Love – weather its romantic, self, or otherwise – it is rascally. A few undiligent weeks and you can lose yourself completely, parts of you breaking falling away from you every day as the sun rises and sets. Going into cruise control is not an option, you can’t ignore the shifts and starts and stops that the cultivation of love requires. You must be focused, diligent, awake, and present, otherwise it can slip away, not all at the same time, but slowly, until you wake up disoriented, empty and confused.
I believe this is how love breaks. Not in one swift motion, but tiny fracture by tiny fracture. Because we are not paying attention, we don’t see it coming, it doesn’t give us time, if we are lucky, we get a small warning, and that warning is when its coming screeching at us, almost too late to change course.
You can fall out of many loves this way, with your partner, with yourself, with your friends, with your family, with your routines, with your passion, with your work. Time has a funny way of slipping off, we never feel it’s too late until it is. Love is like a speeding train – no matter what form love takes, if you don’t hold onto it, and if you don’t watch yourself in it, it can leave you behind breathless , uncertain, lost and scared.
We can’t let days speed past us without giving them thought, because this is the way we become lost. This is how we run around in circles because we haven’t stopped long enough to find a direction. Scarily our lives can run away with or without us attached to it and, while it may appear to us that we are the driver and conductor of our own lives, we are not and anyone with life experience knows this.
Life goes on without us. Time goes by weather we’re spending it wisely or not. There is a neutrality to the way of nature – it blooms and grows and dies without our help. Sometimes love is so swift in its transformations, in its growth, that we don’t pay attention we could miss it, charging ahead down a path that’s leading us further from where we want to be going.
I do this thing when life gets difficult, where I just abandon myself. Like I shed the part of myself that needs cultivation and I go into survival mode, I go into safe mode with limited capability, and limited access. I lose belief and trust in myself. I react, and harshly, irritatingly, like any request no matter how small it is that’s put upon me is too much. I dream of places where I can escape to where my identity could easily change, so I could find a way to live with the chaos in my mind by becoming someone new. I know that wherever you go, there you are, but I’m very good at reinvention. I could convince myself I am anew. I am scarily good at fleeing the scene of a life I can no longer be bothered to tolerate.
And so the abandonment of myself becomes the abandonment of everything in my life, including the love and the good that’s in my life. Some may call it pression, but it doesn’t feel like that, it feels more self-inflicted than that. I become almost comfortable cloaked in negativity, in sadness, in my harsh reactive thoughts to others in being the victim, the one who was wronged over and over again. To stop loving myself is to come home to what I remember, what feels familiar, all that I am used to. To cave into myself – introspective and self-analysed and caught in the purgatory between thinking and doing – is the safest I ever feel, feeling safe is a good place to be. There’s a preserve joy I experience when I don’t allow myself to be loved by anyone, even myself even when I’m surrounded by people who dare to love me.
Its not pride that propels me to admit this. Its purification, to empty this out of me so I no longer have to bear the burden of my self-inflicted suffering, to somehow halt the emotional gymnastics abruptly that I go through to keep myself small and unloved and unhappy. To be alone and to belong only to a self I dislike, is like pulling on a comfortable robe – safe, warm and easy.
This is to say I understand very well how love can easily break; how easy it is to lose sight of a life in spite of it being right in front of you. Because believe me you can live without living, and you can love without feeling. You can feel without letting feeling hit you deep. It may seem like contradictions, but anyone who has been drowning in pain understands the way opposites can still be true at the same time.
What worries me about this is that I get lost inside my own mind when I cant escape from it, when I don’t distract myself from myself. I sometimes think I how great it would be to be normal and let my life follow in the flow of others, to at least try and stop swimming against a tide that offers no tangible reward for doing so. I think in general, I’m wondering why I do all the things I do, why my story keeps climaxing at the same point.
Turning forty has not been the ‘no fucks given’ adventure I was told it would be, I have been inside myself for a few years now, questioning everything and coming up with no answers, no solutions, and getting further and further from my own guidance and insight. Sometimes I feel like life has slipped from me, tiny piece after tiny piece. Its cracked and fragmented for sure and feels like it’s ready to crash. That can happen to me, but I think while I’m in it I forget that I will rise from the ashes of my own doing.
So, I recommit to myself and to love. I find a steady path again, even if it’s a few rungs lower on the ladder than I remember. I start to climb the ladder again, because if I stop climbing this is one sure way to die without dying. I look for love again in different places, in smaller moments and I remember all the things I forgot while I was someone else for a while, inhabiting my body but not acknowledging my soul. I reach for the things I remember that bring me joy and hold them up to the light to see their purity. Is this still good for me? Have I outgrown this? I stay gently with myself because I need to mind me, I am at this moment vulnerable, and I need to be careful because that’s the only way. In a world that wants hardness, I will continue to trim my edges, and I will remember to keep them soft and smooth out of necessity, and out of strength.
However many times a love – for myself, for another, for others, for anything – fragments and cracks, I will find a way back to whole. The whole will look different, and it will come formed in a package I won’t recognize, but I will know when its whole based on the familiar grooves of myself. The pieces will fit together, eventually. This is how it goes. This is the space between knowing its happening and waiting for it to happen, where the mind can run away, a train off tracks, dangerously close to burning up in a way that might take too long to come back from. This is the tricky space. That is the expanse to take great care with. This is a divide I am at now. So, I wait.