I love you because in preparing to meet you I had to learn to love myself.
I love myself with curiosity, compassion, gentleness, humility and joy.
When I first imagined you in the universe, I placed you on a glass pedestal on the top of the highest spire at the very apex of the universe, such that not only could I never get to know you, but nobody else could either. I could never be disappointed in you because I could never see you but you could always be disappointed in me because you were looking from so far up in the sky.
I pictured your perfect face and your lips and your smile and your sanguine frame and I went out in the world to find your resemblance in anyone I could find. I ticked them off one by one, noting only where they did not match you, spending a while with some, moments with others, being kind because I wanted your love but also cruel because I could not get it.
The truth is though that I would not give you up or let you down. Once I had decided I would never settle for anything less which took me on a curious journey of romantic detachment. You were always by my side, five thousand feet in sky. Sometimes I would feel your touch and your words through others, but they were never you. I missed you always.
Then one day I looked in the mirror. I realized that the person looking back at me was not your perfect partner, far from it. I was the antithesis of everything I projected onto you. How could I not have seen that perfect love involves a dance of mutuality and equality? How would you even recognize me for being your other half when I was so deeply disguised with the trappings of narcissism and self absorption?
Instead of looking for you in every person I met, I started to look for myself. I looked at all my friends and family and lovers and I looked for the me that was in them. What had I left behind? What was the taint of my passing? Was it curiosity and compassion and gentleness? Was it humility and joy and beauty? How through my interaction had I elevated them? What did I most not like to see and most want to get rid of?
At first I was surprised by how angry I became at my friend and loved ones. They were so disappointing! Gradually I realized it was the legacy of my interaction with them that was so backward, un-evolved, unloving, un-sexy. I realized that some even encapsulated my worst qualities so completely that they were grim parodies of me, without heart or hope or all the things that lie at the top of the great spire where I had placed my lost love.
I knew then that I was at the bottom of the universal heap of awesomeness. I needed to reach out to everyone. I would have to spend time with each and every single one and try to change the trend that was the ribbon of my destiny as it wove through them. So I started to find them one by one and try to open up. I was amazed at how difficult it was going to be, many of them were just as angry at me! They did not like what they saw in me reflected back at them. They were having none of it!
I learned that sometimes it is not important to be right and sometimes it is not important to win. I needed to start listening. My inner self was confetti sprayed over everyone else. I had to go and pick up the pieces one by one, work out where they fit, decide if I wanted to keep them or not and ask for clues from everyone along the way. I had to learn humility! How could I find humility? By finding it in everyone else, by finding that hidden layer that we protect at all costs and allowing it to come out and breathe for a while.
I had to stop blaming the universe for keeping you away under lock and key. I had the lock and I had the key but only when I could reach over and gently take it from about your neck. I never wanted to hurt you and never wanted you to hurt me – we were always meant to care for each other. I stopped blaming the universe and started speaking the truth, by finding the truth in you. I was going to have to take a chance and just be honest. I was going to have to take a chance and find the honesty in you.
How do I know you? I know you when I am standing before you and you know me. I looked around and the mighty spire had started to shrink before my eyes. It wasn’t long before I could you see you on your glass throne and was amazed that you did not look like what I had thought. You had your own thoughts and your own breath and your own movement and your own standards. Good grief, I thought, what if I wasn’t good enough? Maybe I should just leave you up there?
I needed to find some good examples! I needed to find people that had ‘got it right’, that were ‘with it’. I needed success stories baby. I looked around and quite frankly I must say I was a little disenchanted. Some had it right for a while or seemed to have made it, but the more I got to know them I began to see the gremlins, the little bits and pieces of my own negative legacy, the lost opportunities, the paths of cowardice and insensitivity. Could it be that even you would be a bad legacy of me?
I haven’t had the delight of meeting you properly and already we are having issues, the precursor to tissues. Is it going to be worth it? Is it even worth the risk? History is no liar. The proof is everywhere you look! This is an issue filled universe! We need our god dam issues! I am not going to even speak to you if you don’t throw at least one issue on the table. Hit me with one of your own, we’ll compare notes. Look, frankly my issue is far more important than yours. How do we ever begin to proceed?
Ok, so let’s say it is all worth it. Is it humanly possible that somebody could just love you and bring you joy? Look at flowers, they’re shamelessly beautiful once the little issue-tics have been cleaned off their stems, the capricious little white mites of right thrown back to the swamp from which whence they sprang. We need to plant more beautiful swamp flowers, big lilies that encompass everything and give us balance, with a pure white Lotus at its heart being utterly, shamelessly beautiful.
Wait a minute, I’m remembering the point. When I first imagined you into my world I was totally nuts over you! I could think of nothing more amazing than having the opportunity to just see you walk, without an endless spiral of stairs into our towers of self-absorption. Ok, so let’s assume we are both going to attract issues-ticks onto our roots and stems because that is the way reality plays it? When you still had a pure heart, could you remember the longing and acceptance with which we reached out to touch each other?
