Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Love with strings attached

Right now, I am angry beyond belief at my family. I’m of an age where it is infantile to try to guilt trip me into behaving as they want. It sends me in the opposite direction which I must admit is reactionary but I just want nothing to do with them rather than play their games.

It’s a dilemma...I want family contact and affection but it comes with judgment and expectations. I suppose like any relationship but this is one in which I will always be the subordinate reacting to those who wish to influence my behavior. I accept them as they are, why do they seek to manipulate me, using my weak points (namely, money) along with guilt to, basically, control my life?

It’s all in my “best interests”, of course. But it is painful to think that the little love you have in your life is conditional, based on performance in whatever area--having kids, finishing a degree, getting a promotion, pulling one’s life together, etc.--that they are unhappy with. It would be nice to just be accepted and, occasionally, appreciated simply for who you are, blemishes and all.

This is not a “poor me” thing. It’s a “can I have one person in my life who doesn’t place conditions on their love” thing. If I were evangelical, at this point I’d point out that one can find that kind of love from God. But that is intangible, abstract, and intellectual, not emotional and physical. I feel God’s love but there is no warmth to it...it is like a benevolent, nonemotional, silent approval. Which is great and all but there’s little you can hold to your heart, there is no feeling in it or, if there is, in is all going in one direction (me>God), into this airless, endless, limitless vacuum (if such a thing is imaginable).

As spacey as us Aquarians are, all human beings need physical love and affection, whether it is friendship or romantic in nature, to feel secure and healthy. Maybe not earthshattering, knee-knocking passion but some reassurance that we are not alone and unknown. I tend to just take it for granted because I have family who are still alive and then something happens and the castle of cards crashes to the floor.

Thank god for pets. I’m not a cat lady, it is just nice to have some creature in your life who needs you and is glad you are around. Ideally, that would be a family but when they put all sorts of conditions on their love, it is nice to have a warm, furry, loving backup. Pets are more than substitutes for human affection, they have their own personalities. I’m just grateful for the company.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I’ve spent a fair portion of my life avoiding reality. We all do it. We find a distraction--love, work, a hobby, a preoccupation, sex, drinking, computer games, gambling, our kids—-and throw ourselves into that person or activity which allows us to forget, for a few moments or hours, some dysfunction or unhappiness or regret in our lives.

And most of us—-if we allow ourselves to think about it (and we’re over 21)-—have things we regret, choices we’ve made or not made that, in hindsight, might not have been the best course of action to take.

If you think of the seven deadly sins, I think I would have to claim “sloth”, at least in those activities that I don’t find pleasure in. Probably like most people, I have difficulty doing those tasks that aren’t satisfying or that highlight some personal weakness or blind spot.

This is the most mundane of problems but one that has had a tremendous impact on the way my life has unfolded. I’m one of those people who slowly pull a band-aid off and the world rewards the yankers in life that act. I’m always kind of hoping that the wound will heal and the bandage fall off by itself.

My father called it “being lazy”. Having been raised in California, I thought of it more as “going with the flow of the universe”. It seemed dangerous to make a decision that wasn’t right and then have to suffer the consequences...better to let the universe/God show you the way than trying to fight the tide. It seems very passive, I know, but what I most abhor in life is frustration. And, unfortunately, to succeed at anything, you have to have a tolerance for a certain amount of frustration because most things are not immediately successful, there is a certain amount of trial and error involved. And when you grow up with a lot of judgment surrounding you, you try to avoid error at all costs.

This leads one to “play it safe”, avoid risk and injury, and have a less adventurous life than one might have had. Still, we manage to survive, we just live lives of little significance except to our immediate circle of family and friends. And maybe that is just fine. Surely billions of people have lived and died without making any discernible impact on the world except to procreate the next generation. But if you don’t have this kind of immortality, what evidence can you leave when you die that you ever even walked the streets, loved, were loved, or simply breathed? I still don’t know the answer.