There was pop and a sudden searing sensation as the hot dog released its juices into his waiting mouth. The sun overhead was relentless, like the needle on a sewing machine, it imposed upon his bare arms and his cleanly shaven face with unnerving precision. His hair was too hot. His clothes were too close. He stood some feet away from the vendor, near a tree. The tree was decorated mostly with old shoes. It provided little in the way of shade or holiday spirit but he liked the idea of it. The idea that simply by changing ones’ shoes you could become someone else, you could take a different path, you could discover an entirely new mode of being.
The hotdog left him feeling vaguely queasy and not altogether satisfied. He licked the mustard and ketchup from his fingertips and threw away his soiled napkin. If only it were so easy to throw away blame. His wife blamed him for a great many things that hadn’t worked out in her life. She couldn’t cope with the loss of her youth, with the loss of her beauty (according to her), with the fact that he looked ten years younger than she did even though they were the same age. He wasn’t entirely sure how his youthful appearance offended her but it did offend her greatly. She was jealous now. She hadn’t been jealous at the beginning of their relationship. He was just as loyal but for some reason she didn’t believe him anymore. She was, to him, still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, only now she was angry most of the time.
He fingered the bishop in his pocket, it was all that remained of a chess set that his grandfather had given him when he was a child. It was his good luck charm and whenever he felt something uncomfortable he held it between his fingers very gently to ground himself. He’d never really developed an interest in the game but he could remember playing with the pieces much the way another boy might play with toy soldiers or superhero figurines. The bishop in his pocket was made of dark wood and his caresses had worn it very smooth. As he stood there wondering precisely when he had lost his enthusiasm for life his eyes fell upon a red pair of Converse sneakers suspended from the tree beside him. Good condition. Right size. He took them down and exchanged them for his own shoes.
As he walked around the city, in his borrowed shoes and his borrowed identity, he felt more like himself than he had in years. His whole life had been a myth. Love. Success. Beauty. It was all just an elaborate social hoax, a game of chess, a caste system which split the world into the haves and the have-nots. He was technically on the winning side. He loved his wife, however she felt about him. He had a job. He was a photographer and he was good at it so the pay was good. Only in the process of making money and getting good he’d lost interest. He wanted to take imperfect pictures of unlikely people. He didn’t want to take pictures of people who posed like museum sculptures. He wanted to take pictures of people who hadn’t yet had all their humanness wrung out of them.
Just then he saw a young woman in a red dress leaning over to kiss a young man in a white t-shirt and faded jeans. The man fumbled with his phone and offered her a weak, fictional smile. He could see the scales in their relationship were unbalanced. He could see her heart broken and eager surging up in her throat like vomit. He watched her smile, then grimace as she swallowed her disappointment. He watched her pick up her own phone and jab at it half-heartedly while throwing her disinterested lover the occasional wounded look.
In her he witnessed a desire to connect, a desire crushed by mediocrity and indifference. Conversation. Affection. Intimacy. These were archaic notions. Civilized humans networked and stigmatized. Civilized humans didn’t build foundations, they built facades. Civilized humans walked in the park while looking at pictures on their phones. Pictures which had been carefully edited to remove all that was genuine, vulnerable, and imperfect. Graham, for that was his name, decided that today he was going to pick flowers for his wife instead of buying them. He was going to dig them up by the roots and plant them in a little ceramic pot and give them to her. He hoped that she would laugh at him. Not a mean, derisive laugh but a sweet, giggly laugh. She looked younger when she laughed, when she was happy and her nose crunched up and she forgot the symmetry of her face.
