There are many “starts” to this story. This story called – I can’t figure out this “f-d up thing called love.” And oddly for an over-populated planet, I observe that I am not alone in this confusion. Not understanding love, seems to be the scourge of mankind. We understand sex all too well. It is love that is the challenge, romantic love that is. The thing nobody seems to get right, except the relationship coaches, who promise you soulmate results after you have handed them your 401K. And if you don’t find your soulmate within a year’s time, well then your law of attraction is not attractive enough. Well, let’s get real – your law of attraction – is really your law of ugliness, because those are the kind of results you are getting, am I right? Or maybe it is just me, and my law of ugly.
I have found that a broken heart, makes HUGE sense, when accompanied by accordion music. And if there is anything I excell at, it is having a broken heart. My grandmother was the champion of heart attacks. And I am the champion of broken hearts. Late this summer, another one of my epic broken hearts was starting to bloom, and I knew that it was time for me finally to learn how to play the accordion. And these days playing the accordion is the balm to my heart’s ache.
To get into the mood – You need to listen to this while reading the rest of the post –
I call my accordion Baby Blue, because he IS blue (some sort of pearlized bakelite ) and he speaks blue fluently. I have survived beyond decades of depressions, so I speak blue fluently as well. We have this bond. It was love at first sight. Joe Petosa, third generation of the only U.S. based Accordion manufacturing company – had first brought me out a super shiny, piano accordion, a minimalistic black and white. Well, that wasn’t what I was looking for at all. If I was going to start playing this crazy instrument, I needed to go all out – I needed colore. Every time I look at Baby I fall in love again.
My instructor, who happens to be young enough to be my own child, yet has managed to become a world-class player in a relatively brief amount of time, informed me that Baby is a child-sized accordion. This makes sense, because I not only have small hands, and short arms, but also a child’s heart. I am unable to be devious or strategic in love.
I never got the memo that one should pretend to not be in love with a guy, until he falls in love with you. I am the woman left with a greasy paper bag of love leftovers turning sour and rancid inside … but I am too sentimental to throw the bag away in any reasonable amount of time. I figure I keep it long enough, the contents will mummify, and I can stow them next to my other relics of romance.
So I am playing Baby and I am feeling very pleased with myself and the progress that I have made so far in a couple of months of steady practice and dedication. And BAM — I thought, after a couple of months with a guy, I would be feeling the EXACT opposite! And I then I realized the PROBLEM –
Romantic love is an anomaly in the way it works – it is entirely unnatural in its progression. Now I am not talking about the love that has stood the test of time, but rather Romantic love which is turbo-powered by hormones and lust and all sorts of euphoric idyllic fantasies.
Now I hate to burst the cultural bubble that holds romantic love to such lofty heights … but I REALLY think it is for our own good, because we are all chasing a high, that ultimately can only disappoint and devastate if we don’t understand it for what it TRULY is.
And here is the conversation I had with Baby Blue tonight …
Baby Blue – You know what? I think you and me, we make a good team.
Me – Really, you think so? I think so. But you’ve been around for a while and with so many others. You must know so, right?
Baby – Yep, over 50 years!
Me- Really? You look so young!
Baby – So do you! And never mind about the other women or men I have been with –
Me – I shouldn’t be intimidated?
Baby – I am an Accordion, not a man. I know a good woman when I am with her.
Me – But doesn’t a man?
Baby – Are you REALLY asking me that, when you ACTUALLY know the answer? How many men have told you that you are good woman, that you are wife material, even … but they just fade away like cigarette smoke?
Me – That’s poetic. You speak poetry.
Baby – I am musical. I speak blue. This is what I do. But let’s not stray from the point. Our love is something that is going somewhere!
Me – I am glad you said it first!
Baby – We said it – when we first saw each other. And when you first touched me … ahhh.
Me – You are so sweet. But why is THIS love going somewhere. Won’t it just fade away as well?
Baby – Well if you don’t mind me playing solo for a while … just sit tight and I will riff on love –
You see, you and me, the harder you work, the more time we spend together, the better we get together, right? Don’t say anything! You can just nod. ( I nod) Okay. But if you meet a guy, and even if the chemistry is right, and you are getting along great, and the sex is good – if you spend a lot of time together, and work really hard to make sure things are good – things don’t get better they get worse.
