There seems to be a certain etiquette when it comes to blog posts: you speak personally, but not too personally. So I can happily talk about spilling soup over myself or even about coming out – which by its nature is in the public domain – but I’m more wary of talking about feelings of a personal kind. Not that I don’t, but usually I allude to them sideways, or else Adelina does. So she was happy to tell the world that I was suffering from Unrequited Love, but quite rightly kept the details to herself. I’m not about to spill all the beans now, but it’s possible that in the course of this post just a few may drop. If I weren’t so keen to get my poems published in magazines I’d probably do it by posting some more of those, but at the moment I can’t bear the thought of wasting their fragrance on the desert air (I do like a nice quote).
I’m not completely sure what I want to say right now, but it seems to be something about love: what it is and what it isn’t. I’ve been ‘in love’ several times in my life before, usually unhappily. I can’t help thinking of a poor mistaken bird flying into a glass window and hurting itself, and then doing the same thing again… It hasn’t always been as destructive as that, but perhaps there has been something of the same refusal to take no for an answer. I want this, the emotional logic goes, so somehow I’ve got to make it happen. And surely the other person must want it really, or at least not not want it. Dangerous ground, I know, and what’s painful is the part of me that at the same time sees and feels the rejection, and knows that what I want is never going to happen. And, for various reasons, in the past it’s never been possible to talk about it properly.
What’s happened now has been different. I’ve still ended up not getting the girl, as it were, but I’ve seen something important: that ‘being in love’ with someone and desperately wanting and needing them (or wanting what I think they can give me, and wanting to foist my notion of love upon them) isn’t the same as being in love – in a wider, less constrained field of love – with that person, so that what matters most isn’t what I get from them but what’s best for both of us, whether that turns out to be ‘a relationship’ or not. Not having the relationship is still terribly sad, of course, and the wanting hasn’t been spirited away, but I seem to have understood, perhaps for the first time, more about what love actually is – which means that although I’ve been sad I haven’t been hurt in the way I’ve been before. I can see what the other person wants and doesn’t want, and perhaps why, and I can respect that with all my heart and with care for myself. And maybe because I’ve been able to come to it in a more open-hearted way – and because of the other person’s honesty and generosity – it has been possible to talk about it, and to speak my love without having it thrown back at me.
It took a long time to get there, though. I ‘fell in love’ initially at the end of the year before last. For the greater part of last year circumstances meant that I didn’t see the person, and I thought I probably never would again. I was faced with the pain of unrequited love at its rawest and most immediate. Many of my poetry friends have seen the poems that resulted, the misery and despair in them but also the wry humour that (thank goodness) never quite deserted me. Then, towards the end of last year, the person and I met again and struck up the beginnings of a friendship where we started to discover how much we had in common. Inevitably, though, I wanted more and, for reasons that were partly understandable, thought that more was being offered. Disappointment followed, but nevertheless I’ve ended up seeing the whole process as something of a blessing. My heart was touched more deeply than it has ever been before, and I feel I can start to let go of whatever it is that has driven me into these blind alleys, without doing away with the genuine love I’ve felt. At the beginning of this new year, nearly at my birthday now, I can see a space of new possibility.
The Sunday before last I went down to the sea. I found a secluded cove, with an interested-looking seal bobbing up from time to time, and offered to the waves all the misery and misguidedness of my past loves, as well as the ending of this one. The tide was coming in and the spray sloshed into my boots, so that I didn’t feel separate from the sea. I stayed there for just the right amount of time, between one group of people leaving and the next group arriving, and as I walked back through the fields to my car I felt the peace and lightness that a ritual performed at the right time can sometimes bring. Not that the sadness and longing have disappeared since then, but they’re not all that’s there. On the way back I stopped off at a pub called The Open Arms – a very ordinary little pub – and that too seemed like a blessing. Since that Sunday I’ve been lighting a candle which seems to symbolise both loss and new hope, and I’ve been wishing the other person well.
May all beings be well and happy. May all beings be held in love.