Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Your Self

It's difficult to watch younger women tormenting themselves over love.  I try to help if there's an invitation, otherwise I don't have the patience to listen to their complaining for very long: the truth is, it's just too plain painful because I was once that woman.

I can't tell you how many times I had to put my life's work on hold while I went through a crisis over a man.  The drama is well documented in my journals.  I can go back through them now and see the pattern: I'd be making progress on my writing and then I'd fall in love and Frank or George or Ringo or whoever it was would suddenly announce that there was something about me focusing on him the way I did that made him nervous -- and he would start to pull away.  With the love taken away, I'd fall into a depression.  Every time.

At some point, as I began to mature, I realized that I couldn't go on like that.  I'd have to figure out how to love myself.

But how do you love when you don't know how?

Well there were a few tricks that worked, and one of them was this: 

One night, I was driving in the car, all alone, tears streaming down my face, I can't even remember why, and some insipid love song came on the radio and I thought, "How stupid is that!" and then suddenly it occurred to me:
"Wouldn't it be funny if said those things to myself!"  
What if I sang to my own self: "I wanna hold your hand" or "I saw her standing there" or "I need you"?  and just the thought made me laugh out loud.  For a long time after that, every time I heard a sappy love song I would sing it to me and laugh.  And so, little by little, as I learned to laugh and I practiced loving me, I began to feel better.

It's great fun!  Go on and try it!

Try this one, by Leonard Cohen, except that every time he says, "I'm your man" you say, "I'm your Self":

If you want a lover
I'll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I'll wear a mask for you
If you want a partner
Take my hand
Or if you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I'm your man

If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I'll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver
Climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
I'm your man

Ah, the moon's too bright
The chain's too tight
The beast won't go to sleep
I've been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep
Ah but a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I'd crawl to you baby
And I'd fall at your feet
And I'd howl at your beauty
Like a dog in heat
And I'd claw at your heart
And I'd tear at your sheet
I'd say please, please
I'm your man

And if you've got to sleep
A moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I'll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while
Across the sand
I'm your man

If you want a lover
I'll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I'll wear a mask for you

For my picture, I chose the photo we snapped one day of the Crapi Apartments across the street.  Sometimes you just have to look around yourself and laugh.

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