Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Ramblings About Love 3

Deciding to publish here, too, because I'm nuts... The layer of indirection has already been broken before (it's not a secret) but breaking it further is still almost like removing an extra layer, and this just increases the probability of its breakage being nothing but a self-inflicted footgun wound. Oh well. I'm near the point where such things can't matter, anyway.

With some shenanigans this might end up being later grouped into the July month, but it was August. So much of my introspective writing comes from August for some reason, a lot of (though not all) references to "late summer" or "early fall" are just encoding around late-July/early-August. Anyway the idea is to encourage me to write a few more posts in August that aren't so conveniently grouped with this one by month, and maybe push this guy off my front page, where to be honest it's unsightly...

The content's probably not going to be that surprising to anyone who's read my about page in its entirety, but the about page is dense for a reason, and the outcome of having it more widely read is probably just a similarly self-inflicted footgun. Oh well. YOLO? Maybe something good will happen.


Nostalgic these last few days. I've psyched myself up over the last few months, looking ahead in anticipating of getting my stupid 5-year anniversary trophy at work, this thought of "holy shit it's been five years I need to get out and do something new" repeating. And I'll be 30 next year in 2020, perfect time/excuse for a midlife crisis then, if not before.

So now that the trophy has been received, I've gone into reflection, and not just of the last five years. For some of my reflections I've reread these old love ramblings 1 and 2 (R1: ; R2: ). They were written a decade ago. A decade! It's bizarre to consider that much time, a decade before they were written I was but a small child, recently baptized, ignorant of the mental stresses that lay before me starting with the soon-to-come divorce (though perhaps not so ignorant as a friend and some cousins already knew divorce then, and I'm still not convinced that it's not a better outcome for the child since there was also some stress from being kept awake many nights by the parents screaming at each other).

I'm glad I have a bunch of text history of my mind from 2009 (and earlier), because it's interesting to see how I've changed, and how I've not. Nostalgia and regrets.

The TLDR of this post is that I finally fell out of love with the "Her" mentioned in those R1/R2 posts, so I've got some related ramblings to spill out in talking about all those intervening years. (I've continued the tradition by search-replacing her actual name with "Her" here.) The falling out wasn't that long ago, a couple years. It happened sometime in late 2016 I think, but I didn't realize it until January 2017. Basically 10 years of unrequited love, though... So that's interesting to reflect on a little bit right now.

According to R1, I knew her for four years already until at one point I realized that I loved her. I remember the point of realization pretty well, and the surge of emotions that rose and kept rising. As sad as it sounds, I had finished reading Atlas Shrugged, and that had further spurred desire in me to look at things analytically and with an eye towards pseudo-deductive reasoning. When I did some serious introspection around emotions and the topic of love, I thought about all the girls in my life up to that time, and realized one stood out in particular, one with various qualities I liked (and still like) and that it sure would be nice to be with her, and.. hey, this is love? R2 goes into more detail about that reflection process, which was written a year after doing so, and I still remember 10 years after writing about it. It was a powerful experience and I do admit some concern that I'll never experience it again.

R1 concludes with:

"Love is not an incomprehensible thing as some poets describe, nor is it something so random as to be induced from Cupid's Arrow, nor is it blind. Love is logical, rational, and understandable. Unfortunately it can easily dominate the mind and make one do illogical, irrational and incomprehensible things. Yet this can be conquered when a mind has gained sufficient control over the love to channel it. Just as some people can control their anger and not let it have them do something stupid such as kicking a chair and damaging their foot, and yet still feel angry, it is possible to continue to have full strength of love without doing something objectively stupid, like driving 2000 miles sans sleep, with the high mileage and the loss of attention that comes with lack of sleep attribute to increasing the probability of an accident—like hitting a deer—towards one."

I still agree with myself that it's not incomprehensible, it can be understood, but it's also frequently contextual and is only ever relatively "easy" to understand when you have all the context. A metaphor: a fiery-looking puzzle-piece might go to a picture of a burning house, or part of a homely fireplace, or isn't fire at all but just an interesting fabric or fur texture. You need context to understand the piece you're looking at. Love is like that.

Of course at the time of R1 I thought I understood it more generally. Even with the puzzle analogy, if you only care about fire-the-thing-itself, not something-that-looks-like-fire-is-it?, you might think you can understand the platonic idea that is fire-the-thing-itself. It has these concrete properties, these deterministic dynamics, physics has this to say, chemistry has that to say, everyday experience has something else to say, and depending on the rigor of the map something general and useful can be said at all times about the territory's joints around which we decided to carve out our maps. I thought I had a good map of love-the-thing-itself, even if a particular instance of someone else's love might have confused me at the time and resisted explanation.

