I spoke with Flora the other week over the phone. It’s been at least a few months since I’ve communicated with her, let alone spoken to her. The intention was I guess ‘closure’ in some ways, but it actually turned out to be the complete opposite. All of it just reminded of why I fell in love with her in the first place, why I’m still in love with her, from the moment I heard her voice again.
For the most part, the conversation went well. If time was like physical space, it was as if we simply left ourselves in a spot down the street, and talking again was like backtracking a few paces to recover a dropped bag. Everything in its natural rhythm, its joyous cadence, its playful exchanges, almost as if we were still a couple. In some ways it makes me happy. It means that the spark between is still there. I just don’t know what she meant by any of it. I asked her not to talk about her romantic life, so maybe she’s in love with someone else, and just took the whole thing as a friendly encounter. I keep holding onto her words, meticulously dissecting them to see if maybe they meant more. Hoping they meant more. But I can’t really tell. I was too afraid to ask.
The original reason I called Flora was because I wanted to ask her to give me back my heart. I guess I feel like I’m still walking around as half a person, that something is missing. I didn’t ask her that in order for me to be open to dating other people, but to function in my life. I think one of the biggest things I learned through this whole ordeal is that love isn’t just about focusing on one other person and calling that love. It’s about how you live your life and living life with half a heart is painful. It fucking sucks, basically. I had been wanting to ask her to do this for quite some time now. I scripted it out and everything, about how I was going to make it all dramatic and that maybe she’d be ecstatic to know that I still loved her. Of course, none of it came out the way I wanted it to come out. It never does with Flora. That’s kind of the beauty that is her.
I don’t know what drove me to finally ask her to do this for me. For weeks I was afraid of asking her. I know it’s for my own well-being. I know that both symbolically and energetically, it would be what I needed to move on with my life. At the end of the day, none of this was for her, it was all for me. But I was still scared, because what if she gave my heart back? Then what would I do?
About half-an-hour into our conversation, I finally brought it up. It went something like this:
“Hey so the original reason I wanted to call you is because I need to talk to you about something…” Silence on the other end.
“Yeah?” she finally said.
“I still love you,” I started. “I’m still in love with you. Like before. Nothing has changed.”
“Exactly as it was from the first day I saw you…”
“That’s very poetic,” she finally said.
“No, it’s actually fucking up my life. I can’t date anyone. All I think about is you, you, you.” I could feel her blushing on the other side of the phone.
“But I’m not asking for my heart back to date anyone else,” I continued. “I’m asking for it back so I can move on with my life. I see now that a lot of what broke us apart was the insecurity I have, like day-to-day stuff and I need to work on that. I need my heart to do that.”
“I mean you don’t have to give it back, if you want it,” I tried. “But if you’re not going to use it, or take care of it, give it back to me.”
After a few more seconds of silence she finally said.
“No! It’s mine! I’m never letting it go!”
I’ll be honest. Something in my heart leaped when she said that. I didn’t know how to react. But she brought it back down when she continued.
“I shouldn’t joke like that. You’re being serious. Ok…” She took in a deep breath. “…I release it.”
I didn’t feel anything immediately when she said that. In fact, part of my heart must have chipped on its way back over when she said she was joking about it. Part of me wanted her to be serious, to be selfish, to want to hold on. I would have let her.
“…But I get to keep a piece of it!” she added.
I laughed a bit. “No. I need the whole thing,” I said.
She sort of sighed and thought about it for a few minutes. I imagine her rocking her head back and forth. Then she finally said,
“Ok. But I’m tattooing my name on it. We were a big part of each other’s lives. We have memories that you’ll never forget, I’ll never forget…”
“Yeah, honestly, sometimes I wish I could forget them…”
I wasn’t trying to be mean by saying what I said. It’s not that I don’t find our time together beautiful, in fact, they were the most beautiful moments of my life, but living in those thoughts is like a cruel trick. It’s like floating in the white tips of a cloud only to realize that you can’t grasp onto any of it. And she understood that I meant it in that way.
“Well…you won’t forget me. And I won’t forget you. That’s just how it is,” she said. “But you’re free now. ‘Free bird.’”
She said the last two words in English, just so I understood. I smiled because I missed the way she sounded in that language, and a rush of emotions came right after that.
It’s been nearly a year since I broke up with Flora and for whatever reason I have not recovered from that wound. It still hurts as the first day she told me that the feeling she once held for me had passed. I try desperately to move on with my life, but it is like all the turns are wrong, all the doors lead to nowhere, and the questions I have about my life still remain unanswered. And at the end of the day, I still haven’t learned how to accept that I am no longer an important part of her life.
I know this situation doesn’t compare to the context of how this thought is normally used, but I understand why some people don’t want to be free. Sometimes, liberation really hurts. And if I am indeed “free”, I am very much a person who does not know what to do with his freedom.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Nick. Flora is not here anymore. It's time that you accept that.
