Gingers and Math Professors and Bhagavad Gita, Oh My.

Y’all. Something is up with Oregon. I mean aside from triple-decker man buns, obsessions with microbrews and whiskey, and wannabe hipster bro-boys. I’m talking about the ridiculously high ratio of gingers to the rest of the population. At least, I mean that’s at least a thing in the dating pool. Not that I’m complaining; some of these gingers are smokin’ fuckin’ hot. (Uhm. Maybe most of them. Which is weird, because as an aesthetic, I was never interested in gingers. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of ginger flavor – ginger beer, ginger snaps. But ginger boys? Too…pale. Oregon is changing my mind.)

If you stacked all of my dates up on a weirdass live human bar chart, the tallest bar would be gingers, by far. (This is not intentional.) At one point, I may or may not have been casually dating three gingers at once. One of them was pretty simple, but funny and wild as hell. Another of them was a super country libertarian boy (yeah, I passed pretty hard and fast on that one). The third was fucking brilliant – this weird dichotomy of former military and current anarcho-philosopher turned psychotherapist with a fucking PhD. Oh…was he yummy. Lemme tell ya… Too bad he was emotionally inaccessible and a bit of a sociopath.

Last night, I had a date with yet another ginger. A math professor. Yep. Another weilder of a PhD. (No, stop picturing a 65 year old in a tweed blazer with elbow patches. Fuck, I just planted that image, didn’t I? Stop picturing it!) Shy and awkward over text. Funny, witty, and deep in person. In between covertly checking him out (holy shit – since when do nerdy geek boys lift??) and getting coached on how to play pool, I was alternately laughing my ass off and diving off into deep conversations about math, the universe, string theory, self, other, the Bhagavad Gita, and Eastern Philosophy. With wild fucking abandon. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that rocks my socks.

We did a bar crawl – my first ever, I think – and drank. A lot. Well, my a lot is just a little compared to seasoned drinkers. I don’t drink often. So, the two jumbo-sized ciders and the sangria had me in orbit. (Oregon makes sangria with wine AND tequila, y’all, at least at rooftop bars in college towns. My name is Stephanie, and I approve this message. (That fucker also came in an oversized, don’t think you can call that a pint glass anymore, pint glass.)) I wasn’t wasted – those three drinks were spread over about three hours – but boy, I got spirited and (only slightly) wobbly.

We walked it off, then looked at the stars. Man, there’s so much less light pollution in that little town than where I live. It was glorious. We listened to Irish folk music and Ravi Shankar and had the deepest conversation I’ve had in ages, punctuated with sass and smartassery, crude jokes, and ribald laughter.

It was incredible.

That charming, brilliant, Irish bastard.

And it’s almost a 100% certainty that I’ll never see him again.

Why? Because out of this abundance of gingers, only one of them has been interested in more than a single date (see simple but wild boy – and he’s not in it to win it, either). And it seems the smarter and more philosophically inclined they are – ginger or not, but especially the gingers – the less likely they are to be interested in anything even remotely serious.

Unfortunately, what dating is teaching me is that my interests border on the fucking unattainable. If the guy isn’t a deep thinker, I’m not interested. If the guy can’t banter, I’m not interested. If we can’t talk until 4 in the morning (yep, last night was a late one) about anything and everything, with no filter, I’m not interested. If we can’t enjoy comfortable silences, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about him, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about me, I’m not interested. If conversations are about things or people, I’m not interested. If conversations aren’t about ideas and thoughts and philosophies and weird little eccentricities of self and universe, I’m not interested. If I’m not laughing until I’m doubled over in pain, I’m not interested. If he isn’t a little….wild, rough around the edges, I’m not interested. And every. Single. Motherfucker. That I’ve met that has those qualities – the ones I AM interested in, are “ethically non-monogamous” or “polyamorous” (welcome to fucking Oregon) or strictly interested in an “FWB” or “NSA” situation (yeah, I’m learning a lot of fucking acronyms lately).

