July 2nd, 2000. Sunday Afternoon.

After all, tomorrow is another day.

– Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

I am an occasional stranger to myself. I am sure that I am not alone in these thoughts but nevertheless I read over words I have written mere hours previously or think back to conversations spoken in a time not yet old enough to be called the past and I do not recognize the processes that must have been set in motion to produce such results. The most basic of all human traits that serves to set us apart from the animals with whom we live is the sense of identity, the ability to learn, the cognitive ability to reason and define internally who we are. When we start to lose grip on that ability, we start to lose grip on our own identity. It’s not that we would end up going loopy and believing that we are famous figures of the past or reincarnations of our childhood pets but rather that we start to lose the sense of who we are. We stop recognizing ourselves, we stop being able to determine what it is that sets us apart from everyone else and without that familiarity we start to lose our ability to hold onto that vision of our future that determines who it is that we shall be. Occasionally, this is not what I would call a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Then, there are others who I am convinced have little or no grasp on where it is that they are going with their lives. Not aimless, unemployed or lazy, but rather psychologically ill equipped to handle the kinds of demands that sophisticated human interaction places upon an individual.

(“Is this going somewhere”? I hear you ask)

Well, in a manner of speaking, yes it is. You see, I have decided that for whatever reasons they may be, that I am no longer going to burden myself with the responsibility of taking the role of counsellor, father figure or crutch. These are roles into which I have (admittedly quite readily) placed myself in the past and for years have enjoyed playing the role of the nurturing and caring elder. This all sounds very bizarre as I write it, but it is something that I recognized years ago and have been quite comfortable with up until now. You see, I have always wanted to be a father. I have always wanted to be able to teach and to lead and to learn from my own children but in that desire, I have failed to separate the person I needed to be for that special woman with whom I could make all these things come true. You see, without recognizing the role I need to fill, it has been impossible to find the person with whom I want to stay. There has always been an inkling in my mind that the types of women I have dated in my past (not exclusively of course) were in some way right for me, but in essence completely inappropriate. When I look back to my most successful and significant relationships, they have been with women who are far closer to the strong, independent, confident and intelligent woman to whom I am mentally attracted. The rest of the relationships, the ones that caused the most pain, the most anger and the most emotional turmoil have been with women for whom I played the role of psychological and emotional support. Essentially, what I was doing was projecting my desire for that parental role onto my relationship, a level at which it simply did not belong. When I say ‘mentally attracted’ I mean to say that they are types that I can comfortably define and pick out when I have the opportunity to rationally assess my real needs and desires. I am sure we all do the same, there are people to whom we are attracted even though we know that they are not good for us and despite our best judgement we pursue them and end up getting what we deserve.

Sad, no? So no more, I am quitting the brainless pursuit of needy types and putting my efforts, such as they are, into the smarter and hopefully more productive activity of finding a better class of partner.

Is there an echo in here?

If I am repeating myself, if this sounds all too familiar then I apologize but this weekend I came to the stark realization that without taking more care with my dating practices I may very well end up spending my life playing a role from which there is no respite.

Needless to say, that would never do.