On Abstaining From Men, My Vow: Week 6

Here’s the thing. Anyone who knows me would laugh to hear me say I was embarking upon a course of abstinence. Or I’m becoming a monk. Ha! Ha! They’d say. It’s about as unlikely that someone as tardy, flawed, extroverted, and irreverent as me becoming a Buddhist. And yet I’m doing it. I’ve shocked even myself. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life aside from carrying twins in my belly, getting divorced and rebuilding a moldy house. It goes against all my better instincts.

I wake up every day and am filled with wanting the way a drug addict or alcoholic must want their drugs and their drink. I want the man who dumped me 6 months ago to wake up and remember that he loves me, to wrap his muscled scrappy arms around me, and to tell me that he loves me even though I’m a pain in the ass, and I’m persistently late, and I talk too loud and I’m often bossy, but that’s I’m worth the fuss. I want to hear the voice of the man who called me each night for three years to check if I had survived another day of parenting or writing or bill paying or bickering with the father of my boys. I want back what I had. And I want more. I want it like it was and I want it better. I want the man who dumped me to come back and say I’m willing to work on it, because you’re worth it.

When my sons leave me as they do once a week on the same day of the week at the same dreaded time, I want to go to sleep and block out the black hole that threatens to swallow me. In the absence of boys and men I want to tap tap tap my way onto OkayCupid or Match or walk into some literary event full of brilliant intellectual nerdy guys and walk out on the arm of the next Faulker. Or maybe I just want to be the next Faulkner. That too. I’d like to be Woolf without the suicidal thoughts walking out on the arm of the next brilliant but not narcissistic and womanizing writer, so we can discuss sentence structure and metaphors and read together all the great books we’ve never read, in bed. But I’ve turned off my love-seeking-accounts and I’m saying no even though Cupid flashes it’s taunting little smiley-face at me, saying come on, come on, come on — -turn me on — — But I turn it off.

Because I don’t want to spend another year of my life chasing a man when I could be chasing a book deal. I don’t want my boys to find me weeping in the car anymore at school pick up.

My Buddhist teacher, says that this vow is going to make me whole. She says it’s not about propriety or any of that Victorian crap — -I’m abstaining so that I can change— -So that I won’t fill the void of longing with another distraction. My intellectual brain embraces this. But my gut and my heart rebel.

OkayCupid beckons with promises of flesh, skin, lips, scent, chocolate, words, adrenaline, chase, the blinking text message. Come on, come on, come on, all it takes is a swish of your finger and boom: there he is, that one, no that one, no that one, he’s the one. I turn off my phone. I take a deep breath. I stare at my zafu. I remember this is temporary. I pen this blog instead. Inhale. Exhale. Type.

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