Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Fool Me

So anyway...

I'm not saying that I'm the kind of person who demands that my partner automatically believe exactly the same as I do...I can be open-minded. Hell, I've dated enough Catholic girls to learn to at least pick my battles. And, at first, that's the way I tried to look at it...that none of this new age stuff is any crazier than what the christians believe (I can't believe Blogger tries to tell me 'christian' is misspelled by not capitalizing it; fuck Blogger). And that, being a late bloomer, she'll probably grow out of it to an extent.

So, I figured I'd give it a shot. She moved 500 miles to come live with me & we piled all her stuff into my tiny apartment and settled in...and it was good. Then, little by little, this stuff began to creep into our daily lives. She'd have a bad dream & wake up and spend an hour looking up interpretations & meanings of it on the web, convinced that it was telling her something. I'd notice her checking her horoscope in the mornings (not a huge deal) and then started to see her doing online tarot readings...again, not a huge deal I guess, if she didn't also make day-to-day choices based upon whatever it said, that is.

Then came the talk about the past lives. At first, I tried again to just tell myself that millions of hindus & others believe in reincarnation, so it's not that unusual. But then came the kicker; one day a few months ago, she asked me if I believed in aliens. I told her that I don't beleieve in Roswell & little green men, but that life out there of some kind is certainly possible. She then proceeded to tell me how she doesn't believe in little green man either...she thinks that all the aliens are beautiful angels who are in secret communication with some enlightned people, who....do you really even need me to continue?

So, at this point, I was officially concerned. I took the problem to Elaine, whom she had become friends with by that time, and told her what was going on. I let her read a couple of the crazy-ass websites that Annette had showed me, and she agreed that somebody should, well, say something. So, we did. We sat her down & asked her just what it was that makes her think any of this is true. She responded by saying, reluctantly, that she knows a lot of it is probably not true...but that reading it & believing it makes her feel good. That she doesn't like all the ugliness & pain in the world, at that this is someplace that she can kind of retreat to....a warm, fuzzy fantasy world where benevolent aliens & fairies sprinkle pixie dust on the evils of the world.

So, she basically confirmed what I had already thought...that she wasn't necessarily crazy, but that it just made her feel better to think that way. We then tried to explain to her how, while her feelings were understandable, that it really wasn't healthy to live in that kind of fantasy world, especially when she was already so....unexposed, shall we say, to so many aspects of the real world...such as anything having to do with history, or current events, or culture, or...anything, really.

She said that she understood that...and that she knows that she needs to read more, and become more informed & involved with things, and that she was just having a hard time being in a new place & needed some comfort & yadda yadda,. So, I felt semi-better about it & life went on. And for a long while, I didn't hear a single crazy word come out of her mouth...I started to think that maybe some reality had finally sunk it.


In fact, all that was going on was that she was just repressing it all...in this new environment, she didn't have any of her crazy friends around to talk to about any of this, so all her new-agey-ness was just being bottled up, looking for a release. And it all came to a head over christmas...

We were going out west to visit her parents in the little town that she grew up in. I had met her parents many times before, and we got along well. They seemed to me like normal, reasonable people, and in fact, I was looking forward to spending some time with them because I actually wanted to bring some of these concerns up to them. Nothing had really come up about it lately, but there had been several embarrassing moments in public where she was trying to make conversation with people & ended up saying something that was completely out there & off-the-wall enough to make people step back a little...stuff like telling the mother of a new baby that she needed to go and look up the baby's star signs & plan out some kind of astrological growing-up chart for him. Stuff that, to her, was just normal, but that I couldn't get her to see how & why some other people might not think that.

So anyway, we go out west for the holidays...and during the 2 weeks that we were there, it all became perfectly clear....

The first thing I notice upon entering her parents house is a pamphlet sitting on the dining-room table. It was the monthly newsletter of an organization called the A.R.E.; or the Association for Research & Enlightenment. Alarm bells immediately went off in my head, because this was something that I was quite familiar with.

The A.R.E. is an organization based around the works of Edgar Cayce; a nearly-forgotten, early 20th-century 'psychic' con-man, who claimed to be able to tap into the spirit world & find information to cure almost any ailment. Cayce would, allegedly, fall into a deep trance & dictate litanies of folk-remedies to desperate souls who wrote him with descriptions of their illnesses. He also claimed that the U.S. would discover a 'death ray' weapon from the lost Continent of Atlantis in 1958, and that, of course, the universe was teeming with aliens, who were all watching our every move & guiding the human race toward enlightenment.

Apparently, her parents (in their 70's now) have been enthusiasts (if not exactly followers) of Cayce for the better part of a century. They have spent thousands of dollars on A.R.E. themed retreats & seminars, practice questionable homeopathic medicine, and, for all their seeming normalcy (and undeniable intelligence), are really just as batshit-crazy as I feared she was. And there we have our answer.

She was born into it...she's been around it all her life. It's all she's ever known. It's no different than someone who grew up in a christian or muslim home; they're not going to suddenly be converted if you just show them some literature or disprove one of their many theories. Her parents aren't gonna change, which pretty much means that she's not gonna change, either.

And when you think about it & look at the facts, it sort of makes sense. In the 40's & 50's, when her parents were young and Cayce was in the pop-culture eye, the world at large was much less skeptical, and the standards of media, as bad as they are today, were such that frauds & hoaxes often went undetected. We also did not have the science then to disprove many of the things we do today, so, in the cold light of hindsight, I can easily see how two young, idealistic people could get wrapped up in something like that. I don't really understand how they could ignore all the inconsistencies & disregard basically everything that science has learned about the world since then & continue to believe it for 50+ years, but I guess once you get comfortable with something, it's hard to shake it off. And it's probably hard not to pass some of it on to your children, too...

