These rivers of suggestion are driving me away
The trees will bend, the cities wash away
The city on the river there is a girl without a dream"
Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe, from "South Central Rain"
I think, as I look back, of the heavy leaden boots I wore over my emotional Converse tennis shoes all through my teens and early twenties. It's as though the boots were magnets for spacecraft, intended to help me with weightlessness. When the weightless moments came, everyone else was floating so high, and my boots kept me anchored to the hull. I love that way that the smallest moments of fluidity and grace now occupy separate mansions in my mind. I can attend filmstrips at cinemadromes of good memory, playing out on massive projectors, tickets free at any time. I think these moments of remembered rapture, though, obscure the day to day reality of never quite fitting in, and never quite wanting to fit in. I don't regret the choices that I made then so much as wonder that I could have been so rigid. In theory, eccentricity should give one a certain laissez faire fluidity, but for me, following rules I had set became much more important than exploring freedoms. I was always the strongest believer in dogged loyalty, for example, but with hindsight I wonder if I did not let dogged loyalty transmogrify into simple doormat-state. I spent some seven years of my younger days waiting for someone who was not on the incoming bus. I even knew that someday the bus would stop, the passengers would disembark, and I would be alone. My theory was that if one accepts the futility of one's effort, then one can deal with the emotional fallout.
My shoulder is arguably enriched from serving as a place for someone to place her head and cry about other men, but I wonder at myself, just a bit, being willing to stay in that situation. But perhaps it's a good discipline to learn--one's own desire for something is not enough, loyalty is not enough, and kindness is not enough. One must have something more, and whatever that something might be called (charisma? sex appeal? the spark?), mine was lacking. Later, when I recall the years after that phase of my life had passed, I think of missed opportunities and strong hints ignored, and wonder if the scorching one gets waiting patiently in the fire doesn't numb the senses just a bit. I had been scorched, and I was not particularly interested in burning again. I'm glad my life is in a different place, now, as those earlier times were difficult.