26 August 2012

I'm an Unhealthy Malcontent

Wow. This is just my third post this month. I have to go all the way back to March of 2010 to find the last month in which I published a mere three posts. Of course, part of this is the fact that I've taken to reviewing movies on Letterboxd instead of here. At present, you'll find 22 reviews for this month in my diary, including a handful of short films and a couple of re-watches. My movie review style hasn't changed with the different forum; they're still just as much about my viewing experience as they are about the films. For instance, I spend as much time in my review of Roman Holiday discussing that night (I started at the J.B. Speed Art Museum and then met some friends for the feature at The Louisville Palace) as I do the film itself. That was a good night for me; I finally got to spend some face-to-face time with Chester Harding's portrait of Daniel Boone, which I've wanted to do for a few years now. I've seen it before, of course, but with the Speed set to close for three years for their renovation (three bloody years! I know!), I figured it was important that I get down there while I still had the chance.

With Chester Harding's portrait of Daniel Boone.
Following that nearly three-week long flare at the end of July, August was mostly good to me on the health front until yesterday. I was supposed to go with some friends to the Cincinnati Reds game, before which they were to retire Barry Larkin's #11. My friend had come into four tickets, free, so it wasn't going to cost me anything but concession money. I was excited. Plus, Baxter was screening Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at midnight. To date, I've only seen from Star Trek VI onward on the big screen.

I awoke yesterday morning with a migraine, though, that just would not let up. I took Tylenol, drank Powerade, slept as much as I could, blah, blah, blah. Nothin' doin'. By evening, I was sweating profusely and roasting. My migraine had evolved into Ebola, from which I suffer semi-regularly. Around 12:30, I was shaking so violently that my back is still sore, almost 17 hours later. I did not, obviously, get to the game or the movie.

While lying in bed in misery, though, I found myself fixating on my failed marriage. I've tried to remain bright about it all, but yesterday, every time I fell back asleep I found myself dreaming and thinking the angriest things I think have crossed my mind in the last ten months. I have rarely felt as hateful and as bitter as I felt yesterday. I was supposed to have someone to rely on "in sickness and in health." I held up my end of the bargain. I was betrayed. I was abandoned. I was forsaken, thrown under the bus and discarded. I feel more resentful after yesterday than I have at nearly any other point in the entire duration of all this.

I continue to worry about my prospects for meeting someone. Every day brings me just a little bit more discouragement. I confess, on an entirely selfish level, I'm scared of facing my inevitably deteriorating health woes alone. Two of my Crohnie pals went under the knife this past week, neither for the first time. Who would take care of me? My mother, who can scarcely manage to even take care of herself? My 70-something year old grandmother? The cats? It may not be the noblest reason to aspire to companionship, but there it is.

A few days ago, I tweeted about how I have yet to hear back from Tawkify since joining nearly two months ago. While I was on my deathbed with Ebola last night, I received a response:

Of course, that's a very sweet way of noting that I'm almost impossible to help and I do appreciate the gesture of her graciousness about the difficulty I represent. I can't say I have any right to be upset that she's struggled to find someone for me. I obviously can't do it, either.

I vented about all this to two of my closest friends today. One insists she believes there's someone for everyone. When I asked, "Yeah, but do they always find each other?" she replied, "I believe so, when the time is right." I'm not getting any younger, healthier or more viable as a partner. So if whomever is in charge of scheduling such things is reading, I would appreciate a little more haste.

The other friend suggested I begin accepting the idea of being alone. Find fulfillment in other ways, she encouraged. The truth of the matter is, I've never felt as fulfilled as I did as a husband. I felt that whatever is good about me was seen, acknowledged and appreciated in ways that had never been true for me before. There is no substitute for that. Does this make me weak? Fine. Then I'm weak. I admit it. I'm clingy, pathetic, whatever adjective you care to ascribe to me. I need that external validation. I've accepted myself as well as I can (I'm too self-examining to ever entirely accept myself), so this isn't about compensating for a lack of internal validation. They're two different forms of validation, and I don't particularly care to defend myself for desiring the external as well. If it offends you, then just add it to the list of my egregious ways but for God's sake, don't harangue me about it.

In other, less upsetting, news, a friend of mine recruited me to the 101 Things Challenge. You set 101 goals for yourself, to be accomplished within 1001 days. So far, I only have 73 goals (but I've accomplished four of them already!). If you're someone who needs a little extra motivation, and you respond well to checklists, this might be helpful for getting you to...whatever it is you want to do. Accomplish/try/see/do/etc. My list is here. Owing to the logistical restraints of my health and being, y'know, poor, I've tried to select very modest goals. Some might frown on me for not being more ambitious or dreaming big enough, but they're not the ones who'll have to look at a bunch of things that they want to do that they likely never will. I mean, I could add "Get Melody Gardot to fall in love with me" to the list, but what's the point? Better to just add seeing her in concert - which itself is problematic enough.

So this is where I exist, caught between being a dreamer (hoping to find a fulfilling relationship) and a pragmatist (not bothering to set lofty, unattainable goals). I try to be content with the mundane, because that's all that's open to me. Contrary to what Mitt Romney would have me, or you, believe, my ship is not about to come in any day now. Hell, my ship may have already come in. It may have gotten lost at sea, or pirated, or who knows? The point is, for the foreseeable future, I have to accept a paltry existence and make the best of it I can. That doesn't have to mean being content existing this way alone.

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