What Andy Said

I love to go to the movies by myself on occasion with a large coffee loaded with copious amounts of creamer. Mind you, I’m often a tea girl everywhere else, at least that’s what I still like to tell myself, though, a welcome wave of Starbuckian need frequently takes hold. Last February, on a grey and blustering day, Factory Girl was calling my name. A film telling the story of Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol’s “it” girl, his friend of all friends, and the closest to love as fascination will allow for a man of the homosexual persuasion. As an artist and personality he’s a bit over exposed, but I still manage to enjoy him immensely due to the rousing stories told in class by a former teacher who claims to have regularly hung with him in NYC back in the day. In an interview with Andy looking back on his life, he’s asked questions concerning that of love and his friendship with Edie. His response:

” … I just think people forget what emotions are supposed to be, I mean, it’s too hard to care. I mean, you know, I still care, but it would be just so much nicer not to care. It’s just easier being detached.”

Interviewer: “What about Edie?
Andy: “You know, I mean, it was just so long ago, I mean, I hardly knew her at all …”

Back in school, I spent many an hour with my fellow designerly friends.

Being in the public eye, Andy’s answers could very well have been a cover or brush off to deflect the nosy barrage of questions so often posed by the media. Still, such answers speak to a problem I’ve begun to encounter over the last several years. That of what has been deemed the “emotionally unavailable male.” This is a phrase I’ve heard uttered quite often on TV, in movies, and occasionally from a disgruntled female friend here and there. I scoffed at the phrase at first having never met one, presuming it was just another stereotype. But now I’m beginning to wonder. Back in school, I spent many an hour with my fellow designerly friends. Concerning the guys, having taken in account their tendencies to be talkers vs. listeners, outgoing vs. a wallflower, a good day/mood vs. a bad one and such, it appeared that the younger the guy, the more open, friendly, receptive and generally tuned in they were. The older the guy (observations apply to singles only), the more inward, closed off, and inexpressive they were.

They may be on to something. “… easier being detached,” Andy said.

Words I’m tempted to revisit in practice. Nowadays, I live my life connected on many levels. I stuffed one particular level down so very, very far, though, long ago. Self-medicated it into a quiet little corner. I know better. Stopped the unnamed ( this is called building “intrigue” ;) ) self-medicating last August and it opened up a torrent of pain. Raw. RAAAAAW. Ouch. I suspect there’s more to come. Layers yet to fall away in this waking from a fog. I walked myself into this mess and undoing it leaves me bare, feeling exposed, vulnerable, longing for a moment to cease feeling, be numb. “Easier being detached.” Then, I remember, I’m not about easy. If by chance, ease is part of it, count me blessed. I’m gonna feel every hellish moment as a reminder to not go down this way again. Will not retreat. The only way is through, no more skirting around it in avoidance pretending it’s not there or that it’ll remedy itself if enough time passes. It won’t. It will not dissipate, it will only lurk, festering, deepening its roots if anything, becoming entrenched, never loosening its hold.

Ultimately, this “emotionally unavailable” business must be flung out the second story window versus my even entertaining the idea. It would only serve as yet another way of escape from potential pain. A swapping of vice (AKA the self-medicating.) It’s such a waste! Of a risk. Of a heart. Any seeming protection from pain it does offer is a lie, as it’s gonna be hard at times in life no matter what, detached or not. So, if that’s true, why not live being present, tuned in, connected, available at every capacity, on every level, emotionally and otherwise, as the joy to be had that balances out any accompanying pain is certainly worth it! Acknowledging this is one thing, having the strength to follow through and keep at it is another, yes? Still, I ask myself “If I don’t take action now, what will it someday cost me?” The answer is enough to keep me moving in the right direction. ♦

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