or, Foist Your Pain Upon Others
- I hope I ruin you for all other women, so that you'll never be attracted to anyone but me.
- That's a horrible thing to say. After you've dumped me, don't you want me to fall in love with someone else and find true happiness?
- No. I want you to pine over me forever.
- Even after you're married to a famous Japanese jazz musician, or Leonard Cohen, and expecting his child?
- Yeah, you could come over to babysit and gaze at me wistfully while I get ready for the opera.
- I'm deeply in love with you. None of the guys you sleep with could ever share that. I know it.
- But that's not the point. I don't want your love crap. I want to feel good. I want my body to be excited. I want to lust after someone and then get him.
- Oh no. This is the total breakdown of everything I believe in.
- Transformation is always based on destruction. It is. You'll feel better after you transdestruct yourself. You just have to lose all these things you're hanging onto. And then you'll be free.
- That seems like a lot of painful, difficult work. I don't know if I can bear it.
- I'll help you. I'll destroy everything you're attached to - all your childish delusions, your desperate need to feel special, your naive hopes. I'll wipe it all out, and you'll be reborn, as some kind of lonesome, death-defying samurai warrior.
- I do want to be free, you're right. I hope I can escape unscathed. Right now, I'm addicted to being with you, and your body is stuck in so many different parts of my brain.
- Love is dead. Just be alive and horny. Try to get laid, and be unafraid. Don't hide. Have sex with everybody.
- I can't do it. I'm too ugly and shy.
- Shhh! You're just making excuses for not trying. There are lots of people out there who want to have sex with you. It's natural. You just have to give in, and stop being so neurotic about it.
- Can't we just be together? I could have sex with you, and be in love, and everything would be easy.
- No way! You have to fuck strangers, and be aggressive and triumphant, or else become a monk. Cut off your penis. Or use it. Attractive women are waiting for you to come inside them.
- That's a good marketing slogan.
- Just do it. Evolution is a party. Your instincts know what to do. Get yourself off.
- But I'm no rapist. I'm a hider.
- You're a hider, but at least you know what you want. That's the hardest part. Once you have that, all you need to do is get it.
- Oh no. Don't be sad. Go back to sleep.
- I want to, I really do. But I'm having bad thoughts. I feel angry and helpless. I want to confront people about their flaws, the ways in which they've insulted me and let me down. I want to set them an ultimatum, by which I mean that they should either change their behavior, or else I'll eject them from my life. I'm very serious about this, please believe me. Anger and frustration are eating me alive.
- You need to go to sleep.
- I need to let go, so that I can go to sleep. But there's nothing to think about, besides these problems, and the dissatisfaction and emptiness of my future. I'm fucked.
- No you're not. Just go to sleep. See, I'll show you how.
- I'm an absolute failure. Nothing good is ever going to happen to me. I can resign myself to that. Maybe I'll get a job teaching troubled teenagers, or go back to school and learn how to repair refrigerators. Or become a cop and help the community. A person needs to have some kind of direction in life. Otherwise all that's left to do is get drunk, watch tv, and masturbate. And none of those activities ever leave you with anything to be proud of.
Being on antidepressants can sometimes give you a comfortable buffer zone of indifference, which greatly enhances modern living. For example, while listening to a girl you are dating complain that you don't love her enough, you might suddenly think,
- I know what she means, and I'm sad about it, but I don't feel really bad.
Her pain remains remarkably separate from you. In fact, even though you feel a fair amount of sadness right now, if you leave and find something else to take up your attention, you'll probably feel okay. On the other hand, this detachment makes you feel guilty and untethered. You think to yourself:
- Something is wrong, otherwise I'd be feeling worse.
She says she wants to break up with you, because she feels that you don't love her enough. You say:
- I want you, you're my friend. I love you.
Which is true. But the real issue is just around the corner from there:
- You don't feel any desire for me.
- That's not true! I love having sex with you.
- But you could do without it. You don't really want me. I can tell. Sometimes you're just being polite. And it makes me feel shitty.
- I'm sorry. It's not your fault.
It's true - you don't feel any desire, really. Or do you? You still want to fuck women you don't know. But you generally don't even masturbate very much - maybe three or four times a week, at most.
She's standing, waiting for you to say something else, but also smart enough to know that it won't make a difference, and too strong and collected to cry. Though you're pretty sure she'll cry later, in her studio apartment, when she's by herself. The idea almost makes you cry. Suddenly you realize what you're supposed to do: You say,
- I guess we need to break up. I can't feel the right thing, and anything less is making you feel bad.
It's difficult to let go and stop shielding yourself, to stop trying to be a good person, to admit that you don't love this pretty, smart girl you've been sleeping with, to realize that you're an asshole, that you've hurt her, when all along you were pretending to yourself that you're innocent. Now you're the bad guy, and admitting it is a ploy in itself, because it absolves you from responsibility.
Your bowels start to cramp up, suggesting that you go to the bathroom and release a spray of poisonous diarrhea.
- I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do.
- I know.
She's so gentle and strong. You start to fall in love with her again, or realize finally that you do love her, but that it doesn't make a difference, because you still won't desire her in a self-negating, narcotic way, and she's insulted. Your stomach keeps coiling, hot fluid gurgling in the small intestine. Yes, you do love her.
- I don't regret anything,
she says, wistfully, and
- I had fun with you.
Now your fear of abandonment starts to assert itself:
- Maybe I can call you some time soon?
- What for?
She seems genuinely curious.
- To be friends,
Then you've hugged, tightly, and she has walked away without looking back, while you stand around dumbly, feeling a real human emotion - sadness. You start to cry, there's the reverse-swallow feeling in the throat, and you want to cry, but nothing really comes out. Still, the clear, meaningful, cleansing feeling of loss stays for a while.
Then it fades, and you start missing her, in a vague, paranoid way that isn't strong enough to make you want to call her (which would be a bad idea), but also doesn't go away.
You watch television for a while, until your brain starts to itch, and the muggy, passive laziness becomes more tiring than numbing.
Nobody can tell you what you should do to make your life worthwhile, because there isn't anything. Some things, like love, or sex, work for some people, or occupy their time while they're trying to find something better. But the rest of us are fucked, fucked, fucked.
- I'm really sorry about everything. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.
- I know.
- But I couldn't help it. My life just gets out of control. I don't know how the things I do affect other people.
- It's okay. I'm getting over it.
- That's good. I knew you would.
- I mean, it happens all the time.
- I guess. Well, talk to you later.
- Okay. Bye.
- I'm sorry.
- I still love you. I really do.