Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Inside the Heart

Vermilian Flycatcher at Reid Park
On a different note this week, I wanted to explore the theme of love.  This post was actually organized last year after watching the movie, "Call Me By Your Name".  I was a mess.  Normally, movies don't affect me in such a way, but this one hit me hard.  I had forgotten that I have a heart:) I have spent hours analyzing the beauty and tragedy of that well executed movie.  It left me days thinking about life.  I let the feelings heal like a bandage over a wound.  Two weeks later, I ripped off the bandage once again and re-watched it all.  It was like finding a box of old love letters while cleaning the closet. 

In one moment of the movie, the young man asks himself, "Is it better to speak or die?" This of course refers to keeping his love hidden from the man he loves for his entire life or risk it all by telling him how he feels even though it could have negative consequences. "The Bridges of Madison County" has a similar feel. I remember in anticipation while reading that book, 'Would she leave her husband and open that car door for her lover?' I had never read a book that brought me to tears so quickly. But when I read that book, I was still much too young to understand the depth of her pain.

 It's painful to think of the past at times with each relationship/experience we've had. Each one teaching us something about ourselves. What happens when the most powerful love, the one that consumes your every thought, explodes and destroys that inner innocence?  How does one move forward and recover from that experience?  This line from the movie caught me off guard and for days, I sat repeating it over and over. "We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.  But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything-what a waste!"  I think back on those two years where I hid inside my apartment and became a hermit.  I was never the same after that experience.  I chose to hide my pain.

After almost 2 decades have passed, I wonder where he is and what he is doing.  Or if he's even still alive. You never stop loving someone just because they are no longer in your life.  Then I was hit by this line from the movie, "And on that evening when we grow older still we'll speak about these two young men as though they were two strangers we met on the train and whom we admire and want to help along.  And we'll want to call it envy, because to call it regret would break our hearts." 

Eventually, we both came to recognize that we were poison to one another, but the kind Romeo and Juliet took at the end.  One of the saddest days of my life was saying good-bye.  One of the most difficult things to do was not answer the phone after I had started my life again.  It's interesting how quickly that pain resurfaced when his number showed up on my caller ID. "Most of us can't help but live as though we've got two lives to live, one is the mockup, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between.  But there's only one, and before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it.  Right now there's sorrow.  I don't envy the pain.  But I envy you the pain." These lines!!! I'd pause the movie and think about them.

Perhaps the movie was a trigger to that deepest pain.  The what if?  The understanding of love and loss. The pain of growing older and the loss of my naivete. But knowing that if I loved someone so strongly, I would lose myself and never achieve my dreams. "Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the truth, maybe I didn't want things to turn abstract, but I felt I should say it, because this was the moment to say it, because it suddenly dawned on me that this was why I had come, to tell him 'You are the only person I'd like to say goodbye to when I die, because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense.  And if I should hear that you died, my life as I know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist."

It was a dark chapter in my life.  I have met others who understand this pain and we have had "therapy" discussions about this destructive kind of love.  I understand passionate rage.  I understand why it makes the news.  Some of it is public and for someone like myself, is was quiet. Like the death of a loved one, it's not quite something you ever get over.  It's a scar that has mended but is still quite visible.

Oh, I am married now to someone who supports me, loves me and makes me a better me.  We make each other better.  I wouldn't be here today writing about birds or travel without his support. We've been together for 14 years.  We have a life together.  So after all these years, it was surprising for me that this quiet little movie would allow for all these emotions to resurface. It was just supposed to be a rental.  Turns out that it was beautiful poetry.  Has anything ever triggered you to recollect your past? A book? A movie?  A poem?  Or even a song?  I'll be back to the bird treks next week.  Until next time.....