From Now Until Six Feet Under
Updated: Mar 6
I'm living a double life, one where my career goals and my children are the sole priority, the other life, well, that life revolves around my intense, perhaps misguided attachment to love. My attachment to having a man who loves me with the same intensity and fervor that I love them. That doesn't sound like an unreasonable ask, not at all. What tips me into dangerous territory is my habitual tendency to allow one life to take up more space than the other. One will enable the second to follow when it isn't being pursued to the point of blinding devotion; the other does not.
My feverish need to have a man who thoroughly chooses me as I choose him changes how I live in both of my worlds. I should be asking myself, what do I want to devote my life to? My right now too? Next month and next year. Because devotions change, devotion doesn't have to be forever. It can be a devoted foreverness to fill in the blank. But the giving of said devotion implies that that devotion will fit into your life impeccably from now till six feet under. Fight for the things, the people you love, but we also need to learn that letting go is sometimes healthier, more soul serving than devotion to something that doesn't fit anymore.
I started rewatching Gilmore Girls recently. Watching it through again years later, I can see the relationships between each character differently. Rory goes through three different serious love interests, Logan being one of them. She meets him at Yale. He comes from the kind of wealthy family you hate but still chases after their spotlight. Logan isn't inherently a villainous love interest; I find him a near pivotal catalyst for Rory's relationship. He is the one Rory jumps all in for, the one she tries to change herself for from the start, the one where she says I love you first while telling him it's okay if he doesn't match her feelings, that he doesn't have to say anything yet, all with a resigned smile on her face. Her sentiment isn't necessarily problematic, but her devotion to that relationship, that euphoria of love and potentially being loved in return, gives Logan an out.
He has her; he fully has her, devotion and all. And maybe he isn't consciously aware of the get in front of him, that he is accepting the love Rory has to give as his own even if he isn't giving or going to give back what he is getting.
At this point in Rory's fictional life, she has devoted her foreseeable future to a man that couldn't say whether he loved her back or not. Who tried to explain he wasn't at the same point in his feelings for her, fumbled, admitted his fumble, then used a kiss to move past the conversation, sealing her proclamation with silent lips, tidy and self-satisfying. As I am watching this interaction unfold, my mind is shrieking, "but are you asking yourself if you are capable of loving her?" What if you asked yourself that, really gave it self-reflection, and discovered you are not capable of loving her. What then? What do you do? Do you admit it and let her go? Or do you stay in it because it still benefits you, so much so that you are unwilling to give it up? You've become accustomed to those things that serve you, so you choose to continue to accept that person's feelings of love, so you don't have to give up the things you like enough to want them still but can't or won't, love.
As I watched the scene between Logan and Rory unfold, I realized that the man in my life was my Logan. I have flown to multiple states with this man, had countless in-depth conversations, told him the worst and most frightening things I have experienced, and held his hand while we slept. I have felt him reach for my waist in the middle of the night, snaking his arm over my body to pull me closer, tucking me into him in a gesture so affectionate it stirs my heart even now. I remember how his reach in the middle of the night would, finding my hand to place atop his, lacing our fingers together in a mutual "I've got you, you've got me" embrace. The man that willingly reads my writing, a pleasure for him to poor over. Who takes an interest in me on a deeper level. Who asks how my children are doing sees how emotionally erratic I can be but does not judge me; instead, he exudes the desire to help. This man, this wonderfully creative, intelligent, handsome soul, is my Logan.
I love him. He does not love me. I love him. He keeps the bind formed between us triple knotted not because he loves me too; no, he has shown that he doesn't feel the same, that he can't and won't, but because he still finds self-satisfying rewards in continuing our relationship. And I let him. I let him because, at some point, I lost sight of taking care of myself and my daughters first and gave the pursuit of a man my complete attention. The crucial point here is that I chose this life, the one where I let love and a man be more critical than devoting quality time to the pursuit of financial stability and independence instead of being a mother present in her children's lives. My head revolves around thoughts of, I wonder what he is doing right now and is he thinking about me, and worst of all, is there someone else? Am I not good enough?
Why do I keep doing this? Falling back in line with a life that feels like a failure so, let me put my full pursuit of self-accomplishment and happiness into finding a man who I am not only good enough for but who wants to be a part of my life. If an individual has to try to love you, they will never love you. Why can't I get that through my head?
I think I'm afraid. I crave complete independence and success, I've always felt that there is something bigger I am meant to do, but I don't think I am good enough. I've been in relationships where the real me wasn't good enough, and my true self was dissatisfying. But until now, I believed that I was not good enough to achieve anything. Not writing, not modeling. I'm the "she doesn't have it" girl. I look in the mirror and see a grotesque monster, something to admonish and then forget. I ask myself again, why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep believing I can't? That I am never going to be good enough?
I'm scared to be alone; I'm afraid to be a mom alone. I am afraid to be a woman alone. I am afraid that who I am will scare people away. I am afraid I won't be able to take care of my children. I am afraid I can't pay the mortgage next month. I am afraid I've already been deemed obsolete. I am letting fear be more prominent than my aspirations. More extensive than my effort to succeed. Bigger than my willpower to choose the part of my life that doesn't revolve around the belief that I need a man to love me, help me, and catch me when I fall.
Maybe catching myself is the lonelier choice, but it doesn't have to be. Maybe catching myself is letting go of my Logan, reminding myself I deserve more than a one-sided love that drains me of who I am. It's getting up and selecting myself and my children, embracing fear instead of letting it consume me, and stop living two different lives.