In the brilliant staged documentary about a day in the life on the magnificent Nick Cave, he narrates
about an arrangement that exists between him and his wife:
… there is an understanding between us, a pact, where every secret, sacred moment that exists between
a husband and a wife is cannibalized and ground up and spat out the other side in the form of a song,
inflated and distorted, and monstrous.
The first time I saw this movie, I was in a long distance relationship that I had been in for a couple of years already, except it wasn’t a long distance relationship in the beginning. It became one when I
decided to move to another country to pursue a master’s degree in art. One can say, like Nick Cave, I too took what existed between me and my boyfriend at the time, inflated and distorted into a monstrous creation, so that I can pursue my art in a foreign land.
However, our relationship did not suffer all that much. Sure, it was hard and at times it did seem
impossible to stay apart for so much as another hour, but it did endure to be stretched out between two cities, two apartments, two lives for as long as two years.
Spoiler alert: this is not me convincing you that long distance relationships don’t work at all.
It is however, a painfully honest confession: I broke up with my boyfriend because there was nothing left for me to distort, inflate and create monsters out of. Our relationship became like having a TV: I liked knowing that it’s there and I can turn it on whenever I want to, but it’s only entertaining me without
driving me crazy with excitement, and slowly lulling me to a warm and cozy slumber.
It was wonderful in its own respect, but not what I wanted, despite my at times desperate attempts to prove otherwise. It took me a while to realize that there is nothing virtuous about lying to myself, and to the person who, despite everything else, I loved truly and deeply. I had to do what seemed right and rip the band aid.
Although excruciatingly painful, I did manage to hyperventilate my way through a break up. The amount of anxiety and sadness I felt can only be topped by the amount of weed I smoked in the months that followed.
Six months later and happily single, I am writing this as I am discovering that my relationship and love have given me one last thing to inflate, distort and create a monster out of: its memory.
When people say “relationships are hard” not only are they right, but they are probably struggling their way through one, if not more, hardships at that very moment. Hard as they may be, those very same hardships are what wield together another very important relationship: the one we have with ourselves.
It was, sadly, a moment of being strongly in touch with myself that brought my relationship to an end,
only because I had been refusing to establish this contact before, fearing to the death said end. Not only had I not been able to grind up and spit out art as inspired by my relationship, but I realized that the thing I had distorted, inflated and created a monster out of by the end, was me.
I still often wonder whether there would have been a way to do all that I wanted and stay in my relationship, but I have no regrets. Being by myself has put me in a comradery with my very own being that I never thought I would establish, as I always saw myself as a part of a duo. The pursuit of forever in my love was both liberating and encaging me in more ways than one, and letting go of that left a space in my life that I had never experienced before.
I am learning now more than ever that this precise space is called intimacy. It is what we crave with another, but often forsake with ourselves. And in this space is where build ourselves up so that we can
love ourselves, and others, better. It is the space where we create the monsters, and the space where we must always keep the lights on, so that we never forget it’s there.