You can't have one without the other.
You can't have one without the other.
As if the rules were sent to define.
I'm a good person, or at least, I think I am. Sometimes, maybe I'm not. But then, this statement could twist and turn for quite some time because really what is good and what if my intentions are good and when we define good it becomes a little bit blurry doesn't it. Because it's entirely subjective and established on a lot of varying factors, so my good might be your bad and then we can flip turn bad to be good and ugh...it just gets messy. But at the end of the day on a scale of 1-10 maybe 1 is good and 10 is bad, I think I'm about a 7 or maybe closer to a 6 on some days. When I wake up really early and I meditate (which really is just me staring into space while I pretend to be listening to some app or another) and then I burst from my bed, up and out for a run with the dog...I'm good. I'm winning at life, and then I get home. And the temptation to indulge in bad begins.
I remember quite distinctly the first time it happened. I was very young considering. At an honest push I will say seven or maybe eight, anyway it was young. I remember thinking about her a lot, yearning for her attention, aching to be her favourite. And perhaps that could be interpreted as malicious, maybe even brattish, maybe even demanding. Yet, it was all consuming. To be seen by her, to be listened to and adored, to be recognised. Mrs. Wales. Yes, she was my first, and she didn't even know it.
Adoration has often taken the form of infatuation/obsession. So that, from the moment my eyes open, I am consumed. There has never been a time in my life when the thought of someone other has not drenched. And so it goes, it seems, unable to break the ritual of this cycle. For without the all-consuming colouring in this pattern seems to encourage, my world is completely blackened. As though someone had drawn the curtains and turned me off. Just beneath the glittery surface of another's face, there is nothing but disgrace.
When I was very young, maybe even younger than seven or eight. I would hide. Beneath the stairs on the way to the dungeon — or so we would call it — the downstairs garage in our block of flats. It was entirely pitch black down there, sporadically ignited by a moving body, the sensor would click every now and again. Time slipped through my hands in that darkened space. At times deliciously, mostly with a shocking consistency. Knowing full well that I would soon be found, that I wanted to be found, that the finding wasn't happening fast enough, or possibly the worst outcome of the scenario...that I would have to return upstairs without anyone having noticed I had disappeared.
Practice without nonattachment can lead to a superinflated ego that relishes using power to satisfy self-interest regardless of the consequences. (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.)
It is as I assumed therefore, that to attach is to inflate. To ride high on another's adoration of this self, the self who represents here in this space in front of you. To talk of selves is to talk of multiple characters. To talk of performing and to talk of othering, to slice and dice the staggered layers of this very being, is to do what exactly? To determine this part good and that part bad and to eliminate. To renew, to rejuvenate. Old, unused skin stranded by the wayside, left hollow and destroyed. But what if, in the dead of night when all are asleep (supposedly) someone were to grab that skin. The one you surreptitiously shed, and place it over their own. What if, one day your discarded garments were in fact desired? Could, in that moment, a new version of yourself be born?
And therefore, this version, let's call it version 35.11 —because that's how old I am right now. Maybe this version is the version that is the least admirable, the least attractive, the least desired. But the versions that will come after or perhaps before have all had similar dollops of the same equation so that, it really is a case of stripping back something. Making it feel more authentic.
We are what is refracted back at us. So that all the funny, the sad, the cute or the annoying things that we do are a constant reminder of how to be. Or who to be. And yet, when those others are taken away, who are we? I know that, for example, I overthink everything. I know that I feel anxious a lot of the time, I know that I use exercise to blacken out some of those thick emotions, so that I don't have to be in it all the time. I know I'm lonely, so fucking lonely I want to cry all the time. And that today, when someone asked me (on zoom) how I was, I responded with 'chill' because I was too scared to even utter that word. I long to immerse myself in someone other than me, to satiate another's desires, to cook dinner for another, to lean on another, to smile at another. To loosen my throat just slightly and explain to another how much I love them. How much I misunderstand that emotion and yet in this moment — it is all I feel.
What happens to the mind that eternally craves? The wanting mind? Never truly satisfied? For in that moment of being held, in that very precious and oh so delicious moment of being held, nothing changes? Or does it? What happens to the body so desperate to be in the grip of another that when it finally is, does it miss it? Are these moments, the ones so desired, the ones so desperately searched for, simply golden tips at the end of an imaginary branch? Picking up morsels from another, so that in that bleak and not so 'romantic' —as we had imagined it moment— the other is in fact just very normal. Whatever that word means. Perhaps let's call it boring reader. What if the person you have desired for months, years even is in fact just really not interested in you. What then?
And we've all been there, right? In that place where unreciprocated desire turns to emptiness, and there is a point of course when one really should turn those emotions off. Step back and delete the others number. Or maybe even explain with a simple nod and shake of the head. Again, stepping away to protect themselves. And yet, there is something about intrigue isn't there? There is something about connection, because, as they say; when you know, you know. But perhaps the other does not feel that knowing. And this is where a boundary is crossed and the connection grows weak. So let's move to attachment and fear. For what is one without the other?
There are days when I will breeze about, content on my own for the longest of times, sitting in my mind are the familiar narratives; sexual overdrive and of course desire. On those days I will mostly run, or maybe even cycle to relieve myself of passion. And then a panic will settle in about the unknown. I'll download some app or another just to be seen and quickly delete it to be released back into me again. And this turmoil will continue for hours, so that by the end of a full day, I will have repeated the thing I wanted least of all to repeat. I will have repeated the negative beat of this inconsequential drum. Wound myself up to a panic stricken hum. For to be alone, to be without, is a training, endurance training for the heart. So that, in the future this blistered and broken version will be forgotten. Bettered by the dystopic beat of an incorrect other.
In a matter of days reader, I will become a year older and I wonder for that future self, if they will leave their mistakes behind once and for all, or, which is, to be honest, more likely an outcome— they will continue to be too much to endure. Perhaps I will use a kinder reflection, a gentler hand to lead and understand. If to attach is bad, then why does everyone do it? Why the dominant narrative of happy ever after? Rather than rejoicing at weddings, should we remorse? Scream a resolute No! as the bride walks down the aisle? Asking her in that moment, if she's considered the consequences of forever?
The second of my all-consuming affections was, of course, another teacher, and the story continued throughout my adolescence. Darting through corridors during class to catch a glimpse of my crush at work, reddened cheeks and knotted stomach as my gaze was met. These moments defined with giddy pride, until in rambunctious defiance my affections were accepted. Of course it took quite some time. That first love will come to define how all the others went down. How, flying high on that bosom of intimacy I trusted nothing and everything. Maybe I knew eventually, it would all be taken away. I believed deep down that it was only temporary.
And so to the wandering eye of the crush. Maybe there will always be a fantasy to fly high upon, another pair of mysterious eyes, another cheeky grin, another deviant something to indulge in. So what really is the matter with needing? What really is the problem with living for someone else? Like the tobacco that sits in my wallet, the sirens call will release something. When I fly high on that dopamine drenched dream, I will be seen.
During this time of complete and utter abandonment of identity, when quite simply nothing defines me, I feel free. Lost. High. I feel so completely and utterly broken and then when all the awakening stops, when the beating of that formidable drum of self-inflicted shame falters, when I forget for one or maybe two minutes to not feel guilty towards a life I once lead. Well I'll probably text someone again. Someone I know I want to ask if really there is more to this life than monogamy. If really there is more to life than just one person for eternity? But of course, that concept will be denied. Because of the consequences. With Dionysian intrigue I cannot help but stir, shiver and lure. Attempting in vain to be something more than a distraction for her.