I watched Violet Evergarden not too long ago (Feb of this year, so about 6 months ago), wow I never suspected an anime could make current_me cry so much (episode 10 man). (Welcome to the NHK kinda messed me up for a bit a few months prior to that, which was also surprising, but several months before that (or maybe a year and several months?) I got around to watching Serial Experiments Lain and thought to myself "wow this anime would have been an instant favorite, if me_2007 had watched it". I thought I might have become too old/cemented-in-my-thoughts to be moved so much again, I'm glad I was wrong.) Anyway I bring up VE since I kind of feel like I no longer know the meaning of "あいしてる" either, when I used to think I did... Somehow my current map is vague, faded, parts that used to be drawn in are blank or ripped off, and even when I think I can see a section's lines I'm not confident I'm reading them correctly.

I would disagree with the notion that love is "logical" or "rational", and re-qualify that love _can_ be those things. I think I could have convinced me_2009 to backpedal to making a value judgment on "proper love" being those things, while noting the existence of love that isn't those things, but that'd just be a step to get to current_me who doesn't have such a notion as "proper". Well, me_later_2009 seemed to have started to realize this in R2.

That story about the deer is of course my own. I wrote R1 in Jan 2009. My realization of love was after reading the book, which I finished around the end of June 2008. I became quite mad over the next some months; I turned 18 that October, immediately got a passport, and made secret plans to drive up to Canada and spend 10 days around Christmas there so I could meet her in person. R1 says I knew her for about 4 years before then, so our first interaction was through some wolf pack roleplaying sometime in 2004. I'm not quite nostalgic enough to do a deep-dive for any logs/forum-archives I still might have from that time to pin the initial date...

But I do know during those earlier 4 years of my life, especially when I was 14-15, I had a whirlwind of initial experience with the emotion that I was unprepared for (elementary school crushes are useless data) and had no real local support to help understand. R2 calls some of the phases out. But an old short journal with a few entries in 2005 and 2006 is more accurate on the beginnings (by 2009 I had actually memory-holed that old journal, it wasn't until sometime in 2010 when I was organizing backups that I rediscovered it (it was an encrypted wordperfect document and from 2006-2010 or so I didn't have any Windows system to install the software to decrypt and convert it) and I was surprised to have absolutely no memory of some of the feelings in it).

There were a few "in character" roleplaying "relationships" that out-of-character-me had some amusing confusion with at the time, then an entirely unremembered out-of-character "she might be the one because of our OOC convos" experience that couldn't have lasted longer than a month, then an "am I bi or possibly even gay?" phase that was eventually answered with "no" (though I did make a local friend during that phase, I haven't seen him since I moved out of the state, I wonder what he's up to now...), then an "am I asexual?" phase, followed shortly by "maybe but it doesn't matter KILL ALL EMOTIONS AND BECOME PERFECT" ( phase that was finally shattered by the realization of actual love.

So, let's say late-summer 2008 was initial beginnings of actual love.

In 2009 I moved to Washington for college, and, admittedly, a foolish hope that being closer to Canada would change something.

Fast forward to sometime in 2010, after about 2 years of constant unrequited love (but not outright rejection, She still talked to me quite a lot then, we did meet up again in 2009 (and I'll never take a greyhound bus again), and we at least maintained a fairly deep friendship!) my brain finally started to realize that maybe it should make some efforts towards not being in love anymore. I also got to experience jealousy as she admitted to liking (loving?) another non-local dude. In any event I wasn't very successful of course at managing the love feelings, but I mention all this just to put out there how long this damn process can be. Don't do unrequited love, kids, and if you do, at least don't fall into the movie cliche of never admitting it to the person until your deathbed.

Skipping again through an important chunk of my life, in early-fall 2013 I wrote in my journal:

"I saw Her today, it was great. She was late as usual, but we spent the whole day together.

"Parting hurts. We'll forever be friends, nothing more. I love that she is my friend though and am so grateful for it. I'm a broken man, but she's my duct tape. Maybe one day she'll become my nanoglue and I can become whole again. I know that's a foolish hope, but I can't help it. I'm still madly in love with her, though I think finally I've gotten some of the madness under control."

My mom's death in early-fall 2014 (that was a capstone to the earlier-in-the-year deaths of my last two grandparents; 2014 was not a happy year) wrecked me, and part of me wonders if the subsequent diminishing of my love was enabled simply because I hadn't been feeling anything but grief (when there was anything apart from the foggy numbness) for over a year and that was enough for the love grip to weaken. Neural pathways altered from usual paths or some BS. It was all I could do for that year to just be able to not perform terribly on work tasks.

