Love is the conundrum

Love is the enigma, and love is also the desire.

You lost the love of your father, and never really had the love of your mother. That set the stage for the eternal quest for love.

You married your high school sweetheart, you wanted to be sure to scoop up someone who loved you right away, waste no time. Alas, love was not enough for the two of you. Then, you met a lovely man who would do anything for you, and you broke his heart with what you thought was love with another woman. You did not love yourself enough to leave that relationship when you needed to do so.

Ten years later you wake up, and realize that your love, the love inside of you, deserves to be given to someone more deserving. And therein starts a journey to find love that may never conclude. You’ve realized that you are not only learning how to love others, you are learning how to love yourself. No wonder you struggle with family, friendships, and relationships. There’s not just finding a boyfriend. Gosh, finding a boyfriend seemed like the ultimate solution long ago in 1991. You find a boyfriend, never leave him, marry him, and stay together forever. You thought that was the recipe to life and life-long love.

But, no, love is so much more than that. It’s much more than just staying with someone. It’s acceptance and kindness and tenderness and so much more because you are still learning, and you may always be in the remedial class for love.

These days when you struggle in your lessons on love you have to remember this: Do not go back to the Well of Love That Did Not Work.

Do.Not.Do.That. Easier said than done. You are lonely, and want to love. But do not go back. There was a good reason for the end of all of those relationships. Go forward … forward! It’s scary because forward is the unknown, whereas the Well of Love That Did Not Work has some inherent comfort in that you know what to expect from that well.

Do not text the ex-husband. He is married, unhappy, but married, nonetheless.

Do not flirt with the ex-boyfriend down the street. He loved you, but did not see you as his equal.

Do not Facebook message the hotel concierge from Dublin. He was homophobic and cheap, fun for a vacation date, and that was it.

Go forward into the unknown. It’s the only way you’ll have a chance of cracking the lifelong love lesson.

Reread this post when you forget everything you just read here.

The Irish chef

You spotted me in the AA meeting from afar, you with your brainy glasses and that Irish je ne sais quoi air about you. I had 30 days sober, and you had two weeks under your belt. They always say to never pair up like this in AA in early sobriety. How many of us who don’t heed this advice think that we’re the exception? We all think we’re special and that we’ll be the exception to the rule.

I was well-behaved at first. I greeted you, and then quickly exited the meeting. But then later that day I saw you at Starbucks. You were intently reading The Big Book. I was reading something else, and will always read something else other than the damned Big Book. We politely smile at each other, but then after a while you invite me to join you at your table. As we leave Starbucks one of the gals from AA walks in and sees us together. She gives us that knowing judgmental look, and I don’t give a shit. To this day, even with everything that happened, I would do it all over again. I would do it again because the soul does not find a kindred spirit in every lifetime.

Talking to you felt like I had a front row seat to your spirit. There is so much about you that I connected with that I have trouble writing about it because my brain can hardly handle the beauty of your kindred spirit.

Remember the time I was so jacked up by my boss at work that you asked me out to a cafe before a meeting? You gave me the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It was just the book I needed, but more than that, you wrote me something lovely in Gaelic in the front of the book. Unfortunately, I no longer recall the translation of what you wrote, but I treasure that you wrote me something in Gaelic, could have been your grocery list, and I would have treasured it as well.

You asked me to the New Year’s Eve AA dance, and it broke my heart to tell you no. It was a dream come true to be asked by you, but I knew it was too soon for us. I wanted nothing more than to accompany you to the dance. Your face fell when I told you I could not accept, and my heart just heaved with sadness. I knew it would be the only time you would ask me out, somehow I just knew.

A couple of weeks later you disappeared, and I knew you were drinking again. I actually felt it a few days prior to your disappearance. I could feel the shifts in you when you were headed towards the demons instead of away from them. It always irritated you that I had that knack. Trust me, I wish I didn’t have it because I always knew when you were going to pick up a drink. My soul would tense up, and pinch me with a warning. I would berate it to shut up, but it was right every single time.

Thank you for introducing me to Christy Moore, the Gaelic language, and for your thorough explanation as to why you and your family do not like Margaret Thatcher. This uninformed American never knew. Right now, I’m listening to “The Irish Rovers” hoping you are well, but my soul is pinching me back so I’ll make it a wish and a prayer instead.

Somehow, I’ve become an annoying person

I am not sure how this happened, but somewhere along the way, I’ve become annoying. I’ve not yet assessed whether I’ve been this way the entirety of my life thus far, or if I became this way as a result of living such a solitary life for the last 5 years.

I always prided myself on my ability to read people, as well as my ability to assess when people have met their capacity with listening to me, or having me over as company. But, the news is in, people! I no longer have any idea when I cross the line into annoying, or when I’ve overstayed. How can I no longer know this, no longer possess the ability to know how much is too much?

It’s like the start of losing one’s faculties, or at least it seems that way. It feels that way because these are basics: knowing when to stop talking, when to leave, when to give someone silence.

Is this what happens to us when we spend a vast amount of time alone? Is this built into the price of mental illness?

The loneliness, and hunger for human connection has turned me into a person to avoid. The reality of the previous sentence is heavy on my heart and mind.

The thing I want more than anything in the world is beginning to look eternally out of my reach. All I’m looking for is sustained human connection. That is it, emphasis on the word sustained.

I used to know these things. I used to know when to end a conversation, when to leave, when to give a person silence.

How do I get these things back?