On life and love…
Here I sit, almost directly in the center of the country of Iraq, nearly six years in to this war, and almost all I can think about is my love life. Or, more appropriately, the lack thereof.
A quick recap: I just passed the three-year anniversary of the day my soul mate died of cancer. There isn’t a day of that time gone by that I have not thought of her, and how much I miss her. A year ago at this time, I was involved with a woman who I very much believed I could be happy with; who I could share my life with and share hers. This was a feeling I had not thought I could have again. Now I sit half a world away in the middle of a war zone, single as can be, and not a soul to carry on my name if I should not make it back.
Is this a “woe is me” essay? Certainly not. It is more of a statement regarding my mental state during a very interesting time in my life. A year ago, I fell in to a trap of convincing myself I was in love with someone who was very wrong for me. I did so, in retrospect, because of my own loneliness, and my own inability to recognize how detrimental it can be to base a relationship on not wanting to be alone. I have seen friends go down that path many times, only to criticize them for it. Perhaps that was why I so desperately hung on; I refused to believe I was guilty of what I had been so critical of others doing.
And so it was that I foolishly wrapped my brain and heart around a woman who did not deserve it. I changed things about my life that I previously would never have done. I lived a lifestyle that was not mine and forced myself to believe it was the right thing to do, to keep hold of a woman who, in the end, only hurt me as well as others.
So why did I do it? Why did I believe that I was doing the right thing, when somewhere in the recesses of my puny little brain I knew that it was wrong? Is loneliness that much of a driving force? I believe that the answer is yes, it is. Of course, the question then arises, can it be mitigated, and if so, how?
When I first got to know K, I was in a place where I believed that “the one” did not exist; that it came down to finding a woman with whom a mutual attraction was shared, and enough commonalities existed so a good life could be made with them. She blew the roof off of that and showed me perfection could exist. And not just perfect in the common understanding of the word – where everything is hunky-dory and smiles all the time – but in a way that opened new doors which were previously not just closed, but unseen. Perfect in a way where someone whose faults are your strengths and vice versa; someone whose imperfections only make them that much more perfect, because they are imperfections which coincide with your own. To meet someone who challenges you in that way is remarkable by itself; to be attracted to the person and have them feel the same is a rare gem, indeed.
The point being, although I was lonely and looking for someone, she turned my world upside down by showing me “someone” would not do; I had to be shown that someone who is truly special will do for you what no one else will. So after losing her, my brain went from being totally in love with the perfect woman for me, to never wanting to be with anyone again, to finally believing – once again – I would have to find “someone” who I was attracted to and could be happy with. I did, and I tried like hell to make it work. Unfortunately (or luckily, as the case may be), she turned out to be someone who did not appreciate my efforts and, quite frankly, was bat-shit crazy to boot. Yet, because of my mental state when I met her and my efforts to convince myself I was in love with her, I am now torn up over not having her. I know she is bad for me, and I know she is a very unstable person, but here I am. Yes, it is stupid.
Which leaves me in my current state: do I try to find a woman with whom I share a mutual attraction and enough commonalities to carve out a life together, or hold out for that perfect someone (even though I believe that I have already met her)? Or is there a third option; to embrace loneliness as a way of life, and accept it as reality. I am, after all, very blessed in many regards. I have my health, my physical and mental abilities, a family that loves me, good friends, and above all else, a God in Heaven who accepts me and watches out for me. Is it selfish to want more? Yes, but that is also human nature. It is not an excuse, just a plain and simple truth.
The advantage – or disadvantage, depending on one’s point of view – I have, is that I can do nothing to change this for quite a while. The next 300 plus days – God willing – will be spent with me in the land where time began and things like dating and finding one’s soul mate are not exactly at the top of the list of priorities. I know after a year the answers will not magically become known to me, and I will come back to a world where it is just as confusing as it was when I left. But I do believe that the time away will do me some good. I think the lack of opportunity to date or meet women will force me to accept this current state as my reality. It is who I am, for now. I am not a husband or lover or a boyfriend or a father; I am a soldier. That is all.
And for now, that is all I need to be or should be. God put me where I am, and if He wants me home to do other things with my life, He will get me there. It is not my place, especially at this time, to question that. So tomorrow we embark upon what has the potential to be the most dangerous mission we will go on for quite some time. The 1st Armored Division Army Band has decided to play a concert in downtown Balad, and we are part of the QRF for the event. I can’t really say this is the smartest idea I have heard of since being in the Army, but hey, what do I know? I’m just a lowly sergeant. Who am I to say this is a giant target of opportunity for anyone and everyone in the area who may have some leftover bombs they didn’t know what to do with. “Hey Ahmed, did you say you were looking to get rid of that mortar round? Well guess what…” Yeah. Not cool. Lol.
What I do know is that I will be downright pissed off if I get blown up or shot over some crap-tastic Army band. I may even sue.
Until next time…
P.S. I wrote all of this before the mission, which went off without incident. Much to the surprise of, well, everyone involved. This was also written before I had an epiphany regarding my recent relationship over which I was spending way too much time thinking about: mainly that things which had happened quite a while ago (and eventually leading to the demise of said relationship) suddenly made sense in the overall picture. Some things I should have seen a mile away at the time because they were obviously lurking in the back of my brain waiting for me to discover them. Suffice to say, I am no longer upset or sad in any way, shape or form for not being with this person anymore. And I have to say, it’s a pretty cool feeling, even if it was also a Homer Simpson-like “d’oh!” moment when it struck me. Kind of a “holy crap how did I not see that at the time” thing, which I am sure everyone has gone through. It just happened that I finally realized it while in Iraq, of all places. Well by golly, this trip was worth it, then!
And as a second P.S., this was also written before I came upon some “knowledge” about said relationship that cleared a few things up for me. I will qualify that by simply saying, it’s a small world.