Didn't meet Her again in person until early-fall 2015, when I was starting to feel things again (and she was back in Canada). It was a pleasant meeting. And the combination of emotional deadening + maturing by actually being independent (surviving off my own full time day-in-day-out work, not loans, not parents, just my own will) maybe made me seem less crazy than I used to be and perhaps still am. More mellow. Old-souled? I got called out for having a "Boomer mentality" recently... which further investigation suggested is maybe so, in that I'm a "90s kid" who sometimes looks down on "kids these days" in the same gripe-about-the-youth manner as that popular youtube video, and I do enjoy Monster energy drinks. (It makes no sense if you think words have meaning and Boomers refer to a specific actually old generation, which was my initial interpretation.)

Anyway during that meeting I also got some useful insight into her stubbornness of refusing financial aid (of which I had a decent chunk to offer after a year of BigCo work, and just general feeling of self-shitiness that left me wide open to voluntary exploitation that it's probably for the best no one came around to take advantage of). The insight is simply that anything would "remind her of me", which was honestly pretty hurtful to hear, and still makes me feel like I can't get any gift for anyone without feeling like a creeper. (Nevertheless she did relent and let me buy her one thing under promise to pay me back, which hey, she did, about four years later!) Perhaps the true unconscious beginning of the end was then, who knows.

Late-summer 2016 was when I really started to let go, though. (In a moment of madness sometime in late 2015 I did make a Tastebuds profile in the hopes of finding people with similar tastes in music, men or women, and "who knows"; earlier in 2016 I actually setup a dating profile, though nothing came of it and I deactivated it.) Met up with Her again in 2016, and even though it had only been a year or so, her physical changes were kind of shocking to me... Not as healthy-looking. I wrote "destitute" in my first journal entry about it. Still a pleasant meeting, got to share some laughs, catch up.

Even though at this point I could feel some things again, my emotional state was still pretty dull, and it wasn't going to be affected by anything. It wasn't affected by the meeting in the end. Not that it was ever that high, but in prior times some things could sway it quite a bit... As the Dull Ember description in Dark Souls 2 goes:

"An ember radiating a dull light.
This flame seems nearly exhausted, but exhibits an eerie resilience.
Perhaps this is its ordinary state?"

This me. I tired, too.

I wrote a bit more about that meeting:

"I'm glad I met Her again. I'm a bit less confused on my feelings for her now. I still love her, but it's almost a platonic love now. I couldn't fall into a romantic relationship right away like I used to think I could, it would take time. So it's a dull love, probably one that will remain forever, but not one that binds me and tortures me like it used to. I'm not really on the lookout for a fine lady but I'm not going to throw away any opportunities that fall in my lap because of confused feelings for Her."

And several months later, near the end of January 2017, something by then had clicked and I wrote:

"I hardly talk to Her anymore. I think I've successfully managed to fall out of love with her -- it probably didn't hurt that the last time I saw her she looked like shit. So whatever. But I wish I had someone to talk to about these things on my mind. So I'm just writing about them."

Lost my cat buddy in September that year. Fucking reality man. Well, in a detached way I knew I'd be out-of-commission emotionally for another year, so I hunkered down in myself, not my first rodeo...

Met again sometime in 2018 (April?) and I reflected then that yes indeed I seemed to be over her and perhaps we can just continue being friends, even if we only see each other at most once a year and rarely talk online outside of that like we used to. I've got a friend in Utah like that, and my surviving family in Utah is like that too. Fast forward to January of this year, she looked a lot healthier, things going better, I'm glad. My feelings have come a long way, and internally they now most closely resemble my feelings for my brother, and aren't too different from my feelings for my Utah friend. I'll always be happy to help them out if asked, but I'm not going to push "help" on them, and in any event I just hope the best for them and am very thankful I can occasionally talk to them. (My brother much more so than anyone, which is nice. My friend out here has a sister who has basically cut off contact from the rest of the family including him, I'm thankful that's not my situation.)

So, I'm left again at the beginning, I guess. "愛してるを知りたいのです". Something important noted in R2 is the direction I took the last time: noticing things, then realizing love. I don't think I'm any more capable now than I was then of the reverse, of having le coup de foudre and then trying to justify it. That makes things difficult, no time shortcuts. Still, I did go on a date a few months ago, all is not yet lost! (Even if there was no second date with that one.) Someday there can be a Ramblings Part 4. Maybe.

Now that you've reached the end, it's time to choose your fighter:

Posted on 2019-07-03 by Jach

Tags: personal


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