Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Get Back Sessions

I've gnashed my teeth, cursed the gods, wrestled with demons and angels, screamed, prayed, poured my heart out and fallen into the deepest holes of despair. All for a woman. And I've done so well aware of the futility of it. A sign my dad put up above his bench decades ago says that determination and persistence alone are omnipotent. Makes for a good business saying. But when it comes to matters of the heart such ideas are actually detrimental. When in love with one who is not in love with you determination and persistence are hardly omnipotent. They aren't even sufficient. You can prove yourself in a thousand different ways. You can appear as the greatest person your desire has ever known. And none of that means anything if they are unwilling or simply don't love you.
So it goes. But I've found myself in a situation of trying to explain that to a close friend who, out of fear, pushed away his love. Of course he wants her back now, stupid git. Even the most emotionally mature, most intelligent, most self-aware guy will still do stupid things. Guys are dumb. That's the long and short of it. What makes such stupidity even worse is a guy can know this and know the actions he is about to do are stupid yet still do it. Why? Because guys are dumb.
Which brings me back to my friend. He's placed himself in the position of the jilted lover, the worse place to be emotionally (with the natural caveats such as childhood abuse, molestation and all that stuff that makes me wish aggravated assault wasn't a crime). While I think pursuing the woman of his desire is the wrong thing to do, he is my friend and I fully support him in his choice of paths. He loves her and no argument will ever dissuade such powerful emotions.
The same goes for trying to convince someone they love you. Persistence and determination propelling the most compelling of reasoned and heartfelt arguments will not change the mind of someone who has stopped loving you or never loved you in the first place. You're dealing with matters of the heart that are of immense intensity. So you alone cannot change the heart of your desire, even if you might change their mind. Love, like Life, simply is. It exists and then it doesn't. You can't force it. Stubbornness in love can keep a love together even when you don't necessarily like the person at the time. Conversely, stubbornness once that love has passed is a head-meets-wall situation.
Perhaps that love will return, but it won't come from ill-minded and irrational actions nor reasoned arguments. It will come from your desire still holding love in their heart and letting that love emerge again. Try explaining that to someone hurt by love though. As I've told my friend, if he wishes to pursue this path then he'll need to harden his heart more than he would if he simply let it pass and allowed the wounds to heal. Because he'll have to experience emotions so intense that only the strongest grip on reason and reality will prevent him from going mad. I've gone mad already. I failed at pulling romantic love out of my desire, though she does love me. I learned to accept that and actually am much happier for doing so.
Now this doesn't mean pursuing the one you love is entirely a futile exercise. It is possible, however slim that possibility is, to cause your desire to examine their heart and find that love for you does exist. That's the exception to the rule though. Rarely does it happen. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it isn't fair. And yes, while life isn't fair, it is up to us to make it fair. Yet trying to make life fair when it comes to love borders on the absurd. It's one of the areas where fairness does not apply. It's love for fuck's sake.
I wish it were otherwise as much as I wish I could dissuade my friend from subjecting himself to further injury. That's the existentialism Albert Camus wrote about. The never-ending defeat. But we must live it still. Being hurt by love is only natural. And failing to bring that love back is only natural as well. We must do it because to do otherwise is to run from life, to pretend that by sheer force of will we make ourselves immune from love. We are not. And we must bleed for it. But to think that we won't get bloodied as some point is foolish. And to think that we can prevent being bloodied again by having hearts of stone is equally foolish.
Thus I'm stuck playing the role of Virgil to my friend's Dante. I've been through that hell and now I have to go back to show my friend the way. It sucks on a multitude of levels. And as much as I can force his eyes to look at reality I can't make him see. He has to come to that place himself. I've learned my lessons, even if I occasionally slip up and let my heart run free. That doesn't mean I've forgotten though. Yes, I'm a flawed guide. As are we all who have had similar experiences. That doesn't mean I can't help though.
So I will do what I can as best I can because this is my friend and that's what I do for my friends. He is a man I trust with my money, my life and my secrets. I don't even have to use my entire hand to count the number of people who qualify for all three of those. Thus I certainly can't and won't abandon my friend just because it's a difficult task. Too many people do that to their so-called friends. If you trust someone like that then you have to remain loyal to them. Helping each other out is the only way to redeem ourselves, even if that redemption is only for ourselves. Love does not conquer all, but that's why we have friends to lead us back from that emotional cliff. That's my job.