In a sense, they’re right.
When you love your work, and your work is all-consuming, you don’t need people to love. But also, equally, there may come a time in your life when – even as need absences itself from your stage – you do want to love people as well as your work.
If I succeed in my latest attempt – oft failed in the past, oft criticised by others in a curiously permanent present – to achieve a place in the world where the recognition of peers expresses and validates the idea that I am useful at last for something which does not emerge from under adolescent sulks or adult games or family idiocies or friends who are not, then I can say I now want far more than that.
People in my life have set me the goal of being useful to the world as a condition for their love.
Only then will it work.
Only then can it work.
I now understand and appreciate this position. But once achieved – if this indeed will finally happen – the long sought-after ambition to be of utility to a universe, and so able to pay the bills and my way in a place and environment I never could till this moment, what say you to my own new position? If you are to need me as before once the goal is accomplished, and I no longer want to be needed but wanted, what is there to do? What might be decided? What should be agreed upon? What would we end up doing?
I wonder and wander and tangentially consider the meat of the matter and the pi of the calculation.
And I have to say … well yes, maybe you were right. Maybe before, if I’d acquired the job I deserved, and been able to pay the family into a material joy, maybe then we’d have spent the rest of our times having coffees and squabbling gently and kindly and a bit weirdly, as people do end up doing everywhere.
As people end up doing in no bad way at all, tbh.
But having gone through what I have, and having begun to emerge relatively unscathed from the other end, I realise whilst coffees and gentle squabbling is still fine, I want time for myself in places family are not where I can let my thoughts fly as I now know exactly how to.
And it’s no criticism of you; no criticism of the rest; just a damn fact of life that I want something else.
And when people change, and others do really love them, then letting go of the person that once was there, and choosing or not to continue the relationship, whether in some different way or actually not at all, is something which should happen; is something which must happen.
And when it does not, we are bending out of shape the individuals we must defend and protect from outside attack.
But not only from the attack that encroaches from without: also the attack that is the undermining of self; the undermining of self by the self that is being undermined.
In truth, it comes back to the fact and reality of love.
And when you do love yourself, you love others much better.
And when you love others truly, not sacrificially, not hurtingly, then it becomes far far easier to love yourself too.
Full circle, then, we come.
And full circle, now, we’ve been.
And full circle, it’s time to turn and run like child in meadow-grass; like adolescent in the hay of awakening; like adult in the discovery of humanity not grind; like men and women and children and people all – that truth which is innocence and imagination, and creation.