Me – But WHY? Why is it that when you work at love, it falls apart?
Baby – Well, real love, yes, if you get to that works like that. Say you have a friend, or a family member, and you run into trouble, you can work at fixing things, and you can improve your relationship. But romance, if it is only based upon hormones and fairytales, as soon as the going gets tough … the weak get going.
Me- But I don’t get going – I keep going even when the going is tough.
Baby – Because you love BIG and it isn’t a party game for you. Most people, especially men, they love small, if they love at all.
Me-But I don’t think that is fair, aren’t men the ones that exalted romantic love to its present status in the first place, through literature, songs, paintings, movies?
Baby – That’s right – romantic love – which is just a mirage – nothing to build a lifetime or base a relationship upon. If people believe that TRUE love needs to feel like rollercoaster ride of romance and ONLY that all the time – they will be constantly chasing their tales, as in fairytales of happiness. It is a consumerist ploy to keep you forever searching and searching for a new toy (a.k.a. human being) to play with.
Me – So those men I was with recognized that I was a good enough woman to be with or even possibly to marry , but were holding out for some mythical better woman? So why aren’t you holding out for a better woman, Baby?
Baby – If I were a man – I would say to you that I have lived long enough to learn that it is best to love the one you are with, as long as she supports my best self and I support hers. … then waste my life searching and searching and searching.
Me – But sometimes there IS someone better.
Baby – But when it comes to YOU, there really isn’t.
Me (blushes) – Ohhh … it is a good thing you aren’t a man.
Baby – Yeah, there is a great advantage to not having the urge to procreate with every Accordion on the planet. I don’t have to deal with the muddlement of chemicals telling me somebody is absolutely GORGEOUS one day, and then ho-hum the next.
Me- I don’t get it. Romance just seems like a royal scam. One day he is interested, the next he could care less.
Baby – If that is the case, he NEVER cared, or SHE never cared … It was just a human on drugs, pretending to be interested.
Me – But I wouldn’t do that, I don’t do that.
Baby – Because you take your time. Because you don’t jump on the merry-go-round first thing – you wait until the right horse comes along.
Me – I am a terrible romantic. Actually I am an addict.
Baby – But you KNOW it is a drug. And you use it like a drug, but most people don’t get that it is an illusion, an illusion that can be created and destroyed as many times as a thought breaks upon the waves of your consciousness.
Me – Poetry again.
Baby – Pure musicality.
Me – I used to be ashamed of my addiction to romance.
Baby – EVERYBODY is addicted to romance. It is the human condition. We create romantic illusions to get us through this SHITHOLE of a life.
Me – Oh, Baby, don’t speak that way ..Shit … doesn’t sound good coming out of you.
Baby – Hey I can blow a note every once in a while. I never claimed perfection – another romantic illusion.
Me – So my romantic illusions that I created – the loves that weren’t really real except in my mind … that was my way of surviving?
Baby – Sure as hell better than suicide, or drugs that destroy your body or brain – What the hell else were you to do to get through 40 years of depression?
Me – And now that I am on the other side? On the sunny side?
Baby – You don’t need fairytales to get you through a life of sunny days.
Me – You mean look for something real? Be ready for real?
Baby – You got it with me kiddo – What we have is real and it can only get better as long as you are in it to win it.
Me – Being with you, even the hard work feels good, like whatever mistake I make now will only deepen my understanding of how we work together.
Baby – That is how TRUE LOVE is it recognizes the value in every moment – nothing is good or bad – it just leads to a richer experience.
Me – (Weeping) No man, has ever loved me that way … even though I have given so much … I always felt so alone … like I was the only one who cared.
Baby – I wish I had arms to hold you (Baby looks bluer than usual) … I can’t promise you that you will ever be loved by a man that way … but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible or probable that some dude will replace me.
Me – NOoooo ! Friends FIRST and ALWAYS!
Baby – You won’t ditch me for some dude?
Me – What do you take me for? Didn’t we have this huge discussion about the illusion of romance? YOU and ME are for REAL, and we will continue to make beautiful music together – Dudes or no Dudes.
Baby – Dudes or no Dudes – We are for REAL! Deal?
Me – Deal!