The Why Matters!
A Gay Opinion
by R.A. Melos
The other day I had sort of a revelation. Now this is not unusual, since I have a dozen or so revelations a week, but this revelation actually was one which was helpful to me. You see, I was having this discussion with an Egyptian co-worker of mine. Actually it was more of me listening to him explain the Koran and Osama Bin Lauden and the Middle East, but it was a discussion in the sense of I occasionally nodded and said "un huh." I wanted to feel as if I were holding up my end of the conversation in some way.
Anyway, after his lengthy explanation of the Koran, which was kind of interesting to a Pagan such as myself, and his explanation of who Osama Bin Lauden was, he asked me if I thought catching Bin Lauden would put an end to terrorism? To which I answered no. I went on to say it might help in clearing up the question of why the terrorist acts were committed.
My co-worker asked me why it mattered, as to why the acts were committed? In his viewpoint, why they were done didn't matter as much as the fact they were done, and since you can't go back and change what has been done, you have to deal with the forward progression of the situation.
That was the point when I was hit with my revelation. My co-worker went on to say something or other about just doing the right thing, getting the people who financed the attacks, and some other stuff, but I had tuned him out, as I often do when talks. Not that I'm rude or anything, but he's a lot older than I, and tends to talk to me like a parent would talk to a child, and I guess I just sort of lump him into that parent category of the adult voice from the Charlie Brown Cartoons. Wahwah, wah, wah, wah, wah, etc..
Besides, I was lost in my revelation of why the why of a situation matters to me. It was like looking at life from a whole new angle, because the discovery of my desire to have the why questions of life answered explained so much for me about myself and why (I love the irony) I was so hurt by my ex-lover.
Oh sure, it also explained a lot about the world in general, but being fixated on my own personal pain and anguish for so long, and not really being interested in the overall world picture at the moment, it gave me a chance to once again dissect my psyche and my own inner turmoil.
I've always been more interested in why someone, anyone, did the things they did rather than the actual actions or events which resulted as an outcome from the why of the event. I was more interested in why Patty Hearst went along with her kidnappers back in the 70s than the fact she did it. The why John List murdered his family is more interesting than the fact he did it.
I'm just fascinated by what goes on in peoples minds, what makes them do the things they do. So when I was suddenly confronted by my co-worker's thought process which completely ignored the why of an event and simply accepted the outcome of the event, my own thought process came to a screeching halt. This really played havoc with the main Thoughts in control of my mind, what with work stoppages and the prospect of overtime pay for lesser Thoughts, and all.
Anyway, I realized why it had been so hard for me to let go of my pain. Simply put, I didn't fully understand the why of my ex-lover's actions. Accepting the actions would've been so much easier if I understood the thought process which went into those actions, but I didn't have that luxury, or the luxury of real closure, but then I don't believe closure is ever completely possible in any situation.
So while my co-worker prattled on about Philistines, or something from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, I'm not sure if he was still talking about the current world situation at that point, I allowed my mind to mull over the why which was missing from the end of, what some would call, a bad affair. It helped to pass the time until it was time to go home, and I'm sure my co-worker didn't realize I wasn't really paying complete attention, since I did occasionally cough out and "un huh."
While I managed to avoid offending my co-worker, my mind covered the dull and barren terrain of my former relationship, searching for a fragment of a why. I knew the basic why, the one about why the relationship ended, but I was looking for the more in-depth why, the one which would explain my ex's intense hatred of me, his desire to pretend I didn't even exist, his need to live a life built upon lies and deceptions.
It would be easy to bash him at this point, with cheap innuendo and dispersions of him manhood, but he doesn't deserve that, and besides, this is about my discovers of my own needs. You see, while traversing the less interesting side of my memories, looking for those possible missing answers, I came across another memory of exy's lawyer telling me I may never get an answer as to why he did the things he did, and the whys don't matter anyway.
Another confrontation with someone who didn't see the significance of the why. To me, this kind of thinking is as foreign as attending a Marilyn Manson concert. Okay, I'm not knocking Marilyn Manson, I've seen one or two videos on MTV, I simply didn't like them. Why? Because everything about them repulsed me, including the music.
So back to the lack of why answers in my life.
I was never hung up on the why is the sky blue, or why is the grass green stuff, since that was eventually explained in science class. I'm sure that was covered, I just wasn't paying attention on those days. Why people did the things they did, their inner psyche, drive, motivation, whatever, peeked my interest right off the scale. Suddenly all my inner pain made sense to me, because I was denied one of the essentials in my way of looking at the world, the answers to why exy, in this case, pursued me, loved, or made love to me, and then ended up hating me.
I remember asking him, as one of the points where he was still talking to me, why he did some of those things, and his answer was "I don't know." At the time I didn't buy it because I always thought I knew why I did everything I did, but now I realize I don't know why I did some of the things I did. Oh sure, I know why I lashed out at exy. Lashing out was my primal urge of retaliation for exy's actions, but some of the earlier stuff, the attraction itself for instance, escaped the why answers in the first few go-rounds.
I suddenly had more insight into exy, or rather into his not knowing why he did the things he did, and I now believed he really didn't know why he did some of the things he did. This made a great deal of sense, in a senseless sort of way. After all, the pain and hurt were residuals from actions so long ago, even if they do seem like only yesterday, and that baggage is just something which is cluttering up my mind.
I don't see why we couldn't have worked things out to remain friends, but that would take effort on the part of both parties, and I'm already not enjoying being a party of one, so I wouldn't make an attempt unless he made the first move and was willing to put forth such an effort. I guess this is where the optimist in me comes into play, since my Sense of Optimism so rarely gets to play, in thinking he would even want to be friends again.
Again a why, or rather a why not comes to mind, but the clarity of realizing I'm so concerned with the whys of every situation in life in much more overpowering. And even more fascinating is the concept of people who think the whys don't matter. I've got a whole stack of why questions piled up in the corner of my mind, collecting dust, waiting to be answered and filed away. Sure many of those questions do revolve around exy, but many more of them revolve around relationships and life in general.
When I began to apply my revelation to the larger scale of life, I found the why questions still mattered. My co-worker had cleared up a lot of them with a brief explanation of the Koran. He didn't or couldn't really explain what would drive someone to the point of such obvious disregard for human life, but he cleared up some of those questions which kept me up at night for the past couple of months.
On the personal front, I can now look at my relationship in a slightly different light. I've been searching for the black and white, telling myself there were gray areas, but never really accepting the fact the gray areas existed, until now. It makes it easier not to hate exy, knowing he was in a gray area in much of what he was doing, and I was in a gray area in much of what I was doing.
Accepting the gray areas is probably going to be the hardest part for me, because I really like the why answers, the clarifications of the actions, and reactions, but perhaps part of the over all lessons of life is in the accepting of the gray areas.
Am I ready to accept them? To whole heartedly say to myself, there are some things, some why questions, I'll never have the answers to, and that's okay? Nah.
Oh, I'll try, if it'll mean making life all that much easier, but accepting the gray areas, even for a Pagan who accepts so much on faith, is an even greater challenge than overcoming the pain of a relationship badly ended.