He was profitability driven. His whole world was suggestive of numbers. Everything about him, his gestures, looks, postures cried loudly: “I always maximize the profit!”
He set the goals and aggressively pursued them pushing the boundaries and stepping all over others. Hungry for money and extremely emotionally intelligent, he maximized his profits in any market conditions.
We met at a business analytics forum. He was presenting his new start-up strategies when I entered the conference room. Our eyes met, I breathed out my question into a microphone, his response sunk in the final applause, as people were getting impatient in anticipation for the lunch break.
He found me after, sitting on the floor in the hall, staring at the screen of my old laptop. He bent down and put a paper plate with grapes on the keyboard.
– I am highly educated and successful, sensual and dominant, looking for a nice company with no strings attached. I know how to treat a woman. Are you interested?
I shrugged my shoulders. His conference speech was impressive, he was clearly talented.
The next several months were a disaster. I was fickle and fearful; swamped in debts, bills, and desperate efforts to change my job. He was firm, resolute, and wealthy. He valued his time and money. He knew exactly what he wanted; the quality I loved but was never able to assume.
A year after my constant on and off games, he called asking for a massage. “My neck and back hurt. You will get paid, I know you are in dire straits, and I feel for you, may I stop by?”
– You surely can, but it won’t get any further than a massage.
– Than I won’t come over.
– Really? – Suddenly, I got extremely upset. After a year of considering whether to give him a chance or not, I finally made the decision to allow him into my household. But he did not seem to be happy at all. He still wanted an ongoing a twice-a-week fun and no compromises.
– I’ve been wasting my time with you for a while, if you want me to disappear, just say it.
– Bye, dear.
I found myself admiring his goal-driven personality, rock-solid focus, and merciless persistence. Every time I failed my new business project, lost in investments, or denied a job, I contacted him hoping for support, advice, and some cash.
His response was always practically cold, and never changing. – Be my woman hon, twice a week in your apartment; and you will get my mentorship, my love, and a decent arrangement. I am not investing my time or money until then.
It made sense, but it never worked out between us.
He is still around, looking for new investment opportunities, exploring new markets, starting, running, and selling. Our paths still cross at conferences, I still blush, blowing into a microphone my questions to him; and I still smile and shake my head when he offers his hotel room for a quickie after the gala dinner.
– What are your workout goals? – my fitness instructor was a lovely-looking kid, polite, defined, in his early twenties. – What would you like to achieve?
– I … I … want … – I slowly looked around trying to put my thoughts together. Guys were working bloody hard leaving sweat and hand sanitizer on steel beams. They came here searching for strength, since being strong felt good and smelt like power.
“His name is Jim. And he is strong” – this thought suddenly flashed through my mind. I shook my head trying to get him out of my head.
Jim did not go to a gym, his work out equipment was people. He bent them the way he liked, totally subjecting others to his will. He always got what he wanted being capable of buying and selling anyone as many times as he liked.
– I go after what I want hon, – he made decisions and worked aggressively crashing obstacles, caring very little about people’s feelings, – I grow and sell businesses, this is what I am really good at.
– Don’t you get that I am not your freaking business project?! – I grabbed a plate from the kitchen table and fiercely threw it on the floor. It broke into pieces.
– You gotta clean it up, Vixen. Do it, now, – he was firm, direct, and scarily calm.
– F*ck you.
He slowly put the laptop aside and reached out to his iPhone.
– If you do not clean the mess, I will call the police and report domestic violence. I do not need that crap in my home.
– Really? – our eyes met, I did not see any understanding or compassion.
– You are such a gentleman….
– Clean .. the mess … now, I am not repeating myself here, – his voice was low and assertive. I kneeled down and started picking up the broken pieces from the floor. Dealing with the police was not something I was looking forward to; I knew he would make a phone call, he never made empty threats, he was way too busy for it.
He watched me sobbing on the floor with a trash bag searching for the tiny sharp pieces. – Take this, – He gave me a pair of rubber gloves and a broom. I felt like a dog submitting to the owner’s command. He did not care.
I blocked his phone number, he started coming to my home. His “I am a take-charge person, I want you, and I will have you” drove me nuts, it was easier to give in than to explain why I do not want to see him any longer.
His strength was enormous, he rolled through the life like a tank ignoring anything that was not helpful to achieve his goals.
