My Happily Ever After

My Symphony: Gotten by Adam Levine Feat. Slash

“Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
Andy Warhol

You know how when people say that there will always be that one person you can never forget no matter what? I think that’s pretty valid. No matter who we are, what we do and where we’ve been in life so far, there will always be that ordinary person who will always have an extraordinary place in our hearts. Sometimes we are afraid of confronting the depths of our beings, our very souls, and sometimes we just don’t want to admit it to the world, but it is true. It is true that somewhere out there live the people who once entered our hearts and never left.

I have loved. At the age of 18, I have been through 13 relationships (mostly not-so-decent-ones at that) already. Just like normal teenagers, I have my own share of first kisses, first dates, first LQ’s (love quarrels), first movie marathons and first sleepovers with the people I’ve been in a relationship with. Inevitably, I also have my own share of the lasts, of the moments that defy the end of each of those relationships. I’ve experienced last text messages, last phone calls, last kisses, last dates, last LQ’s, last movie marathons, last sleepovers and last everything because of the painful (and sometimes torturous) break-ups. Generally speaking, I have had my own share of happiness, sadness, loneliness and misery all because of love. Still, I keep on going.

A good friend of mine told me just last week, “Kenn, don’t you think your heart is overused?” Overused. Out of more than 220,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary, he chose that word. Nevertheless, I agree with him. I think that I have put my heart on constant work for such a long period of time that it has finally seemed to have lost its flair in its own duty. But despite the reality that I’ve selfishly deemed my heart to suffer a “death defying” hard labor, the fact remains that it is still functioning. All the gutsy creatures in this world always say that “If you snooze, you lose”, and I couldn’t argue that. My heart may be all beat up and tired, but is that any reason for me to just stop loving?

Since I was four, my eyes were already opened to the crazy world of relationships. It started at that age when I could already (though very slightly) understand it when my parents argued over something or when my 16 year-old cousin and his girlfriend yelled at each other for some reason I was still too young, or too innocent, to completely digest and incorporate into something logical. But even during those “innocent” days of my life, I already learned something bold, unusual and way more mature than many adults and adolescents would ever know. Even when I was just four and playing with Lego pieces, at the back of my mind, I already knew that relationships are messy, that they are a lot of work, and that in the end they just leave people depressed and miserable. It was already official. When I was four, I already understood that commitment is the root of all heartache. Yet even with that knowledge, I still got myself involved in those 13 relationships. I was too young to rationalize everything I experienced and too eager to just let all those moments pass. I fell in love a lot of times, and I let myself own and be owned. And it’s all because of this one thing that sets the youth apart from the rest of earth’s inhabitants: curiosity.

However, after taking life experiences in large doses when you’re living barely the last two years of your -teen age years, you find that a  vast portion of your curiosity has already been filled with blocks of satisfaction. And perhaps almost all of the questions you’ve had as a teenager have already been answered by those experiences. Relationship by relationship, day by day, little by little, you feed your mind not just with additional knowledge of what you already knew when you were younger, but also with wisdom that enables you to see life and everything else around you in a new perspective. You learn more about yourself, about the people in your life and about the world until such time that you begin to feel like you’ve learned enough to let go of the complications and get back to the simple conclusions you’ve come up with when you were a kid. I don’t know what your conclusions are, but I remain faithful to that conclusion I arrived at when I was four.

Do you really believe in commitment? I used to.

A well-known author, Paulo Coelho, once wrote: Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them. No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it. 

If you have read his book entitled Eleven Minutes, you’ve probably also been moved by his words and how he used them in a way that you, as a reader, would just be left so amazed and fascinated that you just find yourself questioning what you believe and what you used to believe. In my case, I have finally given up my journey towards the so-called “perfect relationship”. It is pointless, if not dumb. In fact, I give up my belief in human relationships as a whole. I choose to step out of the notion that two people can be committed to each other, face the world and live happily ever after. There’s no such thing. We live in a real world where there are sluts, thieves, homewreckers, delusional jerks and envious pseudo-friends. We’re not dwelling in a place of pink clouds and sweet-scented bunnies but in a jungle where only the free and the independent can ever survive. And that’s exactly where this all boils down to: the true nature of freedom and its vital role in love.

To put it in concept, I personally believe that one doesn’t have to possess someone in order to experience love. This is where my stable belief that loving isn’t owning comes in. I never really understood why people want to be in a relationship with someone they can call their boyfriend or girlfriend so much. I mean, is that really necessary? Is it really necessary to trap yourself in a protective bubble only for you to find out months or even just weeks later that you yourself have selfishly chosen to jolt out of it? Is it really necessary to walk around holding hands, planning the unpredictable future with someone you dream to have kids and build a house with? Is it really necessary to be labelled as a couple and try so hard to make it seem to the rest of your friends and family that you two have gotten it all figured out? Is it? Will you say it’s still necessary after you find out in the final stretch of your relationship with that “The One” that it was all nothing but a make-believe and a failed promise? Based on personal experience, I have learned that relationships are all the same. They all start as a cup full of hope and promises, and they end up as a bunch of broken vows. In other words, it’s all a myth– something we deliberately construct in our minds because it seems better and it seems more exciting. But it’s not. It’s not even cool, to begin with.

Most committed teenagers who, even with the slimmest chance, are reading this right now may say that I am just being bitter because of my ugly experiences with relationship. Maybe you’ll say I have issues, or that I am a troubled young adolescent. Well I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work that way. I am not bitter; I am just lucky enough to have the capacity to still face reality without being miserable. 

