Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Little Boy With The Glass Heart

I would wax poetic and say that there's a little boy running around inside me waiting to burst free, but even as a metaphor that sounds a little awkward and fairly disturbing. However, the image itself does fairly accurately portray my regular state of being. My inner child doesn't have as many chances as he'd like to get out these days, and I'm trying to make sure he gets his fair share of attention, lest he should grow up (few things on this earth terrify me more than the idea of my inner child growing up). The trouble with having an inner child with so much innocence and excitement ready to explode at any given moment and take over my entire being is that, well, sometimes at any given moment he explodes and takes over my entire being.

The thing I've realized as I grow older is that, rather ironically, I'm looking for a playmate. You can build a sandcastle by yourself over and over again and it can be satisfying, it can be fun, it can be just dandy, but the waves will always come and wash it away. A playmate doesn't stop the waves, but a playmate helps you rebuild your castle quicker. And, if you're really lucky, the playmate will help you make the most of the ocean's phlegmatic destruction of your castle and start obnoxiously splashing water in your face till an imaginary and epic beach battle of Normandy-esque proportions breaks out!! (I apologize if any of you needed a dictionary for that last sentence. But I just learned myself that "phlegmatic" is a word and was dying for an excuse to use it. Having said that though, I'm still not going to define it for you).

This is not meant to discount the important values we learn as adults regarding our relationships with one another. We have to make sacrifices to keep people in our lives, we have to be responsible, we have to show up, we have to be strong when we may not feel so strong, and we have, above all, to be loyal. I'm not speaking about marriage, family, and eternity per se, but I am speaking of love. Love isn't always strong enough to make those things last. Sometimes it fades, sometimes it changes shape, sometimes it grows. It's a fickle thing, love is.

I've been officiating weddings for awhile now, and when I was writing the sermon to one of the more recent weddings, a profound and disturbing thought occurred to me: I'm a fraud. A complete and total phony. I've never been in love. So what right have I to get up there and talk about love? Who the hell does this clown think he is, anyway? Thing is, and please forgive me my vanity here, I'm really good at writing it. People have come up to me after each of the ceremonies and complimented me on how I took the unique personalities of the couple and blended them into a succinct sermon on the virtues of love and loyalty (and when they're religious ceremonies, how I also blended in relevant scriptures and beliefs without sounding preachy or boring). More often than not I'm complimented merely on the fact that I delivered a sincere wedding ceremony which took everything very seriously whilst managing to make them laugh at the same time. (Thank God none of them knew at the time that I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, eh?) 

My ceremonies and sermons come from pure faith. Faith that love is real. In the same way that I don't actually know that God exists, I certainly cannot say that I know love exists. I've just never had the privilege to experience it. (I've had relationships, but in the end I think people who've been in love know damn well that they've been in love. Those of us left questioning it - probably not). After officiating a few weddings though, I would've been been made a believer even if I hadn't been before (and I had been before. I can't deny that I'm a sickeningly bleeding-heart romantic to my core). At the second wedding I officiated I saw a look in a man's eye the like of which I'd never seen before in anyone's eye. Call it what you want, but at that moment I saw love, I saw life, I saw beauty, I saw purity, I saw God. But the most beautiful thing about it was that I saw God in the eyes of an atheist. Everything on his face told me that every ounce of him belonged to the woman standing before him. And I believed in him. And I believed in them. And I believed in love.

Doesn't say much for me, however. I can believe in love with extreme conviction, but that doesn't mean I believe it will come to me (Now, now, don't roll your eyes, I only mean that I prefer to make no assumptions as to whether it will or not). When I talk of a playmate I mean that both literally and figuratively. I like to climb trees, I like to walk silly, I like to make weird sounds, I like to hop up onto benches instead of walking on sidewalks. I do things adults are not supposed to do, and I need people in my life that are okay with that. But for a lover, she'd need to be more than okay with that. I'm not saying I expect her to jump into the trees with me, but I would at least like to look back on a smile when I do something excessively silly for no reason other than to amuse myself. But if I should want to dance in the street, or sing a silly song, or start reciting Shakespeare in the middle of Union Station, now that's where I'd like a little participation. It's not like I do these things at weddings or funerals, but walking down the street I'd like to think that deep down I have a little more abandon than your average and exceedingly boring "grown-up." I shudder at the thought. 