And it feels strangely like the longer this carries on, the less interested *I* am in something long-term and serious. Sometimes I think I’m *too* fucking adaptable, because I don’t want to compromise my personal convictions, the ones I have just for me. But at the same time, I don’t want to go back to being a complete and utter hermit, either, afraid of the opposite sex and what they do or don’t want from me.

Dating is nice. But it’s also terrible and unpredictable and scary. And I’m fucking sick of it. And also wish I had one tonight. (Oh wait, I did. But after the stellar night with the Jacked and Ginger Buddha, there’s no way I could meet this other guy. It would have been a soul-sucking exercise in tedium. So I canceled.)

See. If I don’t even know what the fuck I want, how can I expect others to know what they want? I mean. Every time someone does want something serious with me, I’m the one that’s not interested. I “don’t feel a connection,” or something on that laundry list of elusive but critical qualities is missing. I’ve totally ditched boys for lack of banter. And I just ditched one for lack of depth/connection. I don’t wanna talk about tv shows and YouTube political commentators all the damn time. I wanna talk about Plato and Buddhism and Experiencers/Enlightenment. Fuck those fucking gingers for dangling that fucking carrot and running off because they wanna be deep…with a shallow girl.

Fuck those fuckers for making me think it’s possible, because there’s no way in fuck I can settle now. I know what’s out there. I’ve known it for a long time, and I’m just getting it reinforced now and then. (Don’t get me wrong, most of the people I’ve been on dates with are horrible. I have some horror stories to share with you people! But sometimes…the veil is parted, and I get a glimpse of what could be. And I know…fucking. I know, I’m not digging too deep or searching for something imfuckingpossible.) So fuck those guys…and thank those guys.

Fucking gingers.

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Dance Me to the End of Love (In Another Life)

Alone in the dark, you found me.
You said you were waiting for me,
Or someone like me.

Alone in the dark, I found you.
You walked out of my dreams.
And sat at the corner table in the back.

You looked so lonely, but you weren’t alone.
Music kept you company,
Lady Sennheiser singing in your ears.

Roulette Dares
Turning Kind of Blue
In Bliss from Visions of Johanna

I recognized you;
You recognized me.
Our fates were meant to collide.

The scent of rain infused the air.
On a wet sidewalk, glimmering under streetlamps,
We shared a kiss that stopped time.

We fucked on the sofa,
Made love on the floor,
And merged our souls beneath the stars.

You were my soul’s delight,
My heart’s desire,
My mind’s welcome torment.

Our passion unrivaled,
We fused into one.
The universe looked on in awe.

But it wasn’t enough.
I couldn’t compete
With the life you already had.

Our demons clashed,
Our souls in torment;
We wept more than we laughed.

But I can still hear your words in my ear.
They keep me warm at night.
I’ll meet you, my dear; I’ll meet you again.

In Another Life.

Achieving You

We weren’t supposed to connect in person.
It wasn’t supposed to be the same in the corporeal.

I was supposed to be a troll.
You were supposed to be superficial.

We were both supposed to be inarticulate and uninteresting.

Your touch shouldn’t have been so electric.
Your body shouldn’t have shuddered at my caress.

Your kiss shouldn’t have transported me to another realm.
My eyes shouldn’t have drawn you into another universe.

I was supposed to be too afraid to let you touch me.
You were supposed to be too repulsed to try.

But Darling.
My Darling.

It’s you.

You are my love.
You are my soul.
You are my heart.
You are my completion.

And the pain is something we must endure in order to experience such depth of beauty.

I hiked 12 miles and broke my foot
To experience some of the richest, most fulfilling beauty of my lifetime.
And I would do so again.

I ached for it.
Fought for it.
Cried for it.

I had to achieve it.

You, my Love; you, my Darling.
I hope I’m achieving you.
I want to achieve you.
I need to achieve you.

