123. cordate

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Tree on firecordate, adj1. Heart-shaped; 2. (Botany) heart-shaped, with the attachment at the notched end.

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another’s face your sweet hair lay
in such silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be–
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands
— e.e. cummings, Sonnets-Unrealities XI

On the subject of love lost, regrets and things that I should let go of, this is probably the one thing that the people in my life would most like to see me get over, as they are likely tired of both hearing and reading about it. I’m tired of dredging it up so often, and of it seemingly dominating everything.

Two years ago to the day, I was waking up with Seth, something I never would’ve thought happened. It was shortly after we first met for coffee, and I was rather taken with him and wanted to spend more time with him. So I went over to his apartment on February 13th with the intention of watching Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, which he hadn’t seen. For some reason I couldn’t find it in my bag (I later found it buried behind something), but I’d brought the DVD of John Doyle’s 2007 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. I ended up spending the night, we ended up making out until about 5am.

That was the first and only time I ever woke up with someone on Valentine’s Day. It’ll probably be the only time that I ever do that.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is a corporate marketing ploy. It’s empty ritual and shamelessly overt commercialism couched in gaudy romantic sheep’s clothing.

As a homeschooled kid growing up, we didn’t do Valentine’s Day. Sure, my mom baked cookies (but then my mom always baked cookies), and I still have a fondness for that pink icing that was slightly crispy on top and still moist the rest of the way, like a good crème brûlée. But unlike the rest of the kids who went to public school, my sisters and I never partook in the ritual of exchanging cards.

I think I’m afraid to let go of what’s left of my feelings for Seth, even though nothing will ever come of them and it’s a waste of energy. He’s a great guy, and he has a lot of great qualities (which is why I fell in love with him in the first place), but emotionally speaking it’s a dead end.

I’m afraid that I’ll never feel anything like that ever again, and thus far I haven’t. There have been people who have fallen in love with me, but it wasn’t reciprocal. Aaron, my first boyfriend, was crushed when I ended our relationship. In a way, the fiasco with Seth was somewhat karmic, although it’s probably just an inevitability of dating that you’re going to hurt people and be hurt in return.

I’m afraid that if I let go of Seth altogether that there will be no one to fall back on; that there is truly no one out there for me. The thought of that is unbearable, because my dating prospects have been disappointing thus far. The thought of waking up alone every morning, let alone on Valentine’s Day, with the memory of that one day, that one chance I ever had at something like that, is too awful to think about.

A relationship with another human being seems like the one thing that actually matters in life, aside from leaving an enduring legacy. We’re here for the blink of an eye geologically speaking, and then that’s it. No second chances. No great hereafter. No life everlasting. This is one of the major reasons why I finally chose to come out as gay, because I suddenly realized that life was too damned short to surrender my happiness to others.

Yet here I am doing just that with Seth—surrendering what could have potentially been a happy year to basically emotionally freeze myself in carbonite. However, I’m not sure that the alternative would be much better.

To be perfectly honest, I hate myself. Not some kind of stereotypical gay self-loathing or residual homophobic. It’s hard to explain, but it has to do with never feeling good enough to please myself, which means that I’m not good enough for other people, which has largely to do with the complete lack of acceptance that I felt as a child growing up. I’ve always felt like a contractor, trying to impress clients in order to keep their accounts—in this instance, people’s friendship, and that at any time they could find a better deal from the next guy. In the case of a boyfriend, the stakes are even higher.

And we all know that I don’t deal well with rejection. As a kid with extremely judgmental parents, I tend to take it personally.

So I’m a bit lost. I need to learn to love and accept myself, flaws and all—but how to do that when I can’t see my own face and don’t trust the mirrors that others hold up to me? And I need a guy who won’t give up until he’s convinced me that he truly loves me and isn’t going anywhere. Most of the guys I’ve dated over the last few years have left me feeling like that will never happen. And though I never dated Seth, of all of the guys he was the one who left me feeling the most undesirable and unlovable.

But I haven’t found anyone yet to take his place.

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3 thoughts on “123. cordate

  1. You can’t get discouraged. It is often just dumb luck that leads us to finding the right person. My wife and I knew each other in High School, didn’t get along, then 10 years later, reconnect–completely a chance meeting and here we are. There was no way I could have gone into that looking for something. Sometimes it just happens, in fact, I would say it usually just happens. So hang in there and be patient.

    As far as letting yourself down, I am not a psychologist or anything, but that is not good behavior. You need to be proud of who you are and accept yourself before you can expect someone else to accept you. I would recommend thinking about what you truly don’t like about yourself. My guess, is that it is most likely something you can change pretty easy, or something not worth the time to even think about. Love yourself—it all starts from there.

    • David

      Thanks for the kind words. They are much appreciated.

      Unfortunately I don’t think this is something that is going to be easy to change, like a bad habit. This is thinking that has been ingrained in me since birth, and it’s probably going to take professional help to fix. Or a really amazing, patient guy who is able to teach me to love myself, kind of like Anne Sullivan working with Helen Keller. I’m emotionally blind, deaf and dumb, with a very primitive understanding of human nature and feeling. It will probably take someone who is that committed to break through.

      • I hear you. Unfortunately, I don’t have the expertise to help. I think you touched on a key though…perhaps seeking someone who is professional. I wish you the best of luck David.

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