I want to write about something I have been thinking and pondering and stewing and discussing. So here is the big question:
Have you ever felt a magnetic pull to someone, much stronger than friendship? Much stronger than conventional love? I have.
On January 22nd 2012, it was the day after my 21st birthday and I had arrived from Santiago, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was hot, sticky, and alone. In search of a grocery store I asked the tall, thin, blonde girl, in the hostel kitchen what she was cooking and where I could buy it myself. I was meek and reserved and I felt flushed in the humidity. The strings of sentences that followed made me feel something for her that was not sexual, nor romantic, but it was grabbing and I held on. As a matter of fact, I held onto the yarn of our relationship for a month. She became my ride or die around the country of Argentina for what seemed like eternity and flew by in minutes. Everything she said, everything she did, everything we encountered, I ate up like the lentils she made on that first day. Our experience stuck to my insides like peanut butter on the roof of a chapped mouth, and I savoured all of its nutrients.
I learned about the power of connection in this month. I learned that you can fall in love with someone in hours, and that doesn’t have to involve sexuality. The fruition of our relationship came about in day long and over night bus rides, in rain storms, in sweaty night clubs, in the frusteration of bus stations, and the silence of language. So how do you explain this? I like to think that we unraveled together. We unraveled in a way that led me to love the way her wild curls and shoulders danced in unison to out dated nightclub music. I loved the way she painted a picture of the world for me, through the lens of her vagabond experience. I loved the way she believed in eternal soul mates, just me like me. I loved the way she let me talk and ramble and spew while she nodded and ”mmhmmm’d” so very studiously. I loved the way it felt to fall asleep next to her in the middle of our continuous chit chat. I loved the way she loved whipped cream, and her passion for coffee in the morning, her journal scrawls, the way her hip bones looked in almost everything.
I have always been open to experimentation with sexuality and I have, many times, let myself act on the curiosity of the female body. I am not a stranger to the gentleness of being with a woman. And yet the many nights we shared on a mattress, I never once felt the need to pursue that, and nor did she. It was as if the level of our connection was more elevated than the physical and we became more intimate in our intellect and the stronger it became the more I fell in love with her spirit.
So in the end, our departure brought another impact to my life. The value of our electric relationship continued to spark and spark over the past year, through text, and social media, and a night reunited in Hollywood and in all this time our geographic distance has never registered with me. So that the power of connection? To never feel far from someone? To not feel the need for sex, only intellect? For an orgasm that comes from intimacy, and that intimacy is solely in the form of company? Maybe there is something about being thrown into a country, alone, and guard down, that allows the soul to grab onto life a little more boldly.
I don’t have answers, and I maybe I don’t want to. But I do treasure the day I saw her stirring lentils in a pot.
On Tuesday I bought a ticket to South America for seven months. I’ve been planning this trip, talking about it, wanting it, begging for it, fighting for it, for almost a year. And now, I’m holding the next two months before I leave in my hands and suddenly I don’t want it as bad. Well…no…that’s a lie. I do, I want it with everything in my bones but what I don’t want is to leave everything I love behind. I don’t want to come back forgotten, I don’t want to see the love of my life with another girl and I don’t want to have to start a new life when I just had to for 7 months. I made everything about this trip, about me. It was my turn to have my adventure and it is. But I never considered what I could leave behind and what I couldn’t get back. I walked around so triumphant- that I am setting myself up for this big extravagant-soul-searching-journey that I became so caught up in what it meant for myself and I failed to consider what it meant for my friendships; my love life. I’m hardly scared to leave, but I’m already scared to come home. The world doesn’t stop when you are full filling your own personal endevours and I think the magnitude of that reality just came and slapped me in the face.
I write a lot about love because that’s what we know. And whether we know it because our hearts have been broken once, twice, or three times we all have, or all will be there. My best friend is going to the most tumultuous break-up I have witnessed in a while and when you become so closely intertwined with a friends’ life their experience becomes your own. Having been destroyed last summer, I’ve stepped up to the plate with my words of advice ready at the tongue because “I’ve been there,” and “I got through it.” And it’s true…as Conor Oberst wrote in Cassadaga “I walked into the winter and came out the other side.” I am here, having been through another relationship since, and developed a whole new different kind of love, and viewing relationships in a brand new way. But as I walk further into friends relationship woes, and stories of breakups, and cheating, and the massacre of hearts all around me-I feel that every single word I have to offer is the shell of that I really want to say. That the love I have spent so many years pining after has become further tainted by my own and others experiences of disdain. My views are becoming increasingly slanted into a cynical single bitter chick that hasn’t heard of a good guy (or encountered one) in well, ever. And so after consoling my best friend for days on end after yet another asshole dude has struck again, I have to untie the knots in my stomach because words that I preach and theories that I believe and strive for, are beginning to float into the cynical basket of “the things that never ended up being true,” forcing me to consider the retirement of all things yellowbird.
This is about giving advice to friends, pouring out words of “you should,” and “if I were you,” and of course, “I’ve been there,” when truthfully you are the one that needs the bedside life coach; to prompt you off your ass and into the sharp cold of realities awakening.
This is about spending all of your energy, 3/4 of your conversation with friends, driving home nearly blinded because you’re crying, and being in love with someone who hasn’t learned what it is to be loved. Or hasn’t earned it. This is about hearing the words “you deserve someone better,” so often you wonder if you really do.
This is about relishing in mistakes, reading old journal entries, spending money to feel better, and writing only to be more exhausted after knowing you haven’t changed a thing.
This is for every single promiscuous mistake, or pleasure. For phone calls unanswered, and text messages ignored, and running into each other in public and holding your secret so tight its suffocated. For affairs that you would prefer to be seen as something more pure, for pretending you had something that you didn’t, for nights in another’s bed that grew into your own and had laced each aspect of those fours walls with you and him.
This is for wasting almost half a semester on the internet to ignore and excuse how you can’t find the energy or the interest to delve into a third year of school.
For the friends that are more like small, but significant reasons to keep writing, keep going. For the friends you say are your sisters, your human secret-keepers.
For the way your stomach sits steadily and your veins pump rapidly when you’re lying in bed and listening to your favorite musicians and going over each of these things that have consumed who you are right now and knowing in every present moment that’s going to change.
That moment when you get a brief, but significant insight into someone elses life, and see them through a new lense and you become recharged with their words and also heavy with their insides and all at once tangled in their emotions.
THAT just happened to me.