Thursday, February 9, 2017

Leave Nothing on the Table

"Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself."--Leo Buscaglia

When I was a freshman in college, my speech teacher used a recorded speech by Dr. Leo Buscaglia.  We were supposed to observe is speaking skills.  He was known for taking off his sport coat and rolling up his sleeves.

But I focused on his message.  He spoke of love.  And he told a story.

It was a sad story about a man who wanted to bury his wife in a dress she wanted but he was waiting to buy it for her as a gift a few months later.  She died before he could buy it.  And Dr. Buscaglia yelled at the man, telling him he was stupid for not buying her that dress when she wanted it.  The point was we were supposed to love every day like it was the last and leave nothing on the table.

Hold nothing back.

I do that.  I do that with friends and in the extremely rare cases when a woman is confused enough to allow me into her heart, I do that with in romance.

There is no doubt in the hearts and minds of those who are close to me where they stand.  I allow no room for confusion.  If you're close to me, you know exactly where you stand, and I make sure it stays that way.

I find it horrifically disrespectful to do otherwise to another person.  How could I possibly claim to care about you when you doubt where you stand with me?

No.  The day I heard that speech by Dr. Buscaglia was the day I learned to love with the throttle wide-open, to leave nothing on the table, and to be the person I'd like to love me.

This is why I make ice cream for people.

I'm often told that I'm sweet, or kind, or considerate.  The truth of it is I say and do kind things out of fear.  I'm terrified that I'll say the wrong thing to somebody and push their mood just enough to cause some kind of damage in their life.  The things we do for each other, and to each other, cause ripples through our lives and into the lives of others.  By being kind, and caring, and showing love, I am able to put more positive energy and vibrations into the word around me.  And maybe those vibrations will come back to me one day.

Selfish.  I'm a selfish, fearful jerk.  It's all about me.  I'm not a good man.  I'm simply trying to have good things happen for, and to, myself.

Loving and caring full-throttle, refusing to leave anything on the table, has gotten me into trouble a few times, too.  I've developed romantic feelings for friends and destroyed very close relationships because of it.  And that hurts so much.  It's a terrible way to lose a close friend.

But I'm not going to leave anything on the table.

The one good thing about my family, the one I lost, is that I didn't leave anything on the table with them.  They knew, beyond a doubt, where my emotions were and how important they were to me.  It's the one thing I did right.

I often live this full-throttle, love wide-open lifestyle knowing full well it won't work out.  Or worse, won't even be noticed.  And certainly, most often, it is unrequited.

I've grown used to unrequited love.  It still hurts, but it happens, and often I understand it.  It's not me.  Not always.  Sometimes, the situation just doesn't allow it.  There are often more reasons than just basic attraction keeping us apart.

But that doesn't stop me.  It doesn't stop the emotions.  And I can't just turn it off like a switch.  Sometimes it hurts so bad I wish I could.  I wish I could walk away from it.  On those nights when She's on my mind, and I can't get my thoughts on anything else, it's like my head was put into Park and somebody stomped on the gas.  All the thoughts are centered around Her, as if She were an oak tree in the center of a back yard, and everything has to do with Her.  Always Her.

There's always been a Her.  There was one a few years ago, and a few years before that.  Ever since grade school, there was a Her.  And in all of my 45 years, not once has there been a Her who came to fruition and reciprocated anything towards me.  Not once.

But still I keep the throttle wide open.

"Man has no choice but to love. For when he does not, he finds his alternatives lie in loneliness, destruction and despair."--Leo Buscaglia

Dear Reader, I must ask you this--why do you love?  It's such a painful thing.  It hurts so badly that it becomes an exercise in masochism.  The pain we enjoy so much we keep coming back for more.

I still leave the hammer down and make sure nothing is left on the table.  If She suddenly decides to tell me to fuck off and die, which has happened before, my side of the street is clean.  If she suddenly tells me she's really a man who, along with his friends, has been playing a game with me, my side of the street is clear.  That happened to me once, too.

I'd like to say there is an honesty in unrequited love.

I'm reminded of a television station the United States Government created decades ago to help with the liberation of Cuba from the Communists.  It was called TV Marti.  We spent millions of dollars on programming for this station.  They had news shows, amongst others, every night.  But not a single Cuban saw any of it for years because the Cuban government blocked the signal.

Day after day, night after night, dozens of people put together a television show for nobody.  They dressed up, showed up, and did their jobs for an audience of zero.

I feel that way myself.  I broadcast knowing I might very well not be heard, and most likely won't, but I do it all anyways.    

I wish Dr. Buscaglia were still around.  I would love to know his thoughts on unrequited love and if he knew a remedy to make it hurt any less.

So yes, Dear Reader--why do you love?

It's such a painful activity, isn't it?  Because if you're not a priority to the other, then you are a nobody, and that hurts, too.  When we care about someone, we rise and fall with their words and silence, and they know they have this power over us yet somehow they wield it with reckless abandon.

It is for that reason alone I often curse myself for not being stronger, more callous, and less emotional.  But that takes us back to the switch none of us have.

It's times like these I am reminded of my true worth.  The only person noting my passage through this world was PT Barnum when he acknowledged my birth.  And while I might find some value for myself and to myself, that value is not seen no matter how much is given.  No matter what is said and done, my value will remain to myself and for myself, and unrecognized by anybody else.

Stupid, gullible, Ted.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, does anybody else see me? 

When you make a decision to leave nothing back, there is no reason for anybody give you anything, and you pretty much guarantee for yourself nothingness.  I know that sounds weird, but follow along with me, and I'll take you through it using the straight path.

We've all heard the marriage joke, "why by the cow when the milk is free?"  Or, "Why buy the pig if the sausage is free?"

Love is the same way.  Why give anything to a person who gives you everything?  Why share anything of yourself with somebody who gives you their all without reservation?

When you give of yourself without holding back, there is no motivation for anybody to work to get closer to you, because they already got what they wanted from you.  Love is full of conundrums like that.  One would think with almost seven billion miserable assholes on this planet it would be easier but it's not.  Not for people like me.  Not for those of us who are less-than and too much.

I'm going to end this so I can make some ice cream.  It's a special recipe I came up with for a woman I care about deeply.  I choose to do this.  Why?  Because I want her to be happy.  I want to make her smile.  And that's the best I can hope for from her since she lives in another country.  Making her happy makes me happy.  That's my reward.  That's my payoff.

And that's good enough for me right now.



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