Gotta Have It

Guys who’ve been through the system, even more so than guys in general, don’t normally have much patience when it comes to the topic of love. We simply tend to have a more cynical, live-in-the-moment mentality – which is understandable considering the hardships and disadvantages most of us have been through. Even for many of us who have experienced it, love is little more than like finding a hundred dollars on the ground: fantastic if it happens, but if not, no big deal. To the rest love is a foreign idea, relevant to females and sold to fools and the weak.

For years I held that view tightly. Then I met her, and day by day it all began to make sense. There truly are some people who improve our outlook and increase our desire to wake up each morning so much that to keep them in our lives we become more than happy to do things we previously would never have agreed to. (I say “some people” because I don’t believe in soul mates; with seven billion people in the world surely there’s more than one person any individual can connect with at the highest level). Although the girl that introduced me to this truth left long ago the truth itself is with me today more than ever, as permanent as my heart and the blood that sustains it.

Now that permanence haunts me.

The love I have for my family is primal, unconditional. It requires very little in the way of admiration, common interests and a desire to spend much time together. But to have all of that with someone I’m also physically attracted to feels….unreal. And virtually every day reality bullies me with not only the long absence of this feeling from my life, but the fear that I may never experience it again or know its potential. Because of my violent childlike response to being “wronged” a decade ago, I may have acquired too much baggage and lost too much time to meet another who can fill this cold void with which I’ve become so familiar.

Every weekend I talk to my guy on the phone and listen to how comfortable he and his girl are with each other, and I think about how important she’s been to his life these past six years, including those he spent in prison for killing his best friend in a drunk driving accident and the past several as he’s struggled to get back on his feet since being released. Bittersweetly, I’ve followed my cousins as they’ve met, fallen for, married, then started families with people who’ve become irreplaceable to them. I watch hopefully (for my own future) the supportive, respectful, time-tested relationships of older couples who care so much for each other after decades together. I know monogamy isn’t for everyone, but I’m a simple man. I’d rather lose a limb than live without the type of bond that’s so intense and genuine, so meaningful it makes men all over the world happily give up the thrills and sovereignty of single life.

If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life who gives you what no one else by themself can, someone who’s stayed with you through all the mistakes, who, looking back, has clearly made your life better, please don’t take it for granted. Do what it takes to overcome the hollow forces pushing you to risk it all and come back here with the lonely and forgotten. Right now you’re valuable, you’re somebody’s world; in prison you’re a burden, a nobody surrounded by memories of what you’ve lost.

Keep Boxing Temptation.