Achieve me.

This.

This incredible thing.
This reality of realities.
This is real.
And should be.

But we must endure.
We must achieve.

Stay with me.
Stay with me,
And I will wait for you.

An Alice in Chains Kind of Day

Do you ever feel alone?

So. Fucking. Alone.
So. Fucking. Hopeless.

I shouldn’t be listening to Alice in Chains. I shouldn’t have Layne Staley’s beautifully haunting voice in my head this morning, mirroring my mood. Feeding it. Fueling it. Strengthening it. But it’s an Alice in Chains kind of morning.

I was up too late last night. I took my meds too late. So, though I was quite exhausted, I had a hell of a time getting to sleep. Then one of my cats, the Orange One, decided to go dumpster diving at various times throughout the night. You see, I thoughtlessly left the giant sack of cat food accessible to the cats. I had no idea that the Orange One would bypass his food bowl in favor of climbing up onto the bag and eating out of it instead. That loud crackling, crinkling racket coupled with his munching woke me up no fewer than three times in the night. (Yes, I moved that bag first thing this morning.)

All of this led me to oversleep this morning. Of course. Which fucking sucked, because I had to skip my shower. I like to take one every morning. Helps me feel clean (First World water consumer right here) and is equally important to help me feel awake.

So. I’m “hoping” that those factors combined are why I feel so…subdued…today.

The alternative is far more upsetting.

The alternative is that in spite of the meds and positive changes in my life.
I’m beginning the downward spiral back into a depressive state.

It’s been a while since the slow creeping venomous vine of depression bound me in its grip. Where it cuts and burns and squeezes and binds. Until it enters every orifice and spreads within you like a slow, painful death.

It has hold of you now. You hack and hack and hack away at the vines, but they’re stronger than you are right now. Because the venom of the vine seeps into your body, into your bloodstream, into your very consciousness, into your soul. And the venom?

Lies. Cruelty. Darkness. Hopelessness. Suicide. Worthlessness. Fatigue. Loss. Pain. Malaise. Apathy. Despair. Anger. Hatred. Loathing.

The venom is insidious. But you’re in no state to fight it.

Depression is what we call it.

We want to fight it. We want to break through. We want to break free. But it’s not always so simple, is it? Sometimes it’s simply time. To be depressed.

I hate being a Depressive Person.
I hate having Major Depressive Disorder, Clinical Depression, Bipolar II, PTSD, GAD.
What. The. Fuck. Ever.
Whatever it is. Whatever the labels.
I hate it. I don’t wish to feel this way. I do not choose to feel this way. I do not enjoy it.

But in a strange way, I can at least be thankful.

Thankful?
Thankful.

Because it’s only for the darkness that I’m able to see the light.
If all of my life is spent in sunshine,
Do I recognize it as sunshine?
Can I appreciate it if I don’t know that darkness exists? What it looks like? What it feels like?

If all of my life is spent in darkness,
Can I appreciate the sunshine?
If I don’t know that the sunshine exists,
What gives me hope? What reason have I to persevere? To keep hacking away at those vines?

Perhaps I need the depression.
Perhaps it tempers me.
Perhaps it reminds me what is real.
Even as it tells me lies about myself.

~

Sometimes it’s the very things I hope for. The very things I cling to. That shift my sunshine into the darkest of nights. Perhaps I want too much. Need to much. Ask too much. Expect too much. Perhaps I am my own undoing.

~

I want to live a life apart.
I want to escape civilization.
I want to damn expectations.

I don’t give a fuck about elections.
I don’t give a fuck about money.
I don’t give a fuck about fearmongering.

I have zero fucks for celebrity.
I have no interest in things.
I am sick to death of working for the man.

I don’t wish to spend my life rotting in front of television.
I have no desire to tour the den of lies that is Washington, D.C.
I have a big, fat fuck you to societal rules and norms.