The truth is that I go out there wearing my armour. I like the way it looks and moves. I like it in the mirror. It is my island vantage point from which to look out for you, always ready to do it right. You never truly know someone until you fight them. I am prepared for war. Disappointment is a rabbit I have killed and am eating by my camp fire along the journey. It is best after a couple of days like any stew and if you cook it too hot, it starts to taste meaty and bitter.
I sometimes wish though that I had someone to help me with the straps at the back of my armour. It takes a long time to put on in the morning and a long time to take off before bed at night. It’s a suit of armour for chrissakes! Can you imagine? You know how much that shit weighs? Especially those parts right at the back where you can’t reach, where you need a loving touch helping to unclip you.
I don’t mind really, because I am now a soldier in the battle to retrieve my love. This is war. Your pedestal is almost head height now but we have another barrier between us. We landed on opposite cliffs! I can see you sort of but there is a rough swell and lots of sharks. Either way we look at this thing there is going to be blood. The blood is going to attract the sharks.
I love at you from across the chasm, in your suit of armour, looking so gallant and beautiful and righteous. I wonder if it is as heavy as mine. What if we were attacked halfway through our bedtime readiness, just when our hand was tangled in the cord at the back of our armour? We would be unprepared. Creepers, maybe you sleep in yours? It looks light enough – how do you sleep? Mine is really heavy, I can’t catch a wink.
Every time I am right, I am wrong. Right does not care for me. Right is the sergeant beside me on the cliff. He has a magnificent suit of armour, almost an Ottoman dervish of colour and style and flair. It is one of the latest ‘sleep in models’ for people who take life seriously enough to get the right armour, in this winters shades. He looks pretty comfortable but I sometimes wonder if he doesn’t get tangled in all the bright belt-clips. Everything is a procedure for him, with all forms fill out in triplicate, complaints notified and ratified by all parties. He is right and I am wrong.
Does wrong care for me? Wrong sits on my left on the cliff face. Wrong is, to put it delicately, less than impressed with the lot he has been give in life. He is skinny and wears a black, lacy suit of armour. He has lots of knives, a sharp moustache and a pointy hat. If he is going to have to be wrong, he’s going to make damn sure he shares it with you. He’s a party killer, the chiller from the thriller.
He’s always ready for action. On the face of things he doesn’t stand much of a chance against Mr Right, who by now is a flight of raging, indignant light, but he has another more sinister weapon, poli-ticks, the most voracious new model, self adapted to grow through battle. His only trick really is convincing you that he doesn’t exist. Once you go with the charms of Mr Right, you are settling back into the velvety embrace of Mr Wrong.
I notice now that you also have your first advisors there with you too. Are they girls? I can see one of them picking up a spyglass and aiming it at me. Does she want to take a closer look? Is that her right or wrong guardian behind the lens? Does she have anyone else working for her? A guy hands me my own telescope for me to use.
He is standing next to me, but I did not notice him. He held his hand up smartly and announced that he was from the Bureau for Expectation and Guarded Optimism. He wanted to know what I was looking for in the glass and so did I. He demanded more though. He wanted me to make sure that I was looking for right or wrong before I even looked in the lens!
So now there are a whole host of different soldiers and commanders running around and just as many on her side. Administrative Staff! Insurance Assassins! The whole thing was beginning to make the cliffs start to crumble under the weight of all the soldiers and make ready people. It is to be an Epic! It is to be a battle!
Right and wrong are standing by my side as I start to slide down the slope and into the crashing ocean and all the sharks, which have now mutated so radically that they have fifteen sets of teeth open at one time! I realize that the sharks are not looking at either of them, my companions, as if to eat them. Only now do I actually notice that they do not have any substance or life. They are empty suits of armour being marionetted by swarms of tiny little issue-ticks all working together.
Good grief! Now you’re telling me? They’re empty? They’re are gonna have to sink to the bottom, where they will rust. Shit, so are we unless we get these stupid armour suits off. You know how heavy they are in water, even water that is thicker than blood? The truth is I can’t reach the clip at the back of my armour and without that latch I am just dead weight. So unfortunately are you and there is always the choice of drowning in a locked embrace of regrets and recriminations and lack of soulful dexterity?
We are going to have time this shit perfectly. If we manage to land in each other arms we can both reach around and unclip the latch simultaneously. Can you do this? Do you know how to jump? Do I? We catch each other and the oceanic trench has become a narrow canyon. We can both stand, but we are supporting each other. The armour seems lighter. We straighten up. The last of the thrashing sharks, who had shrunk to size of little squid, now vanished into the marshy soil. A Lily blooms beneath our feet and a Lotus stands shyly in the air between us.
Why do I love you? I love you because you are me at the core of that lotus.