Thursday, March 20, 2008

On the Impossible

A thing about me is that I really don't believe - in spite of evidence to the contrary, in spite of facts, in spite of experience - that anything is impossible. Now, surely, some things are more likely than others. But I'm a "never say never" sort of a girl, with things both positive and negative. I, ultimately, believe in miracles. (And tragedies, but that's not the point of this post.)

Perhaps my Catholic upbringing is to blame for this (or deserves credit for this?) - who knows?

But I've had a number of conversations with friends lately that have gotten me thinking about this whole "impossible" thing that I have such a hard time understanding. Friends who are talking about getting pregnant on their own ("I'm sick of waiting around for a relationship"), friends who are talking about the impossibility of finding true love ("At a certain point you just become invisible"), friends who think it's impossible to be happy ("Maybe this is just as good as it gets?")

Now, I have many (many) moments of self-pity, but at the end of the day, I truly think that the impossible might happen to me. Like it might not matter that I work where I work and yet I'll still become a really important person in the discipline. I mean, I'm realistic. I know I'm not going to be Helene Cixous or anything, but dude, I could totally be a 21st century Elaine Showalter (without resources, without prestige, but whatever - those are just details). I truly think that I won't have to have a kid on my own because of course I'm going to end up getting married and having a baby the good old fashioned way. Even though, dude, I'm 33, and I live in a place where most people get married under 25, and the chances just aren't that great. I totally believe that not only will I find a person and marry them but that we'll be totally compatible and in love and we will never get divorced, all experience with my parents' marriage, and with most other marriages, to the contrary. I totally believe that it's possible to be happier than I am, to be more satisfied than I am, even though I have no reason to believe that's true.

I'm pragmatic, I'm a planner, I'm a realist - but, apparently, I still have faith in the most Catholic definition: I believe in things for which there is no logical foundation for belief.

And I try to curtail this impulse to believe in the impossible, to desire it, to seek it. I mean, isn't that the recipe for dissatisfaction? Isn't that the recipe for pain? I'm sure it must be. Sometimes it has been. If one is always looking for the next possibility to the point that one starts seeking the impossible, well, that's not good, right? Except, well, I've done a lot of things and felt a lot of things and thought a lot of things that I had thought were impossible. And, sure, I struggle with not feeling satisfied a lot of the time, but that's also because as soon as I satisfy one impossible thing another impossible thing crops up in its place. So if the one impossible thing happened, why might the next one not?

The problem is, I know that sometimes this belief of mine, this faith, in the impossible... well... sometimes all doesn't go according to plan. And I know I can't just make other people have the faith that I've got.

Tonight I was talking to a person about topics edging toward this one, and I told him it was hard because I know that he talks about the things that he does with me because I'm a good advice-giver and such - he interrupted that it's because I'm smart and insightful and.... then broke off - and then I said, well yes, those things, and I love you, but... well, it's hard, because I have a clear idea of what I think you need to do, but I resist telling you that - I don't tell you that - because that's about me and it's not about you. I'm involved, and I can't tell you what to do objectively - anything I would tell you would ultimately be about me and not about you. And then he said, "And that's why you're my friend before you're anything else." And I said, "What do you mean?" and he said, "Because you could take advantage of the fact that I'm asking you and you don't and you wouldn't," and I said, "Well, even if I were something beyond your friend, I'd be an asshole if I did that..... And I know you would never do that to me." And he replied, "No, I would never do that to you."

This is a dumb portion of a conversation to recount, but ... Well, here's the thing. I love him, and he loves me. We've said it back and forth, and even if we hadn't I'd know that was true. And yet, him and me? We are, for a variety of reasons (emotional, geographical), impossible.

And I can't stop wanting the impossible.


life_of_a_fool said...

Umm, yeah, I relate to much of this. I often wish I weren't this way, and yet I am (sometimes secretly, and sometimes to disastrous end). And yet. . .

Artistic Soul said...

I can relate on so many levels, it's astonishing. I lurk a lot, but am delurking to say, wow. Strikes a major (or perhaps a minor) chord with me.

Anonymous said...

I believe in impossible things, too. so uhh I'm not the one to tell you this should change. the impossible isn't going to happen if you don't think it can.

gwinne said...

Well, as a single mother by choice, I tend to think about having a baby on my own as a marvelous example of feminism and reproductive choice in practice. It's not accepting that marriage is impossible; it's opening up a new possibility of family.

Dr. Crazy said...

I'm glad you left this comment, because it's not that I think that it's a bad thing to have a baby on one's own at all, or to want to. And yes, it can open a new realm of possibility that this is now an option. This got characterized in the way it did in this post because ... well, because I wasn't really thinking about it as I was writing, to be honest. Much of what I wrote was about giving context - and sloppy context at best - when really what I wanted to write about I didn't really get to until the end of the post. But so anyway, again, thanks for your comment, because it needed to be said.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Ah, but the impossible becomes possible every day. It does. And so you never know ;)