I give good gifts to myself. I should - I know myself and my desires quite well. Unfortunately, I don't always trust myself. I begin to suspect that there is a serpent in the box and I run away, leaving the perfectly selected gift behind.
How do you recognize truth? Can you feel it snap into place like a crisply-formed puzzle piece? Does truth look truer, or less true, in hindsight? Can you trust yourself, and how much?
I write truth down. I highlight it in books, and record the words on scraps I tape to my walls and memorize and recite. Books I have been scribbling in for decades, holders of truth. Theories I'm working out, because it always seems like truth is evolving. Little bits added to a rubber band ball that never decreases in size, no matter how old and inelastic the rubber becomes. Newer, springier, fresher bits added to the outside, ready to withstand drops and scrapes, pressing the older pieces inward to a formidable core.
Sometimes those inside pieces show up in my dreams, or in the speech of others, or in the contrapositions of new rubber bands.
Sometimes I can recognize truth like I recognize a dog breed: I have no idea how I know that is a Maltese. It just floated up to me.
But most of the time I think truth recognition is more work, more conscious. It happens like understanding factoring: slowly, building up the necessary bits in class after class, lots of frustration that it isn't coming easily, lots of guessing and getting right answers even though I can't explain how the process works, until one day in college it clicks in.
Also, I feel truth. In my stomach. Lies feel like warm mayonnaise and albumen sandwiches after a heavy night of drinking Mai Tais and red wine. Truth feels like cool woodland breezes on your face when your toes are warm, like a singer hitting a note with perfect pitch, like the smell you forgot you liked so much until you open a door and meet it again.
Truth like my sister telling me most men are good. Most men want to protect women, to help them and take care of them. That the chances are, a random woman falls in a gutter and a random man will pick her up. Not to rob or rape. Just to help.
Every fiber inside of me resisting this logic, no no no. No. Men are mercenary. This is their nature. There is no altruism, there is only machinations and destruction you haven't yet decoded. Battening the hatches in my mind, even while some part of the rubber band ball recognizes itself, and is glad to wrap this truth around.
How would you live if you weren't always on guard against hit men? What would trust free you to experience?
I dreamed last night of my lover. He was walking toward me down a long road, at night. A voice from my team of warriors told me he was joining us in our upcoming battle. I watched his slow approach. His eyes were outlined in glowing fire, thin bright tracings like kohl made from white-blue lasers. I did not believe the voice. I watched him, expecting him to reveal himself as an enemy. He didn't, but he also didn't speak or hurry, just continued to slowly walk toward me with his glowing eyes. I weighed the possibilities of his loyalty, trying to decide how close I could allow him to come before I decided whose side he was on. I woke before he reached me.
I want to weep and rail when things don't go my way. Swearing temper tantrums. I want to orbit & shoot sparks out of my fingers when things go the way I wish them to, embracing the world with endless arms. Hearing people, friends, pity me for my relationship is at once a source of consternation and amusement. Have you heard me? What do you hear? What do you make up in your head when you hear the story fragments I tell you?
The judgement of others, their emotional reactions to my life, used to be a scary movie, this forbidding thing I avoided but couldn't stop looking for, hating and hiding from and on some level craving. Tell me you think I'm wrong, you think I'm being wronged, let me prove you wrong, let me convince myself I am Amazon strong by the sound of my own defense.
I'm trying to practice just smiling.
The Zen monk story, "I put that woman down hours ago, why are you still carrying her?"
Let them be concerned, let them believe you wrong or weak. Let them. There is no screeching in minor key. Smile. How do you feel at this exact moment? Is it worth trying to explain? Let it go.
So many many grains of the texture that make up a relationship, a life, that will be largely invisible to anyone outside of your skin. And, it's ok. The lack of perfect understanding is not a threat. My companion's feelings, or misunderstandings, are not my responsibility. As long as I can say I am true, and reflective. As long as I am listening to my tuning fork, the off-key note of another is not a problem. They aren't screwing up my song, they are playing one of their own.
His blue inside flame, like the oven that bakes my bread, heats my living room when the radiator is cold, its pretty periwinkle flickers that comfort & nurture. My hesitations are okay. It means I am learning. I'm not used to seeing inside, despite how many times I've said I wanted it desperately. What do you do once you get what you want, that treasure you couldn't admit to yourself you wanted, because it wasn't what you felt you should want? What if you wake up one day and realize there is no struggle, because the battle you were fighting was to give yourself permission to enjoy what you already have? When you have defined yourself as a creature of desire, what happens when you realize you've been unhappy at not having things which would make you unhappy to posess? What is left to long for? Can hope abide without decay, without ageing to fear of loss, possessive hoarding, dragon-guarding a clutch of jewels you dare not use?
Make a different choice. Want not what you think you should want, but what you actually want, and choose to enjoy the gifts you have given yourself.