What do you do when there isn’t anyone to miss, when no one from your past matches the possibility of what’s to come in the present? Songs are songs, memoires are simply memories and the places you once visited with the person you spent time with are no longer haunted. What if what’s to come means me, dancing solo at the party arranged by fate for the evening of my life? I asked myself if this dramatic scenario would be ok and I nodded in all gratitude that it would. This is not to say that I plan to be alone, but there is no part of me that another can fill, no void, no proverbial stone left unturned, I’m simply whole. With this revelation I feel that something more grand and beautiful can happen. Everything that two complete people feel can be enhanced, if they make the choice to tango, resulting in more happiness, more acceptance, a sharing of the wholeness and if that’s not magnificence wrapped in recognition then I don’t know what is. We all have love in different forms, I’ve written about here so I won’t reiterate that, but what if it doesn’t take two to tango? What if the dance that’s the most important is the one we’ve been learning solo since the day we began walking, finally memorizing the steps?
Many of the people I know can’t go to a particular place or listen to a song without thinking of the person that they had once been with. I’m ok with that. If someone from my past had introduced me to say, a new song, I’m thankful for it and interestingly, the memories associated haven’t been painful. Reading a lot of books by social anthropologists and loving the theories when it comes to levels of dopamine and chemicals in the brain released when we’ve met someone, a part of me wonders if I’ve really been in love or was it just a science? I think my heart protests and speculates that I haven’t been hit with the most giant of darts from Cupid’s arrow. I’ve nicely dodged it saving myself a lifetime supply of tissues and anti-depressants, but as a writer who feels everything so deeply I’ve probably done myself a great disservice. Love is the essence and core of all creativity and I’ve had some fantastic adventures with it. I’ve definitely loved, but in private. Strange? Perhaps.
At eleven years old I secretly loved a boy named Arthur that lived down my street. The only time he knew I existed was when I was on a swing in the park going so high, certain it would impress him, until I flew off landing into someone’s rosebushes. I would dismantle my ponytail faster than the SIS when he would walk by, flapping my arms like a crazy bird saying hi and tripping over my toes. He’d give me an odd look and go on his way. His mother must have noticed my creepy googley eyes and invited me to his birthday. Wow, I thought to myself. Arthur loved me too! After a week of eleven-year-old romantic montages of the two of us roller-skating, having a mud fight and sharing candy, I told my mother I should stop wearing ponytails. The following Sunday, I put on my best pair of shorts, a Hello Kitty tee, brushed my hair sans ponytail and showed up at his house. He answered the door hesitant to let me in saying, “ You’re invited? Why?” I was shattered and immediately fell out of love when I saw that he was so entertained by a zombie movie. What was it called again? Dawn of the Dead I think. How could his mom give us pizza the same time some blue zombie was chewing on someone’s arm? I shrugged and went back to roller-skating at warp speed, spending my allowance on Fun Dip, Baseballer’s Gum and forgetting about zombie loving Arthur, happily embracing the ponytail again. Maybe it’s easier to love your family and friends because they are a safe bet. Maybe loving a complete stranger means I have to put my heart on a silver platter with a glittery dagger.
Hanging in my office, I have a large, colorful painting. I had created it when I was a hopeful teenager, in a style I had liked to call abstract deconstructivism. (I was a pompous ass back then) It was of a girl handing over her heart to a boy she loved. Just like that, here you go, she gave it to him. I suppose when you’re filled with sweet hope and haven’t had the corners of your heart torn it’s easy to remain a passenger of destiny and as I got older I very assertively took over the drivers seat. I smile because a boy I once loved years ago, and at times still do, told me something I’ll never forget as tears gently fell down his face when we broke up, “Minelle, life is so circular, what cannot work now may work beautifully tomorrow.” It’s poetically haunting because he said it with all the love he had for me and every time I see my painting I am reminded of how he willingly handed me his heart when I was so reluctant to give him mine.
I do believe though, that you have to be alone for a period of time to know how to solidify the relationship that you have with yourself. The lifelong inquisition into your own human condition unveils with so much ease in moments of quietude. Meditation, contemplation and appreciation are the three fundamentals that have been successful for me; it would have been terribly hard to work towards being a self-sufficient whole without them. Every time I close my eyes and connect with myself, I discover a deeper perspective of being and feel such joy that I have yet to find the words. That’s when I knew that my own company satiated me, there’s a real soulful solace in that. What I do know for sure is that when you reach this point, it’s not the end. It is the beginning of being whole and opening your heart up to a very different, permanent kind of love because all the idiosyncrasies that held gravity are no longer valid. The love is purely unedited – a person is stripped from all vanity and the surface is a textured passion, a real connection. The possibility of dancing alone or anticipating what’s to come now becomes equally exciting.
I used to think love was lame, that it meant weakness and vulnerability, but now I know it’s allowing yourself to trust someone, knowing they have the power to crush that rawness but wouldn’t. I’ve understood that I enjoy my own company and mostly prefer to tango alone but I also know that I am capable of great love, the kind novels are written about, where your heart is artfully dancing outside of your body, exposed and unaffected. After all, the writer in me wouldn’t settle for anything less.