On giving up hope

No, not that Hope. I haven’t given up on her. It’s been a while, but I’m hopeful she’ll be back. And soon….

No, I’m writing about a different kind of hope.

Like many (most? all?) humans, I spend much of my waking life trying to organize the world so it might be different than it is. And, I do so in a way informed by my childhood traumas and losses. Basically, I repeat the childhood trauma of disappointment at not being thought of in the ways I long to be. Over. And. Over.

I’m getting better at this. I was at peak self-destruction about two years ago, as Marina and I did a sort of dance of death around this question. Over and over, I told her what I wanted from her. Something like 90 percent of the time, she gave it to me. But at the most crucial moments, she would fail. Or rather, not “fail” so much as… well, simply be herself. And “herself” didn’t involve giving me what I kept demanding/pleading/begging for. Even though she desperately wanted to give that to me.

All dominant/submissive relationships have a sort of Mobius-strip-like aspect to them, in which the sub tops the dom, even as the dom is topping the sub.

In my relationships, I often create situations in which I demand, request, or seek, something from my partner that my partner just. can’t. give. Won’t give.

This is a recipe for some combination of drama and disappointment. I’m working hard to move past that, to mourn the loss associated with admitting that my mother didn’t think of me in the ways I longed for her to do, rather than to seek somehow to undo that loss by extracting from some other (any other) woman the care, the feeding, that I crave. Somehow, this doesn’t work with a woman who is capable of giving me what I want. In order for the fantasy to work, the woman has to be unable to give me what I want. So then, it’s just a dance of death.

Today, as I write this – on the 34th anniversary of my mom’s death – I’m working hard to move on, to recognize that people are who they are, that they give me what they can, and that that, most of the time, is good enough. And, sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes, I want more. And that’s ok.

And a note on my mom: like all parents, she did her best. Like all parents, her best kinda sucked, in a bunch of ways. And sadly for her, and for me, I lost her before I had the chance as an adult to work my way through all that. Today, 34 years after that morning when she took her last breath while I made a cup of tea for her friend Marsha, fifty feet away from her, I remember her. And I remember that substantially all the shit I put myself, and the women I date, through, really is about the disappointments and pain of my relationship with my mom.

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