Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Theory Of Devotional Equilibrium

My mother is your typical woman that sheds too many nuggets of wisdom. Most of them seem unnecessary until it hits you squarely in the face one day. Bugger. But there's this one thing she said that have always haunted me: "When you choose to be with someone, you have to make sure that he loves you more than you love him."

It sounded so unhealthy that I didn't know what to do with it. I did what every rebellious teen-ager would do -- unabashedly ignored it. And yes, I did regret it. I went around wearing my heart on my sleeves completely unmindful of the cuts and bruises that it garnered along the way. It wasn't until the final and worst blow that I made the conscious decision of becoming more selfish with it. Nursing it back to health was no mean feat, after all. Ever since then, I learned to love with my head. I only allow my heart to speak when the head has given it the green light. To love with the heart had always been my downfall -- it blinded me and it weakened me.

It sounds terribly cold, I'm aware, but let's simply consider it as my defense mechanism (one of my many). Contrary to popular belief, I'm quite a simplistic person. Whenever I care enough for someone (may it be family, a friend or a partner), I will give them my one thousand percent. No question. But what I learned the hard way is that to say that I don't expect anything in return for would be hogwash (or ferocious naivete). Not that unconditional love is the Holy Grail; it does exist -- but simply, it is reserved for the most unadulterated and noble cases.

There is that old adage where people claim that love is a two-way street. And it is. However, it was never designed to always be a fifty-fifty street. There are times when one gives more to the other; and likewise, other times would warrant for one to take more than the other. But when something as infinite as time is involved, this balance may either evolve or diminish. More often than not, I'm the one that ends up giving more as I have the tendency to get more attached (and I'm not sure if this is a product of me being of the Y-chromosome). I've never been one to count stock, but when the gap between efforts start becoming glaringly obvious, that's when I begin approaching a screeching halt -- and I very rarely look back.

If I have to plot my usual progress in a line graph, I tend to start at floor-zero with a very slow but steady upward movement. In my past experience, all my counterparts have started from the opposite, which is a perfect hundred -- with a lethargic decline through time, eventually hitting a plateau. In an eventual turn, our lines will cross and we will sit on a happy equilibrium. I am more than content with plateaus as long as it's on a level that I can work with (with the occasional spikes along the way). But once it dips below what is reasonable or once it stagnates -- and especially if it experiences a steep nosedive -- then I pull myself out.

To pseudo-quantify devotion like that is terrible, yes, I know. But for my mother to tell me that I must find someone who loves me more than I love him -- it is basically her telling me to find someone who has the capability to love me on a more or less equal footing to the kind of love I will be giving him in the future. Because I work on an inversely progressive direction, in the perfect world, we will eventually reach the halfway house. And perhaps, if happily ever after does exist, we may even achieve that. But of course, that's another thing worth pondering for another day. I haven't quite gotten there yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's The Little Cracks

Somebody wise told me before that people are no better than Bisque Dolls -- just as fragile and just as breakable. Although it takes quite a bit to completely fragment it, every little crack that it acquires will contribute to it at the end.

As people, we are not strangers to resilience and adversity. It's part of life, after all. An old adage claims that we only become stronger every time we fall but it fails to mention the fact that the strength only stems from the jadedness it comes with. Because of these tribulations, we learn pretty fast to put up walls around us to protect us from getting hurt again -- thereby mistaking it for strength. Perhaps it is strength. The kind of outside strength that we draw energy from while we're still repairing ourselves from deep inside.

There's nothing wrong with keeping the walls around us while we recover. But we must also know when it's time to bring them back down brick by brick.

We're all broken somehow. But what counts is how we mend the cracks -- no matter how long it takes us to do so. Like Bisque dolls, it isn't impossible to put us back together again, but there are certain areas that take a little more time to fix. And while it's impossible to get restored back to our original forms, we make do with what we have and we learn to live with our scars.

And then we will realize that we are just as beautiful despite them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Forever And A Day

Forever is probably the biggest word I've ever encountered. It's a concept that stretches far beyond my wildest imagination and I don't blame anyone who claims it to be a myth. It might very well be. But I surprise myself by realizing that I may actually believe in such a thing -- despite everything else inside and outside of my life.

I've had the unfortunate experience of having to hacksaw a person very close to my heart recently; someone that I've leaned on heavily for a decade. It was like getting rid of an important limb. It was severely painful and difficult to do. The indecision plagued me for months but I had to do it. We thrived on everything that was unhealthy -- battered self-esteems, irritating berations, regurgitated arguments, passionate yelling matches (short of throwing plates at each other), subconscious indifference and even juvenile name-calling. It was incredibly exhausting having to live through that over and over for ten years. Our relationship suffered an unnaturally long and agonizing death.

Despite all that, I still believed once upon a time that I was meant to be with him forever. A little naive, I know, but we clicked in more ways than one -- a rarity especially for me. Our fundamentals were solid. And funny enough, they were pretty much the only things we never argued about. Our philosophies, mindsets and beliefs flowed with each other like water from the pitcher's mouth. It was almost mind-blowing. For the longest time, they were the glue that kept us together in spite of the glaring differences in our lifestyles, personalities and interests. I thought it was enough. I had always been ready to take the good with the bad. After all, forever surely could surpass the little things, couldn't it?

Well, it didn't. The breakage in the little things eventually led us to our downward spiral.

To be fair, there were also the natural wear and tear of relationships that everyone goes through. And we were in a very difficult position to mend them as sturdily as most people do. We patched everything up with poorly chewed gum and willed them away. We were very good at ignoring kinks even though they constantly crept up to us. We figured that there were more important things we had to focus on because we had so little time to spend with each other. But these kinks -- they were powerful enough to gnaw two people apart. They clung to us like leeches and they unwittingly bred exponentially. And neither of us saw it coming. With everything that we've weathered together, I was confident that we were as strong as anything can be. But I was wrong. What didn't kill us only made us severely exhausted. And it reached a point where everything just became irreversible and unfixable.

With that at the back of my head, it just made forever sound that much longer. Surely it didn't have to be that way. But the thought of releasing one of the few anchors in my life and exposing a massive vulnerability for the cosmos to pounce on didn't bode well with me. However, there comes a point in our lives when we have to let go of good things in order to rid ourselves of the bad. Some call it sacrifice, I call it liberation. I had to set him free in order to set myself free. It was a trade-off I was willing to make because I love and respect myself that much. It's a simple case of self-preservation. I could no longer afford to lose more of myself to darkness.

My failed attempt at forever doesn't derail me from my faith in forever though. Just because I haven't reached it yet doesn't mean I'll never get there. And just because I may never get there doesn't mean it isn't there. And I need it to be there. I need it there because I need that one ray of hope that might assure me that I won't have to get hurt again. And that maybe, just maybe, it's all right to fully allow myself to be engulfed by someone else again. And to submit to that kind of surrender can never be achieved by the finite.

Unfortunately, there's no real way of knowing if forever does exist or not. After all, none of us can last that long. But to live believing that everything good will have to come to an end, I would live a very guarded and mediocre life. And life's a pretty damn long time to be lived like that.