Some of the most important emotional relationships in my life, looking back, were with people who were not lovers. Some of the lovers, in retrospect, had little impact on me at all, and several were quite damaging. I was pondering this late last night, because I have a fondness for looking for patterns. I’m also on a quest for self-knowledge. So much of who I am and have been has been shaped by the people I was in most intimate emotional contact with.
Those soul deep resonances with others had the effect of tapping in to things that are intrinsic to who and how I am. Through music, literature, creative thinking, sharing ideas and beliefs… looking back those connections were as much about meetings of minds as anything else. I’m very much a thinky person, although also deeply emotional, but intellectual connections are really important to me.
The relationships that went awry involved pressure to be things that did not resonate with me. That included dressing in ways I felt uncomfortable with, acting in ways that were unnatural to me, and basically supressing my own nature for the benefit of others. It’s really that legacy which has created the need to do this whole ‘quest for self’. Picking apart what is me, and what was put on me from the outside, I’ve come to a fairly simple conclusion. There’s a thought form in comics art that goes ‘if it looks right, it is right.’ I think that may have wider life applications. If it feels right, it probably is right – at least in terms of being a reflection of your own nature. If your nature is sick, twisted, depraved and cruel, that’s going to raise a whole other heap of issues, but I don’t find that in myself.
I responded to playfulness and creativity, to deep thinking, inspiration, and people who were passionate about the things they were into. Part of me wanted simply to be on the receiving of that kind of intensity, I was attracted by emotional capacity, in part. To be what fires someone’s imagination, to be the focus of intense desire and to inspire fierce passion, has considerable attractions. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be muse and playmate, and all that. Being in that place now, I can look back and see more clearly what it was that I hankered after in those previous connections. The people who loved fiercely, even if they didn’t bestow that on me, were wonderful and inspiring. The people who just wanted to make me small enough to be unthreatening and easily managed, I could have done without.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course. It’s easy to look back and see patterns and relevance that was wholly invisible to me at the time. I’m also aware of how much that went wrong for me had to do with my not understanding my own nature or paying enough attention to my own needs. I let people tell me who and how to be, because I thought being loveable was the most important thing, and it looked for a time like being loved was conditional on modifying myself. Turns out it isn’t. To be accepted as I am, found good enough, adored not in spite of my nature but because of it, has been a revelation. It makes me realise, looking back, who the really important people in my life have been, and they were not in all cases the most obvious suspects.