Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"It's not a trick, your senses all deceiving.
A fitful dream, the morning will exhaust.
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra, lost."

"Alexandra Leaving". A Leonard Cohen song-- Leonard Cohen, as in "Hallelujah"-- that I got into several years ago, right around the time I found out that the Shrek soundtrack's version was not, by a longshot, the first version of Hallelujah. The timing was good, for my discovering it. A song about a woman having an affair, falling in love with a man and about to leave her husband, all except more about it from the husband's point of view-- his somber, somewhat self-deprecating inner voice, perhaps-- I first heard it when I was falling in love with Chad, despite Jeff. It went right into a playllist labelled "infidelity" on my MP3 player, along with Robbie Williams "If It's Hurting You" and "Le Tango De Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge.

In those days, I used the music to crystallize the feelings. Basted myself in them. I don't know why I thought this would help, but I got a lot more writing done than I have lately. Easier then, I suppose, to let myself sit in the things I felt-- passing teenaged drama, and I must have always known that in one way or another.

I used to see movies where the female lead was some love-scorned survivor who no longer possessed the ability to open up, who had to be slowly won over by the hero of the film, patiently and strongly. Saccharin shit, like a Backstreet Boys song. I used to think how stupid it was, didn't believe it. I guess I was judging every woman by my own experience, thinking "What woman would fight falling in love?"

Answer: Any woman that has before. That's what I didn't get.

I was open to love, always, consistently, because I never was. I was open to love because I'd never been in love before, and I'd never been in love before because I never really was open to love, if you can see the tainted logic.

There's something I want to say here, about self-sabotage and self-esteem. About one cause creating one effect through two means. About choosing to be with people I loved very much, but also people I knew weren't going to be too sought after. Did I hone the skill to see positive aspects of someone's personality that other people would look over so that I'd never be forced to doubt myself? Or am I lying to myself to think that I ever chose at all? Is the question what would I have done if someone who was competed for by the opposite sex showed interest in me, or is the question about why they did not?

It's very hard to say all this without feeling like I'm insulting my exes, so I almost offer my apologies. But I'm sick of this shit-- not writing because of people's feelings, not writing because of people's perceptions of me, not writing because of my fucking inlaws. I'm getting pretty close cracking on all of those issues, and I care about fewer people every day. Those of you I love, you should know that. Those of you who I don't love, well, I think I've made that pretty clear, too.

I guess it's not really insulting to just those people I used to be with. I wonder, fairly often, how much of my love for Zack is influenced by the lack of deal-breakers. From Feast of Love (Slow, indie-movie fare, by the way. Wait for it to come to video, unless that's really you're thing.), "A lack of disqualifiers is a rare and beautiful thing." People ask me how I knew I was in love with him, from time to time, and I think my most common answer is that with everyone else I'd ever been with, and just even just people I'd spent a lot of time with, there was always, eventually, some action, some behavior that I knew I couldn't stand for the rest of my life; there was never anything like that with him. Maybe love, "true love", is something that starts happening when you meet someone, anyone, and keeps going until it hits something that stops it. Maybe kismet is just not ever finding something about someone else that makes your skin crawl.

"Amie", by Damien Rice, is playing now-- the playlist is just the twelve or so songs I actually payed for on iTunes. The strings in this song are amazing, I always hoped Casey would listen to it. Certain people almost never take my music suggestions. Seriously, anyway. Now, it's an episode of House. Paid for three of those. I'm skipping back to "Alexandra Leaving" so I can find some charming way to wrap this up, all neat and tidy, in a way that's satisfying to the reader. Always thinking of you, I am.

I was thinking earlier that it doesn't have to be a song about infidelity. I mean, it does, but if you're exceptionally good at being obsessively self-centered-- and I am-- you can find another intepretation. It can be a song about losing yourself. I guess every song about infidelity is, though. It's interesting, how, so often, it's something you get involved with in order to find yourself. How so often, it's not until you've gotten really determined to find the parts of you that you feel are gone that you do the thing that really causes loss.

For me, anything close to infidelity-- and I won't say there's nothing close to it-- is about finding my sexuality. Making sure it's still there. Five years of associating sexual encounters with my husband with pain and more pain, five years of wanting and's just easier not to want, I guess. It's really easy to believe that I'm frigid-- a word I too often hear echoing at me now, a word I hate. There are people who remind me that's it's just a word.

"Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving."

I'd been spending some time with one of them lately, and more time thinking about him. Enough time, in fact, that when he wasn't available for a few weeks and I found myself treking up to Orono to see the other one, I had the ironic thought that I was cheating on him. I'm not past the guilt about Zack, but I manage it with a very precise and respected line and excessive, almost cruel amounts of honesty. I tell him everything I have the slightest inclination to, and he's aware that he has the option to know more, know everything. He knows the reality of the situation, or what I've accepted as the reality: that I'm falling. That I'm grasping at what I can.

My day in Orono was nice-- I got treated to a wonderful meal at a fancy restaurant in Old Town with a gorgeous view of the river that served bread with this incredible butter-- but far too appropriate for my wanting. Still, going up to Orono with the goal in mind that, just for one moment, I'd feel that tangible reminder of the girl I was when I liked who I was-- or was closer to being able to fake it-- I couldn't help but shake the feeling that being with one of the men who serve as means to such an end was betraying the other. That if I was with him again, he'd know...I don't know, something damaging to his ego. And I think I believe his ego is the only reason he hangs out with me, anyway.

I guess it came true, without it having any reason to-- Haven't heard from the other guy since, though. Guess I'll have to live out my days getting my thrills from good bread with expensive butter. Say goodbye to Alexandra, lost.

On with it.