It's been a good year. I've learned more, grown more, and discovered more than I've ever imagined possible, but I'm not one to rest on laurels. Exorcism is more my thing. It is customary for me to annually spend countless hours in thought and reflection over the events of an ending year and over the things one would wish to follow. It's not always customary for me to share them, but as one of my goals is to spend less of the coming year in the shadowy recesses of my mind, and–if nothing else–at least to be able to say honestly I tried, my treatise begins.
"Do you understand?"
If I had a dollar for every time I've uttered these words, I'd be the richest man you know. It would seem that, if nothing else, I have a compulsive obsession with understanding things and with being understood. After spending decades thinking that understanding was the solution to all the problems in my life, I'm beginning to consider it may instead be the cause. In my fanciful world, I've been certain that if only I could know the "why" of things, resolution would be swift. I watch the world around me descending into chaos because people lack the understanding for one another. They can be so thoroughly wrapped up in what they think or feel or believe, but they cannot extend that same equal validity to what anyone else may think or feel or believe. So I've always needed people to understand what I'm saying, because if I could be certain they understood, I could also be certain an agreement can be reached. Two who cannot even understand each other will certainly never agree. But how much energy have I spent to that end? And what do I have to show for it? The upsetting reality is that my exhaustive efforts to make things plain and simple and to understand all that others are trying to share have been a cause of ceaseless irritation to those to whom I am most desperately attempting to relate. So what is the better way?
"What I'm trying to say is…"
That's where it always goes. The frustration of my inability to relate to my world. And I keep trying to distil ideas that have already been oversimplified to the point that they may no longer even fully represent what I'm trying to say into something even less what I mean in order to be more more understood. What is more important in this life then? Understanding is so soldered into my circuitry, so defining of who I am, I can’t escape the obsessive, compulsive need for comprehension and resolution, and yet the pursuit may be most worthless. Can I let go? Is it even a choice? I've lost so many moments because I needed to understand. I remember my first kiss. I remember it like it was yesterday. The most beautiful woman in the world, and she was in love with me. The moment she leaned in. I can still remember the warmth. But when she kissed me…I had to understand. I instantly had to understand. Why was she kissing me? Why was she kissing ME? In that moment, the first moment in my life that I felt purest love from someone, I spent more energy into trying to undestand it rather than being immersed in it.
Always follows. Apologizing for what though? For trying to understand? For being too invested in something that seems insignificant? Or am I apologizing for who I am…for trying to ensure my own most basic need is met? It's like breathing to me. Small talk can be suffocating. It can leave me so empty. The idea that two minds can come together and yet gain nothing from the exchange. What's the point? What's the objective? I don't understand. Do you see where this is going? I can't relate to this world because I don't understand it. And no one seems to have the patience, the will, or the understanding to try.
"I love you."
Now it's even more complicated. Beacuse for most people love is a fleeting feeling. The elevated heart rate. The butterflies and sweaty palms. The mental stammer. I get all of that too, but my love is something beyond that, beacuse while it encompasses all of that, it resides in another dimension. I don't just love with my heart. I love with my brain. And that's why my love doesn't waver like so many others do. But take the flip side of that. Think of it. When someone hurts you, you feel it in your heart. And I do too. But I feel it in my mind even more. It's so much more of an intergral part of my being. And yet, since I'm always stuck in my head, people don't see my connection to this world, they don't see my pain; sometimes they think I don't feel anything at all. Can one even truly love without understanding?
I’ve spent my life trying to understand and to be understood. I’ve learned a great deal, and that accumulation of knowledge is overwhelming. You start to experience new things…new feelings…new struggles, because moments come where you understand something on a deeper level, and it affects you on that level. You understand someone but they don’t understand you. Or you want to understand, and they don’t. It’s a kind of torture that is only relatable once you’ve personally experienced it alone.
"I regret so much."
Perhaps you never fully know your strength until it is nearly gone. Perhaps you cannot truly know the depth of your love until it faces its darkest night. As the clock strikes midnight, I hear voices in my head, and my heart breaks. I've made many mistakes in this life. There's only one I've never forgiven…one that haunts me. Keeps me up at night. Seeing just how my insecurities and flaws destroyed the one thing I needed in my life. Beautiful frangments broken in my hands. And I've tried so hard to understand. For decades, I believed that undestanding could resolve anything, but as this year draws to a close, I can say I fully understand. I understand everything. And still, no resolution. These things that define me, that drive me, deride me. My flesh bears the scars of my search for self worth. Are they enough? Am I?
"I'll never be enough."
You know, as I look back over my life, I never needed to be celebrated or revered. I never needed the praise or applause of the masses. I just needed to believe I was good enough. Or maybe just someone to whisper in my ear every day that I'm good enough. Maybe there's a lot of ways it could work out. But it has to be sincere. It has to be geniune. It can't just be the words, because that's not how my brain works. Words are worthless until proven. Few have spoken the words. And proven? Time alone can tell. Alone in this war over questions of worth and deserving, thoughts of value and desire. Maybe I was never meant to be understood. What if not every desire in this life could have a fulfillment? And yet I have always wanted to prove I could be good enough. To prove I could be better and then the best. I've proven to myself that the impossible is possible for me. But is it enough? Will it ever be?
Stop searching. Stop with the endless quests. Stop looking for validation from people who don’t even understand who I am or where my true value lies. Stop trying to understand everything. Stop hoping to be understood. Stop looking for the answers. Stop asking the questions. Maybe that's where the magic resides…far from the need to understand.