A realization hit me this morning while I was sitting on the toilet, staring at the bone-white tiles, musing about certain feelings about an uncertain person recently let go (I say the feelings were “let go,” though the phrase is carefree and belies the effort and intention that came with dis-attachment—perhaps a better word is suffocate). It was not his rejection of me or his moments of indifference or the confusion that arose from the ambivalence of his behavior, or my consideration of his predicament and a sense of empathy–though all of those played a part–that made me withdraw. What it was, was insecurity. I tried to understand, and what I understood was that I could not trust him with my vulnerability. I could not cry in his presence or talk about things that choked, not only because he would not salve me with soft words or an embrace, but also because he did not trust me with his own vulnerability, did not let me into his world of anxieties and fears and frustrated hopes, and handle any object there. And why would he? Who was I? I could talk with him about everything, everything but emotion. That was our No-Man’s Land, our Terra Incognita. But I travel outwards and into the interior extensively. And he gave no indication that he wanted to join me and go. So I moved away from him and back into myself, and realized: I like it here. My solitude is enough. I have my work, my words, my backpack, my books, my pencils and paper. There is no need for longing.
I have not been writing in this blog, but I have been writing elsewhere—my journals are filled with notes about literature, education, language, philosophy, and I’ll post those notes here when I get them in order. I have been so busy, I have summoned a whirlwind of preoccupations and let myself spin round and round and round. I am still teaching. I take long walks and practice yoga every day. I run five miles once or twice a week. Some weekends, I go hiking, some weekends, I visit my parents and goof around with my siblings about getting all soft and fat. I attend public lectures, join workshops, and sit in a philosophy of language class. I meet up with friends over coffee or dinner or drinks, go to the movies, and spend all the rest of my waking hours reading or drawing or singing to myself. I try to get enough sleep, though I often fail. I am always tired at the end of the day, but I feel fine and at peace with my life.
Romantic love is rare and thus so rarefied, in the way we speak of it and act on it and think and think and think about it. We cling to it. I clung to it. I wrote so much about it, I have written about virtually nothing else in the past year here, and I am sick of it, its high highs and low lows, its lightness and weight, its bondage to the other. There is a gentler and more constant love that rises from self-regard, from the affection of family and friends, from consideration of the sky and trees and rocks and wind and sea, from the defense of beliefs and the pursuit of passions, from the appreciation of what is. This love is more grounded and free. And it is enough. I am saying it is enough, for me, now. There is no need for longing.