, yes, but wholly consequential.
Dictated by factors which on the surface may seem peripheral–your self-talk, your response to change, your curiosity, your posture–but in reality are the fundamental elements of a fulfilling life.
Be willing to take a quiet moment every now and then and reflect on your death.
It may be enough to inspire you to ______________________.
Because dreaming and intending and planning are necessary, but never in lieu of finally just deciding to do.
Today’s post inspired by this blog.
In the settling dust and detritus of our recent separation, I have been quite perfectly ruthless.
Ruthlessly self-protective. I feed my disdain for obligation heartily, and with no misgivings. If there’s something in or about my life that I don’t like, I change it, change my perspective of it, or get rid of it. If I am doing something only because of that dull, hangnail-type feeling that I “should,” then be damned with it. I take personal responsibility, sure. I remain, to the best of my ability, a kind person willing to make meaningful contributions to others. But fuck obligations.
Ruthlessly self-nurturing. Fresh flowers in my kitchen. A lit candle. Exercise with friends. Good red wine. Clean food (and just enough Cheezits to keep a woman satisfied). Hikes with my dog. Books. ‘Lil bit of Netflix and chill. I let myself cry when I want to, and then I stop. If I hear fear of the future rattling around my head like some unseen bat, then I temper it with the cool warm flame of the present. (“All there is is this moment, and in this moment I am fine.”) I accept. Mind game is strong these days.
It turns out that it is a very unkind thing to tell yourself that you are a victim, or a bad person, or incapable. I tell myself that I am worthy of love, and I allow myself to believe it. I give that love to myself first.
Ruthlessly humbled. People are rad, and the littlest bits go the longest ways. Every shared drink, touch on the shoulder, gift, kind message, respectful silence, or quiet nod of understanding has filled me right up. As ever, I am buoyed by the people in my life.
I got this. I can handle this. But hot damn, how much you all have helped.