Saturday, May 13, 2006

She loves me ... she loves me not.

Every blue moon I like to leave the topic of politics. Today I would like to talk about love. Since more than half of all relationships fail, I certainly thinks is qualifies to fit into the theme of “So much trouble in the world.”

The other day I had Sunday brunch with my good friend Kathleen. She had just split with her boyfriend who was now living over three thousand miles away. It was this vast distance that in the end would split them up. Kathleen is about ten years younger than I am now, and still is quite idealistic. She is someone who very much wears her heart on her sleeve. I hope she never changes that.

We talked about how she was handling it all, and as we did she started to cry. It was very clear how much she was hurting inside. She was trying desperately to be brave, but the pain was too great to contain. It was difficult to see her so hurt, but there was also something really beautiful about it. The beauty of it was how much love she truly loved this guy with all her heart.

This conversation forced me to take a good look at myself. When I was her age, I was exactly like she is now. At that point in time, to call me a romantic and an idealist was an understatement. As a result, I found myself on several occasions heart broken and in great pain. The culmination of this came in my mid twenties when I was involved with a girl that I loved with all my heart. She was the kind of person who made the simple act of reading to each other on a train seem like the best thing in the world. However, all good things it would seem must come to an end. In that end, she betrayed me one too many times.

I decided at that point that I would consciously change myself inside. I remember saying to my old friend Rick that I was going to shut myself off emotionally. I would continue to see women, but I would never let them completely in. I had it all figured out. By doing this I would protect myself.

He wisely told me this, “You can do that Peter, and you are right … you will never really feel much pain. The problem is, good or bad, you will never feel anything at all.”

Of course, I ignored him and his good advice. As a result, I have spent the last ten years moving from one woman to the next like Tarzan swinging on vines. I can say with absolute certainty that for all this time I have never been hurt in the slightest. However, like Rick predicted, I have not felt anything whatsoever. It is a cold existence, which I do not recommend to anyone.

A few months ago I went to the funeral of my friend Rick. Cancer took care of him. As I sat there looking at his coffin and his weeping family members, I realized that I needed to finally listen to what he told me. The problem is that once you turn yourself off, it is not so easy to just turn things back on. There is no switch to flick. It is something more than that. Something I have not completely figured out yet, but I intend to try. Perhaps it will merely take someone very special to thaw me out again.

There is something really amazing about giving yourself completely over to someone. Trusting them with all your heart and baring your soul. It does leave you vulnerable, but there is a true beauty in that vulnerability.

Some people see that act as one of weakness, but they are wrong. Weakness is feeling the need to shut down. Weakness is running and hiding from life and love. When I look at Kathleen I see the old me. I see someone who still believes in love and trust. If I can, I intend to find that person again. I hope he is still in there somewhere. I am sorry Rick that it took me so long to realize how right you were.

Everything that lives
Lives not alone, nor for itself.
—William Blake


Blogger Dreamlover said...

WOW, I am just like your friend. It hurt so much when you feel pain but the happiness and joy you feel when it is good is GREAT!! I hope you find a way to open up your emotions again!!
Sorry to hear about Rick!! ;-(

I bet you your soulmate is out there waiting somewhere for you to come into their life!!

1:50 AM  
Blogger anne altman said...

my dad likes to say "the more shit you throw against a wall, and some of it will stick."

he also likes to say "just when you thought you met the biggest asshole in the world, you meet another."

neither really apply to your situation. however, it's good advice, right?

i'm tired of the opening up crap. i think i'm going to take a page from your old "ice water in the veins" book, and then when I feel like thawing out, i'll ask you how you did it.

love stinks yeah yeah

2:00 AM  
Blogger anne altman said...

actually it's "just when you thought you met the biggest ahole, you meet a bigger one."---don't want anyone to be confused on this point.

2:01 AM  
Blogger Charisse said...

Awh. thank you so much for the comment. your pup Look like a sweetie too.
How did you come across my blog, Only because I have a knitting blog. Do you knit?

2:08 AM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

Please don't take a page from that book Anne.

You are a very cool woman. You have a great sense of humor and from what pictures I've seen, you are pretty easy on the eyes.

To add to that, you are politically liberal.

If there is such a thing, I must admit I have a bit of a blog crush on you.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

No Charisse. I don't knit.

However, I do like pictures of cats. Mine got wisked away to Michigan while work is being done on my apartment.

I miss her a tiny bit.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Kora said...

Don't worry dude it is burried some where in all that hardness it has taken 2+ years and counting for my boyfriend to thaw out my cold dead heart. Yet here i am still trying not to feel anger or any emotion when people hurt him. But i feel like i must protect him from that pain. He found me as much as i found him. I am still trying to chisel out his heart that so many girls had condemned to a sever stoning (with rocks) it is so burried underneath it all that he is just now beginning to show me how much he really loves me. It hurts to feel again but the pain is accepted. I hope you find that one person that has the patience to deal with your hurtness. I am lucky that my patience with my boyfriend has lasted this long. A couple times i almost gave up but i stood in there for him. I know i am too younge to have a dead heart but let's just say that i started off early towards males....... Don't worry you will find that one or she will find you might take a while but it will happen. All things happen for a reason even if we don't know what those reasons may be for...

