Tag Archives: love

Zina unSeen – Chapter 21

Over the next week, Lain noticed a shift in Zina’s behavior. She couldn’t help but keep her distance from her, regardless of the fact that she was desperate to make things right and pretend nothing had happened. However, Zina made no move to do so, and seemed rather distracted by somebody she was constantly talking to on FaceSpace.

When Lain checked Zina’s page, she discovered a mysterious new friend on her list. Upon glancing over Zina’s shoulder as she sat on the couch, laughing at something unseen and unheard by Lain, she found her suspicions confirmed and realized (with intense jealousy), that Zina was talking to the strange man. He didn’t even have a picture up of himself on his profile, which was a huge red flag, and Lain was troubled by it. Over the years, the horror stories of people being lured in by creeps on FaceSpace only grew more and more disturbing.

Lain recognized her friend’s tendency to jump into self-destructive relationships during particularly stressful times, and very nearly could have strangled her for it. She was getting extremely fed up with Zina and her terrible ways of coping with life, and didn’t want to get dragged down with her any longer. Unfortunately, she didn’t know quite how to express what she was feeling.

Whenever she would go to bed at night, she would glance at her end table, at the index card she had scribbled a phone number down. It was for a place where maybe Zina could get some help. They had been together for far too long and there was no way she could just abandon her now. Still, they were at an impasse, and it seemed like nothing she did was going to change Zina’s determination to escape her life by doing something compulsive and stupid, like sharing her entire life story with someone who could be a serial killer.

Finally, one day, Lain plopped herself on the couch next to Zina, who was in the middle of typing something, her hands flying furiously across the keyboard of her small laptop. When she noticed Lain’s presence, she stopped briefly, glanced over at her, and started again. Lain sighed and pushed her head back into the cushion of the couch.

“What are you doing, Z?” she asked, her tone soft but dripping with reprehension.

“Talking to a friend,” she said, purposely avoiding Lain’s eyes.

“I see that,” Lain said, pursing her lips. “Who is it?”

“It’s not really any of your business,” Zina snapped. She was obviously still hurt and angry about Lain’s outburst and wasn’t going to be the first one to apologize.

“Is it that creep who keeps posting those weird pictures of pigeons on your page?” Lain asked. “The one with no picture up?”

“He put a picture up yesterday,” Zina said defensively, turning her screen toward Lain and pointing to a picture of a squirrel in a tuxedo.

“Charming,” Lain said, jealous bile rising in the back of her throat. “Look, just don’t tell him too much. You know there are some serious weirdos lurking on FaceSpace. Ever since the media took off over the first few cases, tons of people have it in their heads that they can get away with murder. Just watch yourself.”

“You know Lain, I really appreciate you watching my back and everything, but this isn’t like that. We’ve been talking for over a week and he’s just a nice guy. He’s friends with Roy, okay? I already asked.”

“You asked Roy?”

Zina hesitated and didn’t answer.

“Oh my god, Z.”

“It’s fine!”

“All right. But don’t come crying to me if you go and get yourself murdered.”

“Don’t worry. If I die, I’m sure bitching to you about it will be the last thing on my mind.”

“Good,” Lain said, pouting. She picked up the remote from the coffee table and turned on the TV.

Both Zina and Lain’s eyes were immediately drawn to the screen as a news reporter’s piercing voice began to speak.

“In other news, a valued FaceSpace employee has been reported missing. If you see this man, please report to your local authorities.”

The television began showing a clip of a man speaking cheerfully into a microphone about FaceSpace’s stock options, and Zina grew rigid.

“What’s wrong, Z?”

“That’s the guy who ran away from me in the park a few weeks ago,” she said, clutching the couch cushion between her body and Lain’s. “Should I report him?”

“I don’t know, he wasn’t missing then,” Lain said with a frown. “I hope they find him.”

“Yeah,” Zina whispered.

They watched the rest of the broadcast before Lain clicked the television set off and stood.

“Good night,” she said softly.

Zina held her eyes for the first time in weeks, suddenly overwhelmed by how much she had missed them.

“Good night.”

