Except for shaving, I try not to look into mirrors, now. I lived a fairly narcissistic life, without a lot of justification, mind you. Growing up lonely on a large farm in an empty area, I required my own attention. I wandered all over hell talking to imaginary friends; they didn’t brush me off like my older brother, or get angry, like my father. When I could, I sought the refuge of a ravine, or the bank of a pond, and got accustomed to quiet thoughts. Dad and I shared some very, very long summer days until I was old enough to drive. I certainly made friends over the years, but I’ve come to realize, for a long while, I was psychologically isolated. During my young-man years in New York, where I worked as an actor, a career choice which meshed with my narcissism, I spent very little time alone. I utterly gave myself over to professional and physical connections, or both, rather than personal. Understand, in those twenty years, I certainly felt love and those former lovers have remained lifelong relationships, miraculously, like sound artifacts pulled from the ashes. I am grateful for them.
I found comfort within this bleak grip. My screw remained loose through therapies and kindnesses, and became a predilection – to reserve the kinds of feelings and spoken thoughts which lead to closeness. This reservation is an important distinction. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel or have genuinely tender thoughts. I wouldn’t, or couldn’t, pronounce them. Unless, I needed something.
This led me to disappoint. I occupied disciplines, alternatively, healthy or destructive (exercise or drugs; relationships or betrayals). I could be a passionate friend, colleague, lover, pen pal, mate. I was told once by a woman who had had some knocks, “Well, at least, you aren’t a flake.” That was the best that could be said. Eventually, I would run down, like a cell phone battery. I re-charged in some form of solitude. If lucky, an acting job would take me out of town. Then, alone, I would have too much of my own company. A definition of crazy tedium.
As with smoking, I got weary of bronchitis. On free days, I began to take myself away to a house I found in the woods with no phone or television, no distractions, and I nearly healed. I could leave the woods, the self-imposed quiet. Eventually, I left New York, which I loved, because new habits required fresh scenery. At first, it was a bad reaction from withdrawing from all I knew. After months of living in a few cities, a true vagabond, I breathed easy.
The spell was remedied when I met Darling and we made a decision to have a child. Kid was born. It isn’t so sappy. I was a kind of Strangelove who managed to keep my hand off my throat. In our fluky, mad-for, bull ride of a nurtured romance, we’ve hung on. Sometimes I daydream about the house in the woods, or crave, with phantom appetite, an unctuous proclivity. Inescapable love is revealed when you embrace the bona fide humanity and beauty, the vulnerability or strength in someone, even yourself, stop rummaging in your own lousy psyche, and move past the reflection.