To love is not to do all those cheesy, over-the-top things with the one you love. It’s not to see movies together, talk romantically over coffee together, take a breathtaking ride on a rollercoaster together, sleep together, wake up together, live together or die together. If you really come to think of it, true love is actually associated with the person’s absence rather than his presence. The kind of love which is used to all the cheesy stuff mentioned above may be love, but it’s not the kind which is the deepest. As far as I know, the deepest, truest and most exciting love is the love that endures not just the lack of physical presence, but also the long and treacherous years of knowing that it will never be. Pretty ironic, ei? Well that’s what love is. It is ironic. And I am 90 percent sure that my readers won’t really get what I mean here immediately.  So let me just put it this way:

I think that love dies the moment you try to possess somebody. For me, it doesn’t make any sense to be in a relationship with anyone. It’s like trapping a beautiful bird in a cage. I hope the following story will help you understand:

Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers. 

One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him. She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two traveled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird. But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains!

And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.

And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.”
The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.

She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”

However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.

The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.

If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door.
“Why have you come?” she asked Death.
“So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied.

“If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.”

And so, there will always be this person whom I will love for an eternity. We have never been together, and I hope we will never be officially a couple. I can just love from afar, and that’s honestly more than enough for me. Loving without owning. That is my happily ever after. 

-END-

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5 thoughts on “My Happily Ever After

  1. very nice! Its like u put the words into my emotions.. I’ve loved a person whom ive never been with, in fact that person is whom i consider my true love.. The one i always come back to. I thought its madness to love without “touching”, without owning, without all the cliche… But after reading this.. I guess my sanity is intact. Thanks kenn.. 🙂

  2. Kenn – I’m now 65 years old and my best and most intense relationship happened in my early 20’s. I was a pretty naive teenager but caught up with the intensity and the passion that falling in love can activate or create.

    That first lover, actually engaged to be married to a girl friend when we first encountered each other in that magical way, gave me an intense, valuable and unforgetable experience. But in reading this particular post of yours, maybe I should now appreciate that our relationship lasted but two years.

    I waited 10 years for my next relationship, then another 10 for my next and final one – each and every one lasting that proverbial 2 years. My first lover then went on to a fulfilling and amazing 38 year long relationship with another man, who unfortunately, died 2 years ago. My first lover’s brother, who’s my age, died this spring in Ottawa after being in his own gay relationship for 35 years. So much for the criticism for short-lived gay relationships, eh?

    My first lover, now retired and living in Vermont, still keeps in touch with me and I think the love he had for me originally still powerfully affects his heart – which sometimes perplexes me when he mentions it. His love for me almost seems unrequited – that it never reached the level of ultimate satisfaction he yearned for. Maybe he just dreamed the impossible dream. Maybe we all do in our seemingly never-ending search for love and for someone to pay attention to us with both genuine interest and integrity.

    I’m glad we left things where we did, however – rather than to blow the whole thing to smithereens and then perhaps be left with only regret or resentment. Perhaps we got the best out of things, wrung the potentiality and possibilites out of the experience the best we could, called it a day and departed each other’s company intact.

    I know that we enter this life alone. Most people, it seems, tend to believe that by joining some group, even something as small as a relationship, a family or a group such as a religious faith – that they will leave this life along with them. But to me, there ain’t going to be some gigantic hangar-sized door out of this picture show called life which will allow thousands of hand-holding people to leave together.

    Instead, in my mind, at least – it will be like those old cartoon characters who get blown through a wall – that the shape of the hole exactly traces the outline of the character.

    I believe we will each and every one of us will ultimately leave this scene exactly that way – totally alone and blown through this wall of existence, leaving a hole that exactly duplicates the shape of the person we’ve been – and no more-so than who we have created ourselves to be on our insides. In our souls.

  3. Kenn – as you can see, I’ve come back to this posting of yours and admitting to both a haunting and a questioning I’ve had from the second I opened this particular post of yours a few days back.

    You might find this totally inappropriate because it probably appears so judgmental. But so what? You evidently like challenges, Kenn – and this might be one challenge for you to rise to. Or not.

    First off, my assumptions. I assume the picture that accompanies this post is one of your most recent boy friends. What immediately crossed my mind when I saw that pic, was that this character was more than likely – way more than likely, in fact – to be a ‘high maintenance’ type of guy. I suspect he’d have a lot of ‘drama’ in his life, an extraordinary degree of excess energy that systematically demanded friends, family and lovers to pay attention to, perhaps.

    An association that I’d never made until this point in time is in connecting a guy’s ‘femininity’ factor to those very traits – high maintenance and drama. I do know many guys like me, if posting ads on dating sites, often emphasize that they’re not looking for drama queens – and so I guess that association with the more masculine end of the spectrum and the lack of those traits might go hand in hand.

    I couldn’t care less about the guy in the pic, Kenn – but it got me wondering about you. I’m curious if you’re primarily attracted to high maintenance, drama-filled guys? Secondly, since I’ve never met you personally – I wonder how high maintenance and dramatic you yourself might be in general, or in a relationship?

    What indeed are you looking for in a lover or partner? What was missing in those past 13 relationships – or what did they include that you didn’t need or want? And do you need the on-going intensity of high energy output to find satisfaction with another?

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