As I close in on my 84th, um, I mean, 48th birthday, I have to ask myself, what is the problem? Huh? What?
I've been fairly successful at a variety of avocations, done some pretty good art, made money in business. Like a kid bored of his toys, I've set each down in turn in favour of "people." People and the relationships that arise from interacting with them are a great source of drama, humour, trial and tribulation. The fact is, though, that they don't get me and, well, I don't really get them. I mean, I do get them, but I don't understand why it has to be so complicated. I blame the smaller brain - I guess being a Braniac is my ultimate downfall.
Spent the last year working past my singing problems (stopped singing for five years as I was getting sick after every rehearsal) and getting back not my old voice but a new one, with a little more power and control, actually, less range but more expressiveness and versatility. Unfortunately, I have no one to sing with, or for. My old band-mates are off doing their music thing - I got invited to "guest" but declined because I had a job, divorce, child . . . I heard this, "I warned you about that day job shit. Why do you bother?"
Performance was like a drug for me. I can't quite explain it, but those of you who have done it well, will understand. You step forward to the mic and the world disappears. You can be standing in front of god-knows-how-many people and they are simply not there. Everything that's in your soul pours out of you through your instrument. To me, it's more sexual than sex, with the intensity of a ten-year-old on Ritalin. There are certain tunes that I can't do because they break my heart every time I try to perform them and I have to stop mid-way. I know the lyrics and the music, but it's not a mechanical experience at all. The performer becomes the channel for the emotion behind those words and notes and that can be devastating. And it's an addictive experience. Even after I stopped, I could never set aside that base need to perform. And I recognize that my most successful periods came when I was not in a relationship or when I discounted a relationship in favour of art. It's as if all of my creative energy is emotional and when I use that for art, there's none for people and vice versa.
People can require a lot of energy. I mean, a lot. I used to have a different attitude, called destructive by some, in dealing with the vaccillations of the Others. There's a problem, set it out and resolve it. Yes, easier said that done, but, God, why all the drama? And then, I would lose my patience. Now, I'm more tolerant, in part because I realise that others are very tolerant of me. But, as you performers out there well know, there's the factor of the Groupie Syndrome. This is what that is: a person will adore you, think you are a god, as long as you're performing, but when the lights come down and you're busy picking your nose or you're not attentive or you're busy practicing, their illusion is disturbed and that's the end of that ticket, ain't it. Why can't you be this, why can't you be that? Because I'm not, okay - deal with it. Uh-oh, another one bites the dust. That's not what people want to hear. They want love songs, nothing but love songs.
Unfortunately, there has to be an Edmund Fitzgerald and All Along The Watchtower every so often and, in life, actually that's mostly what it is. There will always been some tension in a relationship, at least in a relationship that has life in it. Just like a good movie keeps the tension at a certain level through to the end, and sometimes after the credits rolls. Like an anticipation and the afterglow.
I have a girlfriend who is, by my estimation, rather wonderful. I love her, I really do. But sometimes, I just want to use Jedi Mind Control on her. Yes, I know that there's this and that problem, that I hardly ever see you and I barely talk to you and you only rarely now talk to me through e-mail and we spend 99.99% of our time thinking and talking about our "relationship." Okay, so I don't agree with the facts exactly. In the past, I would have fought for those facts but now, I listen and try very hard to truly feel her "lyrics." Clearly, it's of critical importance to her, so I must make it critically important to me . . . or I will lose her. Nice - an in-built "basic" that I missed in Relationships 101. It actually does not matter whether I'm right, she's right or it's somewhere in-between. What matters is whether I want to accept who she is and what she's saying. After all, she has given me her heart as a gift, which is a big deal in of itself. It wouldn't matter if I didn't want it. I want to make her happy. At the same time, I know there's a limit to what I can do, given my f*cked-up life at the moment. That doesn't mean I will stop "selling" myself to her, trying to get her to hold on just a wee bit longer.
In turn, I know that she, like every other People, has limits. Those limits do not take into consideration my limits and are generally, I have found, not accepting of who I am. Simple as that. I find myself adapting and accepting and not seeing that in return. Why? Because there's a sense of entitlement and obligation that's mostly one way. I've given you my hear, why can't you be everything I want you to be? Because, Lady, I'm not and I never will be. I yam who I yam. You are who you are. Can you not accept me as I accept you? And if you can't, why do you keep torturing yourself and why do you keep me hangin' on?
I'm not angry. I'm not upset. I want to a) please you and b) be happy with you. That's all I want. You've explained yourself pretty well, I feel. I have told you, perhaps eight dozen times, that I (we) will get to where it's better (not perfect) eventually. When will that "eventually" be? I dunno. I've already known you for a year and what's happened in that time frame? Plenty. Plenty will happen in the next year to come. And sometimes, I think you've had enough.
Look - I'm no idiot. I know that my girlfriend wants what every Red-Blooded American Girl wants: Leif Garrett. In other words, hearts, flowers, sunsets, walks on the beach. Would I like to deliver that? Sure - it's an opportunity to express my caring in the way she wants to see, hear and feel it. And, no, it's not too much to ask. But that's hardly the point. She will likely not accept that my life events are part of who I am. She will likely find that increasingly distasteful, even when things begin to improve. Why? Because it can happen again. That's right, folks, the logic of history does not come into play here. And that's my fault because I started something during an abnormal time, sucked her in and now, by virtue of that malpractice, am obliged to "do the right thing." Which, I will, only, not today.
I've said to her that even I'm tired of my own drama. It's enough already. I just want to live. Just to go for a Sunday drive to nowhere or somewhere, to watch a friggin movie, for godsake, to go food shopping with her, like I see so many other couples do. I don't want to talk about "our relationship," I just want to have it already. I know she wants the same thing, hence, the endless laments and deep sadness, beseeching me to make it better. The callous, asshole-y side of me wants to point out that there's no Bactine for these kinds of issues. The sweet, warm and fuzz-loving side of me wants to hold her tight and tell her that it will work out. Neither is entirely true.
In the meantime, I see the gears whirring in that womanly skull of hers. Is this worth it? He's always late, he never manages to schedule time with me reliably, he is barely intimate with me and we never do anything because he's always showing up past the babysitter's bedtime. He's forever tired and stressed out, broke much of the time and moody. What I really want, she's thinking, is Leif Garrett. Or Tom Cruise. Or, heck, even Colin Powell. What do I love here?, she ponders. His potential as a good mate. But, what about now? Right f*cking now?
And she's right and I know she's right. And that's why I can't trust her completely. Just in the sense that if I allow myself 100% emotional invicititude that she will, in no short amount of time, simply decide that there must be someone else, someone better suited to her needs. Of this I am sure. So, I remain close, but not that close, because I already love her too much. More than she can understand. Because she gives me the "heroin" of performance, that very same feeling of the world falling away, of oneness with the moment. "I just want you," is what I hear as sound coming from her but what I also hear is "or someone like you who may have different features but is principally similar in at least a preponderance of points but who differs in affective aspect as well as base functions regarding libido, appetite, personal finances and general social skills." So, I get it. I'm working on it. But don't do me any favours, either. If you're going to break my heart, get it over with. I have enough tsouris as it is.