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Alone amidst the crowd…

November 7, 2010

Sometimes, even among friends, there is a sense of loneliness and desolation that grips me… silence, pulling me close in a choking embrace, stills my vocal chords and I am taken outside of myself – there I am floating a few feet from reality, watching the human drama unfold, and I see myself barely able to open my lips and utter a few inane words. I am there, and yet not really there… I see, I hear, I sense, but I don’t feel. Or maybe, I feel so much that the only way to stop myself from being swept away by a tide of unseemly emotions is to distance. To escape.

Years pass, and still, the theme is always the same. Escape. What is it inside me that drives me to run away, to seek cover, to pull on my boxing gloves and feint an attack – everyone sees the wide smile, and so few notice the brimming eyes. As the years pass, the disguise only gets better… and the grip on reality less tangible. I used to question myself, to understand what I was escaping from – now, I run away because that is all I seem to know. To hide is to be safe – from hurt, from loss, from being attached.

I asked myself a long time ago, in a verse entitled ‘Of numerous loves’, which kind of love was greater… and I have yet to find an answer. The older I get, though, the less likely I think it is for me to find that one love where I see myself as an equal.

I give… and I cannot change that. I just find myself incapable now of personalizing that, of establishing a connection where I feel entitled to receive. I give now, freely and without expectations – more accurately, with the expectation of detachment. Trust is so alien to me now… be my friend, my friend’s friend, but do not expect to know me. Ask of me what you want, and need, for the moment – you will seldom be disappointed. Ask me to reveal myself to you… and before you know it, like the fish diving for deeper waters, I’ll be gone.

Today, more than most days, I found myself escaping – into my mind, and out of reality. I found myself questioning my worth, the value I bring to my friendships… and it’s no surprise that I came up short. Some people bring solidity, some bring adventure, some warmth and others humour. Some just hang on – and that’s what I was doing, I think.

It’s days like these that I miss my old friends, the ones who know my masks from my reality, who see through my pretenses and whose generosity of spirit makes them love the flawed, fractured mosaic that is me. Friends with whom I don’t have to be hot or cool or any other temperature – I can just be. And it’s days like these that I miss dad the most – where I knew, no matter what, that someone cared enough to make sense of my world and hold it all together, to defend and protect me at all costs. I feel stripped & defenceless now, have felt so for many years, and the only escape is inside me.

I miss you papa… everyone has an agenda, and I find myself woefully ill-equipped to handle it. I am trying so hard to be rational & to cultivate detachment… but I am what I am – my heart is laid out for all to walk on, and I bleed just a little every day. I have gotten so much better, though, at pretending that all is ok… at pretending my wounds are healed. And then along comes a day like today – a casual conversation, and I can no longer delude myself. The curtain is ripped, and I can barely hold it together through the evening. But I must. So, like a good soldier, I squared my shoulders and did the best I could to hold it in till I stepped back into the house. I miss you for you who were… and I miss you for who you thought I could be……

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