Mid-February, hearts & flowers, dining out & lingerie; it’s that time again.
For many, it’s another ritual, a day to share with partners, kids and friends.
For others, it is a time to moan in the dark & frigid time.
“Where,” they cry, “oh where is that special person, that love of my life, the one who will be perfect for me, the person, the only person who can love me enough to save me?”
The romantic myth of redemption, of healing that brings bliss not because we change and grow but because, across a crowded room, we see someone who will save us.
Relationships, though, no matter how committed or intimate, are just relationships. There is no perfect, special relationship that will save you.
My mother always believed she was unhappy because no one ever loved her enough to make her happy. She wailed and cried, pointing out where every member of her family had failed her, had not given her enough of what she wanted and needed.
She had emotional anorexia, spitting out the positive to stay broken and famished. If she had started to be nourished by those around her, she would have had to give up her most precious thing; her self imposed identity as a broken and abandoned loser, unloved by everyone, starting with her mother.
It was never her obligation to change, it was the people around her who had to love her enough to heal her. She externalized her pain; she was unloved and miserable because of “them,” not because of her.
When “them” is you, that anger can begin to burn, especially after five decades.
Someone did need to love my mother more in order to transform her life. That someone, of course, was her. Until she could believe she was lovable, she couldn’t accept love. Until she changed her mindset, she couldn’t get past her own life-myth of being a tormented little girl.
“Save me, save me!” she cried, but the person who needed to listen, who needed to do the work and change, was just too stubborn, waiting for other people to make her happy and healed.
It is hard to give up the dream of having someone to save you. I know that I kept trying to find it until I got the gift of a smart person who saw through my manipulations every time. They helped me go through the struggle.
It has been a long, long, long time since I had someone to play the romantic rituals with, to share in performing plays of intimacy that you can feel on your skin and feel in your heart. I do so miss that.
I am not willing, though, to let someone see me as either saviour or toy to get that kind of engagement. The kind of salvation people usually want from me is not playful but rather the hope that because I have done my own work I can help them shortcut their work of finding enlightenment and grace.
I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam.
I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.
— Woody Allen
My relationship with myself is OK, not because I indulge in immediate gratification of whims, but because I have built a strong knowledge of self that lets me know, see and value what is under the surface, stumbling & finding the jewels that my creator gave me. For me, bliss is a long term thing, not a quick sugar high.
The work I did has been almost enough to save me, enough to unlock the love I have and let me give it to others.
Would I like playful, romantic intimacy? Sure.
But I can’t imagine it ever being enough to save me. Or anyone else, for that matter.