He never got why I discontinued our relationship, I was unable to explain, he never listened. When he asked me if I loved him, I shrugged my shoulders. Watching a TV show with tanks in action was fun, but the idea of having one in the household was not that enticing.
– So, do you know your workout goals? – the fitness instructor was getting impatient tapping the pen on the table.
I gave him a smile. Jim was still in my heart and on my mind.
– Yes, of course. I am here to be strong. And we gonna start right now.
Hey depression. Here you are again, take your time since you are back. I can’t be present for you now since I gotta run errands.
It took some time for me to get to this point, to the point where I realized that fighting with myself makes no sense, so I started taking the depressive mood with a grain of salt.
First, I felt desperate opening my eyes in the morning feeling stuck in the stinky mud of hopelessness, worthlessness, and the entire loss of energy. My days would start with the gloomy “No, no, no, I can’t live like this, this crap will never end”. Here I was, unable to get out of bed, wanting nothing but to hide all day in the bedroom behind the drawn curtains. Daylight with people’ voices and kids’ laughter outside got me irritable, triggering the pain that everyone is happy, while I am doomed to live in the inescapable pit of despair and view the reality through the filthy lens of my messed-up mind.
Then I became resistant. I started a long fight with my helplessness, believing that I can beat the gloom and doom and change. My family got happy seeing me getting out of bed, eating, exercising, putting my make up on, and going to a psychiatrist for a scheduled visit. The guy kept putting me on something that was supposed to fix me. “It will normalize your chemical balance and improve the daily functioning, honey.”
I would nod, I would smile, I was very polite and always paid the bills they sent me from that clinic – I liked him calling me “honey”, or “dear”, or “sweetheart”. I kept picking up his prescription from a local pharmacy and flushing the pills down the toilet. Being drugged was never a way-out, but I would come back for his sweet-talks and brief hugs until this started draining my wallet.
The next step was therapy. A young lady was sincere in her efforts to help. She was fresh from her grad school and eager to make a difference in this world. I liked her, I tried to give tips after our sessions; she always refused referring to her code of ethics, boundaries, and other nonsense. I knew she was struggling financially as a single mom, overworked and underpaid. After two months of our therapy sessions, I cancelled all subsequent appointments and mailed to your home address a check with a thank you note and a request to spend the money on a newer vehicle. The check was never cashed, she was very descent and honest, I liked her even more after that.
Therapy got me into watching my thoughts, questioning my hopelessness, and disputing negativity. I did mood charts, took warm baths with sea-salt and lavender oil, and meditated with incense prior going to bed. The following morning would start with the same depressive crap, but I would know how to make it through the day.
Finally, I got bored, simply bored of following or resisting the mind farts, knowing that the mind will always be there, telling me whatever, and there is no possible way of turning it off. The realization got me shocked, then sad, then blah. Finally, I got entirely unconcerned, I had the life to live and things to do even with a broken tape-recorder in the head.
The alarm-clock rang to start the day, I opened my eyes and yawned, the gloom combined with exhaustion and nagging irritation was there. I got up and went into the bathroom. I wanted to get ready, I had things on my agenda: to drink water, to clean my fish tanks, to get roses for my girlfriend’s birthday party, to drive to the airport, to finally see the mountains. The depression was there, I shrugged my shoulders, letting the mind do whatever, I did not care, I really wanted to start my day with drinking some water.
– Wrong guys are after me, they keep breaking my heart, I do not know what to do.
– No honey, you fall for messed up people.
– You can’t say that, Vixen. You are my friend. – My girlfriend had that enticingly-vulnerable look; huge deer eyes, pale skin, and alluring gestures.
– You love suffering my dear. Attracting alcoholics, drug addicts, liars, and other mentally sick dudes and losers is your passion. – I had no time for her tearful helplessness that morning. I was busy and ready to go.
– What shall I do?
– Go back to work, unless you want to get fired and share the misery of your unemployed dates.
– I was hoping for your support
– I love you dear. But I am not supporting your love for freaks and losers.
– You are cruel, Vixen.
– Go back to work, honey.
