Bold: Late Publishing

-Why are you publishing all of this just now? It’s been so long since…

-Detoxification. Must be an artist thing; I’m letting go of, or rather revealing, all of the art that is in me, that I have kept, that holds your name.
You see, when art is no longer mine or yours, it becomes a property of the world, and I have no right to keep it to myself.
The human condition has its own repertoire of poetry and emotion, memories of how men have lived and loved, grieved, died, risen, and lived to love again.
Forgive the late publishing; must have taken a while for the world to claim this one poem, this one story, this one melody, or even this one conversation.

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Bold: On the Length of Romance

-How long are you staying?

-As long as you need me, and keep making excuses that you do, because somewhere down the line, though I won’t admit it, I’ll need you too.

-And then?

-And then when you’re out of excuses, and I’m out of denial, we’ll both realize it’s time for me to leave, and it will only be because I am a nomad, who can never settle for any home, who has not found a home, partly because real estate has gone up so much these years, and I can only afford rent.

-So that’s it? No exceptions?

-There is one exception, rarely if ever applied. It’s that if you can walk with me, as I wander off to crazy destinations, go with me as my soul wrestles to find its place, if somehow by sheer coincidence or fate our souls share the same destination, and if you will not lose your breath at all the travelling, we can make ourselves into some sort of nomadic alliance.
You see, darling, I enjoy my loneliness so much, that I can only be with you if we can somehow become one person, but that’s too much to ask of anyone, even you.

Bold: Annie Hall

No interpretation, no commentary needed.

[Alvy addresses a pair of strangers on the street]
Alvy Singer: Here, you look like a very happy couple, um, are you?
Female street stranger: Yeah.
Alvy Singer: Yeah? So, so, how do you account for it?
Female street stranger: Uh, I’m very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.
Male street stranger: And I’m exactly the same way.
Alvy Singer: I see. Wow. That’s very interesting. So you’ve managed to work out something?

-excerpt from “Annie Hall”

Why We Hurt the People We Love

There is this wonder about relationships, be they platonic or romantic, how they bring out the demons inside us, and how they self-destruct from self-inflicted disaster.

I’m not discussing any particular case: abuse, trauma, or just your average brother and sister, or husband and wife, just how normal people hurt each other most when they love each other most.

And I’ve come to realize that inside us is something so dark, so ugly, that we always seem to reject, to hide. I don’t know where it comes from, whether we’re all cursed with a bad side or just cursed with bad lives that bring them out. Still though, I know that the more you know someone, the more comfortable you are with them, the more naked you can be around them.

There’s a thing about being spiritually and emotionally naked around someone, something that both comforts and threatens us, it is that with being so raw, comes being so vulnerable, with all our scars exposed, and all our blemishes there in plain sight. Such nakedness is an acquired mode of being, and it demands above all, trust. And with trust comes secrets, and stories, and laughter, and pain, but also more than anything, the pain of self-discovery.

And so it is, that we hurt the people we love, not because we want to, but because we trust them with a deep, dark part of ourselves, that we deem only right to show them, however we’ve tried to repress.

And in trying to save them, we kill part of ourselves, or try to at least, for it is never easy to break our loyalty to what above all defines us, hamartia.

And it is never fully honest, to conceal or hide away, that part of ourselves which we find most unpleasant, to the people which we trust most with ourselves.

Still, in the back of our minds remains this inner guilt, this disgust towards the reality of our bitter ugliness, and we must live, half-forgiving our mistakes, half-accepting our most tragic flaws, all-regretful of the souls we broke, while failing to fix our own.

“Don’t get too close. It’s dark inside; it’s where my demons hide.”
-Imagine Dragons

Happiness: The Serotonin Shot Anecdote

An old man sits on the front porch of an old, weary house. As the people pass by, he tries to subdue his loneliness with memories of his past, reading newspapers and rereading old news again and again.

All of a sudden, and every so often, a noise or movement shakes this state of delusion, and he sees himself, old and wrinkled, desolate and waiting for a calm destruction. The memories come back as he wonders how truly, the happiness has gone from his life.

A relation perhaps visits the man every week or so, to check on his health, or rather put bluntly, the persistence of his now lowly existence. The man speaks of loneliness, of impending death, and of now bitter-sweet memories, going on and on, up and down the timeline of life, finishing in exhaustion, pleading and gesturing helplessly for an escape.

With the persistence of a man who has lost all, and has not more to hope for than a grain of happiness, his few distant relations decide to fulfill his pleadings.

Thus on a bleak autumn night, when the winds blew heavier, and the rain fell thicker than it would most days of October, the old man, fallen asleep by a windowpane, is rushed awake, yet calmly, by his distant relative.

He’d come with the cure; in his right hand clasping, measured precisely, a shot of Serotonin, the happiness hormone.

