Friday, September 09, 2011
The Best 'No' That Was Ever Said
I was going to title this post as "Some More Thoughts on Celibacy" but then by some delicious serendipity my friend and lovely writer Maura Hernandez wrote this on Twitter: "Saying 'no' feels good. You should try it."
This hit me at the core, because it was exactly the phrase I was looking for in the wordsmith mill. You see, last night, after dinner with friends in Fort Lauderdale, I walked around in a club on Las Olas, looking for a few strays who had left the table for some diversion while a few of us finished our cocktails.
The place was hazy, shadows and lights in stark contrast, bouncing off the walls like the music -- scantily clad club goer bodies everywhere and I couldn't find my friends.
I'm not surprised they didn't stay.
There were an unusual amount of women who looked like Russian whores and lots of young Guido types. The bouncer, who was a Caucasian refrigerator about ten feet tall, wasn't carding people. But his mountainous stature was all for naught -- I suspect the biggest threat to the place was a Boca bitch wearing steel sharp stilettos, lording it over with her cheap hundred dollar hair extensions. The spot wasn't particularly appealing to me. It reeked of fake. It portended sex for money, not love.
And then it happened. The ex-boyfriend just swooped into my line of sight, life flashing before me in a 30 second B movie that I hate to replay.
I saw him mingling with some "kids" in the corner.
How is it possible to feel compassion and repulsion at the same time?
Honestly, nearly a year and half later, that's what I felt.
And I was a bit surprised ... I hadn't thought about him at all in months.
All this bolstered my now conscious decision to be celibate in a sex-crazed world, a world that defines relationship that way.
Because along the path of celibacy, I have also developed some of the best relationships I've ever had, some that have made my life more meaningful and given me great purpose -- something I could never achieve with the ex and much less so wearing the mask of cheap romance.
But more about the evening.
It probably wasn't a coincidence that some of my dining companions were a lovely couple that had found love under some rather challenging circumstances. One of party is going through a divorce and the other was encouraging the partner to feel compassion for the soon-to-be ex-spouse.
People come into our lives for a reason. Perhaps if my ex had not come into my life, I wouldn't have had the trial experience and I wouldn't be where I am today, feeling very complete on my own and very anchored in this drifting process of living. Because we are all drifting towards death and it is all a process, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. I know it sounds morbid, but if you don't appreciate every breath you take, warts and all, you aren't really living.
Why do I tag this blog as a "guide to chronic living"? Because we can't help it. Life is a gift.
And my friend Maura is right. Every 'no' is a great thing, because it opens opportunities not only in our own lives but to someone else and elsewhere. Every time I say 'no' someone else gets a 'yes' ... it is all a give and take in this interconnected web, an interchange and market of the same energy.
You cannot possibly feel alone when you feel connected this way.
This is why, even though it sucked to see my ex and I thanked God he didn't acknowledge or recognize me (I've lost weight and after all, it was a crowded lounge), I can still project love to him.
I still wonder, however, how I could have ever spread my legs for that man, and I know every woman can relate to that.
And regardless, we were not the right match.
When I was younger, I thought that people gave me funny looks for being single and childless. Now, I think the "funny look" might have been a glance of envy for the power and freedom I enjoy because I'm single and childless.
There is nothing wrong with love and having a family, but there is also nothing wrong with honoring a path of devotion to others that are not your biological family. That is really what celibacy is all about. Actually, being celibate is all about love. Real love, agape love -- devotion to the world -- not just one individual.
When I hear my single friends whine about men and loneliness, I wish I could reach into their hearts and show them that there's so much more to life than sex and romance. There's nothing wrong with sex and romance, but the heart needs to aspire to more eventually. We are bigger and better than that.
Sex and romance can be true detractors from our real purpose.
So far, I've told you there's nothing wrong with a bunch of contradictory things and now I'm going to mix it up and tell you that I have no clue what the right thing is for you or anyone, but I do know this: no lover will ever take away my purpose in life. He'll contribute to it. And I won't settle for less. Love is enormous and his heart better be even bigger. We will swell and sway together.
In the meantime, I'm happy to be in this path.
Those two little words 'no' and 'yes' can define us in so many ways. They help set boundaries. You can still be loving and refuse with a 'no' when it's the right thing to do. And you can take huge leaps of faith when you say 'yes' for the right reasons as well.
If my ex hadn't said 'no' to me, I would've been in a place that I would have never wanted to be. He did me a huge fucking favor. I am grateful to him for that even if it makes no sense or it rhymes with reason in a twisted way.
Think about that simple word 'no' ... it could be your most fortunate destiny.