Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Joys of Love

Sunrise over Bay Bridge, San Francisco, CA
I am learning happiness. Better late than never. It's not that I have never been happy before, far from it. But being happy when everything in ones life is perfect is no accomplishment. Those who can't be happy when all the signs are right are deeply flawed, I think. What I am teaching myself is that happiness does not depend on external circumstances; it grows from within. It is the result of seeing and appreciating all the beauty that surrounds us no matter where we are both in a geographical sense and in our minds and hearts, and cherishing it. Strange as it seems, I am falling in love with my life - because it is mine.

As most of you know, Flip is the love of my life and he suffers from a dreadful disease which has stolen him from himself, and from me. I visit him every day to honor who he was and the beautiful relationship we shared, and to offer him such comfort as I can. But I am still fully alive and able to enjoy all the things that gave me pleasure before I knew Flip and when we lived together. He would not want me to lose my own capacity for joy, to spend all my energy mourning his fate. Of course I do mourn it. Terribly. But I am also grateful for every smile that comes my way, for people who make me laugh, for the kindness of both strangers and loved ones. (Sometimes they are the same people.)

When I was a child I read a book called "The Story of 100 Operas." Aida was my favorite. I thought it terribly romantic that as the heroine's lover, Radam├Ęs, is sealed in his tomb, she leaps in at the last possible moment to die with him. I was eleven. My ideas of romance have evolved since then, and if I were to relinquish the things that bring me happiness, it would be like leaping into a tomb alive.

I am not a religious person but I am spiritual enough to believe there are still things for me to do for others and myself. Otherwise, I would not still be healthy and capable. As a child I didn't think I had any value, so perhaps that is why I was so willing to throw myself into another's grave in the name of love. Life has taught me that love involves helping others and that my life, like everyone's, is special and deserves to be honored by living it as fully as I can. This will not involve dancing on tables in bars (for those who wondered) but simply being fully present in every moment and trusting that even though I can't control most things, life works out as it should. For each of us. So as long as the possibility of surprise exists, I'm in.

"The joys of love are but a moment long,
The pain of love endures a whole life long."

Plaisir d'Amour

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Help! Need Drone Missile

My first boyfriend has written an autobiography, bursting with hubris. He tells all about everyone, including real names.  What is more, he has sent it to everyone he knows, many of whom are people I know, too. Needless to say, some of us would like to lynch him. I have spent hours on the phone with his sister whom I adore and whose relationship with a Very Famous Person is being offered up as well because the writer, and I use that word advisedly, seems to believe it bestows fame on him, too. He is all about fame and fortune without ever having earned either. Still, he seems to think he deserves it simply by virtue of his (sorry) existence. Much of the book details all the women he has bedded even though none of them is famous. He could easily have changed their names but despite having no moral or ethical principles at all, he has taken a stand on the integrity of his narrative which dictates that the names be scrupulously accurate.

One of the particularly sordid stories is about a woman he knew in medical school who got pregnant and for whom he procured an illegal abortion. He did not spare any concern for the effects of this situation on her life, only his own. He also declined to change her name because she hasn't asked him to. His sister asked how she could make such a request if she didn't know about it. He had no answer, which did not seem to trouble him.

He even portrays his parents, who were utterly fine and delightful people, in a bad light while being inordinately proud of his illustrious ancestors on both sides of his family. I think those ancestors are all spinning in their graves now.

He has also sent his manuscript to every online publisher he knows, and since he has published political essays in the past there is a chance someone will accept it. I am hopeful that the bad writing and obvious insanity will preclude that possibility, but he has already done considerable harm by disseminating this disgustingly arrogant piece of offal.

I know we're dealing with extreme mental illness but he is cutting a very wide swath, hurting everyone whose life has ever intersected with his own. I don't believe he does this in anger, yet for an intelligent man he is profoundly obtuse. He seems incapable of understanding that he doesn't have the right to violate other people's privacy, but then how could he? He considers everyone either useful or not useful to him and does not recognize that they have independent lives and sensibilities. He has the emotional delicacy of a tick, and ticks are notoriously hard to squash.

I unfriended him on Facebook but it seems so ineffectual compared to the rage I feel.

Whatever happened to the idea that a gentleman does not kiss and tell?