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Ninja Love

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I’ve spent too many years at war with myself
The doctor has told me it’s no good for my health
To search for perfection is all very well
But to look for heaven is to live here in hell

-Sting, Consider Me Gone
Writers lead extraordinarily lonesome lives. It’s a solitary endeavor.

I’ve been packaging up my old blog to send to my editor, Becky. I’m not sure what will come of it, maybe a book. It took longer than expected and I was bit surprised at the amount of content. Most of it is shit of course, but I’ve got to start somewhere. Reading my old blog posts regarding the whole premise of dating leaves me with a weighty taste of irony on my lips.

I’ve been dating again the past few months, and with the usual level of disdain. I don’t think there is a more shallow way to try to find love than online dating. And even if you don’t use that as a means, “finding” love is probably the most foolish of intents. This dating round began with me NOT taking it seriously. I chose “Ironisaurus” as my username and a profile photo of myself with a black eye, which was the result of my adorable nephew almost blinding me with a pointed projectile. I kept the written portion of my profile authentic but short and lighthearted.

But if I feel this way, why date at all?

Well, I tell myself that I don’t have much interaction with women that may be potential mates because I’m a single parent. I tell myself that unless I actively pursue a relationship, it won’t happen at all. I do it because I’m lonely. I do it because I’m horny. I do it because I ache to be loved and to love. I tell myself it’s all I got.

My first date left me optimistic, but ended with a text message the next week:

I know you are a good guy — I got a very good and genuine feeling from you. But I don’t think dating right now is a good idea, upon further thought. …the fact that your son is really allergic to dogs means you would either always have to come to my house or I’d have to hire a sitter for longer visits. I wish you really good luck though. …You’re a very cool person. And handsome.

I respected her straightforwardness, but it made me wonder how anyone can find love when they are focused on the practicalities. Is love practical?

I almost gave up at that point. I’ve been at this long enough to know both sides of rejection. No one volunteers to be the receiver. My skin is too thin.

Then I was contacted by a woman that didn’t fit my list of “specifications.” If I would have seen her in public, I wouldn’t have given her a second glance. Yet, I found her attractive, and more importantly, intriguing. She was looking for a dominate and was straight to the point about it. My sex life has been an amazingly bright color of vanilla, so I was curious. What followed was weeks of steamy sexting and kinky emails. We worked each other up into a sexual froth and put a cherry on top. It was pure psychological porn. It was hot. When we finally met, the sex was primal. But then we were left with reality and the fact that there is no free lunch. We both wanted more than sex, despite our behavior. I wasn’t in love. I ended it after a month.

A month later, my third date filled me with excited hope. I really felt some connection. Our date lasted seven hours and filled with authentic sharing. Real stuff. It felt like a great start. Over the next few days, communication fizzled. I have an understanding as to why, but I’m still confused. It seems like I met her precisely when she realized that she has personal work to do. It’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s hard to let go.

You know when you plant a seed, but you can’t help but wonder if anything has sprouted yet, so you keep checking it but nothing seems to be happening, so you put it out of your mind but what you are really thinking about is digging that fucker up and asking it what’s going on?

Yeah. That.

The worst part is, for all my effort, I feel profoundly sad. And sad is a dark place for me. I don’t know what to do.

Romantically speaking, since my divorce in 2009 (bureaucratically, 2010), I’ve floundered like a mayfly stuck on the surface of a pond. I’ve buzzed in lonely circles around reason and lust, pessimism and optimism, illusion and disillusion, pleasure and pain. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much. And I’ve spent a lot of time and emotional energy on a zero sum.

I do love the romance of chasing my tail.

If there is one word to describe my love life it is “unavailable.” Sometimes it’s me, but mostly it’s whatever woman I’m attracted to or trying to have a relationship with. And maybe it is all just me. There’s a definite pattern.

Love isn’t a picture, it’s not a list of characteristics or needs. It’s not flirty emails or texts. I want ninja love — to be ambushed with a whack in the back of the head, my limp body dragged into the dark alley it used as cover. But getting ambushed by love requires a level of blithe unawareness we are not capable of if we are trying to control outcomes. It’s a slippery slope where intention often compromises authenticity, just for the sake of control. Before we know it, we’ve abandoned our heart for illusion. Eventually, we realize we are the master of nothing but our own suffering.

The best way to show up in life is to be as authentic as possible. Be who you are, not as you wish to be seen. It’s not easy. But it’s loads easier than trying to be what someone else wants, or what you think they want. I think the hurtle lies not so much in being vulnerably honest, but in accepting the fact that we cannot control anything beyond our expressions. Being authentic offers no guarantees, only truth. Our desperation is revealed when we offer something less than our authentic selves.

Photo Credit: Dani Vasquez/Flickr
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