Sometimes I catch myself crying. I’ll be listening to music, or playing Mahjong, or watching television, and a tear will make a cold streak down one cheek, and then i have to ask myself what caused it. A cheesy commercial? A dramatic scene in a movie? Allergies? Some irritation in my eye? Maybe the irritation is simply the act of seeing through my own eyes. What triggers these moments of melancholy? what veiled emotion slips out while i am paying attention to something else?
My first thoughts always go to the inordinate amount of time i spend alone. Am i just lonely, then? Yes. Profoundly, sometimes. The nature of my life is one of frequent isolation, and most of the time, I’m okay with that. But this tearful reaction resonates with deeper meaning. My thoughts go to all of those in my life, and those now out of my life that i hear about second hand. I hear about them finding love, living in domestic bliss with a partner and a child, and a family, and i know now that my life is half over, and I can only hope to have one of those things. And that’s looking bleaker by the moment. I know that a life of purpose and meaning is something that happens to other people. I create works of art, I write and sing and record songs, I author books and blogs, and I share it all with everyone. I study and i question and I examine, and I try faithfully to understand everything about living in this time-space continuum. I lay bare for all the world to see, the secrets of my soul, the joy and inspiration, along with the wounds of my heart, hoping that it will matter somehow. That someone might notice that i get it–that I really understand. That I am honoring the gifts. That someone might come along and see me. Really see me. But each momentary frisson of hope is only mocking me. And the knowledge is red hot against my heart, that I worked so passionately to conquer those crutches I leaned on so hard in the past, to refuse to be victimized, to be an individual others enjoy spending time with; I taught myself to laugh again, and to see something good in everything i encountered. I learned about human nature, philosophy, sexology, science, spirituality…I made myself available to others for counsel and support. And they sought my counsel. They thanked me. They praised me. And for brief moments it made sense, and it made me proud to be who I am. Proud of the progress I had made. I wanted to be someone also who had something tangible and of value to offer that special someone, but all I become is the one who repairs their injuries, lightswitching their darkness. . . and I am left watching them carry on, revived, while I spend so many nights clenching my fists and fighting against the maudlin memories, the sharp blade of truth against my jugular. I look out the window and whisper, When is it my turn? After years of fervent toiling to fashion myself into a person of character and integrity, I find that these are not qualities in high demand. Perhaps my greatest work of fiction, is that I’m okay with how it’s turned out. That I would apparently have better luck if I had remained damaged.
Hope does not float. It sits on the bottom, weighted by its own lie.