Alex Gabriel… Can’t Love Selflessly

I’m a few weeks into to something new here. I’ve been seeing this girl, this amazing, beautiful, startling girl. As always, when I first met her she shone like an angel, impossibly incredible. Impossibly beautiful. Meeting her was like feeling a warm hand reach down into the cold water you’ve been lying in and take hold of your limp body, giving it life, and pulling it back to the surface. I think we are often encouraged to think of romantic others as something from another world, all people are somewhat encouraged to believe that other people can be perfect in a way that you are not though. She seemed to have no anxiety, no imperfections, she appeared to be endlessly interesting and endlessly happy, she appeared to be a pure subject. She was positive, she smiled and bubbled and laughed.


I never thought that she would want to be any closer to me. What could I offer her? What could I possible do to improve her life? I felt convinced that all that could possibly happen is that I would drag her down, down into the drudge and the darkness. I never thought that she could pull me up, and why would she want to? Why would she want to just gain a burden? I don’t want to be a burden…


I don’t want to be a burden. But she liked me, I made her laugh, I made her feel good, she could relax and be herself and felt full of potential. She wasn’t this perfect un-anxious fully confident being, she had fears and hopes and worries. She could think negatively, she could not believe in herself. But these things of hers faded a little with my presence, just as my anxiety, fear and self-doubt did. My mind told me: If this amazing person thinks I’m good, then I must be doing OK. This is not a particularly healthy way to think maybe, confidence and self worth should come from your own assessment of yourself. But that’s how I thought. That’s how I felt.

And now what? Well, now, after about a month, I find my self ‘in a relationship’, a situation I haven’t really been in for a long time. I’m figuring out how to continue living my life with it now having someone else as such a big part of it. My key struggle so far has been transitioning from the initial part of the relationship, where every decision I made, every thought I had, every moment I was awake, was about being with her, being around her in any way and yes, in an embarrassing way, trying to win and keep her affection. Trying to earn and cement her liking-of-me.


Now there is some solidity. There is some feeling of rhythm and routine now, in a beautiful way. And now, I’m starting to remember the other things in my life that I obsessed over and thought about before this. The plans and hopes I had. The fantasies I had. You have to keep these fantasies, you have to keep these ambitions, you have to keep your sense of the future as open and full of potential and possibility. I nearly started to fail at this, because I kept my mind in the place where everything was about her, I wanted her to be with me every second of every day because the idea that there was something deeper and something solid going on here was foreign to me. Every time we are apart my brain struggles to believe that the whole things real, I just don’t trust it because a big part of me doesn’t thing I’m good enough and that she’ll realise that if we’re apart for too long. Also, I just like being with her! But the truth, the obvious truth, is that what’s more likely is that this feeling will drive me to be over bearing, over demanding and over dramatic, and drown the whole thing in my fear that it’s not real.

Which would be no good, obviously. So now I have to start piecing my own narrative of myself and my life back together with this new element. When you are alone, you speculate so wildly about the future, you can constantly act on some sort of premise that you might drop everything and change your entire life tomorrow. You never act on this impulse, you never actually do it, but you do act off this thought. The idea that you could drop it all and become a writer tomorrow may make you spend a few hours today writing. The idea that you could drop it all and become a film maker tomorrow may make you spend a few hours thinking about how you’d make a film and what film you’d make today. The idea that you could drop it all and become a rock star tomorrow may make you spend a few hours singing and playing guitar today. At least, that’s how I work, I work of fantasies. That’s one of the things that keeps life exciting and interesting: the fantasies. You’ve got to maintain the fantasies, you’ve got to keep the future open and exciting, because that is what makes you open and exciting together. As soon as the future looks limited and set you will become limited and set.

So I keep her in my mind, but also allow my mind to wonder, to return back to old ideas, to old selves and old narratives. The future is exciting and open, and all the more so for having this person in my life. We don’t need to be in each others arms every second of everyday for it to be real. It’s me who needs to realise that. And I think I can, if I keep remembering that my life did have value before this still has value along side this. And this is amazing.