Such Great Heights: On Loving
“I wonder at vocalism’s ability to rephrase or reenact meaning and goodness even without the wished-for love. Can a trace become the thing it traces, secure as ever, real as ever – a chosen set of echo-fragments? … The still eye reflects a neutral ‘you’ that is me; and yet secret. Who can hold such mirroring cheap? It’s a vital aspect of marriage and of deep friendship.”
These are things she told me:
She tells me she just needs to be held. Held and heard. And validated. That I understand how she feels, that I empathize. No need to agree with her or her feelings, no need to fix anything. Just pay attention (“be with me” she calls it), say some things back kind of like echoes so she can hear that I’m listening, knows I’ve “got” it, and nod and affirm. Saying things like “I hear how hard that is for you,” or “I can see this makes you angry” and the like. A safe place, a sounding board, a kind of mirroring…a world-the-size-of-arms or bodies in which it’s okay to be in process, to have your stuff, to be inaccurate, and be.
I tell her I just want to be loved for who I am, not what I do or how I perform, whether I make someone feel better or not, whether I’m useful or succeed, get stronger, am sensitive, smart or good-looking. I’m fine with being any of those things, but they will always feel like side-effects or attributes, things taken up from time to time, situation-contextually. I really want to be loved for who I am also, or otherwise, the self I do not know, am unaware of, except that it’s always changing. I’m wanting value as a being, I suppose, that it’s simply good enough, and matters, that I am. That someone would choose that.
She’d like to be appreciated for all of her efforts. All the pains she endures, compromises she makes, limitations she accepts in order to account for me, for my “neuroses” (read “personality”). ‘d like to hear a heartfelt “thank you” now and then for her services and sensitivities, considerations and workings toward dialogue, care and attention. She’d like to be recognized, feel wanted, feel loved and craved and adored.
I’d like to be loved with my spaces and misgivings. From a distance, and the distance loved too – the whole globe of me – my fears, paranoias and worries. My anxious body. Jealous narratives, fantastic brain. As an entity – yes – as a system or sphere, to be chosen, sought out and let be, even celebrated as this odd, unique and difficult human, just like all the others, but different too, in exactly the same ways we all of us are. A curious realm of unknowns and effects. Would like that cloud of debris I refer to as “me” to trigger charges in her, of desire, of respect, of wonder and intimate knowledge. A paradox really. To be known as unknown, loved dissimilarly, absolutely, and so on. Misplaced desires, but there all the same. I ask her to love indeterminacy and confusion.
She asks to be free of her past – not its effects but its definitions. That we encounter it together – our childhoods and children, our spouses and griefs, our risks and our failures, fulfillments and joys – not compared with the present, competitively, but engaged, encouraged, absorbed. That not everything “not-me” be a threat, not her job and its clients, her acquaintances, family and friends, past lovers our journeys, events – that they be welcomed and included as ours now – memories, sources, realities we bring to a NOW. Not as distractions, escapes, private holdings. That we invite each other whole and unprocessed. That we be a process for each. That I be here now with, see her moving toward me, being here, not fragment and dissect her into her pasts and the world.
I tell her I’d like to be ultimate, her be-all, end-all, preference and ideal. Chaos and all, that this mass of me be some divinity-like, awe-inspiring wonder of an incomparable glory she adore and pursue. I want to feel special, holy, set apart, unbelievably brilliant and beautiful – in short, spectacular – in all my grungy messy remedial ways and blundering battles. That it truly stun her how amazing I am all muddied up and crazy, insecure and inconsistent, incompatible and at serious odds with myself – that I be wonderful to her.
She told me she’d like it to be real. To be purposive and true. That we be brave and open, vulnerable and strong. Flexible and protective, guarded and unafraid. That we feel life securely and take great risks, be certain and unsure. That we trust and be trustworthy in every metamorphoses we move through. Tenderly powerful, gently fierce, insistent and forgiving, patiently intense. That we strive for balance, a balance I guess like nuclear fusion – unaccountable energies in a strangely held rest.
I said it all sounds good, sounds like love to me, and impossible. Which is fine as I’ve started as a failure, but heroic, and she’s a god arose from ashes. Hell, she’s died and lived again. We latch on, strap in and unwind. We are here. Here we go. These terrible chasms and such great heights.
These are things I tell myself.
N Filbert 2012
(couldn’t help but think of this – click for tunes)