It's like this, see. I do and I don't:
I do want to be married. Marriage seems like a marvelous antidote to things like loneliness, and eating almost exclusively from bowls - often while standing in the kitchen. It also seems better than onanism, which I am neither admitting to, nor explaining. I think it'd be nice to have someone to teach me things I do not already know, like how to childishly play at something called "yoga," which I understand has to do with the release of either lactic acid from the muscles, or demons from the underworld (depending on which of my zealous childhood friends you ask). Marriage also seems vastly superior to dating, which is a stupid nether region between always feeling insecure and, wait -- did I just say "nether region" just there? I guess we all know what I've got on my mind. But marriage seems like it could be so much more than that. Like, marriage could give me someone to intend to jog with. Someone to help me be the sort of father I want to be. And someone to hold me when - God forbid - my parents stop living (seriously, God, forbid that). Or, when other tragedies happen. Or even just someone to tell everyone what a fabulous husband I was after I'm decapitated by a meteorite during an internationally-broadcast interview on my hundred-and-eleventieth birthday (and during, coincidentally, the tragically this-time-for-realsies final retrospective of my inestimable contributions to pretty much every art form known to man, woman, or leprechaun). And did I mention sex?
I also do not want to be married. Because that means narrowing down options for, like, as long as we both shall live (or at least until she decides the linguistics on that are malleable), and it means abandoning all sorts of fantasies I might or might not be currently treasuring, in exchange for an actual living, breathing, and (I've heard) farting human being. Someone who for long periods of time might think that I'm the bees' knees, but then might also decide for a while that I'm, like, the bees' stingers, dipped in arsenic. Someone who won't always look twenty-six and perky, and maybe won't always be willing to overlook my random, wisping back hairs, knobbly knees, oddly-proportioned torso, crooked lower teeth and oh, yeah, did I mention farting?
I do want to grow old, though. I want to live a very, very long time, because I've recently discovered that life is fantastic and that if I work very, very hard at being Myself - my creative, Makery self - then I get to roll around in the glorious unicorn-juice that is creativity. I want to see my son grow up and become a man because I'm curious about what that'll look like, and I also want to find out what it's like to be able to finally SLOW DOWN and really BE somewhere, if only because I've become incapable of moving any faster than the Speed of Rocking Chair.
But I do not want to grow old. I don't want to watch my parents and friends and maybe siblings and maybe even - God forbid - child die (seriously, God, forbid that). I don't want the occasional aches I currently feel to turn into the all-the-time aches that mean I can't even climb a tree, anymore. I'm not sure I want to live to a time when I can throw a rock at a hornet's nest, but then not be able to run away. Not that I would throw a rock at a hornet's nest, mind. Because hornets are people, too.
I want people to notice me. Please look at me. Please, please look at me. Why won't you look at me?
I also wish everyone would go away. Like, right now.
I do want to be a professional writer, because these past 1.85 years have been splendid. I've gotten to make things and collaborate with super-smart, creative people, and to spend all day doing what I love most in the world - the activity in which I'm most likely to lose myself and actually just BE. I want to continue to write things that inspire people and teach them and even maybe help and comfort them, and keep them from feeling quite so alone.
At the same time, I do not want to be a professional writer, because it's the hardest thing I've ever tried to do and every single freakin' day I have to butt up against my greatest fears and insecurities. I do not want to keep reading books by other authors who are smarter and better and probably happier than I am or ever will be, and having them remind me, always, of my own limitations. I do not want to be rejected over and over and over by people with red pens and very little time or compassion for me and my oh-so-pedestrian ambitions. I do not like writing. Not once. Not one single time that I have written anything have I ever been just DYING to sit down and write, and it's only when I'm really into it that maybe do I start to actually get lubed up for it and start to feel the rhythm and oh-sweet-dear-baby-jeebus, there I go again.
I had this idea once for a film script about a guy who decides to forgo any kind of sexual expression at all, like, forever, and to redirect every bit of sexual energy he has into his creative work. And this is a guy with I'm talkin' a LOT of sexual energy, so he ends up becoming this super-accomplished creative guy who's on the razor's cutting edge of whatever creative field he happens to be in and not thinking about getting sweaty in super-close proximity with a woman like pretty much ever, and then of course he meets HER and has to decide whether it's worth it, and maybe he goes for her and finds out that it wasn't the de-sexification that was helping him succeed, it was his fear of failure driving him or something, and he realizes how miserable he was and then he and SHE live happily ever after, la-la-la. Then again, maybe it would be a more European film and they'd all die in a fire.
Rabbit trail over.
And but so anyways, I'm driving down to South Carolina the other day to attend this screening of a film I wrote, on like this ego-sized screen, and suddenly I'm hit with the thought that pretty much every single one of my desires comes with a mutually-exclusive buddy. Every single thing that I want is part of a diametrically-opposed pair, and this contrapuntal madness is pretty much kicking my metaphorical pigskin through the metaphorical uprights, a lot of the time.
This of course takes my mind in this sort of Buddhisty direction, where I start thinking about the elimination of desire, and I'm sorry all you Buddhisty-hipster-urbanites out there... that thought just rubs me the wrong way. I mean, I've tried it, and I'm actually pretty good at convincing myself that I'm being all Zenned out to some ethereal, non-wanting plane, but it's all so much bovine excrement when the rubber hits the metaphorical road - like, say, when I find myself going too long without getting what I want.
Which is to say that it seems to me that this desire-elimination stuff is like most spiritual practice, whereby people dip a hand in everyone once in a while but nobody really wants to swim, because there could be sharks.
I like the idea of abandon and surrender, though. I'm seriously going to go for that. Soon.
I like the idea of not freaking out every time I meet a woman I like, and then doing all sorts of things to get her to like me back until I notice she's liking me back - at which point I subconsciously mount this intensive sabotage campaign to test if she really, really likes me enough to like me when I'm being unlikable, like, right at the moment when she's first started liking me.
Pretty effed up, eh? Maybe I should stop wanting things... It works for wealthy, well-tanned women in those yoga pants that hmmm, yoga pants. Sorry, where was I?
My point, if there is one, is that I'm starting to believe that these lockstep battles being carried out by my dueling desires are something that I'm never going to escape. Not ever. And that conclusion invites me to another conclusion, which is that if you can't escape it, then you've got to have the serenity to accept and live with it.
So I do and I don't. Always. And since I can't seem to stop doing and don'ting, then I'm going to have to maybe find the courage to go after the desires that seem most likely to increase the Love in the world, and the serenity to throw myself on God's good graces for the times when my darker, more destructive desires take the day.
It's Easter, after all.
(And, perhaps oppositionally, 4/20. But I choose Easter.)
- - -
A FINAL NOTE: Writing isn't magic. It's hard work, and the greatest reward for that work is to share it with others. So if you enjoyed this little (ad-free) piece of my brain... please share the love on your social internets. And pick up a copy of my Short Story Collection, whilst you're at it. You can even get it as an ebook for less than a fancy cuppa hot bean-water, and it'll last waaay longer.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
when I put SEX in the title, more people read my posts. and I do want you to read this post, so I am going to put SEX in the title again. but I don't want you to read this post, so I'm going to make this title overly-long and overly self-referential. but I do, so... SEX
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