I Believe in Love, but How Can Men Who’ve Never Seen Light be Enlightened?

Here’s something y’all don’t know about me, really, because I don’t think about it that often.  I cannot stand to have my shoulders rubbed too hard.  Or hard at all.  It makes me want to throw up.

When I was in college, some well-meaning person was convinced that I “carried all my stress” in my shoulders and she would sit behind me and start, very lightly, rubbing them.  This felt like Heaven.  But then, as she got a feel for the lay of the muscles under the skin and where she felt like they were knotted beyond most relief, she’d start to rub harder, one thumb and then the other along the grain of my shoulder blade while her fingers held tight to the tops of my shoulders to keep me from running away.

And I would feel, along with excruciating pain, this release of something that almost had a smell.  I don’t mean that literally, it’s just that whatever happens in those muscles when they’re rubbed too hard, releases something that my brain doesn’t quite know how to process.  It feels like a chemical spill inside me.  My shoulders get all hot and then the heat starts to slide down my back and then there’s just this feeling of nausea, I guess like there should be a terrible smell, but isn’t.

So, yeah, I would guess that I do carry a lot of “stress” in my shoulders, but that being the case, I’d rather we not work on releasing it all in a big flood of toxic blah, but instead maybe just rub gently, peeling away layers at a time.

The recalcitrant brother doesn’t believe in evolution or in man-made global warming or in living on a lot of land that you don’t hunt.  He was tickled by the idea of going back to his boss and telling him about the crazy weekend he spent with the “real” liberals.  The recalcitrant brother is considered a liberal in his neck of the woods because he didn’t vote for Bush.

I’m not sure he voted at all.

I was also thinking about the blogger meet-up on Thursday, which, I have to say, was weird for me.  I’ll just say that up front.  It was weird.  And here’s why.  Because I used to be the type of person would didn’t go to those things because there’d be one other person or a couple of other people there who I wanted to talk to, if that, and otherwise, it’d just be a bunch of strangers.  And yet, I walked into this one and I was all like, “Well, thank god, there’s Kat Coble.” and then a second later, “Well, thank god, there’s Jag” or Ivy or Ginger or Kleinheider (speaking of which, if this is not proof of Wage’s talent, I don’t know what is.  Look how beautiful he manages to make them both look.) or Smiley or whoever.

I looked around the room and saw a bunch of people I just adore and a bunch of groups of people I wouldn’t mind spending the whole evening talking to.

I don’t know.  It’s weird.

I didn’t tell y’all but I saw a shrink on Wednesday.  It was the most unbearable thing I’ve ever been through, including having my shoulders rubbed by well-meaning, but too strong people.

As shrinks do, she wanted to know about my childhood and my transition into college.  So, we were talking about growing up in a fish bowl, feeling like I was the church’s pet, and the relief it was to go to college and be unknown, what a luxury it was to not be known.

And I do still feel like that’s a luxury–to have no one know who you are.  But it’s a luxury that becomes binding and I think I’d let myself be bound by it for a long time.  You see what I’m saying?  That I’d gone so long with being known in ways I couldn’t control that I went to the other extreme and tried to keep myself in some controlled state of anonymity.

And now, maybe, I’m striking some kind of balance, to be known and liked on my own terms, for who I am.

It makes me wonder if I can do that for my brothers.  I hope so.

Anyway, this is wandering all over the place, but the shrink thought, after listening to me for an hour, that I don’t need her services, but maybe the services of a sleep specialist.  Still, my point is that opening myself up like that was really, really difficult.  I felt very exposed and, again, like my life was up for scrutiny and that any abnormalities would be weighed against me.

But I guess not.

I hate those times when you can feel time slipping away from you.  That’s really how I felt all week, that no matter how much we did this stuff, I would never be here with these folks in this way often enough.

That, my friends, is why I get drunk and want to fuck you.  Not because you’re gorgeous, with your lively smiles and your dancing laughs, and not because I’m in love with you and want to break up all your relationships and force you to devote all your energy into worshipping me, but because these moments seem so fleeting and I want to carry you with me after this all passes.

It’s fleeting, time.  It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true.  And there will come a time when we don’t have this any more and I just can’t help but long for something to remember you by.

Ha, you know, maybe that would have been a more productive hour with the shrink–instead of talking about my childhood, we could have talked about how being happy makes me sad.