 

Zina unSeen – Chapter 18

Lain hid out in her bedroom until Zina left for work the next morning. Once the apartment was clear, she emerged with a deep sigh and headed out to shower. She had just finished dressing for the day and was starting to make breakfast when she heard a knock at the door. She briefly worried that Zina had forgotten her keys and debated whether or not to answer. Ultimately, charitability won over contempt, and she slowly made her way to the door and asked who was there.

“It’s me,” a deep voice answered.

Lain instantly felt her anxiety melt away and she exhaled in relief.

“Karl!” she exclaimed, throwing the door open.

“Hello, Miss,” Karl said formally with a small nod. He had greeted her with the same formality since he had chauffeured her as a child. However, the smile on his face was soft and loving, just as it had always been, and she threw her arms around him in excitement.

“I’ve been wondering when you were going to stop by. You just missed Zina, she’s been working in the studio with Gwen. Remember her?”

“Oh, that’s a shame,” Karl said, wrinkling his nose. Lain laughed. Neither of them had been big fans of Gwen. She was a year older than Lain and their parents had insisted on putting them on many play-dates, most of which resulted with Lain in tears. Karl had to talk her through many childhood dramas, particularly when he would drive her home from Gwen’s family estate, where the girl felt particularly comfortable antagonizing Lain. She had mixed feelings about letting Zina work with her, but thought love and Zina’s business should outrank the past.

“How is Zina doing?”

“She’s okay. Come on in, Karl. I was just making breakfast. Would you like to have some tea with me?”

“Of course. It will be nice to have you serve me for a change,” he teased.

Lain laughed and they headed into the kitchen together.

“And how are you doing?” he asked her, sitting down on a stool at the small island counter.

She opened her mouth to reply, “Fine,” but her voice caught in her throat. She could never lie to Karl. He saw right through her.

Karl noticed her hesitation and perked up.

“What’s the matter?”

She suddenly felt self-conscious. She didn’t know what Karl would think of her feelings for Zina. She was sure that he had viewed the two like sisters, and himself as a father figure to both of them. She was reluctant to disillusion him about the dynamic of their funny little family. He accepted her, as gay as she was, but still, it was hard to talk about her personal feelings to anybody.

“Did something happen?” he guessed. “Are you pregnant?”

This caused her to burst out laughing, and Karl’s worried expression relaxed into a small smile.

“No,” she gasped. “I’m just having a rough time in my personal life.”

“Ah,” Karl nodded. “Tell me more.”

She looked into his steady brown eyes and sighed. Before she knew it, the whole story was spilling out and Karl listened quietly. When she was done, she was in tears again, and worried that Karl might never see the two in the same paternal way.

“I know you’ve gone above and beyond,” Karl said softly.

Lain sniffled and nodded, bracing herself for the possibility of his disapproval.

“I’m not sure you could ever understand how life has affected her,” he said quietly. “You know, my father would beat me up a lot, and I still can’t form relationships with people very easily. Deep down, I’m a very lonely man who is very scared of showing my heart to people. I think Zina might be the same way.”

“Yeah, but do you think she loves me?”

Karl inhaled deeply.

“I think you’re the most important person in the world to her.”

“Yeah, but, like a girlfriend?”

“You’re more than that, Lain. Don’t be selfish.”

Lain prickled and furrowed her eyebrows. Selfish was the last thing she had always been with Zina.

“Why can’t she just say it then?”

“Do you know what I see in Zina, versus what I see in you?” Karl asked. Lain shook her head, clearly still miffed.

“You’re not afraid of anything. It’s admirable. But in Zina, I see a terrified little girl who doesn’t trust so much as the ground she walks on. Who feels like every choice she makes is the wrong one and every step she takes will cause the earth to open up at her feet and swallow her whole. She doesn’t want to take you down with her. And I think you should respect that. Understand that. And don’t give up on her.”

“But I can’t do this anymore, Karl. It’s not fair. It’s not my burden.”

“No, that is absolutely true. But there’s one last thing you can do, and as the closest person to her, I think you should try. Do you know what helped me?”

Lain shook her head.

