After all this time by myself, I’m fairly certain that the common idea of soul mates is bullshit. If there is such a thing, they are made, not born. You tell yourself a story, weave together a narrative, and you just hope that you meet someone willing to tell a complementary story and that your stories mesh together well. It’s not going to be a perfect fit, but you can strive to make it so.
The thing that is true, that has always been true, is that stories are made more real in the re-telling than in the telling. All narratives need editing and rewriting and revising. And love is a process, not a finished product.
Thinking about the last three months, it’s kind of crazy how much has happened to me.
I’ve visited a lot of places, some of which I’ve been before but hadn’t been back to in a long time, others which I’ve seen for the very first time. I’ve met up with a lot of people—old friends, family members who I haven’t heard from in a while, and some really cool new people whom I wish I could spend a lot more time getting to know.
From the highest highs of being inspired by someone to keep dreaming big and to never lose hope to the lowest lows of worrying about my mortality and the mortality of everyone I have ever loved, to the bittersweetness of knowing that someone really liked me once upon a time but I totally failed to act upon it, and to the joy and sadness of getting to hang out of my oldest friend in the world because his dad had just had a stroke, to being witness to the happiness of my college roommate getting married and to getting to be part of my cousin’s wedding party and his multiple celebrations, and to helping bear my uncle’s body to his final rest in such a beautiful place, it’s been a wild ride. I never want it to end, but I’ve been around long enough to realize that all good things must eventually come to an end.
I’ve had some crazy hopes that I know will never come to pass, but that’s OK. You can’t lose what you never had in the first place. I am learning to take things day-by-day, hour-by-hour and trying to be present in the moment and be present for everyone I care about. I will fail at times, but I will always try.
I’ll always have regrets, some over things long since past, some more recent. I am also still learning to take chances and go with what feels right without thinking too hard and overanalyzing. After all this time, I’ve realized that it’s better to regret screwing up than to regret not doing anything.
As I’ve been reminded, there’s still time. It may be running out minute-by-minute, but I can’t lie down and stop just yet.
“Only hope can keep me together. Love can mend your life but love can break your heart.”
My bedroom window looks out west, towards the last glow of the day
and to the north lays a valley where chrome streams of cars
crisscross the gleaming white concrete
slashing through the wind, roaring like the sea
lulling me to sleep like the tide crashing upon the sands
So many dreams shattered upon those shores
but the shards and fragments I hoarded, binding them together
stacking them together piece by piece
mortared together by tears and vomit and blood
You don’t understand, that brokenness is who I am,
who I have been for a long, long time
It is strange how the years can turn pain into concrete
and sorrow into steel
through wrack and ruin and disaster
amid the catastrophic wreckage, the ashes and the cinders,
I built this fortress
In this citadel wrought from suffering, I dwell in loneliness
hiding from the light and the wind
But in the end the light must shine through
sunlight like cleansing fire through my barren halls
and the wind softly whispering, singing a sweet, quiet song
reminding me of the years of toil and dread
but also the small triumphs, the minor victories the truths and wisdom won from long torturous struggle
it was not for nothing, though it might not be much
and life is not built whole all at once
I am building still
“A life-changing transformation isn’t going to happen in less than a month. Get a hold of yourself.” — things I have to remind myself
To know it’s possible in a general sense is one thing. To know that this one thing is impossible is another. One of these days, maybe. One of these days it will be right.
Who am I kidding? I know what I did wrong
but my errors are mostly sins of omission rather than commission
chief of which was not answering the call of need, or the call of love, even, perhaps
and snuffing out the embers before they might catch
for unfounded fears of catastrophic firestorms and searing tragedy
and as the obscuring smoke of solipsistic self-pity dissipates, it’s clear that much of this suffering
and all of this loneliness was self-inflicted
and all I’m left with is surveying the great hulking empty ruins of the years of my life
sifting through the ashes and the shattered wreckage
trying to hoard the treasures and forget all the sadness
but the brightness fades if you discard the drear
and I think to myself, maybe this is all I have left
this is all I have to show for
carrying all these bittersweet memories and all these dead ends and broken paths
to the end of my life in a hermetically sealed bottle
but then a voice half-remembered, half-imagined
whispers to me softly, carried across the sea by the wind
“Go and make new memories.”
