Challenge of Love 3/30/23

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m even capable of feeling loved.  I’ve written before that I was raised being told that I’m not loved and never will be.  Could this lesson have set roots?  Is this feeling the result of my chronic depression?  Is it my history of being single and failing at relationships?  Is there something just wrong with the way I’m built?

The thought crept into my mind a few weeks ago as I lay awake in bed trying in vain to find sleep, as thoughts like this often will.  The reality is that I do know that I’m loved.  I have friends spread far and wide that I know will read this and feel slighted because of their genuine love and concern for me.  I’m not suggesting that there are not those who love me.  I just don’t understand why I can’t feel it.

Is it just me?  Do others have trouble feeling loved, or, perhaps more importantly, are there people who feel that love more intimately than I do?  Is it normal to be able to feel the love, or is it normal that it never really is felt at all? 

Physical love matters.  I know this.  Physical love releases endorphins that ward off depression, lowers blood pressure and actually makes us physically healthier.  Lonely people (like me) will often get pets (mine is a cat).  Perhaps this is because of an innate understanding of the importance of physical contact.  If we’re not getting it elsewhere, then maybe a pet is a meager but ready source of such affection. 

There is something very wrong with me, of that I have no doubt.  I’ve spent my life living in my head, and have no idea how to listen to my now battered and broken (literally since my heart attack) heart.  As I write this, I’m sitting in my office, with three computers, four computer screens, surrounded by displays of quantum mechanical calculations, and a chalkboard behind me waiting eagerly for the results of those calculations.  I don’t like sports, I don’t drink, I don’t seem to do much of anything that, as a good red-blooded American male, I should be doing.  What is wrong with me?

Maybe this is why I’ve been so unsuccessful in love.  I’m just too odd.  Could they have been right?  Does that make me as unlovable as I was told I would be? 

Yes, these preponderances hurt.  A lot.  And yes, they do keep me up at night with my demons angrily toying with my feelings and fears.  And yes, for the most part, I’m doing nothing here but vent, but again I’m hoping that, God forbid, anybody else is feeling something like this (and I really hope that there are not such poor tortured souls as mine), they know that they’re not alone.  I guess it would take a psychologist to tell us if these are common feelings or not, but at least know that you’re not alone if you have thoughts like this as well.  We’re in this together.

So, what to do about this?  Of late, I’ve become aware of how much I truly hate what my life has become, but how should I change?  Is it time for me to start drinking and watching sports and womanizing in the hopes of finding somebody who likes being mistreated by a misogynist?  Should I look for another emotionally abusive wife to take advantage of me just because it feels familiar? 

My fingers want to type, “or should I end it now?”  I won’t let them, except to bring up that it is a feeling that I have been feeling far too often of late, but rest assured, dear readers and friends, it’s not a thought that I will act upon.  Just in case any of my friends are feeling this way as well, don’t act on it.  Live on, if only to piss off the people who hope that you do act on it.  There are resources to help out those emotionally tortured as I am.  My friend just started working at a text-based helpline.  Maybe you can even find her if you text 741741.  If you’re right on the edge, the national emergency suicide hotline number is 988.

As for me, I guess I’ll just keep going.  I honestly don’t know why, but I will.  God wants me here for some reason.  There have been multiple opportunities for Her to call my model home, so I guess there’s still something for me here in this life, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what that might be.


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