I feel all fucked up.
It’s strange, because everything is going great. REALLY great. I have no reason to not feel impeccable, but there’s a shard of angst navigating through my innards that’s leaving little nicks wherever it passes.
It all started the other day when a Facebook memory popped up containing a comment from an ex. I looked at her photo and she was balancing a squishy little infant on her head. Great I thought and it was sincere, not sarcastic. She’d always wanted a kid and she looked happy beyond belief. Things got rocky between us, but that didn’t mean I held any ill will for her. Life was working out for her as it had for me since we parted. What other outcome could we each have hoped for? I moved on with my day and didn’t give it a second thought.
The past few days have been crammed with people, places and experiences. The girl I’m seeing hosted my girlfriend and I for dinner with her partner and it was lovely. We all got to know each other better and everyone got a sense of who we all were. Thing is, without meeting your partner’s other partner they’re just a shadow, right? If you feel insecure about where you’re standing it’s all too simple to throw fire at the strawman they are in your head. If you flesh them out though, then they’re real. You get a sense of their motivations and desires, understand that everyone involved is human and fallible. It helps to know that your partner isn’t trying to replace you, that the object of their infatuation isn’t a carbon copy but someone unlike you that you would never want or try to be. I came away with a renewed and deeper appreciation of my girlfriend and everything she means to me.
Since then our connection has been pretty damn strong. There’s a current running through the relationship that’s making us cling like static. We’ve been open, receptive and inseparable. The sex has been incredible, we’ve been more focused, as if something within us is affixed. The passion that unifies us has been beating as fast and hard as it ever has. Like I said, things are going great. REALLY great.
THEN I had a meeting with my co-host and producer about our upcoming Air Bud Pawdcast. It was an idea that came to me as if in a fever dream spurred by the whimsy of too much coffee. It was easy, familiar and comfortable. It’s a project that I’m looking forward to launching into, while trepidation of actually creating something to put out into the world fills me with a peculiar dread. The impostor syndrome flows deeply, but the support of having others there to keep me accountable stems the tide at least for now.
Today I saw Brazilian photographer Marcos Alberti’s Wine Project. There’s something to the intimacy of these photos that really impacts me. You can see the rapport he has with his subjects jump out of the lens at you. There’s a warmth that’s unmistakable and it plunged like an arrow right into my heart. As that heart beat, another pulse rose to the fore. It’s a familiar pulse that emerges when I see photography focusing on a personal connection. It brings me right back to my ex, a skilled photographer who had an amazing talent of finding the humanity in her shots.
Walking out of the office on my way to pick up lunch, it hit me like a punch to the guts. The impact tremors spread throughout my entire body and I felt frail in my core. I thought about my ex and how she’d talk to me in this way that nobody else would. I’d level my fears of inadequacy or inability to live up to others’ expectations and she’d tell me to fuck off. She’d tell me that I was much better than I thought I was and that even if I couldn’t see it, everyone else could. That failing to deliver was not a choice or something I was capable of. That challenges would rise and I would overcome them, even if I was afraid. That everyone is afraid always, but they get on with it and conquer their fears because there was no other option. That the only way to progress is to constantly pick fights above your weight and win them. That I had all the potential in the world and she wouldn’t let me waste it because I was worth than that.
I thought about how she’d always wanted a kid and it wasn’t something I was ready to give her. Not then. I thought about how truly grateful I was that she’d finally gotten what she’d wanted. I thought about how in love I am with everyone and everything in my life right now and I felt guilt. I thought about the deeper pangs that surged when I realised she wasn’t a part of that. I couldn’t stop thinking that I didn’t deserve everything I have when so many have so little. I couldn’t stop thinking that the one thing I truly sought in that moment was for someone I cared for to tell me to fuck off and quit feeling sorry for myself, to get over it and just enjoy it all. I felt terrible that I couldn’t be that person for myself.
Putting this all down on a page, I feel better but oddly conflicted. Why am I feeling like things going well mean an emotional breakdown on a biblical scale is around the corner? Why am I convinced that everything I know is about to be uprooted? Why am I scared to embrace happiness in case it’s torn away? Why can’t I stop listening to Kanye’s Ultralight Beam and why does it make my lack of spiritual faith throb so noticeably? Why am I yearning for something, anything that imbues me with conviction to grip tight?
Everything is better than fine. I have so much going right and none of it is accidental. I’m living the life I’ve made and it’s wonderful. My joy is a direct result of digging my heels in and pushing towards what I’ve wanted. Why can’t that in itself be enough?