“I started getting counseling. My father died and my mother insisted it would be good for us both. So I went to humor her. But you know what? I’ve learned more about myself in six months than I had figured out in sixty-eight years. I’m actually happy.” He looked at her slyly. “I even have a girlfriend.”

“You do not!” Lain gasped, slapping his shoulder with a dish towel. “What is she like?”

“Amazing,” he said. “And you know what? For the first time in my life, I feel like I deserve that.”

“So Zina needs therapy?” Lain asked, frowning.

“She needs more than you could ever give her is what I’m saying. The only chance she has is to help herself.”

They sat in silence as Karl’s words sunk into Lain. They chatted a while longer, and Karl gave her updates about her parents and their whereabouts. Apparently they were in Greece for some reason. Neither of them cared enough to ask why. Eventually, he glanced down at his watch.

“Well, I’d best be going. I’ve got some errands to run. When will Zina be done with her project with Gwen?”

He said Gwen’s name with a wrinkled nose and Lain giggled.

“In another week or two.”

“I’m going to swing by to see her, I’ve missed you both so much,” he informed her. “Thank you for the tea.”

They stood, and she embraced him. He hugged her, tightening his grip when he felt her sniffle sadly against him. She peered up at him with a bright smile.

“Thank you for listening to me,” she said.

“Thank you for trusting me,” he replied. “The longer you keep things buried, the more toxic they become. You should always let out your feelings, Lain. It’s the only way to get anywhere.”

She nodded and walked Karl to the door, her mind reeling with thoughts of Zina and her abuse. The two said good bye and Lain headed back toward the kitchen to clean up. She paused thoughtfully in front of a clunky yellow phonebook. Zina had brought it home months ago for a collage. She began flipping through, hoping against hope that there was a chance for the one she loved to truly be happy. She would do whatever it took.

 

Two Can Play At That Game

round and around and around we went
carousel stopping for none
the moments were passing, the time we spent
blurred in the peripheral hum
heart’s heavy drumming, an attempt to repent
but the moment was over and done
left lonely and clutching in our torment
ward away a wayward longing to run
my cheek on my shoulder, swollen and tense
eyes seeking chaos for sun
but everything’s merged and my fists are clenched
around the ride that’s supposed to be fun

Listen Inside You

Let go of ego
Surrender control
Forgive all transgressors
Accept the unknown
Bow to all passers
Listen to truth
Accept all as masters
Always play sleuth
Seek all the answers
Eat every fruit
Avert new disasters
Treat each as acute
Refuse to take credit
The future is done
Designs made to let it
Prosper as one
One single function
One single hope
One-up destruction
One life eloped
Surrender your ego
To tides of repair
Lead all who follow
With the utmost in care
Welcome tomorrow
Shunning despair
Listen inside you
The answers are there

Co-Dependent Love Songs

 

Co-Dependent Love Songs

Riddle me this: Why are so many love songs encouraging people to enter into unhealthy co-dependent relationships? Frankly, what people really need to hear are messages of empowerment, encouraging us to really get intimate with ourselves and the pieces of our lives that make us who we are. If we knew ourselves inside and out, we wouldn’t “’NEED’ you baby,” “’WANT’ you baby,” and “’LOVE’ you baby” to the point of stalking. And we definitely wouldn’t be so prone to suffering from acute bouts of emptiness and boredom upon the absence of another person. We would know how to be happy alone rather than obsessed with distracting ourselves with whatever shiny gadget western consumer culture hands out to us.

I obviously understand humanity as a social animal. We generally believe that we can’t make it on our own, and from an evolutionary standpoint, we would be right. Humans have no fur, thin skin, and no claws. Without cooperation and a little ingenuity, we would have become extinct by now. So there’s that. I get how it feels secure to have another person around who can affirm everything about you. I mean, isn’t it your partner’s job to know you better than you know yourself?

You Don’t Need Anyone To Survive But Yourself

Therein lies the problem. By promoting unhealthy relationships, co-dependent love songs are actually preparing people in the Western world to seek validation from outside rather than from inside. The idea that you absolutely need another person to survive is ridiculous, especially when chronic dating is another symptom of the strange society that we live in. Women are taught that if any man wants them, that means they have value and worth, and if men think you’re worthless, then you had better resign yourself to a dissatisfied life as the local crazy cat lady.