There is, of course, the rare occasion that I meet a woman who makes that little boy in me leap right out of my throat, punch the adult me in the face, and tell him to go sit in the corner. Sometimes I meet women like this who seem like they might just appreciate that little boy. Sometimes they start goofing off with him and he can barely contain his excitement. The trouble is, the real trouble is, that this boy has a glass heart. His heart is clear and absorbs the colors around it. Whatever is in his heart can be readily seen by anyone. And, worst of all, this heart breaks easily. So he'll hear the call of some silly woman who sounds like she just might want to play, he'll leap out, run full force, and then SMASH! Sorry kid, wrong playground.

I've tried to teach him to walk before he runs. But that's been an uphill battle. Overall I've never been a fella to let his passions run free. In part I have anxiety and timidity to thank for that one. But even so, because I am in fact an extremely passionate person, I have to hold back a lot of emotion, namely a lot of sadness and a hefty surplus of anger, a good amount of the time simply so that I don't make anyone around me experience the unpleasantness. So when my more positive and potentially productive passions do get sparked and that fire in me starts to burn, it is extraordinarily difficult to control it. I meet a woman who lights that fire and I just want to immediately share everything with her, from the philosophical thoughts in my head to the horrible puns I enjoy, the ridiculous gifts I like to hand make to the wining and dining including of course a ballet or symphony. (Ya know, stupid shit like that, bro). This has always caused me problems because that excitement is often quite unattractive to the fairer sex, and then the boy gets his heart cracked if not shattered. Conversely there have been a handful of occasions where my passions were sparked by the wrong person and by the time I realized it, I had someone who was very attached to me. And, God help me, If there's anything I hate more than getting my own feelings hurt, it's hurting someone else's feelings.

I try very hard to learn, but how do you teach your emotions anything? Emotions react how they're going to react to any given stimulus and there's just nothing you can do about it. It is your subsequent actions that you may be lucky enough to have some measure of control over. As for myself, because I'm prone to depression, it's never an easy thing to have those giddy boyish feelings sparked only to have to immediately pull the reins and hold them back. Children don't know patience. How many of us stayed up late into the night anticipating what we were going to get on Christmas morning? The adult in me usually knows when a situation is plausible and when it's not, when it's appropriate to act and when it's not, and if I'm thinking especially clearly, whether a female in question is actually a potential match or if she's simply another lovely person with a good sense of humor who sees me as just that and nothing more. Well, it's never an easy guessing game with them lady folk. Especially when you've got this pesky boy in you screaming, "Oooh! Ooh! Someone to play with!" right alongside a horny teenager shouting, "Finally, someone to get naked with it!" not to mention the adult saying, "I'll bet she'd make the hard days easier," and at last the grumpy old man sighing, "She'll still be beautiful when we're tired and gray."

Ah well. Good thing about having a glass heart is that if you know how to blow glass you can repair it fairly easily. But that doesn't make the cracks any easier or the breaks any smoother. And in case you're wondering to yourself why I wrote this, no I've not fallen for anyone, and no I've not been dating anyone. But I have met a few women fairly recently who have to a degree made that little boy in me jump like an idiot. Unfortunately the adult in me has had to hold him back, killjoy that he is, for now. Of course, by posting this I'm circumventing my own better judgment, because hey, somebody could see this who shouldn't. Not to mention the fact that bleeding hearts don't tend to attract strong intelligent women (the kind what make this heart bleed a little more profusely). But hey, one of the reasons I write this blog is for the very sake of confessing the intimacies of my idiocy. Remember, I am an idiot, after all. And right now, thanks to the fairer sex and my ridiculous reactions to them, this idiot is indeed full of sound and fury.

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