It has been a long time, particularly since I have updated Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. As some of you know my life has undergone some pretty significant changes within the last few years. Divorce. Relocation (most recently to Norway for the summer which has been very good for me). Reinvention. New Relationship (we live together). A long-lasting version of Covid. A series of mental breakdowns (involving self-harm). Recently I have been struggling with my weight on top of that. Since January I have lost about 10 kg or 20 lbs. It should be said that I wasn’t overweight when I started to lose the weight. At first I was pretty excited but now I am starting to get a little nervous. I am about 49 kg which is under my personal ideal. BMI 18.8 so still in the acceptable range albeit on the edge. But now I am having massive stomach problems which I do not think is going to help the situation. Usually I lose weight very slowly so for me this weight-loss feels quite rapid. Anyhow that’s not really what I came here to discuss. All of this taken together has really made me look inside of myself. I need to have a goal, a personal goal. Right now my focuses are: joy, freedom, connection/experience, creativity, and “home”. I watched a really good talk lately and I will share the video below. Watch it, I don’t think you will regret it. Actually I have seen a lot of good videos so if you are looking for some good (mostly Eastern wisdom) spiritual talks I have suggestions! I want to create something new. I would like to hand over my beautiful and beloved Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and start a new project (alternatively if everyone on the team is amenable we could brainstorm ideas to reinvent MLMM) because I need to build something from scratch because I need a new beginning since all these other changes have changed me in someway that I cannot quite articulate. Maybe a magazine. I just know poetry, inspiration, freedom of expression, short stories and spirituality will almost certainly be involved. Maybe divination and adventures (I have been going on a lot of those lately actually). If you have ideas or an interest in taking over at MLMM let me know as soon as possible. Some of you are probably thinking that I have started a number of things and not completed them and you would be absolutely correct. I have started and stopped more projects than I can name. I am not exactly consistent but recently I have learned some things about myself that I had put off knowing for a number of years (as in a lifetime) which I hope will move me forward for once. If not well it could be an interesting distraction or learning experience or another fabulous failure. Who knows??? Who really knows. I just know that I want to write. I need to write. But I need some fresh inspiration. I have noticed my last works have been repetitious, certain phrases keep coming to mind. I can’t stop writing once I start but I am not really writing in a direct way, in an honest way. I don’t know how to explain it but I feel I am dancing around the topic a bit or tiptoeing around some sensitive area or toxic belief that I can’t quite bring myself to touch. Anyway I will get back to you when I know more. I feel I should not rush myself as before but try to go about things in an inspired but disciplined and methodical way. I need to really work towards something for the sake of my sanity. Btw I am still keeping this blog because I have had it for years even if I have come and gone many times.
If the video doesn’t work check After School on Youtube: How to keep your heart open in hell- Ram Dass
What I am about to write to you is deeply personal and also humiliating.
As many of you know, I moved recently. I am currently living with a male friend in the Northern part of Sweden. I had hoped to start a relationship with him. I have tried to start a relationship with him and sometimes it seems as if we are in a relationship already. We’ve been living together for about a month now. We share a bed. We often sleep naked together. We’ve kissed. We’ve done many different sexual things but we have not had penetrative sex. Despite frequent erections and a lot humping (humping he initiates) he does not want to have penetrative sex with me. Despite telling me he loves me and spending hours and hours a day with me and alluding occasionally to marriage he has no romantic interest in me whatsoever. I have never met anyone like this and so it’s been really hard for me to understand that he just doesn’t have “feelings” for me. I still don’t understand. Realistically given all the opportunities and my clearly indicating a desire for sex the fact that we haven’t yet means only one thing: He doesn’t want to have sex with me and if he doesn’t want to under these conditions he’s never going to want it. He’s just not attracted to me. Sometimes he says he is very interested in me (the whole me) and sometimes he expresses that he just doesn’t see me in that way. He loves me but he’s not in love with me. He’s not going to fall in love with me like they do in rom coms. I know that at some point I am going to have to put myself out there and start dating. I am obviously hoping to find a partner who has both sexual and romantic interest in me. I had that in my marriage but it seems impossible that lightning should strike the same person twice. The problem is that for me, given my feelings, I am not able to see him as just a friend and I cannot even fathom the pain of him dating when he finally meets someone. He has been really supportive through a very difficult time in my life and I have been impossible and crazy lately. I don’t want to lose him and the beautiful friendship we’ve created but knowing myself I will just keep setting myself up for rejection again and again. I will just keep hoping. How do I navigate this situation? How do I get my sexual needs met in a way that doesn’t compromise my heart too much? Masturbation just isn’t enough I want that human connection. I also want that emotional connection and a relationship which can evolve and deepen and potentially lead to marriage. There were so many wonderful things about being married about being in a very close relationship with another person. I miss that. Is that wrong?