Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Existential Valentine - from the Menopausal Stoners archives


(Stonerdate 02.15.09)

I was afraid I might disappear like dandelion seeds in the breeze since this was the first Valentines' Day that I didn't have a boyfriend in 34 years.

I know, intellectually, that Valentines' Day is a Hallmark Holiday. Years ago, when I was working in public relations, one of my accounts was the Chocolate Manufacturers of America. I learned exactly how much candy was purchased per cubic inch of shelf space in America's grocery, variety and convenience stores during this annual sales bonanza.

I also know, intellectually, that I don't need other people to prove I exist. Validation is too small of a word for the phenomenon because in order for something to have value, it must first exist. I'm pretty sure this trouble can be traced back to my emotional gestalt being fucked up. Throw in societal conditioning and marketing trends and voila! The damage is done.

We can throw in media images of beauty if you want to really seal the coffin - but you still have to exist before you need a coffin. If I'm not mistaken, you can exist without being beautiful but it sucks. Ask Janis Ian.

This existential dilemma cannot be purely a feminine phenomenon given that Dean Martin sang, "You're nobody til somebody loves you," and he is certainly a man. Some man can explore that territory, however, because I'm celebrating my own existential victory here.

Recently, it's become clear that I'm single by choice. I'd still be hanging out with That Narcissist if he weren't such an unpleasant individual. Since I needed someone to authorize my existence, being a narcissistic supply source was a perfect gig except that once Narcissists know you care about them, they start treating you like shit. He may have spent a lot of time with me which he says showed how much he enjoyed my company, but his attitude was so tacky that being around him got to be a drag -- especially when he joined me in Austin. The Narcissist gave advice to a comic at The Velveeta Room as if watching Seinfeld made him an expert on comedy. It was mortifying, but I'd seen him act like a complete asshole before.  There's something socially acceptable about being a complete asshole in New York City.

Since my identity has been defined all these years by being in one relationship or another - needing your mother's approval is another example of the external validation - and since The Universe will continue to send harsher and harsher teachers to make sure we learn our lessons before we can progress to the next level,  a narcissist must have been necessary to my process. What set That Narcissist apart from other boyfriends is that he is such a cartoon in real life that I could finally say, "hold on a dang minute," to the entire process and break the pattern.

What good is having your existence authenticated by another person if that person is a complete asshole? I don't need some asshole to tell me I exist. In fact, I never really needed anyone to confirm my existence - none of us do. But plenty of people rely on external sources to quantify their worth.

As my fiftieth birthday approaches, I'm enjoying a bit of solitary peace and quiet for a change. With Velvet leaving the nest soon, I can finally discover what it means to exist outside of a relationship. I'll always be a daughter and a mother, a friend, a teacher and even an ex-wife. I want to exist independently too. I suppose I already do. When he's describing Sowelu in The Book of Runes, Ralph Blum says, ". . .what you are striving to become in actuality is what, by nature, you already are."

Some rune masters think Ralph Blum is full of shit, but I always liked this idea.

11 comments:

Suzan said...

So true.

Enjoy your 50's!

S

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

"......since this was the first Valentines' Day that I didn't have a boyfriend in 34 years........."

AND

"......As my fiftieth birthday approaches,......"

If my arithmetic skills don't desert me, this means you've had access to, on Valentine's Day at least, ever decreasingly testosterone addled males from the age of 15, at least.

Does this mean you weren't exactly inventing lovers on the phone from whom were murmured vague obscenities? Were you not one of those who win the game, but lose the love you sought to gain?
So you never knew the pain of valentines that never came, at seventeen?

"At Seventeen" is my second most favourite song of all time!
My most favourite?
Harry Nilsson's:
"You're breakin' my heart
You're tearin' it apart
So fuck you."
The next fifteen tunes on my Top One Hundred list are ABBA tunes.




I'm not gay.

Life As I Know It Now said...

at the library we had an anti-valentine party program so there are lots of people who just hate, hate, hate valentine's day :)

PENolan said...

Thanks Susan. I'm mostly enjoying them.

Libs, I don't hate Valentine's Day much but it remains problematic in some ways.

Sterculian Rhet - I'm actually almost 54 now. The post is an old one from the archives, but I was feeling a little grouchy yesterday. You are correct, though, in that there was one man or another in my life since I was 15 up until 2009. Since then, the men have been intermittent and generally unsatisfactory ergo: I have had no Valentines. You are also correct in that there have never been invented lovers on the phone, but I have been known to cheat at solitaire.

I love Harry Nilsson, and have a few ABBA songs in my own iTunes library.

Aquarians Love To Fuck said...

PENolan lamented,

".....the men have been intermittent and generally unsatisfactory....."

Ain't that the truth. The problem, as I see it, is your choice of "Catchment Area" from where you might select these "men".
I've found that "Westernised Men, with the possible exception of The Tutor, are at best, disappointing and at worst, horrid.
Besides, even the best men should only be consumed 'intermittently' - you know, like the philosophy of, "Too much of a good thing" and all.

Sterculian Rhetoric said...

Dearest PENolan,

When I am not otherwise engaged wreaking havoc amongst, and within, the various medical NGOs of the world, I ply my questionable trade in a small-town Flower Store in the Canadas. Regarding Valentine's Day, I'll never understand why the receipt of an artfully arranged collection of the severed reproductive organs of certain herbaceous species says "lovin'".
If severed reproductive organs are to be considered the currency of love, I should think that nothing would say "lovin'" more than a bouquet of 12 artificially engorged horse langers then - yes?
Then again, what do I know of love?

Fucking Aquarians revealed,

".....with the possible exception of The Tutor....."

Possible?

You will regret that young lady. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
If you wish to make amends, whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Aquarians? You just put your lips together and...blow.

Steph said...

"I never really needed anyone to confirm my existence - none of us do. But plenty of people rely on external sources to quantify their worth."

I really needed to read this today

You're very inspirational!

PENolan said...

Thank you, Steph. You've said exactly what I needed to hear today.

Aquairians, the catchment area has indeed been an issue which is why I am currently expanding my circles. Maybe I should be looking farther east instead of inviting independent film crews into my living room. But I've always enjoyed scruffy thirty-somethings.

I'm leaving the "consuming" aspect aside for now since I've already been called a Man Eater once today. In the nicest possible way, of course.

Rhet -A bouquet of artificially engorged horse langers? What a visual! Reminds me of the Hard-On Mobile I once imagined. Not a car, but a number of penises balancing a hanging sculpture. Something well-hung, now that I think about it.

Susan Partlan said...

You are such a hottie I doubt you'll be single long, unless you continue to want to be, by choice.

"... The Universe will continue to send harsher and harsher teachers to make sure we learn our lessons before we can progress to the next level, a narcissist must have been necessary to my process."

I hate to believe that is true but I have a feeling it is.

Cali said...

As awful as a narcissistic boyfriend is, imagine the horrors of a narcissistic MOTHER. THAT is what I've had to live with for my entire life. As big of a train wreck as I am, I'm sure I'd be much worse if it hadn't been for the love of my grandmother and then my son. I am certain I wouldn't have survived her without them. Some days it's still a challenge.

PENolan said...

Research indicates that few things cause as much trouble as narcissistic parents. Glad you survived! Kind of like The Blitz back in London . . .

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