I will be away all day running my Women’s Prison Workshop. Say you will miss me!
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The Desert of the Unforgiven
(Or: Don’t Drink the Water!)
“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”
— Blaise Pascal
Have you ever made stupid decisions about love? I mean really inane, insane, unbelievably stupid decisions?
I know I have, and some of those decisions resulted in a lot of pain and wreckage.
I would never be one to say or act as though I have it all together, but I felt as though I was smarter than I acted regarding some of my romantic decisions. I’ve always been curious about these less-than-smart decisions. My romantic decision-making process has improved greatly recently and I believe that has to do with two things. One is the awareness that love isn’t a feeling. Love is an action. I like to tell the women in my workshops, many of whom have been involved in abusive relationships, that I don’t want to hear they love me; I want them to show me they love me. This gets a big laugh, but it is true. The other reason I don’t get my heart trampled as often is that I have a deep sense of connection to the world around me as well as a deep love for me – as I am, character defects and all.
Still, sometimes I find myself in situations and I have to shake my head in wonderment.
I also feel that an understanding of how our brains work goes a long way in stopping the insanity before it gets too out of hand. I love imperfect, fragmented people. I especially have a fondness for fragmented, traumatized, neurotic women. And please! Stop it with the analysis: I’m not trying to save anyone. I just like my women a bit worn and somewhat touched by madness. I’m uncomfortable around perfection and love people who know pain.
I attract my share of the unforgiven, fragmented, and ostracized among us. Yes, I am a psycho magnet, but that’s because I love my psychos. Perhaps it’s because I’m non-judgmental, or perhaps it’s the fact that my mother made it a habit to collect such people when I was growing up. My mother would have nothing to do with pets, but our household was always filled with people who were thrown away – people I used to call The Unforgiven. People who had committed crimes of the heart.
Sometimes I can be at the beginning of a relationship and I consciously choose to suspend judgment, which puts me in some weird circumstances with some weird people, but it’s all good. I like fragile, fragmented, neurotic, socially ostracized people because many of them have huge hearts.
There’s nothing more attractive in a woman than a compassionate heart. Conversely, there’s nothing less attractive than a hard, bitter, and cynical woman – whatever level of psychological adjustment she claims.
And though I may choose to ignore some red flags initially, it doesn’t mean I’m not aware of them. Why be so stringent in pointing out the inconsistencies? After all, the lies will always come out in the wash. Once I decide to open my heart and take the relationship off-line, for example, I pull at the threads to see if they hold. If there are lies, the fakery will come apart at the seams.
It happens everytime…
There is a difference between being judgmental and using one’s ability to judge. The two are mutually exclusive. Being judgmental is merely a way to hide your own shit. Practicing sound judgment is a tool for skillful living. Still, does knowing how the brain works help in deciding when to stay and when to walk away? I believe it does and I know it works in my own romantic life.
Decisions about love are no trivial matter. Decisions about love can ruin your life, through emotional pain, and some cases, it can result in suicide or murder. Decisions about love are literally a matter of life and death and happiness.
When we “fall” in love, many people experience what I call the Pink Cloud effect. Falling in love is a lot like coming out of the desert of loneliness and that primal yearning for connection – for feeling complete – makes us see new love as if it were an oasis of beauty and nourishment.
When we fall in love, there is a huge release of the bonding hormone oxytocin. This chemical has been found to increase our sense of trust, even in situations where our rational mind should know better. Like a tired and thirsty desert traveler who sees the mirage of an oasis, falling in love feels unlike anything else – it is exciting, fulfilling, and supremely satisfying. Thirsty for the replenishing waters of love, we overlook and ignore the warning signs. We drink from the waters though the skeletons of past lovers are laying there, their bleached bones a testament to the lies and deceit.
As my friend Morris likes to say, “Don’t drink the water!” LOL!
When we fall in love, emerging from the desert of our loneliness, we are often so happy, with love chemicals flooding our brain, that we fail to see the evidence before our eyes. We fail to note the dead animals around this mirage of love.
My one hard and fast rule is that before you give away your heart, use your brain. While it is true that the heart has reasons indecipherable to reason, it doesn’t mean we should walk around like fools. My heart is open, anyone can enter. I’m like that. And can I fall in love in spite of the red flags? Sure! But because I love myself and because compassion begins here, I can’t allow you to hurt me, for I would then be committing a cardinal sin.
There are warning signs. Such as when an individual’s story seems to never add up. I mean, does anyone here really think I thought Classy Delite’s pic was real? Does anyone here really think I refused to acknowledge that Emily’s Africa blog was a fake when presented with the evidence? In Emily’s case, I chose to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she was caught with her panties down and anything she says is suspect now. I doubt she went to a lake, let alone Africa. The point being that one can suspend judgment and still not be a victim to the lies and deceit.
It’s not easy to keep up with a lie. One lie creates the need to invent a whole series of lies. And while I have met quite a few pathological liars who have completely lost all track of reality, those individuals are rare. Let me take that back. Pathological liars have all moved into the ether of cyberspace, which is a good and bad thing.
Never expect perfection, but do look for the telltale signs of toxic people. Falling in love can be so powerful that we ignore the lies, the inconsistencies, and the obvious plagiarisms. Furthermore, there are people so sick that they need the energy of the game of falling in love. They are like the living dead who instead of blood, need to feed off the delusion of love and therefore create an elaborate web of lies. I call them energy freaks, but that is too kind a phrase for what they do.
Use your head and your heart when you love. When emerging from the desert, be sure to take care of yourself. And pack your own water, so that you don’t have to be so dependent on someone else’s water.
Their water may be poisoned and toxic.