The text comes early from a man who doesn’t text early. It is an insulting response to something I had said the night before. I am confused but not for long. Hi J….. I text. Good morning she says back. It is his caretaker not him that is texting me. She is rude to me, telling me that I am cruel and selfish to abandon a crippled drunk when he loves me so much. And I find myself stopping once again to address this notion that swims in my head that people judge you not on what you are doing yourself, but on their need to control you, to control situations, and to feel a sense of power for themselves.
I shake my head as I read this, and tell her my first obligation is to my child, something she has already abandoned at least twice. Her first obligation is to her addiction and somehow to his. Somewhere in there her obligation is to the man who’s cell phone she is using, undoubtedly as he is passed out drunk, probably piss drunk, on her sofa.
I feel a waxing feeling of disgust, it sweeps in like a rogue wave and I shudder. It taints me in my own quest for love. Her admonishing my conditional love as some how weaker than her unconditional love.
I wonder in the shivering cold morning, in which I procrastinate away the spiritual time with reading time, and wonder if the physical time will somehow make up for the spiritual. I mean that I skip yoga in favor of reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and wonder if a hike in the woods amounts to the same spiritual deposit as yoga even though it is the physicality of it for both myself and the dog which draws me. Later I will make my spiritual deposit, I rationalize when I go to dharma study, but I am tired from insomnia and suspect I will never go.
That wave of disgust allows me to let my crush wane, he has proven his lack of interest five times. I should have given up on three. I have been waiting for this, a repeated pattern interest, crush, disgust with myself, lack of interest now on both sides. And it helps me this admonishment with one to feel disgust with an0ther. I sit and contemplate why we are expected to give up everything for the person we love. Why we should some how accept that they are entering alcoholic dementia in their 40’s, that they are crippled for their long addiction, left to atrophy because it was thought they were on a binge. Perhaps the failure in the brain can also be attributed to excessive drug and alcohol abuse. Yes I say, you can love him without condition, you can scrape the bloody shit off his ass and change his pissed pants for him and still love him. Why would I take this on? I have already borne the burden of another for 11 years. Was that not enough sacrifice in the name of love? Was it not?
Another wave of utter disgust hits me, it has a fierce undertow. I find myself wondering, is this something I really want to take on? This attempt to meld my life with another, all the shit and piss and crippled parts swirling in the crashing surf.
She confesses she is sick of him, of his crap, of his angry manipulation of her, and again tells me that I have broken the heart of a man that adores me, without condition. I see her as being pathetic, pathos, get him out of my life, I adore him but he is a drunk, and I am tired of taking care of him, because I want to be a drunk too…..No J….. I think. No. The minute, the instant, the millisecond I saw what had become of him, I put my hands up and walked away.
Yes I am weak. And although my love has no condition, my care taking does. I want no part of it. I have paid my dues, I will willingly stand side by side with another, but never ever will I heft that person over my shoulder and slog through the sucking quicksand while their able legs kick my ass to make me move faster, harder and stronger.
Unconditional love begins with yourself.