I’m not really sure which is worse: the pangs of this impossible longing, or the emptiness of knowing there’s really nothing left to hope for except the sweet release of death.
My standard excuse is that I wouldn’t know what love is if it bit me in the ass, but after all this time and heartbreak, that’s not really true. Although I suppose it’s not really about recognizing love, but about recognizing that spark that has the potentiality of becoming… something more.
So that makes it all the more
tragic pathetic the next time I just watch idly as she drifts away from me.
And I thought Bruno Mars was ripping off the Police. Check this out.
Apparently they played this somewhere when I was in Puerto Vallarta without Internet access. I think it caught my ear because of the melodic similarity to “Message in the Bottle” which is probably the Police track that I’ve listened to the most. So I transcribed a line of the song to search for latter.
Almost a week later, I check my Notes app on my phone and find the following:
“So am I wrong, thinking we could be something for real?”
At first, I’m amused, thinking I’d bizarrely left myself a drunken love note.
Then I’m slightly horrified wondering if this was meant to be a drunken text that I luckily somehow entered into Notes instead of Messages
But, turns out, it was just a song lyric.
Actually, I probably don’t need to blame other people’s emotionally traumatic experiences for my own pathological avoidant behavior. I’ve got plenty of emotionally traumatic experiences of my own.
“Who would’ve known how bittersweet this would taste?”
I dreamt about a woman whom I’ve had unrequited feelings for. She was hugging me and telling me that we’d always be friends. In retrospect, it was probably for the best. As if it could’ve turned out any other way.
Well, that was disconcerting. As I was walking Pazzo back to my parents house, I saw a golden animal standing in the middle of the street far down the hill. It then darted to the sidewalk. Pazzo quickened his pace but didn’t bark or anything.
At first, I thought it was the neighbor’s dog, but my parents’ neighbor wasn’t out there, and I didn’t think the dog could’ve really gotten loose. After a moment’s confusion, I thought it kind of looked like Angel, except Angel has been dead for three months. I suppose it could’ve been a stray or even a coyote. Whatever it was, it was gone by the time Pazzo and I reached my parents’ house.
How did people get over this? They obviously did. Every day someone fell in love with the wrong person and had to pack up all their fragile, misguided hopes and unwanted affection, and move on.
Well, no, healthy people get over this. There are a lot of people who are not healthy. While, sure, a lot of these people who fail to get over such common mishaps are raging misogynist douchebags who think women owe them sexual favors just because they exist, some of us are really just failed human beings who never grew up, whose souls are just atrophying, decaying. Waiting for extinction.
And so you remember feeling what you thought was love, only now you’re wise enough to recognize that it’s nothing like love, it’s just a twisted, narcissistic simulacrum of love, and even then, you can’t help but think “That’s the last time I’m ever going to feel like that.” The last time you’re ever going to think that everything was going to be all right. The last time you’re going to hope.
She doesn’t owe you anything. You know that. You’ve known that for a long, long time. And yet, that corrupted feeling, that deranged emotion, is the best you can do. After that, it’s all distrust and avoidance and realizing you’re never going to actually fall in love, and that no one is ever going to love you, at least not in that way (whatever delusional way you imagine “that way” actually is.) Because you’re a failed human being that never grew up, and all you’ve got to look forward to is that last day when it finally stops hurting forever.
The Law of Equivalent Exchange in “Full Metal Alchemist” is really just a reformulation of the First Law of Thermodynamics: matter or energy cannot be created or destroyed. Everything has a price. You cannot create something from nothing. This often leads to the facile interpretation that life is a zero sum game, where one person’s loss is another person’s gain, and vice-versa.
But the fact of the matter is that people are terrible at estimating the true value of things. For the longest time, no one really realized how much energy was locked up in the form of matter until a bored patent clerk figured out (through very convoluted means) that E=mc². Then there’s the whole idea of false vacuum and the energy contained in the vast interstitial space between atoms, even between subatomic particles. Given the general extravagance (some might even say “wastefulness”) of the universe, it actually seems likely that the universe is far more generous than any human being has ever imagined. Just because you can’t think of a use for something doesn’t mean it’s “nothing”. Chances are you’re grossly underestimating the worth of everything around you. There’s more in this universe than you can ever imagine, and you’d be surprised how much “nothing” can provide.