Freshly bathed in saline

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I am a churning pool of emotion.  I am one of those people who can put themselves in anyone’s shoes to feel the emotion that pulls on their heart-strings.  Sometimes it is a true blessing and sometimes the catastrophic emotional breakdown is embarrassing.  The control of the outpouring of tears in public has been much improved but behind closed doors all bets are off.

Empathy is a gift that I feel truly fortunate to have.  It is easy to be sympathetic and try to understand what another human being is enduring but to be able to delve into that raw emotion and feel the searing scars of that pain as if it were my own enables me to really reach out to that suffering soul and comprehend what they are going through.

That mutual experience of emotion, for me, is not strictly reserved for direct contact with another human being.  I experience the same overwhelming sensations if I am watching an emotionally charged movie, listening to beautifully composed music or reading a consuming book that drips with powerful sentiment.  Last night my face was awash with tears watching a simple television show.  I’m not sure what came over me but the story was deeply touching and as I felt the first tear caress my cheek I knew there were more to follow.

Perhaps part of my longing to write with such feeling is because I want the person reading to have the same experience I had while writing it.  I want the emotion that held my heart prisoner to be injected into the reader with the same paralyzing sensation that I so easily succumbed.  I can only hope that once my novel is complete, the characters that I birthed will be overflowing with angst, ready to cry on a whim and that I can somehow find a way to make those feelings jump off the page.

One part water, one part rabbit, one part nuts

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In the 1987 movie “Fatal Attraction” Glenn Close convincingly plays an intelligent, articulate career woman with a penchant for revenge when her love is unrequited.  This was a very politically correct way of describing the insane nature of her character.  Near the pinnacle of her breakdown, Alex, played by Close, breaks into the house belonging to the object of her obsession and basically makes a soup stock out of the family pet.  My friends and I would use the phrase “bunny boiler” for many years to come after seeing this film.

Alarmingly, they do truly exist.  I’ve met some of them.  Perhaps they were not pressured to the point of bringing a pot of water to a scalding boil and stewing the family pet but they seem to wreak havoc in their own mind-boggling ways.  Obsessive behavior runs rampant and the clear and decisive nature of a normal human brain becomes more of a chapter in a research book than anything remotely resembling their reality.

Instinctively, most men can spot these women a mile away.  When the behavior pattern of a woman deviates from her usual likes and dislikes to mirror his – he becomes moderately suspicious.  When she begins randomly showing up in places that he frequents or becomes obsessed with the hobbies or sports he is into – alarm bells begin going off at top decibel.

I have always felt an inkling of sorrow watching these situations unfold.  Being able to remain rational during the beginning stages of a relationship while maintaining your sense of self is difficult.  Maintaining that rationale at the conclusion of that relationship is overwhelming, but it can be done.  Sure you may have wanted, with every fibre of your being, to be a perfect fit for the object of your affection but it doesn’t always work that way.  Relationships are about learning more about yourself and being able to blend your strengths with another person.  Giving up your interests to absorb theirs will only make you lose yourself in the process.

If relationships were easy, we would learn nothing about ourselves and what truly makes us happy.  It is the bumps in the road and those unexpected detours that make us truly think about our ultimate happiness and how much of ourselves we are willing to lose on that journey to self-discovery.   The failure only comes when you are not true to your heart and true to your beliefs.  Becoming something other than your genuine self will only negate the process of discovering that true happiness.

I do believe that I have gained enough wisdom at my age to know when the subject of my attention has a vested interest in the qualities that I possess.  I have learned to be grateful for my wit and intelligence and I have faith that they are qualities that someone will appreciate as they are – not a warped version of them to blend into the color palette of their life instead of my own.  I have finally learned the value of being myself.  It took a while to get here, but the pilgrimage was worth the sacrifices along the way.

With that knowledge in hand, I can go forth into my next relationship knowing that I put my self-worth first and, more importantly, that their pets will be safe from harm.