Her mannerism was hypnotic, her appearance was anorexically sex-appealing. She was the magnet for troubled guys, and she enjoyed them. Her classically messed up boyfriends knew how to hug, how to kiss, how to fuck, and how to empathize. Each relationship started with expensive presents, mind-blowing sex, and endless horrid stories of their heart-breaking childhood experiences. Her each date had a perfect excuse for being miserable, misunderstood, discriminated against, unaccepted by the society, and exceptionally vulnerable. She kept being dragged into the bullshit of her boyfriends’ uniqueness, swamped by myriads of reasons for losing money and for their inability to stop mixing anti-depressants with liquor and get their lazy asses back to work.
She loved the feeling of euphoria coming home and seeing her partner sober on the couch watching old French movies or analyzing stock markets. All her dates were intelligent and highly educated. Adding lofty attitudes, alcohol, and psych medications to their ivy-league diplomas and family possessions was very charming to her. She felt mesmerized and ready to fall in love ardently defending the guys’ instability and furiously denying any attempts to get her to common sense.
Her pain of discovering her dates passed out due to overdosing on benzos or alcohol blackouts was very real. She would call 911 and spend sleepless nights in a local emergency room blaming herself for everything. Deep in her heart she would crave for the moment of their hospital discharge. She knew they would come back with buckets of roses, diamond necklaces, and heart-warming words of gratitude: “you are exceptional honey, I feel so lucky I have you, I would have died without you, you have saved my life again”. She loved that, enabling their addiction and the unwillingness to seek professional help.
She suffered a lot blaming them for being unable to keep the job, to maintain sobriety, and to stabilize their manic and depressive episodes. But the pleasures from the “I neither do drugs nor drink, I am way too spiritual/educated/intelligent, blah-blah-blah” lies were much more gratifying than the reality check. Their pretended empathy and awesome sex kept her around adding spice to the toxicity of the relationships.
Once one dude passed away, the other one would show up with a big cock, fake promises, claimed bankruptcies, and fancy gifts.
Being up and down was her way of living. I did not have much patience or compassion for it.
– Have a good day, honey, – I gave her a hug and left the diner feeling the sadness of her almond-shaped eyes on my back.
I was having fun coloring dragons with fluorescent pencils when Greg came into the room. He looked stressed.
– My sister is disputing my mom’s will, – there was bitterness in his voice
– What are you gonna do?
– I will give her what she wants and will never talk to her again.
– Talk to your lawyer
– No, Vixen.
– Really? – I put the pencils aside and raised my head from the coloring book.
– I am not going to court, hon.
– Court is not be necessary, there are ways out. You may settle it through mediation. Have your lawyer deal with it.
– I said, NO.
– And you are ready to cut ties with your only sibling without even trying to negotiate?
– Absolutely, – Greg was mercilessly rigid. Talking to him felt like talking to a wall.
– I will fix you dinner, – his attitude caught me off guard. My motivation to proceed with coloring was gone.
I went into the kitchen and stood frozen in front of the refrigerator trying to gather my thoughts and figure out ingredients for potato salad.
Clearly, we all act weird, we make irrational decisions, and run away trying to escape problems.
We are just people who do everything possible and impossible to save the pride at any cost.
Criticized at work? – Quitting
Caught your partner with someone else? – Permanent separation or divorce
Struggles at school? – Immediate withdrawal
Facing own problems with the bitter understanding that we are powerless to fix them is sometimes harder than surviving a hurricane. The pain from the hurt ego is thousand times worse than passing kidney stones. Those who decide to fight own demons lose themselves in the endless battle with personal fears, phobias, and traumas.
You can rarely see someone that quietly accepts this life without hysterical fight or flight attempts. Someone who does nothing about life kicks, allowing chaos to settle and conflicts to resolve. Someone who turns the mind off and floats through the reality curiously observing emerging and disappearing events, people, and problems.
Most people think that going with a flow is passive and lazy. They would rather fear or suffer than let things take care of themselves. People are used to acting, resisting, and escaping. People are used to perceiving life as the never-ending struggle with pain, winners, and victims. Living in the permanent hysteria of moving, searching, and burning bridges is the only way for most of us to exist. Common sense is not that common.
I suddenly felt Greg was standing behind me and turned around.
– Don’t bother, luv. I’ve ordered Chinese food and talked to my attorney. He will contact my sister on Monday about the will.
I gave him a smile. I felt relieved from cooking and cleaning and ready to resume coloring my dragons.