It’s a little out-dated, don’t you think? We’re better than those archaic standards! It’s not as though this idiotic beauty standard will last forever. Women get older, their kids grow up, and then they need to spend time getting to know themselves again and finding out what they care about. That’s where the co-dependent love songs leave us at the end of the day, trying to make sense of where we fit into our own relationships without compromising our identities.

We Don’t Live In 1950 Anymore!

I suspect that there’s a reason that co-dependency is being encouraged in mainstream media. As an oppressive tool, it is really quite thorough. Yes, co-dependency could be considered by some as an old-fashioned way of viewing relationships. I get it. Unfortunately for these people, this isn’t the 1950s. Ma and Pa Beaver are definitely sleeping in the same bed, and believe it or not, Pa has just as much obligation to act respectfully and nurture his child as Ma does.

The Danger Of Distraction

Encouraging co-dependency in modern love songs also serves to keep everybody, particularly young people, distracted by their all-consuming relationship drama. They have no time to pay attention to the ways they and others are being oppressed. They are so caught up in texting their significant others that they don’t even notice the chaos going on in the world around them. The media capitalizes on the ups and downs of a confusing and hormonal adolescence and primes everybody up for a “model relationship,” creating roles and standards that keep everybody connected at the hip with no chance of developing an identity outside their partnership. Whether intentional or not, it distracts people from reflecting inwardly so that they know themselves well enough to understand their core values.

When people don’t even understand their own core values, it’s a huge red flag that your relationship may be in for some tumultuous times ahead, and you may end up with someone who will make you unhappy much of the time if your values aren’t compatible. Also, whether consumer culture designed it this way intentionally or not, (it’s not like they control what is on the radio and mainstream television right? Oh wait…) an unhappy person is a lot more likely to try to fill the void with material products than someone who is capable of introspection and enjoys their time alone.

But alone isn’t an option, and healthy relationships aren’t encouraged by these co-dependent love songs. According to the music industry, relationships are just a way to assimilate the pain of your own life by clinging to another person and hoping that not being alone will somehow fix the gaping wounds that continue to affect the person you are today. I have sad news for you, my friends. A relationship won’t fix you. In fact, if you don’t know yourself well enough, it could even be harmful to you or your partner. The only thing that can actually save your sorry soul is unplugging for a while. Getting away and being alone in a serene place. All of us really need a lot of introspection, and probably a lot of therapy, before we will be truly happy in a healthy relationship rather than coasting by in a co-dependent one.

Is It Our Ego?

In a way, co-dependent relationships are one of the strangest and most egotistical situations we can find ourselves in. People who don’t know themselves are constantly looking to another person to make their life worthwhile, seeking within their partner some clue to their own identity. I’m not talking petty interests and movie preferences, I’m talking about the things that really make us tick. What makes us respond. What brings us to life.

When we feel alive with someone else, but not when we’re alone, then the other person has become life-support. Most people end up sucking their partners dry before moving on to the next one, eager to see how we might be perceived differently by other people and what they have to offer in our fragmented search for identity. We become eager to see how they might bring us to life and if it’s what suits us best in other ways, whether material or emotional. We look for ourselves in others, and when we can’t find it or the image is unflattering, we run away as fast as we can and jump into the next experience.

So What Can We Do?

It’s one thing to be romantic. I do believe in romance and love, don’t get me wrong. In fact, it was my partner who thought a post like this would be a good idea. I even think that a co-dependent relationship could become a healthy one with cooperation and a bit of work. Love is out there and when it’s real, you know it. But it’s another thing entirely to believe that it’s a sign of love for somebody to wash themselves clean of any identity outside that of their relationship.

Co-dependent love songs encourage just that, and I think it’s time we really start thinking about what the media is trying to tell us. If we want to make a difference, it would help to only support artists who really value what is important in this world. That way, maybe their messages can become mainstream and make a difference in the lives of millions of impressionable kids around the world, rather than allowing the media to continue brainwashing them into thinking that co-dependency is love. It would save a lot of trouble in the future.