I'm in the process of killing a friend of mine. It's been a slow, brutal death of this dear, longtime companion. We've been together for decades; we've loved, lost, thrived, and survived. I'll miss my old buddy, but all good things come to an end, nothing lasts forever. My friend had a beautiful name, Wishful. Last name Thinking.
I'm definitely not a pessimist--in fact, I'm on the optimistic side of pragmatic. It's just that from a very young age, I was made intimately aware that things just don't always shake out the way we wish they would. And more recently, I've realized that life is sometimes about the hard decisions and sacrifices one has to make for the sake of the bigger picture. I'm too brilliant a woman to wait for something that's never coming, consequently giving up the chance to have everything else I want. I spent a great portion of my childhood and my adult life waiting for my breath to be taken away. But I haven't stopped breathing yet. So I've given up the ghost. I've given up on love.
It's not that I don't believe in "LOVE" the romantic concept; I do, deeply. I get emotional at select weddings, I love those black-and-white silhouette commercials for anniversary jewelry, I can't stop grinning at old people who adore each other after decades of being locked down, and I absolutely live for those freaking Google Superbowl commercials about moving to Paris and siblings and putting together a crib. I regretfully tear up at movies in the new American cinematic genre known as "Films Like The Notebook", and I wish I had two more hands to give four thumbs up to Love Jones'-esque Black Love. I love love, and I passionately believe in it. I just don't believe in it for me.
While I enjoyed the book years ago, I'm no blind devotee of what I now recognize as the insidiously sinister 48 Laws of Power; but there's one law that comes to mind when I think about my decision, and that's Law #36: "Disdain the things you cannot have". When I think of the things I want a man to bring into my life, a fairytale romance is decidedly low on the list. Years ago, I wrote a 64-point list detailing what I was hoping and waiting for, and while I stand by it as an amazing amalgamation of qualities in a really primo dude that I'm sure exists somewhere for someone, reading it again feels tired. I want a man to do the things men do--someone to protect, provide, and defend, to check out the things that go bump in the night, take care of my car and take out the trash, lay the pipe consistently, make babies, and be a great dad. Someone I can give my great qualities to who'll generally appreciate them. Maybe specifying that the sound of his name or his touch or really anything about him offers pleasure or even evokes a genuine smile is weighing my list down. Real talk: I've had mind-blowing sex with several people that I didn't love (a couple I didn't even particularly like very much), and honestly, I could and would do it again (not the several, just the whole loveless bit--in the interest of clarity). An orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm, and the only thing I ask is that it regularly come from something without a motor. I'm easy. My loveless sexual experiences have been some of the better ones of my life, actually. Add to this that the optimistic side of me feels that in the right circumstances with the right guy, a kind of love might evolve. Hey, it could totally happen.
Men have come along. It's not like I've been in desperate unrequited situations time after time. When I think of some of the ones I let slip through my fingers on principle, guys I couldn't bring myself to "fall for" for various reasons over the years. What was really wrong with them? Some concerns were valid, but some were just honestly me, waiting on the upgrade. Thinking that something was better somewhere. Waiting on the devastating love, waiting on the soulmate.
My point? I'm training myself to live without. I used to think I needed romance and passion, but that totally imagined need is exhausting. Taking inventory and deciding that's it unnecessary feels like a breath of fresh air and a weight off my shoulders.
The beauty is that I don't really have to live without. I'm a writer, a creative who can conjure worlds with a pen, with music, with my imagination. I draw worlds lyrically all the time, and I live in those worlds while I'm creating them. Perhaps a white bread real life will strengthen the muscle that fuels my brush across that proverbial easel. Perhaps when I really need a fix, I can make one up.
My friends who know me don't think I can do this, give up. But those who doubt me might underestimate the power of my desire for other things. I really want children. I really want a sense of safety in this earthly realm. I really want to truly focus on my career and not worry that I'm swimming against the current, wasting my best years. And while I'm addicted to change, adventure, and new experiences, sometimes I just want to sit still somewhere with someone and not feel like every change in season will bring a 180 degree change in my life. I imagine having the peace, the chill of having one constant, one thing that's true. I used to think that thing was love. But I realized that it doesn't have to be. It doesn't have to be.
Wish me luck.