Finally, finally, FINALLY the new year is here and all I can say is that I look forward to it like a fat kid and cake. I have had some pretty bad years in my life, but 2008 had, for the most part, a degree of suckage unlike any other. So last night I rang in the new year with a very old friend who we'll call Magic Man, and a very new friend: his fiancee, Feisty. We spent six hours leading up to the ball drop talking about everything you can imagine, and a couple of hours after, too. Magic Man and I reminisced about the past, Feisty got to hear a lot of funny stories about things she hadn't been there for, we talked about our old lives and where we were going with the new. I thought about what an interesting thing it was to be at this turning point in my life and be spending this moment with the old and the new; and I hope the entire year to come is like this for me. I hope I spend quality time with all my old friends, and quality time making new ones.
A couple of months ago I had absolutely NO idea where my life was going to lead. I'd had a plan, and I liked it, and I had worked really hard to bring it to fruition. I loved someone so much that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and have his babies (I know, I know. Shut up). He was frustrating and miserable and had absolutely no idea how to enjoy life without enhancement of some sort -- but I loved him nonetheless, and to me love is something that you stick around for. You try to help get over the bad times, you try to be supportive, and sometimes it gets hard and even you get frustrated and take it out on the other person. I mean, nobody's perfect. But when two people love each other equally they can equally overlook and forgive and move on.
The problem is when people DON'T love each other equally. And sometimes what happens is that the person you love doesn't love themselves very much. There is nothing you can do for a person with self-loathing. It's been my experience that loving people like that does nothing but burn you -- the more you give them, the more you look like an idiot. They feel they don't deserve love, and because you're willing to give it, there must be something wrong with YOU. I remember, towards the end, that Smaug said to me "why do you want to marry ME anyway?" It occurred to me then that he thought I was crazy for loving him. And you know what? In that moment, I realized that I WAS.
Love, like any other emotion, is an uncontrollable thing with many faces. Anger can be slow and simmering, or boil over suddenly and be done in a flash. Sorrow can follow you for ages like a pale ghost hovering at the edges, or grab you by the throat and leave you shaking with violent sobs. Love is like a jungle cat: sleek and silent and creeping unseen through foliage most of the time, deceptively beautiful and powerful. But love has claws and teeth, and can attack in an instant and leave you in pieces. It acts of its own will and desire, it wants what it wants. Sometimes it wants to sleep in the sun and stretch its limbs, and curl up against another warm body for comfort. Sometimes it is cruel and dangerous, and it cannot be forced.
You cannot make someone angry about something that upsets you. You cannot force logic on people or make them see common sense. You cannot convince people that they are worth loving by loving them more. They will resent you for it, and they will never benefit from your affection by waking up whole someday and realizing that they love you that hard in return.
I joke with people all the time that I make the same resolution every year: I resolve nothing. But this year I think I will make a resolution. I resolve to accept nothing less than I deserve. I resolve not to give more of myself than what is given to me. I resolve to dream great dreams and see great sights. I realized that in this world I've been pretty high and pretty low, both figuratively and literally. I have visited caves hundreds of feet below the oceans surface filled with blue, blue water so clear that you could see how the caves went on and on as though they were infinite. I have climbed to the top of an ancient Mayan ruin and looked at the splendor of the world for miles in every direction and realized how very, very small I was in comparison. I have loved and lost, and loved and lost, and done it again, and maybe once more for good measure... and it didn't kill me. I think about people who are afraid to take that risk, or any risk to LIVE LIFE, and all I can say is that I'm so glad I'm not one of those people.
What I would wish for all of you is to do the same. Fear nothing that has the same chance to be as painful as it does extraordinary. If I had feared the rough-hewn and rain-slicked stone steps of a monument, I would have never stood atop the ruin. If I had feared dark and close places I would have never seen the caves (actually, I can be claustrophobic sometimes -- but I don't let it stop me). If I had feared heartbreak, I never would have loved, and if I hadn't I might not be as tough as I am now. That's the thing about scar tissue folks -- it's much stronger than the regular stuff. Let's all resolve to go get scarred. Let's all resolve next year to "drink to our legs" (if you don't get it, go watch Jaws. I'm tired of having to explain everything to you people).
See you next year!