Fuck your McMansions.
Fuck your things.
Fuck your self-righteousness.

Fuck your racism.
Fuck your xenophobia.
Fuck your nationalism.

Fuck your ownership.
Fuck your entitlement.
Fuck your judgment.

~

John Muir is My Hero

I want a companion.
I want to explore the wild.
I want to take the road less traveled by.

I want to learn.
I want to question.
I want to observe and absorb.

I want to immerse myself in different cultures.
I want to meet and embrace the other.
I want to see life through your eyes.

I want to hear your perspective.
I want to feel your soul.
I want to reach into you and bathe in your essence.

I want to get lost on purpose.
I want to relish the adventure of finding my way again.
I want to discover the untamed beauties off the beaten path.

I want to make love on a blanket of grass under a sea of stars.
I want to run naked through a meadow of wildflowers.
I want to cleanse myself in unpolluted waters.

I want to giggle for no reason.
I want to belly laugh until it hurts to breathe.
I want to spend hours simply making faces at each other.

I want to have deep, tangential conversations until three A.M.
I want to make a pillow fort and sit in our underwear and tell ghost stories.
I want you to see me and let me see you.

I want to smoke a joint and tell stories in the middle of a rainforest.
I want to wash my face in snow melt and move on.
I want to walk the cobblestones of an ancient city, then get fucked in a dirty old stairwell.

I want to be loved unconditionally.
I want to be allowed to love unconditionally.
I want my quirks to be appreciated.

I want you to see my tears as beautiful.
I want you to let me kiss yours.
I want to live inside your soul.

I want to live.
I want to love.
I want to be free.

~

The problem is: I don’t think this is too much to ask.
I think: This is the reality that people have been brainwashed to not see.
I want: That which is truly real and meaningful.

And when I don’t have it.
When I can’t have it.
When I am denied it.

I sink.
Down.
Down.
Down.

Into the depths…
Of my mind.
Of my desires.
Of my aching lack.

Want me.
Need me.
Love me.

Adventure with me.
Learn with me.
Challenge me.

Show me something I’ve never seen before.
Let me show you things you’ve never seen.
Let us carve our own reality.

I’m waiting.
I’m wanting.
I’m ready.

~

Is this too much to ask?
I think not.

And you know something?
I feel better already.

A (Temporary) Departure

Sitting in the airport
Waiting for my flight
The one that will take me
Back far away from you

From the top of the country
I’ll return this day
With a heart so heavy
But so full of you

I blame you fully
For how I feel

You welcomed me warmly
Showed me your life
You made my heart skip
And stole the breath from my chest

So it’s your fault, my dear
That my pulse has quickened
And I want to flee the airport
Come running back to you

Just a few more things to tidy up
And I’ll be back before you know it
This is the flight that takes me away
Soon I’ll take another, this time to stay

Want to Need to Want You: An Essay on Love as a Need

February 14 encroaches with its thundering storm of love and lust and capitalism and shared venereal diseases. But I will be indisposed over the President’s Day holiday, which comes directly on the heels of VD Day. (That’s VD for Venereal Diseases for those in the know.) (Welcome to The Know.) So I’m gonna talk about L.O.V.E. today.

I don’t mean love in the way someone says:

  • OMG I just LOVE those heels, girl! You must tell me where you got them! Hashtag YOLO!
  • Dude, this chicken is divine. I would totally LOVE it if you’d left out the cream cheese.
  • I LOVE Bonobo. Like totally LOVE Bonobo. The music gets me high.

No. I’m talking about Love as in Eros. Merriam-Webster defines Eros as such:

  1. The sum of life-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs (as sex), as sublimated impulses motivated by the same needs, and as impulses to protect and preserve the body and mind – called also life instinct.
  2. Love conceived by Plato as a fundamental creative impulse having a sensual element; erotic love or desire.

