"The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them."
~ Thomas Merton
~ Thomas Merton
I keep coming back to this quote because Nebraska has often told me that the ‘Mark’ that I have written about is mostly a fiction to her and that prolly explains why she has the idea that I am trying to ‘woo’ someone either through my journal or my Face Book page. For me, that she could even THINK that say a lot about how differently we view our relationships and relationships in general. A Smurf lives in Detroit and Smurfette lives in Omaha. Years go by and a Smurf moves to Omaha. Smurfette still lives in Omaha. So where is the miscommunication? Do I love her? Yes, yes I do. But does she love me? And if so, what is with all the smoke and mirrors??
My hopes were that we would have a sweeping loveship, two people who were brought together across time, distance, and life’s ever changing tides, to embrace one another. Linked by commitment, our relationship would flourish and we would go on to enjoy the company of the person that we loved the most for years to come. Well, that did not happen.
In one of our conversations (or in several…) I told her that I had low expectations of her. See, all the while some may have worried that I was blinded by my affections, there was a sobering reality that lay between us. There was only one commitment in our relationship and that was mine. For certain she knew how I felt about her and why I felt the way that I did; this was not a luxury that was afforded to me. As is my wont, I had hoped to establish the boundaries of our relationship, understanding that despite whatever enthusiasm may be present at the time that it was not indicative of a long-range plan or commitment. There were moments, fleeting as they were few (I would say that we have seen each other at a rate of around once a month since I have been here… certainly not an average about twice), were I was left with the feeling that perhaps she was hiding something from me. Maybe she was feeling the pull of the same kind of gravity that drew me to Omaha and that her (to me) unexpected kindness were signals that she was willing to jump into something with me. So I would ask and she would tell me that I should just let things flow naturally and let whatever happens, happen. I would try to accommodate her but in review, because I had such low expectations of our relationship to begin with, everything may have seemed outsized to me.
Small kindness such as giving me a bed and television felt like something more. Then there was the opportunity to meet her daughters and her Mother, both of which I did not anticipate happening until later in our relationship. And let’s not forget when I was struck by the car to bring in 2011. I remember the nurse thinking that we were a couple and me laying on the hospital bed feeling the same thing.
IS IT SAFE?
Just because I get ‘up and at ‘em’, doesn’t mean that I feel up to the challenge.
Mine is a strange disability because it is so well hidden. People meeting me for the first time don’t know of my slowed speech or why my gait is the way that it is. As far as they know, it could be soreness because they mostly see me with a bike helmet and who knows how far I have ridden when they see me? Of course because like LMFAO, “I work out”, so I know to the entire world I look like I am as normal as anyone else. But I am not.
Since I know that I am going to have to really put time in with Math, I am doing just that. I still visit the Math Lab and I have a tutor twice weekly to get me through the course. In the Human Relation class I feel that I have become the default leader and will have to keep up the efforting, not just because I want a good grade, but because the people in my group, two young Hispanic cats, a Hispanic dude in his 30’s and a chica, have already begun to look to me because of my enthusiasm. When we did our mock interviews, the guys were unanimous in saying that the way I interview them felt like an actual interview and that the feedback that they got was useful to them. Do any of them know that I have a brain injury and that I pushing down on the accelerator each and every day simply to stay in the race?
Anywho, because I have to put so much into my dealings with the world, when it comes to my personal life, what I want most of all is balance. I want to know why things happen and I want to have clarity when it comes to the people that I interact with. My co-tenants are my neighbors and the manager is the woman I take my problems with my unit to and she takes action. I know where to send the rent, and I do that the first week of every month. I know where the clinic is and I make sure to set my appointments and keep track of my medicine, following the dosage instructions. I know what I know.
There are things that I know that I don’t know, but want to know. I shared a You Tube video that talked about how diet impacted on the speaker’s health, and I want to follow her example. I don’t know how I am going to manage that, but I am willing to learn. I have no idea of how I am going to keep a teenager busy, but KT is a smart cookie and I am sure she is aware that she has some ‘left foot-right foot, repeat as necessary’ to do when she gets here. I think next year we will do a theme park, being that she will be 16, and it will be the last summer I expect to see her for a bit. Then there are the things that I know that I don’t know, but still need to have some sort of idea about.
If any of this sounds familiar, that is because when then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsefeld made his ‘Things we know that we don’t know…’, what I heard was one of my ‘Rules To Live By’ that I got from Carl Von Clauswitz.
“The minute we begin carrying out our decision, a thousand doubts
arise about the dangers which might develop if we have been seriously
mistaken in our plan.”
-Carl Von Clauswitz, “Principles On War”
Since I was a bonnie wee lad trying to make sense of this, I never let it go of the words. Wanting to know why World War II happened, I was led to World War I and the Prussians. So there you go! Now if you wonder how this applies to human relations, then man, I won’t help you there. Not that I can’t, but there are some mysteries which are for those who can ‘see through’ to its truth, but that the truth will reveal itself to. Besides, part of what allows me to let people close to me is that most cannot see what is beneath the surface, often because they can’t, but more often it is because they won’t see what, at least to me, obvious.
I apologize for things that I do. I apologize for hurting people. But I never apologize for who I am, and that is that with that. Whether someone thinks ‘this’ or they thing ‘that’ of me, child please, I took care of that a LONG time ago. When no one liked Mark, I LOVED me some Mark!! This is not self-promotion or anything, but that is what I have been fighting for seemingly my entire life and if that makes my ‘self-love’ something that other would call ‘insecure’, then I guess I am insecure!
I enjoy being who I am and that is mostly a nice cat that has underachieved greatly, but keeps plugging away. Greatness may not be thrust upon me, but you never know so you better watch! So what has all this have to do with anything?
With two of the major loves (or I get as many as I am willing to swing at!) of my life, there was a component of doubt in me that affected the orbit of our relationship. Then when I finally found someone who may well have had all of the faith in me PLUS the faith that I may have lacked in myself, I was the weak link in the relationship.
My internship with Mookie Dee was a test as much as it was a ‘penance’. I have told myself that I did what was asked of me and emerged stronger for it. As far as my move to Omaha is concerned, well, that journey is only beginning…
Nebraska will always have a spot in my heart. Who knows, I may have actually found a home thanks to her! But whenever I have felt lonely it has been because of our relationship and its constant state of flux. And that is something that neither of us need in our lives. Most of my 'method' relies upon making the first big step towards a relationship, so that the other person would feel relaxed and secure about displaying their feelings towards me. Did not work, and when it came to an alternative... again, 'let's see' doesn't not play well when you are 'the road team'. Too many other things that have to be 'seen about' to invite an additional 'unknown' into the mix.
I don't know what this means... I had never thought I would feel anything like what I have written here. I would not be surprised if this entry makes her angry, but it isn't a priority of mine.