I was a slow learner. Yes, everything came very slowly. My peers were all dating. Going here, going there, absent from sedarim. That was the name of the game. For me, it was very different. It wasn't as if I didn't want to date. I had no idea what it meant. I was so distant from the possibility of knowing another person, or even sitting that close to one that I didn't even want to think about it and I didn't care to think about it. When asked "are you dating?" I would politely say "no, not right now" but then there was always that quiet or not so quiet shout coming from somewhere very deep, saying" WHY!!!!?????? WHY NOT?" Why can't I ? Why do I always have to say "NO"? Why can't I say yes.
Somewhere in my mind I knew that this is exactly what I had been waiting for for seven years. I knew how much I had thought about sex and how much I wanted sex, and how much I had dreamt about sex, and how much I had worked just so that I would some day merit to have sex, and here I was at the perfect moment, that I had always been looking forward to, and now I was saying "NO" I didn't want to date.
Looking back, I can say with great pleasure that I am so happy that I did not date, and I suffer together with any man who, has said "yes" to any woman while being in a similar state of immaturity to where I was at age 21. I was so far and distant from anything remotely connected to our planet. I was in the clouds, but even that would have been nice because then I would have at least learned something about the atmosphere.
I still don't know how this happens to the mind, but I do know how it feels. Long before that point, perhaps when I was 2 or 8, I have no idea. I had decided to go deep within myself. I would hide. I would just stay in this deep dark shell and not come out. I must have done or said something that had disastrous consequences, which had me decide that I will hide, and I will never come out. If I stay, if I don't do anything, nothing can go wrong. If I don't try, there is no way I can fail. Somehow, I had gone through all, or many of those explorative years of youth, childhood, adolescence without learning anything, yes almost nothing about my hands, my heart, my legs, my wants, my thoughts. there were so many questions and wonderings inside that knew nothing about who I was or what they meant to me, or how they related to me because I never asked them. I virtually knew nothing about me, and the parts that I did know were neatly tucked away so that I would not have to admit that they might be me.
Unfortunately the stubborn memory of these unanswered questions and unexplored parts of me was too loud for me to ignore. As much as I would have liked to, it seemed to be very clear and persistent. It seemed to indicate over and over again, my worst nightmare, that life has no short cuts. There was no way that I would be able to advance to step two before I accomplished step one. There was no way that I could ever meet and bond with a woman, my mate, unless I knew who I was inside. There was no way that I could love and honor another unless I was able to do the same for me, and there was no way that I could truly know me and love me, unless I had explored all those wantings and yearnings that had played in my deepest mind for such a long time, but were not allowed to come out.
"Shut the f*ck up" I could hear myself tell them. Can't you leave me alone? I'm done now. I have put in my time. I have learned. I have earned my right to get married and settle down. My mind would not believe me for even a second. It was adamant that I had missed a giant step in my development and that there was no way that I could ever be ready to face a woman if I was not ready to face myself. It seemed to say that if I had perhaps missed a couple months or even a year of childhood then maybe it would let me get away with it, but no, it would not let me get away with skipping ten or fifteen year. "It just doesn't work like that". Even though the voice seemed clear, and even though I felt it, I still didn't admit, it. It just means that it was so clear, that there was no way that it would let me date. I still dreaded the notion of starting from scratch. Where would I start? What should I do? Where do I go? Who should I talk to? What would make you happy? What would make you satisfied?
OK. OK. OK, you're right, I know I have neglected you for so long, and I realize that you will not let me go. I realize that you must get what you want, but where should I start? I had spent so many years, hiding my fears and my tears, and my sighs and my cries under neath piles of gemara, intellectual debate, the great mission to find the accurate teitch in a specific passuk or maimar chazal that I forgot that there may be another way. Now I was being told that there was another way that there had to be another way , that I had to find it, but I never knew anyone who walked it. I never knew anyone who spoke that way or thought that way. I knew only one way how to think . where would I start? It seemed like a path needed to be taken that I knew nothing about. A new language had to be spoken that I had never heard, My mouth and heart simply didn't know how to formulate these words, these wants.
There was nothing to analyze nothing to figure out, nothing to conquer. It seemed like I was being coaxed cajoled to feel again. Wait, but what's a feeling? I wasn't sure if I even knew what a feeling was. I surely didn't care, because it wasn't something that I gave any attention to. Unfortunately, there was only one feeling that I was all too familiar with, pain. I knew the result of keeping feelings inside. I knew how that felt and it felt terrible.
To this day, I look back and I am amazed that the psyche, doesn't forget. It knows what it wants. It knows what it needs. It knows what needs to be cried. It knows what needs to be said. It seems to have a perfect record or notion of what it wants in the deepest ways. it seems to know what is crucial to its growth and, at least from my experience, it is relentless. It will not stop until it gets what it wants.
During one of my first months or first year in Venice, I wrote this poem (I think it's the only poem I have ever written so far)
My soul is all knowing, as deep as the seas, travels with ease to destinations
unknown, eternally sown to a path of its own, ignoring the mind and tricks of its
kind, to stop the eternal from reaching its goal.
They think they can stop it, or just plain ignore it.j
or drown out its shout to continue its rout
No one can tell where god may appear next.