As an after thought check out my poetry... on Broken Poetry... Okay till later...

4:05 AM  
Blogger grumpygirl said...

peter, that was a really lovely post. made me swoon a bit.

as you know, i'm coming off of a sad break-up that's been hard to move past. i know it's time to move on, i just need that extra push. or a margarita.

(and you should have your blog crush on me, IMHO. i'm just saying.)

10:43 AM  
Blogger anne altman said...

alright, no kitty explains your deep post. not that you're not allowed one of those once in awhile.

i've got a blog crush on you too. i suppose that means we're in a blog relationship. i think it's goin pretty well so far.

don't you?

12:06 PM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

I do.

12:57 PM  
Blogger the fourth person said...

The First huge challenge in love is to figure out all the needs you can and should rightly fill for yourself.

The Second and perhaps more difficult challenge is to figure out what's left and then find the humility to let someone else fill them-maybe the hardest task of all.


2:35 PM  
Blogger anne altman said...

how about if i just sit on my ass and wait for the doorbell to ring?

-from the girl who on Halloween sits on her sofa high as a kite watching Lifetime and ignoring the trick or treaters

4:13 PM  
Blogger the fourth person said...


well, there is always that!


4:54 PM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...


Is that why this new picture file of you is titled "Baked"?

Next year I was thinking of handing out hash brownies to Casper and friends.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Wow. That was a very powerful post, I must admit. In all honesty, I hate that I'm always optimistic and I tell myself that this time will be different, but it never is. I sometimes wonder if I should jsut shut that part of myself away, but after reading this, I realize that I shouldn't do that to myself. I might be missing out, and that's the last thing that I want.
Anyway, powerful message, and thank you for the comment.

6:49 PM  
Blogger EmmaK said...

Interesting point. I guess I can relate to you shutting down after getting badly hurt. I had a relationship years ago, where the guy treated me badly and I shut myself down and had transient closed off relationships for years ... but you'll find that at some point you will find someone who just makes you feel. And you'll start feeling again. That's what happened to me, anyway:)

7:14 PM  
Blogger grumpygirl said...

ok, feeling really jealous. thinking maybe i can be your real-life crush.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Kora said...

You all have such great insight to life... Great job you all. Yes there are some poeple that will just make you feel whether or whether you want to or not. I believe sometimes some one just needs a huge hug and a big cup of coffee. Also a really good chat to talk about anything that comes to mind sometimes that is one way for a person to figure out a problem with a relationship... Take chances and live a little much funner that way....

9:06 PM  
Blogger sj said...

you know, my marraige to some may seem silly, because we lay awake at night and think of our prehistoric nicknames.

but without him, i would be a fraction of the woman i am today. (literally- because i've gained like 15 pounds since we got married.)

it's never too late to find your loveasouras.

10:50 PM  
Blogger anne altman said...

peter, you don't knit?

5:17 PM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

I don't know how, but I can give it a shot.

If you would like one, I could try to make you a warm sweater or a soft blankie.

7:12 PM  
Blogger geeksters said...

That was beautiful.

Good luck thawing.

8:18 PM  
Blogger whipcreamy said...

anne loves blankies. in fact, she loves to rub blankies over her face and say meow meow luff my blankie meow.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

That sounds kinky.

I'm on my way to the yarn shop.

10:08 PM  
Blogger anne altman said...

what a yarn!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

I speak the truth.

I tell no tales.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

4:13 PM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

I never was a very big fan of “The Great Gatsby”, but I seem to remember someone who was.

That quote is an interesting one. It can be interpreted in different ways. I remember my English teacher Caroline Berry taught us one interpretation.

Sometimes our desire to overcome the past is futile. We attempt to move forward against the current out of vanity and pride. However, in the end our drift backwards is inescapable and often naturally determined.

Strangely enough, it is also the epitaph inscribed on Fitzgerald’s tombstone in Rockville, Maryland.

I was more of a fan of classics like Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. Like Lenny, I have sometimes found that I hold on too tightly to the things that I love the most.

I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. ~ W.B. Yeats

2:07 AM  
Blogger Shadowspun said...

All of you are being so literary. I wish I could be. Instead, from the stitcher in me (Dealer's choice since I've stitched both):

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much.
Think Deeply, Speak Gently, Love Much, Laugh Alot, Work Hard, Give Freely and Be Kind.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Peter Matthes said...

Don't worry Shadow. You are doing just fine. I like "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much" and "Give Freely and Be Kind"

These are cryptic messages of a personal nature.

10:40 AM  

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