Had my cousin at my place this Thanksgiving weekend, down from ATL, only my second time seeing him in the past 7 years. Grew up with the man, godfather to his child, used to beat the shit out of each other all through high school (in between weekend-long video game and movie marathons), so you could say we’re close.
So in the midst of all our catching up I had the opportunity to update him on my romantic escapades (makes it sound so nice and…clean, huh?) these past couple of years, to which he responded by calling me something he’s been calling me ever since we were teenagers:
“A Serial Monogamist.” (Sounds…illegal).
According to him, I’m addicted to relationships, to the allure of being involved with somebody. And I’d gladly call bullshit on his assertion…if he wasn’t absolutely fucking right (don’t you hate it when that happens?).
He is right though, based on my history, but after thinking about it some more (Me? Over-thinking something somebody said almost a week ago? Nawwww, pshhhhh) I realized it goes beyond such simplicity, as most things involving the human mind do.
Sure, ever since I was 15 I’ve been perpetually involved with one woman or another, some of whom I was madly in love with (emphasis on “mad”) and others who I ended up dating for any number of reasons: loneliness, boredom, convenience, vengeance, all the other excuses people use to justify being with somebody they should be running from. And in the process of racking up these past 15 years worth of experiences (if you read my last post, you’ll notice that number also coincides with the year I stopped collecting comic books…coincidence? Maybe…maybe), I’ve realized that a lot of my personal desire to be involved with somebody stems from personal insecurities I’ve had ever since I was a kid. That and just the general fucked up nature of humanity.
Don’t worry, I know, boo hoo, fucking sob stories. Who gives a shit, right? Right. Not the point of this post anyways.
The point is that–up until a couple of years ago–I honestly thought I was unique in this susceptibility to be involved in dysfunctional romantic situations. I’m totally serious there too: no matter what sort of b.s. machismo statements I’ve made to friends and family in the aftermath of relationship implosions–no matter how many times I’ve said the words “This crazy ass bitch…” followed by a bunch of other inflammatory statements–I’ve always actually thought it was all on me, that there was no possible way somebody could be in this many jacked up relationships in their life without it being their fault. Until I started actually looking back at these relationships–and a lot of the stories my friends have told me about their romantic pasts–and came to the conclusion that it’s not just me. It’s all of us.
Every single one of us.
Or, simply, it’s humanity.
It is a condition of humanity–a side effect of being alive and breathing and talking and smiling and crying and laughing and screaming–to be totally fucked in the head, and subsequently transfer that fucked-up-ness to everybody else we come in contact with.
This isn’t a critique of the human condition either; I’m not berating our faults. In fact, I need our genetic fucked-up-ness. Without me being as screwed up as I am, without me transforming that screwed up nature into all the volatile interactions with other human beings I’ve had in the past, I’d have nothing to write about.
No experiences to draw from when I’m working on my fiction, no true stories to relate when I’m in the nonfiction mood. And let me tell you from personal experience: I am an extremely unpleasant person to be around when I’m not writing (call it catharsis, self-therapy, what-the-fuck-ever; images of crack withdrawal come to mind, mood swings, itchiness and all. Shout out to Rob Ford).
So, knowing that about myself, I can’t definitively say that I haven’t been subconsciously getting myself into these past situations, or that I won’t continue–let’s be real–to get myself into these situations for the foreseeable future.
The situations I refer to have been slightly varied though; kind of like fingerprints, they’re all in the same group but no two are exactly the same. And like I said, I have no problem admitting personal fault when it’s warranted (in fact, I’ll admit I’ve been at fault more times than I haven’t; read my short non-fiction piece “The Code”–published June 2012 in The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review--for one example of my idiotic and immature past [shameless self-promotion]). But I do put myself in a lot of questionable situations with questionable people.
The last woman I was with–and I’ll preface this by saying the women I’m talking about here are long term (and by long term I mean at least a month…just being real)–but yeah, the last woman I was with was a coworker who had (and still has, as far as I know) a boyfriend of 2+ years. I knew this when I met her, yet I still got involved when she made it apparent that the boyfriend was not an issue. For her, at least. Then got surprised when he started acting a little(lot) crazy. Smh.
