Renewal Eight : Love As Promises, Bargaining, Sales, And Consumption
I heard from my former lady friend today. She left a message about her 11-year-old son coming to visit me tomorrow. He had called last week and wanted to come out and spend the night. She asked me to call back and leave her a message confirming that I had received the information.
I did so, and then added, because my heart does not like turmoil, that things were right, and I hoped the best for her.
Later, realizing that I may have sounded glib (in some things, I have a compulsion about trying to make things right), I called and left another message, telling her that I was conveying that I loved her, as I do, and even though I alone could not fix this thing, I wanted her to know that despite all of the crazy nonsense, I was sincere and peaceful in my best wishes for her journey. She left a message back, crying softly, that she appreciated the gesture, it had meant a lot to her.
We have not talked or seen each other since our split, except for just a couple of messages. After a little more than four years, off and on, of being together, it had gotten really crazy, as I feared it would. She lives a life of chaos, but she would settle down and try for awhile to right the ship. I had tired of the back and forth fence riding and had suggested, because an opportunity had arisen, that we push the envelope, once and for all.
We did, and it did, and the once and for all was all she wrote. I finally realized that this would never work. For me, she was just too unsettled and easily swayed. There were too many stories in the head, not enough grounding, and the old patterns had reappeared.
So I put an end to it. She was quite fine with it all, there were other fish to fry.
Despite how obvious and clear it finally was, and how angry I was at what I perceived as her fickle and chaotic ways, I found in the deepest, releasing breaths of me, that my heart stilled and I felt the peace of hoping she finds her way. No pride, no ego, no resentment could push that away. The truth of that is very weird. It is oddly quieting in the midst of the storm.
I have been learning for more years than I care to remember, that sometimes one just sits.
I can love, but I cannot make someone love.
I can hope, but I cannot control.
I can attempt to make things right between the two, but it takes two to bring right to fruition. Love is not necessarily reciprocal, but loving relationships are.
Learning from dysfunction to function is sort of like a life of staggering around a roomful of orange pylons trying to figure out an arrow of direction. And that’s a tough way to fine tune the relationship navigational systems.
I’ve had a history of making not-so-good decisions getting into relationships, but I’ve done very well in deciding to get out. Even at this early date and in the midst of an endocrine system gone haywire, it is clear that this is the right path.
I wonder how to get that clarity to work for me on the front-end of these matters?
I was talking with a woman the other day about her relationships. She was going on about another guy who was being weird (last year it was someone else) and, ostensibly, she was trying to figure out how she could get these guys to understand that she didn’t really want to talk or be involved with them.
Eventually she revealed a bit of what she considered embarrassing information. The upshot of the conversation was that I didn’t believe her story and told her so. She was mortified, and pressed the issue. When I pointed out what was inconsistent, she struggled to backtrack and patch some new information in, finally giving up and owning that she had not been entirely truthful in her rendition.
She teared up, the vulnerable woman, momentarily revealed.
I mentioned another bit of inconsistent information that had come out.
Really busted this time. More tears, emotions welling, eyes questioning the mystery of a woman lost.
Wrong person to pull this on, wrong time, wrong everything.
What was she selling I asked? Why was she talking to me?
Because I was safe was the answer, and obviously insightful.
The unsafe one looking for safety. The un-insightful looking for insight.
Still no sale. After the fiasco of my mother’s passing and three relationships, I was not feeling very much like a consumer.
This is the bargaining issue again—sales and consumption, marketing and product development, the modern “Wild Kingdom.”
People who believe the lies of their stories, have believable eyes and are adept at making sales, especially when there is an available consumer. I wish for a loving relationship, thus I was an available consumer. But I obviously had not learned to make the necessary distinctions between what feels good and comforting and what is good and comforting.
What were those stories in my three relationships, all believable and ripe with promise?
The apple in the story of the Garden of Eden may have been plucked and marketed by a woman, but a man participated by being a consumer. And oddly enough, the consumer markets his own product—the promise of a sale. That’s the opening through which all sales are consummated.
Promises are only a small sensory pathway, but they are a large perceptual one. The words forming a promise are an auditory stimulus, but the unzipping of that stimulus is translated through the lens of the listener’s desires.
Three women, three sales, all from believable eyes.
They all gave me something to fix and apparently I assess my worthiness in making others feel safe, yet pushing at the boundaries of growth.
This was Eden for awhile, but in the end, the struggle for togetherness was not safe or worth it. For most, facing demons is surely the quickest way to low self-esteem. It will also likely lead to less than the acceptable level of social status. Stories are a much easier sale.
My lady friend’s crazy and chaotic life was something she gave to me to fix and I didn’t. The economic and emotional holes she found herself in were something she and her friends thought were mine to take care of if I truly loved her.
I proposed that love was not about leaving messes for others to clean up.
However, my need to be worthy was something I gave to her to be cared for. So now I had to face my mess and my asking someone else to clean it up.
Different woman, same pattern.
And so, like the feeling that no amount of ego or pride or resentment could push away love and the wish for her good journey, no amount of sales or consumption can make me dodge the sad truth that it was not her alone that bears the responsibility of another relationship and another promise put out to pasture.
Perhaps I’m starting to see it.
Some of us have learned to love, but we have not been sane about it.
If we can sculpt away that craziness, that sense that love needs to be clothed and housed in promises, bargains, sales, and consumption, we might just find the beauty and clarity of love and learn that some things don’t require our input and machinations, just our enjoyment.