Monday, July 30, 2012

Creative Writing Prompt #9: Write about an addiction

I never felt complete without it. Ever since childhood, there were subtle encouragements, affirmations that I should feel that way. It was sanctioned, normalized... for a woman, at least. She could not feel complete and truly happy without a man by her side and romance in her heart. I became addicted to romance, but I saw it as a healthy addiction. It had positive outlets; love poems, stories, dreaming, crushes. No harm done, right? During my teenage dating phase, I always made sure I was with someone who claimed to love me back and treated me decently. It wasn’t until I fell in love with someone who didn’t love me back that it became a bad addiction; one that could hurt me. And it wasn’t until then that I became so thoroughly addicted that all of life without a hit (a glance, a conversation, a smile, a wayward hope) became washed out, dull, empty. Incomprehensible.

I wrote much to describe it back then, but even though I was plumbing its depths, in a way it was shallow, reflexive, animal obstinance. I was convinced it was something high and lofty, expanding my spirit, touching everything, giving me panoramic, bird’s-eye sky-sight of the whole world. But it was also a contraction, a compression of the whole world into a single person. Even my Self was lost in the crush of the singularity.

Still, I felt it was the highest pursuit, the intensity of all of those love poems and romantic stories finally made manifest in my own life. There was no better reason to be steadfast in suffering, and in my mind, I could do nothing but be steadfast and hold onto my feelings. They were a part of me. He was a part of me; thoughts of the most random subject would eventually find their way back to him; I had conversations with him in my mind. But when these conversations occurred far more frequently than those in real life, I felt depressed and worthless. I wasn’t loved in return because it was difficult, perhaps impossible, for him to love me. Something was wrong with me. I wasn’t interesting or confident or cool enough. I was ashamed of who I was, yet addicted to what gave me that shame.

I was fully aware of my state of addiction, but didn’t want to stop. It was a test of my will, of the depth of my feelings; a way to prove that my love of romance was not hypocritical, not counterfeit, not in vain. I was addicted to both the experience of being in love and the possibility of fulfilling it. Perhaps there could be some change, some break in the cycle, some amazing victory. A moment where he understood, he reciprocated in the same way.

The dream of that moment fueled my addiction.

Now I see that the Endless Mystery of His Feelings and Actions that I wrote hundreds of pages about could be reduced to a single line of code. That I was engaged in a struggle for which there could be no victory. I was consumed in masochistic reflection that convinced me that my Self could be re-made if it was un-done; re-shaped into someone who could get me what I wanted. But this only made my Self assert itself even more, like a red stain soaking through a white metal mesh screen of a bird’s cage as it flies against the sides and bleeds. 


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