It’s been three weeks, now. No, four, though the whole month before was off too. Things are to where almost three quarters of my thoughts are my own now, not about her, or what I could have done or should have said, or what the guy might be up to next, or what I wish I could get her to think about.
The telling, the formal declaration of the change in situation, was hard for her but it was the only decent thing to do. But for me it only resets the wondering, at best replacing worry with angst, plus depression, anger, confusion, and rejection, none of it with any target or even much substance. How should one be angry at something which is no longer one’s concern and which has not had a real cost? Yet these things have to be thought about. It’s how we get through, us ‘intelligent’ species, hopelessly wrapped up in our ideas and their pet emotions on tangled leashes.
So the process has to happen, with or without approval from all the books on how many steps one or another PhD says it takes to move on. But one does not have to, and should not, feed the cycle. Thoughts do not have to be a self-reinforcing cycle of frustration. One can help the memories and all the many ‘what-ifs’ stay put away, steering clear of avoidable reminders, and productive or amusing distractions can be exercised. My trick now is to find anything that works. You would find some curiosities to my predicament, parallel to the small social circle so well tested in Quantum of Solace.
As for modes of distraction, exercise is a productive sort, if not the most distracting. Certainly I relish the intellectual challenge of building a good training program, but it takes just minutes of thought for each of many hours of mindless toil. Thoughts can skip quickly during an intense workout, and most endurance runners will testify to the sober-drunken state that comes along during a long effort — mental inhibitions fall and nighttime dreams are drawn in daylight reality.
Real physical work, designing and building, is a step up. The whole self can be engaged in such a process, and I get plenty such jobs in paid employment and around my own house. Oh, but in this case there are far too many reminders (or worse) next to every tool, from shed to office desk. [Yes, you would certainly be bemused at the geographic details of this little plot.]
Of course there’s always porn. It never occurred to me before, but I think I come back to it because it’s one of the few things that can really occupy my mind in full (when it’s done right!). Not much will saturate the imagination better than a simultaneous spread of video, photo slideshow, forum threads, and text stories spread across multiple monitors. Jacking it all up to the most putrid tolerable limits can obliterate all notions of the real world, for a short span of time. So long as the fantasies stay fantastic, it’s possible to keep a very real someone out (most of the time).
I’m sure that what I really need to do is to get back into writing. But does that work? This is what I’m writing you to ask.
The thoughts I’d like to put behind me are mostly imagined conversations with real people, who I doubt would listen if I tried to realize the ideas. Letters I’ve written, never meaning to send, is the song lyric I keep repeating as I catch myself. So can I put away those imaginary conversations if I revisit my imaginary people and get to work building realistic conversations for them?
I’ve said before that I envied your private getaway, Goldeneye, an idyllic retreat where you could write freely. I see now a little better how necessary it may have been. The machinations of just a few real people might interfere badly with one who is trying to herd a dozen or more characters through their own troubles (which the author imposed in his laboriously contrived experiment).
I can’t materially escape the objects of my bewilderment. The physical proximity of the people involved really is comical, you would find, looking at it from a comfortable distance. They will be there as I write. They have already taught me things about people that I cannot un-know. It looks like one way or another, I’m going to be writing about them.
So the treatment for this affliction is simply going to be more of the same trouble. This odd sort of therapy that we share in practice, it has a curious modality to it. I do hope you can tell me that the prognosis is good.