Thursday, January 20, 2011
The illusion of independence.
A couple of hours ago I chatted with a friend and talked about things like relationships, commitment, marriage and children. At some point she asked me why I still didn’t want to commit to a relationship.
The illusion of independence I replied not really sure what I meant. I had never thought about it before it just slipped into my head and I said it. Then I started to think about it.
Imagine a girl or a young lady like me who is not in any sort of permanent romantic relationship. Any ones I have had in the past have never lasted longer than the time it took me to get bored, tired or just inconvenienced enough to push them away. But that’s not every girl, that’s just me and I do have commitment issues.
At the heart of my commitment issues lie my fears. Those fears largely consist of what I would have to give up in order to become part of a real relationship. If asked what I think I would have to give up my first answer would probably be my freedom. My freedom to think, feel and do what I want, My freedom to make or not to make decisions, be as hardworking or indolent as I see fit, to be and do as I want with no input from anyone else.
But that’s all mental isn’t it? As much as being in a relationship would mean that I have to think about another person before taking any real actions, to what degree would it really affect my freedom in the above respects. A small degree only I am sure.
I would lose the freedom of my future. That’s another fear. The most pressing one for me, I think. The traveling I want to do, the places I want to go, books I have to write, experiences I have to have. How can I do those when I have to live within the confines of someone else’s expectations, desires and needs. The joke is that in my present freedom I am not living this future, I am not traveling, writing books, or experiencing much. Trapped in my present life this future that demands this freedom is as nebulous a concept as it would be were I ’trapped’ in a relationship.
What I mean is this ‘There is no freedom of the future, there is only a freedom of now’. If I were flying as I want to right now then I would have a right to demand a relationship that lets me fly. Stationary, I have no such right, neither do I have a right to ignore the relationships of a stationary nature around me in the fear that once in them I would not at some vague future date be able to fly.
Finally my independence, the ability to make decisions about my life based solely on my needs and desires. To go when I want and come when I want without having to deal with the needs emotional or otherwise of someone else. Being unfettered by the bonds of responsibility for somebody else either physically or emotionally. That is what I treasure, the fact that when I want, I will be left alone.
But in reality there is nothing like this. There is no independence. Everybody has to give something and everybody does. At work maybe, to the community, in school, at some time or point something else or someone else determines what you will do with your time. You can come and go as you please but doesn’t a lot depend on who you are coming to see and where you are going? Only the hermit perhaps may be truly independent.
We cannot be truly independent, we all just have relationships with different aspects of life. For some lucky ones there is the ability to have relationships with many aspects and balance them all.
There is no independence. There is only an illusion. The illusion of independence. It precedes a grim reality. The reality of solitude.
Monday, January 17, 2011
I recently discovered Harlan Coben.
Funny, when you consider how much I like to read. I should have discovered him when his first book came out. I am one of those people who are lost to the outside world when we’re reading. I call it being “in the book”. When I’m in the book I don’t see, hear or smell. I will let you imagine how many meals I’ve condemned to ashes while happily “in the book”.
In those days I fed myself a steady diet of Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, John Grisham, Jackie Collins and every other popular writer of the 1990’s. I also read Mills and Boon, Harlequin and every other romance publication. The thing is I just loved to read. I would read anything. I read Newsweek, Time Magazine, toothpaste wrappers, everything and I was never satisfied.
In the last few years though I grew disillusioned with all the popular fiction that kept on coming out of publishers houses. The sight of another Nora Roberts book, with the same storyline, only with different characters would fill me with derision again and again, Danielle Steel got so sentimental it actually hurt to read her books, even Jackie Collins lost her edge (compare how all the people we don’t like conveniently die or go out of the way in say ‘American Star’ to the sharp edgy decadent ride of ‘Chances’)
I discovered British Chick lit, I read Bridget Jones diary, fell in love with Wendy Holden, was out there with Minty Malone and couldn’t wait for Lucy Sullivan to get married. While I engrossed myself in these predictable romances, I also started reading the classics again, I read Vanity Fair and read and reread Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre. I made up my mind to totally ignore all popular, commercial type fiction and this I did without regret.
Until Harlan Coben.
I read my first Harlan Coben about eight weeks ago towards the end of last year, since then I have read four others. I am currently reading one and even as I type my fingers are itching to get back to the book (I would have, just that I’m in the office).
I know Harlan Coben is not perfect, his lead character is always almost the same man, a professional, in his thirties or early forties, with the same values and a belief in real love. These men are probably the different variations of Coben himself. But does he take you for a ride!
I guess it doesn’t pay to be too rigid about what one reads, though I know I’ll never read any Nora Roberts novel written after 1995. I’m reading some popular fiction again. I read ‘the girl with the dragon tattoo’ and right now I have the other two books by Stieg Larsson safely in my drawer waiting to be read.
PS the best book I read last year though was ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen.