Q: Why do fools fall in love?
A: That's easy. Because they think they might succeed.
A better question would be :
Why do intelligent people fall in love?
Shouldn't they be smart enough to know better?
Not that I'm any expert on love. My childhood left me with some pretty serious abandonment issues and persons with similar backgrounds as mine tend to follow one of a few paths. Some become sexual rogues, promiscuous and emotionally transient; the milder cases are typically wild in their younger years but eventually settle down as they mature and wind up reasonably happy; the extreme cases probably become sexual predators, animal abusers or pyromaniacs. I say probably because I'm not a shrink and luckily,most of my experience is with the milder side of childhood trauma.
Then there are the loners. I mostly fall into this category, so I'll use myself as an example. I can function in groups, hold a job, go out in a crowd etc. without any serious difficulty, but I'm really only truly comfortable alone or with a very small number of close friends, or if I'm engaged in a very focused activity.
For example, I have no problem performing on stage in front of a large crowd or running a PA system at a big show, but I get panic attacks if I am just a member of the audience at that same show, stuck in a crowd of people that I don't know in a room that is too loud for conversation.
Some people tend to associate loners with depression, and that is sometimes true, but it isn't always the case. Writing, of course, is a solitary activity and although I may sometimes be depressed when I begin writing a piece,I am seldom depressed when the work is done. Songs are the same way, or they were. I haven't written many songs lately, but my fiction writing has become rather prolific in that same time period, so it isn't really cause for alarm. The muse has many facets, after all.
If you write or create art in any form, you may have experienced this: Imagine that something terrible happens to you and gnaws at your heart for days and days...finally you purge those feelings by writing a poem or story; perhaps it is a painting or sculpture, the medium doesn't really matter for the sake of this example.
Anyway, you finish your work and you feel better. All of that hate, anger and fear has left you and been diffused into a work of art, You have turned the negative into a positive and feel a peaceful closure settling in...so you share your new story with someone and they recoil, aghast. "Oh my God", they gasp, "I had no idea. Are you OK? Do you need help? I didn't know how much you were suffering."
"I'm not", you might reply,"I feel pretty good now." This is true, of course, but not everyone understands it.
This makes me wonder. If depressive artists purge their negative emotions through their art, then what about those artists who produce happy, optimistic works? Bright paintings of rainbows, faeries, mallards and unicorns, that sort of thing. Are these works created by inherently happy and well-adjusted persons who are ridding themselves of their troublesome good cheer and striving to connect with their personal demons and darkness by voiding their inner sunshine? They'd be miserable if they embraced the darkness, but at least they'd stop painting pictures of fucking rainbows and unicorns, so it is sort of a toss-up as to whether they'd be better off making the change or not..
Have you ever been depressed and had well-meaning bubbly idiots try to cheer you up in all the wrong ways?
Let's say you just broke up with your long-term girlfriend. You finally found the courage to ask her to marry you and when you popped the question her answer was :" We need to talk."
Then she informs you that she's leaving you for a heroin-addict musician, because "he is in a dark place and he needs me to help him."
Then you tell a friend what has just happened, and he tells you you are better off without her because she was sleeping with several of your friends, including the one that is telling you that you are better off without her.
When you get home you find that another friend has emailed you pictures taken at her own wedding. In one picture, part of your face is visible, but most of your image is cropped by the edge of the picture. The poet in you sees this and utters a satisfied chuckle, but mostly it just makes you feel sad and marginalized.
So you make a long-distance call to an old friend. After some catching up, you tell her about what happened. She consoles you by telling you that it could be worse-for instance her own teenage son just knocked up the neighbor's daughter and the family are Jehovah's Witnesses who won't tolerate an abortion and if something isn't worked out, her new in-laws are gonna be the worst kind of Jeebus freaks. Plus her husband has cancer and only a few moths to live and the bills are piling up since he lost his job and insurance.
After the call you can barely recall your own troubles, instead falling into a deep insomniac despair over mortality, helplessness and the unfairness of life; later you find yourself mentally tallying every blown opportunity and every lover ,real or imagined, that you have lost or squandered due to the irresistible influence of your own staggering character flaws and self-crippling neuroses.
But at least it takes your mind off of whats-her-name...oh, it didn't do that after all. You spend the rest of the evening in tears, wondering if tomorrow will be better.