My Dark Demon

Personal Journal 19 February 07

Jesse likes to look back on our adventurous days; it was an important part of his sexual development as well as mine, and it turns him on to think of those people and escapades. He likes to reminisce, but more and more that has been turning me off. I feel panicky, revulsed, sad.

Now I just realized I am still nursing my wound of bewildered guilt about hurting him. I feel my sexuality rejected by his reaction to my adventures, and I resent that. It’s painful to remember all that excitement, because it turned bad. I failed to discover what I was searching for, and in addition I damaged our relationship. Reminiscing about those days just heightens the sense of loss. I not only failed to find what I was searching for — I also fail, these days, to be able to continue the search.

Working on this book, I’ve had to reflect on that, and on the fact that I wouldn’t let myself think about it for a long time. I was scared to investigate the subject of how I used to get turned on by other men. Scared to raise that old demon who says “I betrayed myself by marrying Jesse ; I should have held out for True Love.” Scared to raise the specter of Mr. Right.

My obsessive search for Mr. Right: I’d seen that quest as the key to my sexuality. When I gave up on it, I saw it as an addiction, always doomed to failure. I decided it was only rational to reject the whole idea of Romantic Love. It’s an artificial condition, a craziness that’s destructive, mainly good for rationalizing lust.

But I was sucking on sour grapes, and not admitting it to myself. I don’t believe in Romance, but I still crave it. I keep rediscovering the craving, each time thinking Oh, no: still there. I thought I’d freed myself from it. And if I haven’t, am I also wrong about the search for True Love being an illusion? An addiction?

Then on 4 April some mischievous fate got me watching the romantic movie I Capture the Castle.[1] Protagonist Cassie caught my attention when she said “I knew this was love because my heart broke for him.” Here was a depiction of the cultural icon True Love that departed from the usual pattern that seems so destructive to me. Instead, True Love defined by compassion…. Does this mean I should be able to rescue my longing for Romantic Love? What do I do about Mr. Right?

Where in this morass of crazy yearning can I find the homing beacon, the intuition of heart’s desire, of true will? Beyond all the cultural programming, what is the essential reality of human, sexual love? Is my hunger for magic a spiritual guide, or a conditioned addiction? Is it possible to feel magic in my relationship to Jesse ?

Once again I have to encounter that dark demon of mine. I guess he’ll always be there, and I’ll always want to avoid him. How do I befriend him this time? Mr. Right is central to my life, to my sexuality — but he’s scary, depressing, frustrating, grief-provoking. How do I accept that?

How do I accept the Shadow? Not plunge into it, not identify with it — just not reject it, but honor it in its place? Can I invite this demon to tea? [2] I guess I will continue to walk with Mr. Right….

[1] Dir. Tim Fywell, I Capture the Castle, (Los Angeles: Samuel Goldwin, 01/11/2003).
[2] (As in one version of the story about the 10th-century bodhisattva Milarepa when he found himself plagued by demons. Although a powerful wizard, he couldn’t defeat them; he also couldn’t convert them …but he learned to coexist with them through compassion.)