Life 4.0

All about my strange new life, and the art of making it up as I go

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Over-Examined Life

"The unexamined life is not worth living" -- Socrates

"You overthink everything. Get up off your big ass and do something instead of finding reasons not to, then taking it out on those of us who have a life." -- my best friend Cathy The Super Fan

This in a nutshell, is the ping-pong conversation that has been looping in my mind for the past 33 months. That was when when Cathy decided I would be better off if she rescued me from sitting around waiting to die. I love her for that decision. I also wonder if it was worth it, considering everything she has put aside in her own life. She's made an incredible investment of time, love and heartache in me. Cathy has earned the right to tell me it's time to man up, climb out of the pity pot, and quit nitpicking every element of my life.

For the record, everyone agrees with her.


They all told me.

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My friend Kristi agreed with Cathy.

My daughter Rachel agreed with Cathy. Then Rachel called me a turd head. It's always been her pet name for me, which should give you a clue about her opinion of my analytical routine.

Three of my co-workers agreed with Cathy. They may be growing tired of the questions, too. One of them threw something at me.

Several Facebook friends whose opinions I respect agreed with Cathy.

The woman on the all-night shift at the Thornybird's agreed with Cathy.

I played Matchbox Twenty on the radio, and they sang about thinking too much.

Cathy's husband Lew said he agreed with Cathy, but really, what would you expected him to have said? "Yeah, Cathy's so full of crab shit her eyes are green. Now you have to leave, because you're sitting on the couch, and that's where I'll be sleeping for the next week."

Even Delilah told a caller the other day that he thinks things through too much. No, that caller was not me.

Why do I bring this up? Because it's 3 o'clock in the morning, I'm awake, cold sober, and I'm alone. Taken in combination, those things make for a miserable life. So the questions take root and grow. Friday night always seems lonesome to me. It always makes me scared. Scared that every Friday night will be like this one, sleepless and alone. And - here comes the duality of the Southern thing again -- scared that if I do find someone, I'm setting myself up for another broken heart.

I sometimes wonder If I'll ever get out of this emotional place in which I take so much comfort. I still feel like I'm being disloyal to Roxanne if I give away a part of my heart that doesn't belong to her. No, that's a fallacy. I don't think there is any part of my heart doesn't belong to Roxanne.

So I just sit here thinking, examining, questioning, and become more scared, so scared that I can't move. So scared that when Just Friends asked me if I wanted to go out tonight (a moment I've been waiting for for a long time) I felt so out of sorts that I said no. I wonder if I just threw away a golden opportunity out of fear, and needless paranoia. Or did I finally smell the coffee and realize I'm chasing an impossible dream.

It also may be that I'm beginning to realize a painful truth. Pursuing this fascinating woman is costing me more in pain, doubt, and distraction than I can handle. As I wind toward the end of The Year Of Essentials it may be time to just cut my losses. It goes counter to my instinct. I'm not a quitter. Oh man, I sound like fucking Nixon.

I have to think about it for a bit. At the same time, I wonder if I'll ever stop picking things apart. These are the things that happen in my mind when it's three o'clock in the morning, and I'm alone.

Though I'm an analytical wuss, I'm a good person: intelligent, witty, articulate, clever (that's not ego talking. I have to be all those things in order to do my job).... but people just can't get past this hideous exterior. Cathy tells me not to worry because "it's their loss," but I don't agree. People who don't see past my physical appearance, whatever you want to call them, short sighted, narrow minded, or just realistic, will simply go on to someone else. The people who judge me based just on my size, those people will never have the time to realize what they have missed. Because for them, there will always be a more presentable person waiting to grab a piece of their hearts. It's no consolation to me that those hearts will often end up broken. It saddens me, for that is a heart that I would have treasured.

In the years before Roxanne, and the years since, I've had several friends who said, "you have so much love. It must be killing you to hold it all inside. I hope you find someone to give it to." Forgive this how this sounds, but I think they're right. And the tumblers in my mind fall into place and here comes another question: Is it only women who already have that special love in their life that are able to recognize a man who is able to love that way? Or am I so scared or so chickenshit or so... I have no clue what it would be called, that it's me who chokes off every opportunity, as I did tonight?

One of the first posts I made on this blog was called Any Road Will Take You There. I took the title from the George Harrison song. Roxanne loved it, and so do I. It gradually dawned on me that the only time that being lost bothers you is when you're actually trying to get somewhere. Connecting the dots, that must mean that finally, after all this time, I actually am trying to get somewhere -- even if I don't know where.

I'd like to think that there's a place for me deep in someone's heart, a warm safe place perfect for sharing that special joy that makes all the hearts and flowers and love songs come to life. I do feel selfish at that thought. In Roxanne's eulogy, I said that many people never have that type of special love. I was lucky enough to have it for thirty years. Dare I be selfish and try to find someone else to love? Boy, do I think about that a lot. The answer is always the same.

Yes. Yes, because a year and a half ago someone came along and lit up that part of my heart that I thought was gone. That could not have happened if I were not ready.

Yes, because for whatever reason Roxanne is gone and I'm still here, with a huge hole in my heart. I don't think it's selfish to try and heal that. I think it's only natural. Finally and most of all, yes, because it's 3 o'clock in the morning and no one who has a heart full of love should feel the way I do right now.

Today's lesson?: I should have asked all these questions a long time ago I should've asked all them when I was 19 but I'm glad I didn't because I met Roxanne, I fell in love, and the world finally made perfect sense.

Everyone tells me that I trust my mind so much more than my heart that I depend on it too heavily. It's hard to argue that they're wrong. Here I am at 3 o'clock in the morning knowing I can not stop myself from endlessly asking questions. You know, sometimes I really wish I still were seven. It was so much simpler then. If you had candy you were happy. If you didn't you were unhappy but you knew why.

So, after another round of questions, where do I stand? Could everyone be right? Let's see... three o'clock on Friday night, no date (there's a shock) and I'm no closer to an answer than when I began.

Fuck me.


1 comment:

  1. Steven, this post touched my heart. I fully understand your words. I, too am a good person with a big heart. I used to have a great sense of humor, but too many years of losses have dulled it. People judge me on my looks alone, and that hurts.

    I am almost 53 years old and have never known what it is like to be loved. I have accepted that I never will, but accepting does not make it easy to live with.

    And for what it's worth, I do not find you to have a 'hideous exterior'. :-)