Without restraint and expecting approval, the younger, middle-aged, man rolls the elder’s sleeve, feels around his frail forearm for a vein, sets the needle in, firmly, the old man holding his breath, a tear going down his pale face. Pressing down, the shot is injected, and suddenly, no magically, the tear dried and the breath exhaled, his eyes fix for a moment, his pupils dilate, and in an abrupt twitch, the old man bursts into a loud laughter.

His happiness was restored.

“What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know, goes away in the end.” -Johnny Cash

Photo credit: PhotoAtelier / Foter / CC BY

Real World: Dreamworld

I sometimes like to imagine my entire life is a dream.
I think it gives me a sense of security, that somehow, deep down, I can control my world, except that I simply don’t know how.

I think it keeps me at bay from the more likely, more frightening reality of a world that’s completely out of control, out of mind, careless to throw me at the rocks as the waves that rush to a rocky shore, with time the harsh waters, and fate the fickle winds that blow upon them.

On that thought though, if my life really were a dream, I think I’d diagnose my subconscious with quite a masochistic tendency.

(P.S.: Please don’t interpret that last line too literally haha)

Photo credit: InAweofGod’sCreation / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Because They’ll Never Befriend Their Therapist

I’ve had a lot of those “friends”, you know the kind: they text you in the middle of the night, saying they have a problem. They spend hours on end talking to you about their problems, and for once in your life, you feel you have a purpose: to be there for people. You console them with your comforting words, you tell them it’ll all be alright, and you even do them the hugest favor: you believe it.

Then, only after you’ve spent an entire night talking to them, you do something utterly fatal, stupid, ugly. It’s a rookie mistake, but you keep falling for it, and it just kills you every time, like a stab in the back. If you still haven’t guessed, the mistake is: you assume that you’re now friends, or that, in the least, you share some kind of bond, some kind of psychological, maybe even spiritual tie.

Later, you pass them by in the hallway, at work, or maybe even cross them in the supermarket. You come to them with this indescribable joy of a soul that’s finally found a friend. You start off with a “Hi!”, “Hello!”, or, even worse, “Hey buddy!”. You expect that to be returned with a shower of conversation, some small talk, or, and when you’re expecting the least: one of those classic big ‘ole genuine friend-to-friend smiles.

But no, much to your shock, the result is a hygienic, almost forced “Hey”, or even worse, a nod, just a nod from the person you thought had suddenly turned into your best friend! No conversation, no small talk, not even one of those reassuring smiles, just their back to look at as they walk straight past you like they just crossed another office janitor.

After such tremendous disappointment, you’re often left with yourself wondering, “did I say something wrong?”, “were they just having a bad day?”, “do they suddenly hate me?!”, or even “was that conversation on the phone really that crappy!?”.

Speaking from personal experience, it gets worse. Next time they have a problem, they’ll call you again, you’ll give them the same kind of profound support; they know you’ll quickly forgive them for being so cynical with you last time, after all, you’re too good a person not to. You fall back into the same bear trap, because the next day, they’re even colder with you. And after a few weeks, when they’ve had no problems so urgent that they should call their personal therapist (that’s you) about, that cold shoulder, it just keeps getting colder and colder.

Occasionally, you try to reconnect, and all you get is a “Not now, I’m busy!”, said in tones ranging from calm to unforgivably abrupt.

I guess I’ve been on this roller-coaster so many times I can almost manage to answer this kind of routine confusion. The truth is, as cliché as it sounds: “It’s not you, it’s them.”

You see, what you hadn’t thought about was the possibility that to them, when their lives are going perfect, you’re not so much a life-saver as you are in fact simply nothing more or less than a box of insecurities. You’re not that awesome friend who saved them from their insecurities, no, you are their insecurities.

In some cases, the reason is indignation. They think you know too much (I thought that sounded sci-fi too). They feel like they’ve opened up to a complete stranger, and it almost stings them to see you pass by and have to feel like you can see right through them. So I guess they either feel so insecure around you that they have no way out but to reject you or ignore you, or they might just be attempting to set the record straight that they’re, after all, *not an insecure mess.

Back to that, you’re a constant reminder of their problems, sorry to say this but in most cases, you’re technically comfort food: those seven pints of ice cream sure look good to them when they’re depressed, but not when they’re just going about their daily routine. The next day, when they’re feeling better, they’ll cross that ice cream corner in the supermarket thinking “Ha! I don’t have to buy this soft, cool and fattening ice cream anymore! No Thanks! I feel better!”

So congrats! Now you know how seven pints of ice cream feel! One day you’re digging into them from dawn till the late midnight hours, the other you’re dismissing them as too calorie-saturated to consume.

However, it must be stated that a truly genuine personality does not refrain from helping others for the mere cause of being unappreciated. On the contrary, I believe a stubborn willingness to help those who do not value our help is part of what distinguishes good souls from the multitude. As a matter of fact, a few lines commonly perpetuated among Catholics say:

“Oh Father grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console.”
-from the Prayer of Saint Francis

And I believe they speak to good people of all faiths.

(Photo credit: Bert Kaufmann / Foter / CC BY)

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