One of the most best parts of this excursion so far has been the time spent with my friend Lindsey.

I met Lindsey my Junior year of high school, when she came to audition for one of my plays. With my ass having been kissed by pretty much every theater student in my school throughout the auditions, I didn’t take well to her gushing adoration of my previous year’s work. I told her so, and she backed down immediately in horror, at which point I realized she was serious. Still, I didn’t give her much credit. She’s a buxom, good-looking girl, and I had trouble seeing past that. Then one day, she made a reference in passing to Pazuzu, which showed she knew its Sumerian origins, and had picked it up from a book, as opposed to merely having watched The Exorcist several times. It was at this point that I realized she is far more than I had taken her to be. We became great friends.

One of the most remarkable things about my relationship with Lindsey is that we never dated, and never will. I asked her out once, when I was still getting to know her, but she realized before I did that we’re much more suited to a brother-sister relationship, and turned me down. It’s peculiar. We both readily admit that we find each other very attractive, we can (and do) talk for hours upon hours, have gone to two different proms, and stayed at each others’ places until well past midnight on many occasions, and nothing has come of it. We talked about it today, and both came to the conclusion that we can’t think of each other in any sort of sexual way; there’s just too much else tied to our mental conceptions of each other, that it’d be like dating a sibling.

One of my big problems has been reconciling my desires for physical and emotional relationships. I have an all-or-nothing tendency: either the relationship is intensely physical, and leaves me feeling like a cheap husk of a person, or else it is so precious and emotional that I am loath to damage it in any way by bringing physical desires into it. My first relationship lasted the better part of a year, and we never kissed — I was afraid to do so, because I was unsure of how I felt about her at the time. I didn’t want kiss her without meaning it. It would be like lying to her. My relationship with Erin was similar. I would be unsure of my feelings, and would withdraw, playing an endless game of hot/cold, because I didn’t know how to talk about it, or get past my insecurities. Sometimes the relationship was good, and everything fell into place. Other times, not. This just led to a million problems and contributed the eventual downfall of the relationship. I couldn’t bring myself to fully commit to things, and eventually broke it off, because it was making both of us intensely unhappy.

Lindsey’s looking like she might be in a similar situation with her guy, where she feels like he has only one foot in the waters. We talked about it a long time. We have similar dating histories, at times seemingly swapping places back and forth
as to where we were in our lives. What we decided is that every nasty thing that we’d done or seen someone do, every irrational, angry argument we’d gotten involved to, was all caused by someone being hurt. We both knew people who had been so massively neglected during their childhoods that they just became an emotional vortex, leaving behind a trail of broken hearts and confused partners, until they got it out of their systems. Their insecurities hurt one of Lindsey’s boyfriends, and he hurt her in turn, and she turned around and hurt other people, after their relationship was over.

The only thing to do is to be comfortable with yourself. Try not to fly to anger with anyone; instead, try to understand their situation, and extend them sympathy. Understand the roots of your rage and hurt, and focus on those instead of their symptoms. Learn to forgive yourself, love yourself, and heal yourself. Then forgive, love, and heal the ones close to you.

All easier said than done. Nobody’s perfect for long; achieve nirvana one day and you’ll be knocked out of it the next. The surest way to ruin a marriage is to assume that you’ve worked out all your problems with your partner, having reached a pinnacle state of matrimony, and never address things again because it’s shameful to have problems post-marriage. Life is endless work, and all too often just a cycle of hurt and pain, but you can win. Just refuse to play.