Before that, I dated a girl for 6 months who everybody (and when I say everybody, I mean every single person who knew her and wanted to look out for my well-being) warned me about beforehand. Typical warnings too, which all added up to an invisible but glaringly obvious “Emotional Baggage!” stamp on her forehead. And yet I went for it anyways, then was surprised a few months in when I discovered that she had enough EB to sink the fucking Titanic before it got anywhere near a damn iceberg. Twice. Oh yeah, she was also involved with somebody else when we met.
Before her, it was two years of…um…let’s call them Random Encounters (emphasis on random), 99% of which were (in retrospect) ill-advised and probably just my personal reaction to a prior three-year relationship in which me and the girl (who was involved with somebody when we met) were both emotionally and physically (I never hit her, I swear; she did come within inches of pegging me in the head with random objects quite a few times though…Matrix in this bitch) abusive–and unfaithful–to each other.
And so it goes, all the way back to my freshman year of high school, where I lost my virginity in a bathroom to a girl who…yup…had a boyfriend (disturbing trend there, probably has something to do with the volcanic nature of my love life; but my head hurts already thinking about this shit, not trying to compound things further).
This is just my life though, just 15 years of it, just a small portion of what will (hopefully) be a much longer existence for me on this planet. But in getting some distance from these years and affording myself the ability to look at each instance individually and objectively, I still can’t really figure out whether it all had something to do with me and my choices and my aforementioned general fucked-up-ness, or if it’s something about human relationships in general.
Until I started comparing these instances to the converse situations: those moments when I (and my friends) have been single and totally uninvolved with anybody.
And what I noticed was that–when we are single and strictly dependent on ourselves in every aspect of our lives–we are also at our most confident and emotionally secure. I’m talking: happier in public, less stressed out at home, more clearheaded overall, and generally just peaceful people.
Yet…relationships are the cornerstone of life, of healthy living, of human existence, right?
It’s what we’re supposed to do as living, breathing citizens of the world. We find somebody who makes us want to be around them more often than not, and we then attach ourselves to them. Like leeches.
What makes us emotionally dependent on each other? What makes humans latch on to other humans, makes them feed off each other physically and emotionally (and don’t tell me it’s sex drive; I can tell you with total surety that sex does not last even close to a lifetime)?
Better yet, why is it considered unnatural when we’re not attached?
What makes us have this constant desire from the moment we hit puberty to break through emotional barriers and let our emotional barriers be broken down to reveal the most vulnerable, sensitive parts of our psyche to a person when 99% of the human race is not even slightly equipped to handle that responsibility with the delicacy it deserves?
Why do we let ourselves be hurt and use it as an excuse to hurt others?
This is to say, I’ve hurt people.
This is to say, I’ve been hurt. A lot.
This is to say, everybody I know (and I don’t say that as a random generalization; I mean, very literally, everybody I know) has been devastatingly hurt in their lives by another human. Multiple times.
Yet we continue to indulge the urge to pursue that personal connection, even when the likelihood of sustaining permanent psychological damage is so much higher than the potential for long term rewards.
It’s because of these random thought processes (I’ve come to terms with the fact that all my thought processes are random, so whatever) that I’ve come to the conclusion that masochism is a gene, and the human DNA is riddled with it.
Love is the ultimate manifestation of our inherent insanity.
Our species hasn’t just lost it’s mind when it comes to this necessity for social interaction. It never had a mind to begin with.
So, of course, we do what we do, even though it’s more than likely to completely fuck us up. Even now, I can see myself coming back to this post in the future–involved with somebody new–and skimming over the words, scoffing at myself for approaching the issue of love and romance and life in such a cynical manner. And I will probably be happy with my life while I’m doing that scoffing (such an odd word, “scoff”), and I’ll probably be absolutely sure (once again) that I’ve found somebody worth putting my reservations aside for.
And in that moment, I’ll be absolutely right. Because there is no other choice, really, is there? This is what we are. This is humanity. And like I said, I need shit to write about.
But let’s be real: being right does not mean you’re in your right mind.