And yes, I know it's not my place to change anyone, or to try and tear down anyone's beliefs...although if I had somehow made it into adulthood still believing in Santa or the easter bunny, I'd desperately want someone to tell me. But that's the difference in us...she doesn't want to hear it. When I try and explain to her why the pyramids in Egypt are just big tombs & not secret energy portals that the aliens put here, it's like I can see the 2 sides of her brain warring; she hears me...somewhere inside she knows I'm right & she admits as much, but she just can't imagine having to face a reality without all this stuff in it, so she refuses to. There's literally nothing I can do.

And I can't talk to her anymore, not about anything meaningful...how can I take anything she says seriously? How can I trust one single decision that she makes? What the hell do I do? I know we can't work out together, and I'm pretty sure she feels the same way (after all, who would want to be with someone who is constantly belittling that which you hold dear), but part of me is worried that, if I let her go, I'll come across her chanting & selling flowers at the bus station a year from now.

And yes, I may be exaggerating a bit, and yes, I know that's not really my problem....as my grandpa once said "you can't save everybody, son...just try not to be standin' next to 'em when they go off!" But it's pretty clear to me that, at least in some way, she needs saving; she has to learn how to function in the real world or she's gonna be screwed; 'cus her parents aren't gonna be around too much longer, and she's got nobody else to stop her from dinking the kool-aid.

And how in the hell did I, of all people, wind up here?*

*=yeah, I know...it's rhetorical


Blogger Jamy recalled...

Argh! Do you really want me to tell you how you wound up there? Really?

You know.

(Hint: it's a terrible idea to go into a relationship with the premise that your partner will change. It's an even worse idea if you think you will be the agent of that change.)

I'm sorry, I want you to be happy. I'm sorry it's not working out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger D recalled...

One day, I know you will find someone who doesn't require saving. And then, we will be here to hear the collective "ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, THAT's how's its supposed to be".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:40:00 PM  
Blogger A.P. recalled...

Hey there...I've been reading the blog from start to finish this past week. Definitely have related to a lot that you have gone through. Keep us posted...

Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:45:00 PM  
Blogger Erica recalled...

It's illogical to stay in this sort of relationship at your age. If you are looking for your someday wife, it will not be with someone who has beliefs so different than your own. It seems you are staying with her to "fix" her. Ironically, she will not change/ Hence, you are wasting your time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 5:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jaded recalled...

Here's the thing...just because YOU don't agree with her and her parents doesn't mean they're wrong or crazy or any of those things. Her parents have been "drinking the kool-aid" for 50+ years and they've managed to make it through just fine. The thing about a belief system is that it makes sense to us, and having faith means believing in that which you can't see. Don't assume she's a whack job just because you don't agree with her belief system. She and her parents may feel the same way about you because you DON'T believe what they do.

Having said that, since you are so clearly incompatible, you can't stay in the relationship. It's not fair to you to be with someone who doesn't fulfill your intellectual needs, and it's not fair to her to be with someone who considers her a crazy charity case. She wasn't selling flowers before you met her, so she probably won't be selling them after you're gone. I think it's worse to stay with someone you've come to pity, or to view is crazy. You deserve someone who meets you needs in the way she can't, and she deserves someone who respects her for her beliefs, no matter how way out they might be to you or me. Just my opinion.

Friday, March 28, 2008 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Craig Brown recalled...


Muslims and Christians can marry and be happy.

Hell, even men and women can.

Does it really matter that much? Everyone is weird in one way or another.

The real issue is are YOU ready? Maybe you are facing the challenge of many artist types; you want to MAKE IT before you settle down.

(After all once you are big in movies you can fuck whoever ou want whenever you want, right?)

Dude - the answer to your angst is in yourself. Wake up and grown up.

Oh yeah - and dump the hippie and get yerself a lawyer girlfriend. you'll dig the bal breaking power trips she gives you.

erm.. one last pint. Been tracking yourblog for years now. Love it and ma looking forward to the screenplay. Your story is that of the divorced generation - there are millions of us out here like you.

Friday, May 02, 2008 6:31:00 AM  
Blogger BiblioTECHa recalled...

Sorry for the very belated comment. I had taken the blog off RSS but saw you'd recently logged on to myspace (I'm taking mine down. Too many social networks.) so. . .

Anyway, I thought I'd throw out there that some paragons of literature have been totally wacked in the belief/superstition. department. Henry James had a whole supernatural/psychic church thing going on. Hell, Ezra Pound turned out to be fascist.

All that said, my gut tells me that you are desperately looking for a reason to stay in this relationship. And "saving her" gives you the distance you crave but without forcing you to break up with her.

You know she doesn't have to be some kind of psycho slut for you to leave, right? Falling out of love with someone doesn't make you a bad guy.

Monday, May 05, 2008 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew recalled...

i wouldn't necessarily cast aside the beliefs of others so quickly. i'm sorry, but what if you were to find out the "basics" which define the world as it is, reality as it is, were somehow proven to be different? It would be hard to deal with, just as hard as it was to deal with the beliefs of a girlfriend which are widely different than your own. Different isn't crazy. Crazy isn't believing in faith, God, Angels, or aliens. It's all related, as are we to everything else. The universe is one big mixing pot just waiting for conscious beings to ponder it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008 11:00:00 AM  
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