All relationships are hard. They require a personal commitment to another person to be available to that person. To talk, not just when it’s convenient. To think of others who are important to you even if circumstances change and you aren’t able to be by their side.
And that’s difficult. It requires making the conscious choice to take time out and use it to maintain your relationship. I’m not always great about that. I’m aware of it and I try to work against my impulse to isolate and hurt instead of addressing the problem.
And in these times where isolation is literal life and death, it behooves us to use the technology we have to reach out and maintain those relationships. What are we fighting for if not each other?
I dreamed that I was at a club as the sun was falling Sunday night. I was invited there by the owners. One of whom sat the door and another was behind the bar. There was a full kitchen serving small dishes and a upper floor where people could rest and sit and have food. It was a gay club and this is important. I’m sitting at the door talking to my friend and people are walking in, hesitant, young. Some afraid to step in, some afraid they will be turned away, rejected here as they are rejected elsewhere. Snubbed here as they are snubbed elsewhere. But my friend smiles and nods and they are welcomed in. The club night is called Church. In walks a big burly guy, not bad looking but rough. And he turns to my friend and says “it’s a bit blasphemous to have a club called Church on Sunday.” My friend just shrugs and waves him in. But I can’t let it go. I say “We call it church because this is the place we are loved and accepted. Here we aren’t judged for who we love. Here we aren’t told we are monsters or unworthy. Here we are free. THIS is our church where we are free to worship as we please with those that please us.” My friend looks at me like I’ve grown a second head. Because I don’t generally confront people about their bullshit. Then he turns to the guy and says, “Yeah, what he said.” After sitting the door for awhile we go in and we have fun and dance. We are not the stereotype. We are not good dancers, but we are happy, enthusiastic and free. A young gentleman whom I am acquainted with slips his hand across my shoulder, his hand resting on my chest. I place my hand on his and say, “Hello, my love.” I say it impishly, playfully. But he pulls his hand back like I burned him. I turn around to see his shocked expression and I can’t help but laugh. My friend gives me a look and we smile and laugh as the young man disappears, fleeing. Whether from our laughter or the shock, I don’t know. My friend has the DJ put on a record and tells the room with a shake of the head and a the back of the hand to his forehead that He’s sorry but he had to. Then the beat of Gloria Gaynor, I will survive comes up and we groan and laugh and people get up from their seats and dance like silly happy fools. And then I wake.
I’m staring at a blank screen, starting then stopping, erasing and trying to find words to describe this whirlwind of I don’t know and how to proceed and what am I doing and it’ll all be worth it and am I failing and not getting there and waking up early and she tells me I push and they say that I don’t and I am confused and I am certain and I want to move forward and I don’t know what forward is and it’s either falling apart or coming together and I can’t tell which and I am always strong but I’m not always strength and I seem silent but I need to speak and I don’t have any answers to the questions I ask and I’m waiting and I am impatient and I want the truth and I can’t seem to find it and I break but I’m not broken and I give in to my emotions and I can’t know what is the right time and I am embarrassed by things I can’t change and I hear Sir and I need it and all of this incoherence as I stare at the blank screen
You self identify as the thing that you hate because by embracing it you can make it a little bit yours even though it’s what is destroying you. You keep running on that treadmill needing to control something, anything, drowning in socially acceptable positive self image when what really needs to change is this situation where neglect of your needs and desires is the best you can hope for. But I can’t make the choice for you, I can only sit here telling you that you are valued for the things other than what you do for other people. That you are valued for your self and hope that some day you will listen and that this thought will work it’s way into you past your defenses that say you are not worth enough, not doing enough, not human enough to get the things you need without destroying yourself, that you must fit into the mold that they impress upon you to have value.
I’ve read your art and seen it and that glimmer in your eye is passion and unshed tears for this future you give up to fit. It’s never the right time, enough time, always busy, always in motion but never for the pieces of you that can break you free.
You’re fighting so hard to be this perfect thing that you are hurting who you are and it’s terrifying to watch and I’d make it all stop but you won’t let me. I’m happy you say with a smile that never reaches your eyes. I love him you say like a talisman you hold out in front of you. While his expectations and silence chip away at the pieces you try to slip past your walls.
Love does not destroy like that. To be sure it is destructive but it’s passage is marked by rebirth, by growth, by joy and waking. But you love him, you say. And I can’t keep pushing because each time I do you pull back a little more. I just want you to see what I see. To wake up. To see what everyone but you sees in your tone and words. Your discontent. Not wanting to be here but when you are there you aren’t comfortable either.
I suppose it comes down to this. I am willing to play games, to see if a relationship with you will be worth it, but at the end of about a month I’m done and I want to know what we are doing. I’m ok with fun times and casual whatever. But I want to know that is what we are. And I will keep looking if that is all that you want. But the games stop. And if you decide that you just want to be good friends, brace yourself for a bit of culture shock. I don’t treat my friends, even my good friends, the way that I treat lovers and potential lovers. Not that I treat them badly, but they get less of me. Less of my time, less of my attention, just less. I’m perfectly willing to be friends with ex’s but I find that they don’t want that, not really. When they say they want friendship, they mean they want the same level of access as I give lovers, but without actually being with me. I don’t do that. It is unfair to the people who are with me. And before you think I am cheating on anyone, no, I don’t do that. I am not exclusive with anyone, their choice. I prefer inclusive polyamory. But I can do exclusive, just no one ever asks for that with me. Perhaps I should be a bit offended, or not, who can say?
It’s as simple or as complicated as we make it. Loving another is always going to be messy. But it is always worth it. Even when it hurts. Even when it feels like your heart has been ripped out. It is always worth it. To cast yourself open into the yawning abyss, hoping their love will catch you. That your love, together, will halt the fall. I don’t know any other way to do it. Not and have it not take years. Ask any of my friends. For all that I am open, I’m a hard man to get to know. My friendships take years to form. And I love every one of my friends. And from most, I would try for a intimate relationship with, if that is what they wanted. I feel I’m rambling now. The point is that love, while painful, is always worth the pain. People create walls around their selves. Trying to keep out every possible hurt. But that keeps out most of everything. I speak from experience. I shut myself off. Turned off all the things that were painful and felt nothing. Blocked behind walls, behind doors, inside a bubble. Trapping myself inside, to protect from the pain.
It didn’t work. All the pain, the sorrow, all of it just built and built until it crushed through my walls. Battered them to pieces. There is no wall high enough or thick enough, no defense built well enough that it cannot be breached. The only choice becomes to deal with it.
Again, I seem to have lost the thread. Love is always worth the time, the pain. I have never been more happy than when expressing love. Never been more at peace than when I am holding someone I love in my arms.
That moment of hope between waking and dream
just that moment before it’s all that it seems
just the seconds that pass in heavy silence
just the times when on the tip of my tongue I’ve not said
I want you on the tip of my tongue
just these moments we let flow by
whether from desire or its lack
just this not quite fear
not enough to make me act
and the desire to say yes, mistress/yes, master
use me as you desire
and in the morning make me coffee
but this slow silence where it’s all ponderous dream
and the next round
the next dream
the next chance?
It’s on me.