9 thoughts on “I Believe in Love, but How Can Men Who’ve Never Seen Light be Enlightened?

  1. I have the HARDEST time trying to explain myself to people…I always seem to get caught up in second guessing my rationalizations and then end up tripping over myself trying to re-explain what I was really meaning, SI I understand how HARD it is to open yourself up to a shrink. But I think she is right, you really might not need her. This blog is your shrink and I think it serves you very well. Also, you have many GOOD friends, noone needs a shrink who has friends like yours to talk to.

  2. First step (which you already take): open yourself to the good experiences, and allow yourself to realize how good they are and how happy that makes you.

    Second step (which ditto, I think): do it again.

    Third step (the step you need to start on): allow yourself to generalize about how there are lots of good experiences that make you happy. So that it doesn’t matter that each individual experience is fleeting; taken together they can give you (or anyone) a life of happiness.

    Fourth step: start living in the expectation of the good experiences coming.

    All the rest is just weltschmerz, which can also be enjoyable in controlled doses.

  3. Ooooh, I hate having my shoulders be rubbed too hard, either. You described almost exactly how it is for me, although I don’t get the nausea, exactly, just an icky, icky feeling.

  4. …we could have talked about how being happy makes me sad.

    I never had that tendency until I lost my dad. I don’t think it ever dawned on me how in the blink of an eye a person you love & treasure more than anything on this earth could be gone forever. Now, it’s like I want to suck in every good moment I spend with a person and hang onto it for dear life…perhaps that’s why I can’t hold on loosely enough, ya know?

    Then, at the same time, I fight wanting real bad to isolate myself and never open myself up to being hurt again cuz the pain is so unbearable when I lose someone I love whether it’s by death or distance.

    arrrgh…psychobabble, yes…but it’s also undeniably true.

    I guess that’s why I treasure my friends so much…they understand cuz they deal with it, too.

  5. It’s fleeting, time. It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true.”

    So true, pretty girl, so dang true.

    Just so you know, I call all my female friends “pretty girl,” though you are one without the flattery.

    Listen, we have these 55-95 years to figure out shit, and sometimes it requires us to release ourselves just like a messeuse releases the toxins that accumulates in our trapezoids as she/he rubs our muscles into submissions.

    Sometimes, and I know this is tough for you, because it is for me…. let go. Let the toxins flow out, physiological or mental, yada yada yada.

    Let go pretty girl… and let the toxins go… and talk. It is good for you. This blog is good for you. And use it.

    Though it may hurt.

    It’s good. Just like the pain in the athlete’s muscles is actually the sign of the fibres strenghtening over time, so is the pain in your psyche merely the strength of your deep soulful intuition strenghtening through distress.

    (Sorry for the random comment over a month of silence, but like a phoenix, over a long dormancy, I will be blazing with comment–good or maybe bad–once I get settled, to try to get across what I believe to be “sophia,” the greek word for deep truth.)

    But know, regardless, you have friends, who are there to help you get through that soreness.

    (Sorry for the second parenthetical, but I’m feeling philosophical, which sadly enough coincides with the level of alcohol streaming though the system. Hope this makes sense.)

    Take care.

  6. Pingback: Random Things–The Things My Readers Bring Me « Tiny Cat Pants

  7. We all want the cloak of comfort anonymity can bring, but opening upwith others brings a much more comfortable blanket. It can be soft and warm. Yes, sometimes there are burrs that work their way under that blanket, but those can be plucked out and tossed aside. If the blanket is big enough, sometimes you can even leave the burrs under there and just scoot over under another area of the cover until the blanket’s fibers wrap around the burr and muffle its sharp points.
    I understand about not wanting to put yourself out there. I do.
    But if I hadn’t taken that step off the cliff, I would not have met so many wonderful, special people who have given me so much.

    In addition, I also prefer a light back rub to a grueling, crunching rub in which it feels like someone’s thumbs are about to plunge through my shoulder blades and explode out my chest.

  8. “we could have talked about how being happy makes me sad.”

    Now I have to break out my mantra book.

    (runs to bedside table…)
    (runs back…)

    “Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

    And he answered: You joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain….

    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been you delight.

    Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember the other is asleep upon your bed.”


    I relate to this, about being with people, in that the greater unhappinesses I have are the happinesses I have known that are missing. And people I know who can’t relate never had those same happy experiences. So I do believe they are sides of a coin.

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