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August 6, 1998
a year ago

Do You Love Yourself?

I read Alan's Hiroshima Days fairly frequently. As Jay says,"Taste it." Sussinct. But I enjoy the textures of Alan's thoughts and musings. Vivid. Though it's funny, sometimes, to reach out a fragile touch to connect to someone whose soul is so much in my view.

It's why I got involved in the Internet, though. So that I could be judged on what my brain and mind and words presented, rather than simply what folks picked up from seeing my physical self. Touching souls rather than flesh, minds rather than skin, getting flames instead of B.O., puns instead of prat falls.

Seem to have lost one such connection. Someone asked, for the first, time, to be taken off the lira-kin list, the one that I post the more polished things on. It used to just be a mass of email addresses that I mailed things to, but that got kinda cumbersome, so I made myself the mailing list. It's been years since I actually did it, so years have gone by since some people asked to be on it, and I shouldn't be surprised that tastes change, and that someone might not want to be on any more. I've pretty much told everyone on it that it's a flat-out broadcast medium, not for discussions. A lot of folks on it don't need the extra e-noise. Besides, I'm half surprised with the folks that stay on lira-kin when most of it is a redigestion of what I put up here.

I was hurt by it. Don't know why. It's not like I could do anything about it and it's likely not a value judgement on me. Just a decision for their own sake. Logically, there should be no fall out, but emotionally... it's just a feeling.

In the Drum Groove, the guyleading it at one point said that in his home village, the daily greeting was the equivalent of "Do you love yourself?" and the greeted could answer Yay or Nay, and if they said Yay, he would come back with, "Then you are Blessed Indeed! May Fortune continue to Smile upon you." He didn't say what he said when someone answered Nay. I find, more often than not, that that is the answer most folks would give, and that I'd need to figure out what to say or how to listen back. I'd imagine that he'd sit down with the Nay-sayers and they'd either figure out why and do something about it, or he would simply sympathize with their plight, or something.

But how different it would be if everyone asked that as a greeting! It made me think. I am not sure if I really love myself. Faults and flaws and failure and fears and rejected by other bits and all. I think I could, I think I do, but with so much that I think 'shouldn't' be loved, why is that any different than loving anyone else with flaws and faults and failures and fears and bits rejected by others? I love them well enough, why not me, too?

Anyway. Food for thought. Maybe I should start greeting my friends and loved ones that way each day.

Mark appeared today, around 10 a.m., at my work place, and proceeded to quietly sit down in my office and read for most of the day. Entirely non-intrusive as I coded great blazes, swore muchly, and basically wore my brain out on a related set of seven classes, a somewhat complex communications system, and creating complete independence between UI and data when, at the basis of it all was a set of nine classes which intertwined data and UI completely. Data mining with the amusing difference of it being in the code I was working with.

I swore a lot.

Especially at violating old class design and forcing access to privates of various classes that I had to get at because they hadn't been designed to be used in any way other than the way they'd been built. At least I tried to make the accesses through functions that could be used for processing more than just passing on the values and not the values themselves, but it still felt odd.

I felt I had to get everything done by the end of the day as Bob needed a list of the creatures for his UI debugging. And by 5 p.m. it was really obvious that I wasn't going to be able to create the public interfaces and implementations for nine different classses (two of 'em were 'just interface' classes on top of two of the parent implementation classes) in just three days and get everything in the implementation to work. So I called John and we did a savage triage and he tackled the minimal interface on two of the children.

By the time it was 7 p.m. Mark had moved to the couch in the middle of the common area to stay completely out of my way, and I was able to do an entire child class in fifteen minutes. Everything compiled. There was just some linkage class stuff that had to be written, but I was completely brain stripped. Dead with exhaustion and unable to think much more for a new class setup.

So we went home.

And I was bitterly meandering about how I hadn't finished and maybe I should take half the next day to get the linkages in place and all that, when John took me by the shoulders and asked, "What percentage is done of the stuff you designed just last week?" "Uhm... about... uhm.... okay... I guess it's nearly 95% done." "Yeah. So don't worry about what you didn't do, you did a hell of a lot." "Uhm..." "Okay?" "Uhm... well, yeah. I guess so."

Mark would have been fine with me using half the next day at work, but after what John said, I pretty much had to just let go, and let it go and let John do the linking if he could. And after all that work, I really needed some time off.

So we bought some fish and some veggie and I made fried fish and tater tots and we ate and it was good and then we went to sleep. Talking with Mark was like talking with a good friend. Not so much a reminder of William/Raven or of Charlie, so much as something at that same level, which was easy, friendly, not laden with all the trash and baggage and garbage I'd stuck on so many conversations I've had with him. None of that past sticking to the talk or the interaction, though there was still that touch of familiarity, in that we knew each other, in that we knew our past, and knew enough of each other to have conversations at a level of depth I have with few other people.

It was surprising and light and unfettered by so much that had become rote. It was good to shatter the old pattern. To find that there was no need on his side, and, therefore, no tractor beam pulling on me to give.

Quite a few friends of mine had commented, in the two years after my breakup with Mark, that it would never have worked the way it was. They were right. I knew it too, or I wouldn't have left when and how I had, which was with a complete break off, with a lot of pain and anger and confusion still unreconciled and never really resolved. Many councilled me to make my own closure, to be able to deal with it all without him. So I had to, in some ways.

But I realized, simply from talking with him, simply from the friendly peace that was involved in the interchange, that for all I could have done, nothing could give me the closure that this was giving me. I think that some of it was the very real realization that the past was the past, now. That many things had changed, that I'd learned so much in the last three of four years, it was somewhat astonishing. That I'd learned more about how to take care of myself, how to be myself, how to speak up for what I wanted in the last three years than I probably ever had in my life. Partially due to him, to what the whole situation made of me. It's what enabled my relationships with others and only strengthened my marriage with John.

Though, I'll admit, it wasn't all clean. In some ways, I had self-assumptions going, in some ways. Things that some part of me couldn't deal with very well, like the fact that he didn't initialize any physical contact himself. Not that he rejected me when I did, but some part of me harped on it as him 'not liking me' or 'not wanting me'. When I sat down and thought about it, though, I had to admit that after our past, he was just probably being suitably cautious and wise to not assume that any physical intimacy could be assumed.

My interiors took it as rejection, though. Which pretty clearly indicates that I'm really not *all* there, yet. So far as entirely at peace is concerned. But it was a step in the right direction to actually consider it and think about it and figure out what it really was, instead of something that sourced solely from 'like' or 'dislike' of me.

John helped with that, some, too, and said that I should enjoy him, on my day off, as I'd enjoy Raven or Charlie or Regis, or any of my other close friends that I enjoy snuggling. To stop worrying and just be. That made it much, much easier to sleep.

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