When I sat down to write “All that I had, I gave away (a letter to you)” I did so with a sense of relief, finally realizing what was nagging at me inside, something I could not identify until I hit me. The difficulty came from the feeling that I should be “moving on” and just forcing myself to feel certain ways about others that I wasn’t feeling. That I should be excited about the notion of meeting new women, having casual sexual encounters, or not so casual encounters. It wasn’t that these ideas were just uncomfortable, it wasn’t that my depression was guiding how I should or should not be feeling, and it wasn’t that I wanted to do this for myself. I was doing what I thought someone was supposed to be doing, I was thinking in stereotypes and making myself feel poorly about not enjoying the process of any of it. I would go out to a couple of bars because “I should want to find a woman who would sleep with me”, I did online dating because “a man should not be alone”, and I spoke with women that I would not normally give the time of day because (as someone else told me, not my words, way to insecure to even think this) “If I was your age and looked like you do I would be all over that (her)”. Well, I left each bar alone because it didn’t feel right, I deleted my profiles because it wasn’t what I believed in, and I walked away from that woman because she was not what I needed, at any time to be precise.
If you watch many Hollywood movies or any TV shows when a man is left it seems like he runs out the door and instantly waves his penis at the nearest blonde nightmare walking down the street. He starts acting like a frat boy buying sports cars and drinking in bars where the patrons are 20 years younger. Maybe he gets a lavish “babe magnet” apartment that is close to the “scene” or he makes a fool of himself by getting a wig and dressing in the latest fashions, all of this seemed ridiculous to me. What are they gaining from doing any of this (reality check – I do understand that TV and movies aren’t real life)? Did I enjoy sex, sure I did, I am not dead but it has been over two years for a reason, I want it to mean something. Did I get the sports car, no I went from a sensible Outback to a sensible SUV, I was never a car guy anyway, they are cool and all but seriously I don’t give a shit how much horse power it has or if it goes from 0-60 in .0005 seconds, all I want is a good stereo, good gas mileage, and to be able to fit stuff in there when the boys and I go camping, but I digress. I am not the type of guy to wave my penis at anything (especially at the time, it was in the middle of a Vermont winter and……), and I am bald, there is no wig that is going to change that nor will it. The last thing I want is someone else’s hair on top of my head. That is disgusting. I look how I look and that I have to deal with every day. The thing is, after all of the above, I was doing what I thought was expected of me, what I thought others would want me to do, not what felt right inside. This led to a lot of very difficult feelings about who I am because I am not that.
When I see the other side of the movies and TV shows where the men are sitting around talking and there is an older single man there, they ask about him never finding “the one”, the answers speak more to me than anyone could know. They speak of having a love so deep for another that there is no point to ask someone to live with a part of them that wasn’t whole. They speak of the way this woman made them feel and they never met anyone that could equal that, so they stayed alone. To some this is sad, to others romantic; to me it is real at this point in my life. I felt something so real for so long and with all of myself that I could not in all consciousness ask another to try to replicate that, it would be unfair to them and what they want out of their lives or what they want to experience or achieve. I could not see offering something of myself that was incomplete, I give you all or I give none that is kind of how I do things. I am not saying this is the best way to be but it is how I live and when it comes to love, something I have written about since I was young, I believe there to be no other way.
The weekend that I spent traveling around these spots from the past brought me a warmth that I haven’t felt in over two years. It was an odd sense of comfort in knowing what I realized that weekend. It was accepting that no matter what everyone else wants me to do I have to do things that make me feel good inside and that feel right inside. I am not a womanizer and I have never been so why would the idea of running around a town of 1500 people trying to get laid make me feel any better about myself. Is it because people think that because she is “having sexual relations with another” that I should to? That she found someone else so I should quickly find someone too? That makes no sense to me. She found it easy to love another, I do not, and I think that is a good thing on both parts. I am glad she is happy, but me being without another doesn’t mean I am not or cannot be happy. The idea of doing things that are not so far outside of the person that I am will not bring me any closer to a happiness that others so badly want for me. Would I say I am happy right now, as a whole no I am not. Are there aspects of my life that I am happy with, sure there are and I am finally at the point where I recognize the aspects of my life that do make me happy and I recognize the ones that don’t so I can work on changing them. How could I make anyone else happy when I cannot make myself wholly happy? It isn’t fair to expect another to be the driving force in your happiness as far as I am concerned and I would not place that burden on anyone.
The outreach after that article was one of varied effects. Some thought that it was sad that I was comforted in my new knowledge, others worried about my wellbeing, others tried to set me up thinking it was the depression talking, and others reached out with words of encouragement. The feeling I have after writing that piece is one of freedom. I have found what was gnawing at me for so long and the things I was putting myself down for were things I would have never done anyway. It is okay, I am okay, and to be alone does not mean to be without joy. I have found comfort and joy in friends, new friends, friends from the past, and my oldest friends. I have joy when I am with my boys, even when we are grumpy with each other. And I have peace when I sit down and spill my heart out onto these pages, exploring my mental inner workings by writing and reading, then reading and writing. I find excitement when I pick up a guitar and play a new riff that makes me want to play louder and louder, much to the chagrin of my neighbors (Amp volume is set to one, but it sounds more badass if it was set to 11). I find happiness in my new reflective way of being, in my new selective way of being. Some may see the relaxed, quiet, contemplative me, because it is such a change, as sad and depressed and while there is still some of that, there is more thought placed into my words of choice, ideas, conversation, and interactions and that pleases me. I accept my situation (which doesn’t mean I have to like it) and I will proceed in a manner that keeps me the person I am. I am at peace.