Someone asked me yesterday what I wanted from this blog and why I write. Well, life is incredibly difficult, made more so by the ways in which we imagine and convince ourselves things (and people) ought to be; we’d be ever so much better off if we spent more of our energy accepting things rather than expecting things. I learned that lesson the hard way — over and over — and am still learning it. This is my curriculum, these words, and I think that if reading them comforts one person with a laugh or a gasp of recognition, that, “Oh, yes, me too!” and so a feeling of companionship, the “I AM NOT ALONE” energy, then I have done something worth doing. And, I love the act of writing . . . so, here we are, going . . .
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . . well, not Manderley so much, but, instead, to one of the places where it all started, decades ago, and though it no longer exists in reality (if it ever did) I was there, the age I am now, and saw at a distance the woman who first said to me, “…here we are, going …”
She gave me the title of my blog and of this entry, “…here we are, going…” many, many years and lives ago, this dear woman who befriended me when I was a disenfranchised seventeen year old, feeling alone and homeless and friendless, without direction, working as a busboy, dishwasher, laundry person in a restaurant. I was struggling to make enough money to pay for my alcohol and drugs and have enough left over for rent. She was much older, in her forties, but completely and absolutely the coolest combination of hippie, mother, madonna, libertine, bohemian, guru I had ever — or would ever — know. She saw through my rather loud anger, attitude, and antagonism the terror and trauma beneath, and recognized only the light and love at my center, speaking to me ALWAYS as if the best of who I was could hear her. She called me on my shit, every time, but in a loving Buddha way, allowing me to be the worst sort of prick whilst pointing out that the sort of energy such behavior got me in return was my doing, not the world’s.
All that while, she was living her own very difficult life, into which she invited and welcomed me. She taught me a great deal about acceptance and expectations, about love. One night, after a particularly horrifying and soul-eviscerating adventure during which my current “down-low” love interest — a bandanna wrapped, gawky, awkward, Jagger-lipped, inarticulate and emotionally aphasic, drug-addled lover of Little Feat with a predilection for chocolate sauce and whipped cream and showing up unannounced in the middle of the night at my place, and a terror of commitment so pathological he literally had panic attacks when trying to order from a menu — had come to a party we were supposed to attend “together but not” — everyone knew about us though he wanted no one to know and I was not allowed to speak of us as a unit — with a young lady he introduced to everyone as his “girlfriend.”
I broke. She saw it. She came to me, took hold of me — literally and figuratively — and started trying to steer me away from him, from his “girlfriend”, before I could do or say something awful — one of my specialties at the time — and she managed to get me to her car. I was ranting and railing and swearing and weeping and wailing and moaning and cursing the fates, “Why me? Why do I always love people who won’t love me back? Why do I always love people who only love part of me? Why can’t I die? Why was I born? I want it to be over. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep living like this.”
The choking, sobbing, self-pity went on for quite a while, during which she just held me, patted and rubbed and comforted, until, finally, I was a silent, snotty mess, exhausted and emptied. She was, at that time, in the throes of a doomed love affair with a much younger man who adored and worshipped her, but who was about to hit it big musically, and had trouble resisting the pleasures of being a semi-known musician, which, in theory, she though should be okay, but in practice, meant he often disappointed her or lied or wasn’t around when she needed him around, and so, she said to me when I had finished weeping about my rather surface and silly relationship having gone kaput, “Tonight, J and I said goodbye.”
I knew then how silly I had been. How shallow and dramatic and idiotic and teen-like. She had a real love, a real lover, and the two of them loved each other but couldn’t make it work. I had a twenty-something straight boy who was experimenting with me as was I with him, who came by because I was wiling to do things with chocolate sauce and whipped cream his various girlfriends were not.
But, self interest was my thing, and so I said to her something along the lines of; “C doesn’t love me – was never going to love me like you and J love each other. I’m an idiot. I’ll always be an idiot. I’ll always love the wrong people. Why do you bother with me? I suck as a friend.”
She looked at me, always honest she was, and said, “It’s true, you do tend to throw all your Light and Love into silly things and silly people and then those of us who really love you just get the garbage, most of the time. But, then, every so often, all that Love and Light you have, you share it and shine it on us, and, those times, worth it. You are worth it.”
I started crying again. Crying because no one who truly loved me had ever pointed out to me that I was a garbage dumper and crying because, despite that truth I had just been told, I had also been told by someone I considered then (and now) to be divine, that I was worth it.
I said, “We’re both living these really fucked up lives. It’s so fucking hard.”
She smiled. “Yes. Hard. And yet … here we are, going …” and she drove me back to her house, put me into an extra bed, let me stay for a week during which I listened to Joni Mitchell’s Blue album non-stop, and let me know I was worth it. For years, I kept the bandannas the heartbreaker had worn and left behind in my apartment, just letting them go a few years ago when I found myself moving once again in a hurry, editing my life down to its bare essentials.
Which did not include icons of silly, vapid, surface distractions masquerading as love – mine, or anyone else’s.
Accepting. Not expecting. So. Fucking. Hard. And yet, here we are … going …