Sometimes I think that we are all, in some ways, vehicles, and the adventure and safety that we can provide another person is in essence the measure of who we are in the world. Right now I don't think that I'm a very good ride. In fact, I'm quite ashamed of how shitty the experience would be.
You know, you have to apply what you believe to be a good martial arts instructor to how you live your life. Someone that will stretch your limits, but still caring of who you are. Sometimes I don't even know if you like yourself, and that needs to be resolved.
At the end of the day I was not able to take care of Flora, like I was not, and still am not in a place where I can be responsible for another human being. But she made me want to be so that I could. And that is why I loved her so.
I am really working on being a responsible person. That is why I was sent back to Seattle and when I think about it, I have great teachers here to give me their lessons.
Write the story about Morocco and submit it somewhere. It is a worthy tale.
Your father is a really interesting person. You could learn a lot from him if you just spoke to him more.
I went back to my parents for 2 weeks, and when I left this time it didn't feel like freedom. It felt like sadness.
The thing I loved so much about Flora was that she never tried to be anything. She just was. Goddamn authenticity. Always gets me.
People who want to write a book because they think their life is 'crazy', need to realize that everybody is crazy; you've just been so self-absorbed that you've never bothered to ask someone else what their life about.
The thing I learned about adulthood today is that it is when you are strong enough to contend w/ your fears. You no longer run from them. You have enough belief that you can best them.
George is one of my funniest friends. I think anyone named George is somebody's funniest friends.
That moment Michael and I decided to stay in Ibiza for one more night was the awesomest. It changed both of our lives.
I can see why people who've dedicated their lives to mastinger English grammar probably hate things like Facebook, YouTube and reddit.
I think a lot of people mistake medical malpractice w/ bad customer service.
Be nicer to your Mom.
This fractured ankle has single-handedly been of the greatest teachers in my life. It taught how to command the Being inside me to discipline itself, because the vehicle in which it travels is under repair.
I think it's important to remember that you are still recovering. You're not at your peak form.
Prison probably has some of humanity's most interesting characters. What they're put through is inhumane though. It goes far beyond the limit of punishing them for their crime.
The first time me and Flora made love was on Children's Day.
Follow Love. Just follow Love. Everything you will be in need of on that journey will appear on your path.
I am like a prince trapped in his tower, waiting for the cavalry to arrive.
Flora told me that dating me was like a giant LSD trip. I laughed at that, because for me dating her was, and still is, a long Daime trip that doesn't end.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
I think that when someone goes through a failed marriage, they feel as if they have been deceived in the highest order.
Actually, divorce rates are a pretty accurate indicator of how well a society is doing in providing for its people.
I think a healthy daily ritual is to ask yourself if you've given up on life.
One time Flora and I were in the middle of a really intense argument and said, "We're basically married!" I don't know if she knew that despite the situation, hearing her say that made me really happy.
I think its important before entering a new relationship that you clear out all the baggage from a past relationship. It's crazy how the memory of someone can create very real wounds to a completely new person in the present.
For whatever reason, words were the weapons given to me for this battle.
I think something that is touching about boxing gyms is that it is a place where kids are seeking answers and when they show up, someone is there.
Boxing gyms are held together by people like Manny. Dedicated fighters who still have enough invested in the sport, but understand the importance of upholding and caring for tradition.
One way to assess how good a television series is, is how much influences your daily life, like how much you think about the story's characters when making decisions. That being said, "Sons of Anarchy" is one of the best shows I've ever seen.
One method of determining how good a relationship is going is how much the two of you eat while you're cooking.
People who can parallel park perfectly often have interesting stories.
The stories of others. They are the best teachers. It's really the only place you need to look.
It is actually a very profound honor to be a storyteller.
I see now that a lot of my fear comes from a fear of coming out of the darkness.
The trick that darkness plays is that it convinces you it is a place to find your answers, that it is safe, when in reality it is a prison.
From my experience in martial arts, the biggest ego you have, the harder you get hit.
I'll always have the Lighthouse.
At some point, you begin to see yourself aging into your parents.
Boxing is really about someone who has been beaten up, looking for a way to defend himself.
The first time you walk into a boxing gym, or any real martial arts dojo, is an amazing experience. It is sometimes the first time you see strong men (and women) able to withstand the torment of life.
Creating a successful comic book superhero must be a trying experience.
One time Flora and I got into a really bad argument. Bad enough to where she wanted to sleep on the couch. Soon after she fell asleep, I unrolled a mat and slept close to her on the ground. She woke me up in the morning and laid down right next to be on the floor. When I moved over to give her half the mat space, she shook her head and just held me. We slept like that for another half hour.
It is difficult to be in Love w/ someone whose heart belongs to someone else.
At the end of the day, I really love writing about fighters and fight gyms. There's something worth looking into there, Nick.