Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Coercive Love

Now that things are a little better, I remember the good times. I'm less scared. I think about the relationship and I can't say that any of the development over the last six months is due to being out of it.

Improvement, save from the most glaringly obvious conditions, is unquantifiable to the point of being imaginary.

And yet, if the future (whatever that is) needs to be rational, then it is held to a standard unreached by any past and all present.

Anyway, I can miss my ex now. Now that it seems she's not going for my throat. Was she ever? Was it all just fog of war? I don't know.

I went from having to know what she was thinking--and I think she felt the same way, for whatever reason--to deciding that I must never try to predict her feelings and thoughts. That was what really led to the end-of-relationship shakes. That was what really pissed her off after the split. I didn't infer. I listened to what she said and that was it. I tried not to be painfully logical--men do that a lot, I hear, and boy, did she do it well too, self-hating masculinized arch-Anglo that her family raised her to be. Anyway.

Now I can see her well, and I hope she can see my positive traits. Even now, I'm desperate for her approval, and I have to give up on that. Ten years didn't get her to see me as I wanted to be seen. Ten years and she still saw me as someone either to tiptoe around or dismiss, the same way her mother treats her father, as bumpkin/dominator.

Okay, so there's still rage there. But what I wanted to say is that the old pack of once-mutual friends, with rare exception, had an interesting way of encouraging compliance with the relationship. Most peer groups don't want what's best. They want status quo. Bros will denounce a marriage or engagement; couples friends will need to see a break-up in terms of betrayal.

One friend who should have known better--they all should have known better, I think, which is to say that I thought them better than they turned out to be--told me that I'd lose the love of my children. I regarded and regard that as an utterly stupid thing to say. A father who loses the love of his children following a divorce probably never had that love to begin with, or suffered an especially vicious smear campaign--which may yet, in time, be undone. I never suspected my wife of being the type to commit the latter, though she has played a bit with actions of the sort. In any case, I wondered what kind of man I would be to present my children with a marriage of coercion. A marriage of fear.

Other "help" appeared in the form of other threats. A marriage counselor--no shit--threatened me with never seeing the kids, living in a tiny apartment, and paying my wife all my money. He was an ugly stereotype, I suppose, down to the assumptions about our relative income and involvement with the children. Then again, when I said I didn't know who I was, his first question was "Are you gay?" I'm still not sure if I forgive him for knowing the bulk of the market or if I'm derisive that I never really felt heard. I prefer female counselors anyway.

As I've said to a few people, I felt myself looking down a path of coercion. We all know or should know what lies down that path. It's monkeys in cages, alcoholism, chronic masturbation, deadening of impulses, resentment of partners, misery being taught to children. It's domestication in the ugliest sense.

I still can't imagine ever being in a long-term relationship again. I pine for some kind of affection, some kind of romantic attachment. But I prefer being alone to being miserable, to being beholden to the choices I made at 19 and 21.

And when I've been called a coward by people who once called me friend, I scoff. Yeah, I really chose the easy way out. I leapt from one branch without so much as holding another. I had no home, a new job, no girl waiting in the wings, nothing. I was honest the entire time, explaining in painful detail how I felt and where I was mentally. If bravery is what I've seen of other people's "relationships," then call me a coward. I loved my wife, but I couldn't anymore. And I didn't believe in the institution surviving the spirit that animated and founded it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Upshot of Apoliticality

You know, I can scoff at a libertarian with appreciation for Trotsky, or at the transgendered with praise for Eurosocialism and a love of Ayn Rand, for their ideological impurity, or I can see them as a good start.

I still believe in political philosophy. Affiliations don't matter so much as a coherent whole that makes sense to you. That said, I grow amazed at the buffet philosophers of our world. Soundbites abide. I'm not saying you need to be utterly consistent; nobody is. But that said, at least account for the other things people said. I mean, give a nod to Proudhon's nationalism, Lenin's use of terror, Guevara's tenure in economic ministry, Jefferson's catalogue of human acquisitions, and so on, and so on.

But... such rigor can go too far. And if I meet people who seem almost childlike in their surprise to find that Rand thought homosexuality, Beethoven, and facial hair were irrational, or in their enthused mixing of any image, aesthetic, or style that strikes their pre-political fancy, maybe I should be content to say they'll get there. Good luck, all you crazy kids.

Except for Ron Paul fans in the military (be your own rebel--leave!) and Democrats for interventionism. They hurt my head.