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Because they were running from something in themselves, it made them explore the rest of life harder and more fervently. Being with them was exciting. It was like being on the run from the law. Bonnie and Clyding it. We had grand ideas and passionate sex. They were so busy chasing excitement, gratification, hedonistic pleasure and highs highs highs that we experienced super-charged high octane love and lust. But when they paused the running, the discomfort and gloom set in and they were hard to be around, we fought and made up or we broke up and got back together. More manufactured highs to compensate for painful lows.
All that running and all that excitement and all that caring for them when then were coming down. All that putting on a balaclava and trying to work out how to engineer a stealth break-in without setting off their intimacy alarms. All that attention outside of myself.
And whenever I grew weary of this lawless life, whenever I felt disillusioned with Bonnie and Clyding it, whenever my ears became tired of the sound of sirens, there was truth in the tinnitus; it whispered “this is not good enough, you are worth more than this”. But I didn’t know what to do with this information. So I tried to drown out the truth by being completely devoted, completely obsessed with facilitating, dazzling and adoring this other person. Because I didn’t know how to put that devotion into myself. I didn’t understand that my patience and dedication, my cherishing and adoring could be channeled into myself - the one that will never leave me.
I didn’t know that I was running alongside them and focusing on their problems because I didn’t want to fully be with mine. Sure, I’ve had therapy for years and I’m dedicated to self knowledge and growth, but it doesn’t mean I like to sit with the discomfort. It doesn’t mean it’s not easier to fall into old habits and patterns of losing myself in another.
They liked to lose themselves in drink and drugs and partying and “fun". I liked to lose myself in them. I feel uncomfortable around drugs and when they got high I would feel uneasy, but maybe it’s because they were taking away my supply. The habit of them was less accessible because they were somewhere else, feeling something else.
Narcotic highs always seemed so unsustainable, un-nourishing and disempowering. I used to wonder why people couldn't just be in the richness of the moment as it is, why they needed to find something outside of themselves to take them somewhere else. What's wrong with here, now, this?
Until I understood that my judgement of them is in fact a judgement of me.
What we dislike in others may be unresolved parts of ourselves. But I didn’t like drugs so how could disliking others liking drugs be an unresolved part of me? Because men were my drug. Men were my chase, my gratification, the otherness in my veins making me feel intoxicated. Making me feel escaped.
I needed to escape as much as them. It didn’t matter that I also liked to meditate, have therapy and seek my own betterment, I was still trying to escape.
Seeing what’s at play doesn’t instantly resolve it, but it does emancipate you from a clouded vision. Rather than wishing they would live with less running, hiding and short-lived exhilaration, perhaps I could wish that for myself.
The desire to seek highs, comfort and distraction is human. I want to soften into the reality of that. Gently forgive myself and send love to the harsh voice that speaks of inadequacy. It is not a question of relinquishing agency and accepting this pattern as an inevitability, or praying for instant enlightenment in order to transcend it. Instead, I can begin to be curious about it and live with an awareness of it. I can start to support myself and be generous and encouraging as I work with it. I can begin to explore other choices. Like practicing being with the discomfort and the richness of the moment as it is.
Here. Now. This.