18 January 2015
Sometimes it seems that half of the TV shows and movies in this world are about people falling in love, trying to find love or who can’t decide between would-be lovers.
I’m thinking about that as I can’t get Bob Dylan’s “Love Sick” out of my head. A few nights ago, someone played it on the radio. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. At the time it came out, I actually liked the music better than the lyrics—a feeling I don’t normally have about a Bob Dylan song. But now the lyrics—or, more precisely the sentiment—resonates more now than it did circa 1997.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m now about the same age he was when he made that song. More to the point, though, I simply have no desire, right now, to get involved in anything resembling a “love”—or, more precisely, romantic or sexual—relationship. I don’t even feel that I want anything more than friendship from anybody, and there really aren’t that many people from whom I actually want it.
A few people have suggested that I lack confidence in myself and, by extension, in my ability to attract anyone I’d want, let alone anyone who can give me a nurturing, fulfilling relationship. That might be part of the answer: I don’t feel very attractive right now and I’m still learning what kind of a woman I am, and am going to, be. Others, including one priest in my church, have said that I’m afraid to open myself again. They’re right: Being sensitive and vulnerable has led me to not merely pain but, at times, outright ruin.
Plus, to be perfectly honest, I don’t miss the intimacy—to the degree that I experienced it—in the relationships I’ve had. I don’t miss having to listen to two-hour-long monologues from a self-absorbed man-child who’s never lived anywhere but the house in which he was born or raised, or the abuse to which he subjected me whenever I told him what he didn’t want to hear. I don’t miss the accusations, the slander, the expectations that I will be available for sex or whatever else the other person wants. For that matter, I don’t really miss sex.
I have to wonder, though, how much of what I’m feeling actually has to do with the experiences I’ve had in relationships. I know that many people say their libidos wane when they get to be my age, or they just get tired of a lot of other things in their lives. I also know that, in the old days, one of the costs of gender-reassignment surgery—apart from money—was the loss of physical sensation in that area. That has not been a problem for me. The electricity is working, so to speak. So is the plumbing, if you will. But, to extend that metaphor, the bedroom is empty and I don’t feel the same urgency that other people seem to feel about filling it.