I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking around, looking good and seemingly having their shit together made simple existence exhausting and intimidating. And there was a comfort in meeting someone just as fucked up as you. Misery loves company.
Then I grew up and my perspective changed.
And yet still nothing got easier.
Surrounding yourself with people who understand your damage gives them insight. A way to help identify their problems. That maybe in one late night self-pity tirade, some lonely person desperate for answers might latch on to a phrase or a word which might lead to some sort of realization. Or, that is the hope. For both of us.
Love is pure but never perfect. We fall and splash our way into deep waters and eventually we find the current and settle into our flow. We either stay and grow accustomed to the water or we leave to find a new adventure. We fall in love with being in love or we walk away and into the fire where we will writhe and burn and sulk and scream for months. And sometimes neither choice is attractive – stay and wither or leave and literally feel like we are dying. Sometimes love is like a slow cancer and leaving, a quick suicide.
One of the toughest questions I have ever had to answer is, when do you stand and fight and when are you so beaten you need to walk away? Truth is, I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t have wasted good years of better women. Thoughts that remain my albatross.
But I think there is a reason why I never learned how to answer that question. There is a much bigger question to be answered. One far more important. One that, if answered correctly, will make all the others questions irrelevant.
Are we in love because we can identify with their damage – or are we in love with their fight?
It is selfishly passive vs. proactive view of the way we see someone we care about deeply. Because I know the comfort that comes from loving someone in pain. A pain I can identify with. Someone so damaged we can lie together in a bed hating the world and feeling like no one can touch us. And that is soothing for a lifetime of burns from abuse and lost love. And I have spent years – decades, living that life. Two sad fucks feeling sorry for each other lying around listing to sad fuck music and making sad fuck choices. But I can tell you with absolute certainty, that the love of their fight to become a better person is much more fulfilling than the self-defeating warmth of a go-nowhere do-nothing motherfucker. Nights spent wasted away and feeling good for a few moments and returning to that bed of mutual sadness. There are few things worse than wasting time. And one of the greatest sins is wasting you own time.
There is a fight in all of us. Some of us struggle with our demons regularly. Some aren’t ready to face them and some won’t even admit they exist. Who you choose to love is a direct reflection of what you believe you deserve and I believe our best shot at happiness is to allow ourselves to be loved for the right reasons.
I am not the best person to tell anyone how to love. I have loved and lost and fucked up just like most. But I do know what has made me feel the brightest – and that is standing back and watching a woman become her best self. Not because of me, but because she had the courage to recognize her dark spots and ran head first into the car crash.
There is an undefinable courage that causes us to take notice of exceptional people. Sometimes it is the way they treat children, or their desire to make people smile, or their strength of character that makes them shine a little brighter than the rest. And it is funny that we look for that characteristic in others, when we should be looking for it within ourselves.
So I guess my answer would be – you stand and fight for those who fuel your fight and follow you into the car crash.
And you leave those who dull your shine. Who don’t want to know your fight. And those who are threatened by your courage.