March 18, 2009, Category: Essays, Musings

I wrote this many years ago during one of the more dark times of my life. It was difficult and took several more years of searching, but this exploration helped me find the purpose and meaning I craved. Life is much better now.

My Crucible

crucible I wrote this back in 2000. It is so comforting to look at how much life life has changed in the past nine years. I still struggle with depression but nothing like it used to be.

The marriage stayed in tact four more years after writing this entry. The aftermath and confusion of my divorce twisted my body, mind, and soul in ways that changed me forever. My life now, with a woman that is truly an ideal match for me, is like a calm peaceful morning following a night of thunder and lightning so close you can smell the burnt air. That storm ripped my house apart and I thought my life was destroyed. Now five years later, a new home stands testament to the healing power of Father Time.

My Crucible (November of 2000)

I look for a reason. Unsuccessful, I fall back asleep, wake up an hour later, and try again. Getting out of bed is the toughest part of my day. My job starts in the afternoon, kids are at school, and I only work three hours a day. I could sleep almost all day if I wanted.

I’m not tired, I’m empty. Crack open my chest you’ll find an empty hole. My belly button to my throat is an empty cavity where my spine dangles like the root of a tree searching for nourishment. There is nothing to feed it.

As a lifeless drone, I do the bare minimum required to survive. It’s not a good place to be. I don’t complain or try to change, I just tolerate life. It’s what I’ve done for over thirty years but it’s starting to bug me now.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of opportunities to fill my soul. Nourishment is plentiful; my kids, a job I almost enjoy, music, writing, photography, rock climbing…plenty of passion. Well, there could be at least. So why am I so empty?

By the time I was 13 and without even knowing what happened, I embraced a belief that a woman contained the key to my happiness. She would fill my chest with happiness, passion, and pleasure. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but rather a gradual dependence formed by years of social programming.

I watched TV and saw movies where women made men happy. I saw how men gave anything for the pleasures offered by beautiful women. Large breasts, a slim figure, beautiful hair, and inviting eyes were the secret formula for happiness. The media sold it and my hormones bought it.

In addition, my religion taught that marriage would give additional meaning and purpose to my life. Women were a one stop solution to the meaning of life. But there was a catch with religion: sexual desires are good only in the confines as marriage. Not a bad thing in itself, but the guilt from my lusting poisoned my youth.

By eighth grade this programming controlled my life. I would only find happiness when a girl accepted and loved me. But, I was such evil person because of my carnal desires and constant disappointments to God, my parents, and myself. My self-esteem was a mess. I spent my pathetic teenage years dreaming and wishing for a girlfriend yet lacking the confidence to barely even talk to girls. I had moments of elation and some fun relationships, but for the most part, my dependence on them got in the way and messed things up.

Acquiring a girlfriend and managing my sexual desires became a juggling act: a cycle of passion, masturbation, guilt, self-flagellation, depression, and back to passion. It was a thorny complex cycle. My soul screamed for happiness, my body screamed for pleasure, and the two blurred together offering women as the solution. But to form the pure and wholesome relationship required for true happiness component, I had to bury my evil sexual desires. I worked hard on this one (see the above cycle/juggling act) and held on because I believed the nightmare condition would all end once I was married. At that point it would all come together; happiness, meaning, and pleasure. I tried to be a perfect little Mormon boy and later considered careers based on money rather than something I enjoyed.

Marriage and the introduction of sex medicated me for a time. It kept me numb to the fact that I wasn’t living my own life or following my own dreams. As long as I had my fix, I kept going. When the sex frequency took a nose dive after the first year, my world spun. Start juggling again, this time on a spinning merry-go-round. Now, after ten years of marriage we teeter on the brink of divorce. I’ve spent my whole life leaning on admiration and sexual gratification from women, a rickety old crutch to begin with, and it is being taken away. Now I’m empty. I don’t have the love and admiration of the women I married, I am sexually frustrated, and I’ve realized my life-long scripts are bullshit.

I’m in a tough spot. I don’t like relying on women for validation, meaning, and pleasure. Thirty years of programming doesn’t just flush down the toilet. It takes work to clean up a mess like this. I’m so used to relying on women I don’t know how to take responsibility for my own happiness. The thought scares the hell out of me. Somehow, though, I’ll have to learn to fill my own tank. It’s the way it should be because I know happiness can only come from within; through self-love, service, creativity, honesty, spirituality, intimacy…I know where I need to be but don’t know how to get there.

I’m not alone with this. Sex sells because people like me buy in to the fact that it’ll bring happiness. I can understand why even the president of the United States would risk everything for a blowjob. Sex, money, drugs, and power are where men look, typically. We all have our periods of vainly searching for happiness in places where it can’t be found. The lessons we learn from media, religion, social influence, and even parents aren’t always the most effective ways to live.

So what now? I can’t say. There is no easy answer. For me, it’s one day at a time and courage to look in a new places for happiness. It’s scary, but I’ll get rid of my addiction to women. I’m determined to be happy independent of my sexual and emotional issues with women.

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