Tips Of Icebergs
The above artwork is by Patricio Suarez.
© All rights reserved by Patricio Suarez.
(Click on the image if you wish to view it individually.)
Tips of Icebergs
~ by OneMoreOption
When you are in a relationship with someone who cannot be honest about who they are and their past patterns of behavior, then you should expect the odds are they will also not be honest with you and others.
It is common to struggle with healthy and unhealthy characteristics in the same individuals. This can be difficult because some of the same people who have taught us the most are also substantially flawed. It’s difficult to reconcile such seemingly opposing traits in the same people.
Some people would rather live a lie for the rest of their lives than admit they have lied to themselves or others for years.
Clint Eastwood’s new film “J Edgar” tells a story around these themes. Hoover was an absurd example, a scared man who understood that others shared the same fears he feared. Hoover used those fears to blackmail the most powerful people in the United States through his leadership of the FBI. Hoover was a gay man in a homophobic society who often kept detailed records of the sexual activities of others.
I wish I could give you some advice. I wish I could say: Try to only get into relationships with people who are honest with themselves and others. But I can’t give you that advice. My experience suggests there are too few people who are genuinely honest with themselves and others. If only honest people were in significant other relationships, I think there would be very few people in relationships. Most of the time, people get into bed with thieves of one kind or another.
Billy Joel famously wrote:
If you search for tenderness, it isn’t hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness, you might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give
Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you
It’s probably not surprising I grew up in a household where sex and sexuality largely did not exist. That might in part explain why the topics of sexuality became so fascinating and wondrous for me. The process of searching for and acquiring knowledge about social mores and sexuality has consistently been interesting to me.
As I matured, I suppose someone could have told a “coming of age” story about me. But more accurately described, it might be better called a “coming of knowledge” story. Growing up, like most children, I didn’t know any different environment or existence than the one I grew up in. How can a child or young person know what is missing in their social environment when they don’t know of its existence?
The world started to make sense when people outside of my existing social structure loved me. The “missing piece” to my world of worries (that dull feeling a person has when they feel life should have a component, but they don’t know what it is) was first hand experience with passion. And inherent and inseparable with passion was genuine physical affection with others.
An analogy that comes to mind is an iceberg. We all grow up fashioning our lives, lives that are giant cruise liners of complexities, hierarchies, layers of protections and facilities. And most of the time we float on an endless ocean of sameness. Some people may always be able to travel in safe, warm waters and never encounter trouble. But some of us travel in colder waters occasionally and hit a small iceberg that tears along our hull just long enough to fill enough of the ballast tanks to send us sinking. Survival can hang on uncontrollable and random events.
Icebergs work on another level as an analogy because the parts of icebergs we see from our ships are small in comparison to the iceberg’s massive actual size beneath the surface.
Some icebergs simply disappear if you don’t encounter them in the right season. They become smaller and melt, until no one knows they existed because they drop out of view, obscured by the water’s reflective edge.
I’ve hit a few icebergs in my travels, events that both redirected my life and gave it context and understandable meaning – events that if they had not occurred, I probably would have meandered through life wondering: Did I miss something? Was there something nearby I never saw, but that had depth and weight? Sometimes we sense enough clues to know something significant is missing.
Should a person travel through life without the companionship of someone who honestly loves them and admires them? As usual, I’m not asking a rhetorical question. I think this is an important, universal question. Should you settle for a life without passion and affection?
Should you love someone who cannot be honest with themself or honest about their past? If most people are not honest with themselves or with their pasts, how could you avoid loving such people?
Some people encounter icebergs, and it rips open their hulls beneath the surface, bleeding them and causing them to take on water. Some people are so proud they simply take on the additional water weight and keep traveling, still able to float, but burdened the rest of their life with added weight they conceal.
Other people encounter icebergs, concede their hull has been ripped open and make a public emergency cry for help, asking for any ship nearby to assist.
And still other people encounter icebergs, take on water, and out of pride and fear of being identified as having a hull that has been damaged or breached, choose to not ask for help, and they choose to sink out of view.
Have you ever run into an iceberg? How did you respond? How would you respond? Would you assist another vessel in their time of need? Or would you encourage the vessel, with its side torn open, to stay quiet and hide their issues as indefinite amounts of cold water rush in?
For regular readers and writers: Tomorrow I will do an “Encouraging Artists” post. I just thought it was more important to post this post first today.