I have been brought up with words of advice which were ever one more constrainingly strict than the other (there is no such word, I am aware – and the editing software is also warning me I am exaggerating, but I dare, as long as we all agree that our language is a live organism), with guidelines which are so deeply embedded in my mind and soul that to remove same and detach myself from them seems as drastic as a tattoo excision surgical procedure… eventually removal is acquired, however almost every time it leaves scars and traces.
I have grown along with Ionel Teodoreanu and his Medeleni community, where infatuation afflicts everyone, with Mihail Drumeș and his trilogy of highly tormented love, where none of those passionate relationships had a chance to survive, with Rebreanu, and I simply adore him, nevertheless in his works none of the lives of Toma Novac is blessed by a love lived in full, but each only by a pursued and killed sooner or later one, however none of them fulfilled.
Travelers through my early years were as well Mihail Sebastian with his Accident, Octav Dessila with his love stories precisely from my beloved Iași hometown and unfolding during the years between the two great wars, a period of paramount fascination for me, however in such stories the fair lady dies in a stupid way, a fact extremely frustrating for the reader which would hope that at least one of her preferred authors would praise a mutual love shared by both partners, one experienced “full time” and naturally until the end…
To the contrary, the literature’s masterpieces are promoting massively, with bombastic fervor and boasting enthusiasm the love not shared, the devastating sufferance arisen from infatuation, the tears poured by buckets from the same source of fondness of course, the physical and psychic degradation (ones lose their minds and artistically go crazy for same reasons), overall a martyrdom which becomes the habitual nature of all love stories.
I have reached a point where I believed that to say love full of sufferance is almost a redundancy, and that a normal, open and full-time love would probably be extremely boring, since no one speaks of such a matter …
This on the one hand, that of knowledge learned from books… on the other hand, the one I would have had to start with, since it has an overwhelming influence, there is the good old family upbringing during the first 7 and even 14 years spent at home, knowledge successfully delivered by parents, the extended family, educators, school teachers, professors, the environment, entourage, society, and one more… the traditional beliefs, duly and relentlessly conveyed from one generation to the next and which are embossed in each of us at a cellular level, so as we no more know where we are and where the voice of our ancestors is, as taken over without even knowing actually.
What is my point, now? A part of what I want to tell you is artistically rendered in the quotes so pervasively present on facebook and which actually abound in the entire internet.
„Love consists in desiring to give what is our own to another and feeling his delight as our own” (Emanuel Swedenborg)
„In a true love you must be a bit slave to be free, namely to not see anything around, anymore.” (Octavian Paler)
„No one has loved as I did. No one has suffered as I suffered. This is what we all are saying. And we are all right, in this respect.” (Alexandru Macedonski)
„This is how love goes on… a game, a stupid game, dirty and counterfeit.. one does not enter without being held accountable in such a game.” (Camil Petrescu).
„Love cannot be without pai.”n (Mihail Drumeș)
And I could go on forever, of course.
I am talking here about the words directly spoken to us and the ones that we have indirectly heard when adults were discussing in the living room while us, the then children, were playing in the other room or even there, aside of the grown-ups. I am also talking about the certitudes which have guided our lives and with which we have grown for the most part of our childhood and teenage years.
“Poor and honest”, “Should go to sleep at peace every night”, “Smart, not rich”, “Money is the eye of… you know who..”, “Money does not bring happiness”, “Wealthy thrive and poorest dive”, “I am poor but I am wise, no one can seize this from me” … and many more. Now, I raise to myself a question: is it impossible to be at the same time wealthy and honest? Would I be hindered in going to bed at peace by having a lot of money in my account? (to the contrary, I think I would have much more peace in such circumstances, but I wonder: could I get rich in a natural way, without taking advantage of someone else?); would it be inconceivable that those money (which are not bringing happiness) could make me, indirectly, of course, so extraordinarily comfortable as to be able, for example, to visit the most beautiful places of this world and thus distract a bit my attention from the important “sorrow” brought along? These are unaffected questions that make me tend to understand all those talking or writing about the genuineness of opulence and the joy of experiencing an easy life abounding in satisfaction.
This being said now for the material abundance, and the physical and intellectual comfort attached.
If we go a bit deeper, we reach the concepts and beliefs which have literally intoxicated us and made us think love means tormented sufferance, and that to die from infatuation is easy and normal, and that pain is present in 100% of the love situations, and that you can transform the one aside you, namely your beloved, based on passion, and love can move mountains and change destinies. In fact, love is moving mountains and changing fates, however not as we imagine, that is by demanding from the other, controlling and manipulating, elegantly and maybe even in a diplomatic manner the partner, but in the instances when love is shared by both partners, when each of them is aware that their own effort is focused precisely on them, and not on the other.
Or, if we push a little more our candor, we see that these concepts are even more “shallow” sometimes, but with equally devastating effects upon couple relationships. Namely, the statements like love and sex are reciprocally exclusive, or sex is a rather dirty act, that it would be advisable to postpone as long as possible the moment of “desecration” and the virginity is the most important dowry of a maiden. Please, do not laugh: such paradigms and firm beliefs have mutilated souls and even bodies sometimes.
Furthermore, we can find other concepts which “sound nice”, such as: “divorce is unacceptable”, “no one has ever got a divorce in our family till now”, “everyone has to bear its cross” (if someone does not have one, a cross must be procured as soon as possible), “wives do not offer blow-jobs, nor do they receive cunnilingus” (presumably only mistresses have this privilege), “women enjoying sex are sluts”, “a man can peacefully visit other women, as long as his duties are as well attended at home” (duties = sex with the pajamas on, once at every 2 or 3 months), “marriage and erotic fantasies exclude each other”, “why would you divorce?? Is he drinking? Or beating you? Why else, then? What happened, are you crazy?”
And there you go, rigid moulds are shaped and we step inside without even knowing, and such patterns become so deeply rooted in us that, until we gain awareness on them and without an effort to profoundly change same, before we fully undertake the labor of our own transformation, irrespective of what we do, or where we try to run and hide, regardless of how many amendments we perform outside ourselves, without bringing any variation to our inner universe, we are doomed to reach sooner or later the same point, a dead-end where we reenact the very script so carefully embedded in our essence throughout the spent years of our lives.
The only way to break the orbit we are spinning on, as white mice on a wheel that never stops, is to step outside the circle, namely to start change where it is in our power to do it: INSIDE OURSELVES! We cannot amend a thing outside us, in the people surrounding us, in our partner; this would be beyond our turf, even if believing in such powers can be so tempting. However, we are able to perform outstanding amendments with extremely benefic effects WITHIN OURSELVES, each one with their own inner being, by themselves and at their inmost heart. Thus, the fantastic outcome is that by shifting my own persona the whole universe around me is as well changing. The algorithm is as simple as that: a changed paradigm determines different beliefs, which give rise to dissimilar behaviors, which trigger OTHER DISTINCT RESULTS!
Full stop. New pilcrow ….. Start next paragraph, here it is, a new beginning.
Translation by Aura-Alexandra Stan.
The Romanian version of this chapter you can find in the book (cartea „Totul pentru femei – mic tratat de regăsire”)