I wake with longing. This is not new for me; this is not new for most people. Desire is the human condition. To be alive, to be embodied, is to need things in one form or another—food, water, shelter, sleep, air. Every minute of every day, our bodies drive us: They have to eat; they have to breathe; they have to shit and piss and cum; they are restless; they are tired; they are cold; they are hot. They crave contact.
I have been a lone wolf, an alley cat, for most of my life. I did not cathect to my tribe though I tried. I have never cathected to any tribe since. I was too psychic to bear dishonesty, too much of a Capricorn to bear laziness, too much of an aesthete to bear bad taste, too sensitive to bear spitefulness. I preferred people who tried their best, who prized truth and compassion over comfort and status.
Thus I have spent most of my life alone. I have learned to love in a vacuum.
When I was young I was guilty of the worst sort of manipulations. I saw people as stools and steps rather than stars unto themselves. I sang for my supper. I fucked for security. I preened for admiration.
As I have grown older I have relaxed into my core truth: I love everyone. Helplessly, wholly, holistically. I see the seed of the divine in each flower that they are.
I like few if forced to spend considerable time with them.
Decades ago, I spent some time with a man who was comely and smart—dark-eyed, long-lashed, longer-limbed. The sort of man who rejoiced in picking up what I put down, and about whom I felt the same. We played well together and cut a dashing figure when we prowled around town.
I called him David 24 to remind myself not to take him seriously, not just because he was 24 to my 29–five-year age gaps loom large when we are young–but because we were both pining for lost loves and were too transparent to pretend otherwise.
It was part of our shared magic that we understood our bond to be finite. If either of our lovers took us back, we knew we’d sever our connection so those relationships could bloom. Eventually his lady summoned him—they have a beautiful Southwestern life now, with a beautiful Southwestern child. My love, whom I’d betrayed by allowing my shadows to eclipse our light, never summoned me. Instead, circumstances beyond our control—events that defined our country—splintered us further. Now he has what I presume is a beautiful English life with a beautiful English wife. His children are not so beautiful.
You can see that, left to my devices, I still am not always charitable.
David 24 is mostly a blur to me now, an image and voice I drift by on social media, but he told me one thing I think about regularly. He said: “I can like most people if I figure out how much distance to put between myself and them.” He went on to explain that the trick to maintaining good feelings about an individual is determining the capacity in which to know them. “Some people I just watch the game with, or play music with,” he’d said. “Some I just smile at on the street. Only a few can I be around for a great deal of time.”
I feel the same. I always have. I will do anything for the people with whom I can laugh, cry, and be quiet. For the people who energize me as much as they enervate me. I still am learning to forgive everyone else for not being those people. I still am learning to forgive myself for not being that person for most others.
I had expected this Venus Retrograde to bring lovers out of the woodwork—exes with whom I had unfinished stories, suitors with whom things never got off the ground. Instead I am facing my solitude. Feeling it as I rarely allow myself to feel it. I am remembering all the times that I grew stronger by default—by advocating for myself when others did not, by mothering myself when no one else would. I am accepting the truth of who I am now now: quick-witted, short-tempered, resourceful, impatient. Most receptive in small doses, most gracious from afar.
And lonely as fuck.
I appreciate my own company; it’s been my saving grace. But I am not just in the body; I am of the body. And so I crave the presence of others. I crave my soul family on this plane. More to the point, I crave lovers who bring something substantial to the table. I crave embrace.
I accept these cravings as well as my ambivalence about them as the human condition. To be alive is to submit to forces greater than ourselves—to learn to work with rather than against them. To be alive is to be perfectly imperfect and to learn to accept others in their perfect imperfection. To be alive is to live with the disorder of desire, almost by definition.
I accept these lessons and accept that I have not yet absorbed them.
So I wake to this late winter morning–sleet outside my window, young neighbors slamming their door, soft cat on my feet. I am annoyed, amused, under-caffeinated, full-bladdered, aroused. I register desire for a person who does not want me, and the desire of another I do not want. I flash on the hard-hearted men dissembling our democracy, and harden my heart in turn. I have work to do, and am grateful and resigned to do it. Thus I rise into the world that receives me even when it does not welcome me, and make my way.