Starting now, I am getting back into blogging after a lengthy absense. This is my attempt to make sense of my life as it is now, and to hopefully create for both you, the reader, and myself, a logical, illustrative longview of my life so that I can effectively move forward with my writing career and my duties as a Humanist and a father to my remarkable children. Please take part if you have a minute. Feedback keeps me going. Let’s converse…..
I have been at a major crossroads concerning love and its place in life. I can safely say that I no longer “believe” in love. For as long as I can remember, I looked at love as this all-soothing salve, as though it could cure every last one of life’s ailments. And isn’t what we have been taught about love all growing up after all? Look at the movies and books and songs that we were not only exposed to, but encouraged to buy into when we were growing up. Love, to paraphrase (actually, directly quote) Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge, “is like oxygen, love is a many splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love.” This clip from that film pretty much sums up what I now consider to be one of the biggest collective frauds in the history of mankind. (Yeah, I can’t believe I’m quoting this movie either, but it contributes to the larger point and is therefore necessary).
Lies! All lies!!!
So do any of you still buy this take on love? Yes, by the end of the film we see that regardless of the fact that Christian was able to break into Satine’s once-cold heart, he still loses her (to TB, mind you, so although their love ends up doomed, it is through no fault of their own). But what about the reality so many of us live? What about the divorces, the broken homes? Do any of you still believe that love as we were brought up to believe in it can still actually be real? Because I’m thinking now that love is really nothing more than an excuse to exchange meaningless vows on a symbolic altar, vows that really aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Because the reality is that marriage is something that is about as sacred as your latest cup of coffee these days. I have decided that the old way of doing marriage, the way that so many find despicable now, was the only logical reason to even indulge in such a thing as marriage: families had their children marry as a way of increasing both families’ economic standing. It was nothing more than a business transaction. This is scoffed at now, but why? Now that the hydra that is love has been jammed into the equation (thanks Romeo and Juliet), you have children growing up devastated that their parents have separated and looking at divorce (after years of therapy) as just another ‘normal’ step in childhood. We prime our kids to get ready for heartbreak. It’s fucking sick, as far as I’m concerned, and makes me sad that I ever could have believed in love or marriage in the first place.
It’s all down hill from here.
Last night I was watching one of those crime show documentaries about this guy who was a Wall Street trader who had a beautiful wife and two beautiful kids (aint that always the story?), but who decided to start robbing banks. Why did he do this? Because when the roof caved in on the economy the money dried up and suddenly he couldn’t afford to pay for the cars or the house or any of the other things his wife had long since taken for granted. His logical solution: rob banks to maintain the façade. By the time he was caught, he had robbed 10 banks. He got off relatively easy when they gave him a 9 year prison sentence, but what do you think happened to his marriage? Yep, she divorced him. Now, I’m not saying that she should have stayed in the marriage. Nine years is an awfully long time to wait for someone, especially when you aren’t getting any younger and you are for all intents and purposes in your prime. But think about the rationale: the guy said he did it because he couldn’t imagine having to lose his house, for his kids or wife to have to go through that loss. But surely he knew that the line of credit he was feloniously taking to maintain the illusion that everything was fine was only an incredibly short-termed stop-gap. I realized while watching this show that he knew his life was going to fall apart regardless of whether he robbed the banks or not. It was all about an excuse. If he stayed on the so-called ‘straight and narrow,’ and then he and his family lost everything material that they had come to expect, the pain of that rejection and yes, betrayal, would have been so much greater than the pain he has surely experienced since being incarcerated. With serial bank robbery under his belt, how can he feel betrayed by his wife leaving him? She deserves the right to leave right? And he can say he was only acting out of desperation to keep his family’s quality of life intact. But what is not said is that he handed his wife an excuse to leave on a silver platter. To quote another movie:
In Spike Jonze and Charlie Kauffman’s Adaptation, Meryl Streep’s character tells someone that if she had almost died because of her husband’s negligence she, too, would have gotten a divorce, “because I would have an excuse, a free pass.” So I ask you, dear reader, is this what the institution of marriage is now? Is this what so-called eternal love has been all along? Because I am now firmly in the admittedly jaded camp that pretty much lives on the belief that people just eat each other alive on a daily basis, all trying whatever it takes to get ahead. Yeah, it’s the stuff of great fiction and film and song, but at what cost?
Pain, destruction, betrayal: merely the stuff dreams are made of.