I also consider the nature of love is more than emotional/sensual “feelings.” Love is a verb, meaning it requires attentive action toward your partner. And despite what many believe, it does require effort. If you’re not willing to put forth any effort in your relationship, then can you truly call it love? I think not.

(P.S. The concept of Eros deserves a post all its own. Psychology fascinates me, and Eros is no exception. If you’re into psychology or the inner workings of humans, I suggest digging in.)

Note that I placed emphasis on certain words in those definitions. Chiefly need(s). For that, my dears, is what I’d like to discuss today: Love as Need. How Wanting your Lover becomes Needing your Lover.

Some people believe that love (and desire and lust and passion and psychic/soul connections and all that goes with it) forever remains in the realm of want. I disagree. Strongly.

Love in an adult relationship between two unrelated, attracted adults, certainly begins as want. (I’m not going into polyamory. I’m discussing this from the perspective of a monogamous coupling.) But as it progresses, if in fact it progresses from strong connections and compatibility to a mutual desire to become long-term partners, your love for one another should certainly still be a wanting. But I will argue that it also becomes a need. And I don’t mean need in the way some perceive it as this negatively connoted cloying, whiny neediness. I mean need in the way that you finally reach the stage where your want becomes so strong that you need your partner to fulfill your wants and needs.

Most people who give the concept of need serious attention and thought, only go so far as to consider the physiological needs of humans (and mammals in general): air, water, food, shelter. While these are critical for survival and must be met first, human complexities include more than just physiological needs. These may be the only ones necessary for survival, but we need more than that to be fulfilled and live lives worth living.

Countless studies have shown the importance of interpersonal relationships, communities, families, intimacy. Consider infants. One simply cannot dismiss their need for love. I could cite study after study on the nature of childhood development and the effects of love upon said development. Parental affection is critical for most infants to become well-rounded, healthy members of society as we know it. Children who are deprived of love are wont to develop such afflictions as social anxieties and depression. They often have difficulties relating to other human beings in acceptable ways and develop issues with trust and self-worth. These are proven facts. Children need love. Parents who provide for the physiological needs of their offspring but withhold love and affection are psychologically damaging their children.

We, as humans, simply require more than our physiological needs met.

Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds

In order, he places physiological needs as the foundation of human needs, which of course is inarguable. Once those needs are met, we move into safety needs (adequate shelter and clothing to protect one from the elements and predation). But take a look at what he places next:

Love and Belonging. Here, Maslow argues (and I adhere to this psychology) that friendship, intimacy and family are requisite for social and emotional stability. Otherwise, as previously discussed, we are neglected and ostracized, which typically develops into severe depression and other psychological problems.

Now let me place this into the context of a long-term monogamous relationship.

Real Life Shit

I do believe in soulmates. I do not, however, ascribe to the notion that there is only one person in all humankind that can fulfill your own personal needs of love. There are billions of people on this earth, and while we will never meet even the tiniest fraction of those billions, rest assured there are many people out there who are capable of fulfilling your love needs.

But while in a monogamous relationship, the person with whom you shared a mutual attraction and wanted to become your lover…that person is the one whom you’ve chosen to fulfill your needs. I do not argue this in a toxic way. I do not argue this as a way to say, “Well, I fucking need you, so you have to put up with whatever I do to you. However I treat you. I don’t have to do a fucking thing to actively love you, but you have to stay because I need you.”

No. That’s bullshit. And anyone who argues such doesn’t understand the responsibilities inherent to love and interpersonal relationships. Failure to acknowledge those leads to neglect and psychological abuse, which in turn may lead to feelings of ostracism and depression. That is not love. And if your relationship ever reflects such neglect, then your partner is no longer fulfilling your needs. And now you must decide whether you want another to fulfill those needs.

So if I say, “I need you,” I am declaring to you that I’ve chosen you to fulfill my personal needs.

I want to
Need to
Want you

And that will remain true so long as we want to fulfill each others’ needs and actively demonstrate our love.