Life happens to us whether we like it or not. Neither the stained shirt nor ironed crease protects us from its touch. High School drop outs and Ivy League grads are subject to its touch. The presence or absence of wallet or purse holds no sway over reality. Yet so many of us, me included, have invested a great deal in living anywhere but our own life. Is this subjective on my part? Of course it is. But to my mind there is very little, if anything, that is not, at its core, subjective.

This ain’t a movie, folks. The longer I live and the more I look around, the more I see people acting like they are the people they believe they others say they are supposed to be rather than being the people they are. I see people acting like friends rather than being friends, acting like they are in a relationship, rather than being in the relationship. I’ve seen and been in relationships that present a highly polished exterior when in truth broken parts rusted quietly and not so quietly under the hood. Two good people terrified of letting go of each other, despite their unhappiness.

A friend of mine recently said to me, “You seem to require a mountain of evidence to end a relationship, more than most people.” I was surprised, very. My friend feels that because of my background, which includes its fair share of abandonment and betrayal, my loyalty includes a vein that runs deep and strong and wants to protect someone from the pain I felt when abandoned and betrayed. Perhaps he is right. I do know there are times I am baffled and times I am flat out horrified by the indifference and insensitivity people who claim to like and love each other are capable of inflicting on one another. Is this because so many have donned roles rather than our own lives and are now incapable of measuring their impact on others with any degree of accuracy?

For me, much of this comes down to loyalty. But loyalty to what? Loyalty to the reality that each person’s humanity is equal to our own. If you love someone, the loyalty must be complete and thorough and cannot rest on a nest of caveats. For it to be loyalty, it must be pure. After all, this ain’t a movie we’re in.


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