By Stanley Collymore
 
Would I really want to change anything if I had the chance to live my life
all over again? My honest answer, with the full benefit of hindsight,
is yes - I most certainly would! For there’s the egalitarian period
I went through, thinking that all I ever had to do - apart from
being responsible and good - was to be my usual self
with others; and, therefore, they’d not only
understand but, more importantly,
appreciate as well the human
side of me: the inner man.
 
But this approach, alas, didn’t work; and that trusting and naive phase
of my developing, adult life was thankfully short-lived. A time
when it seemed quite obvious to me that I was the only one
who was always prepared to give while getting little or
nothing back in return. Yet this discrepancy came
not from casual strangers who I’d met, as one
would normally expect, but overwhelmingly
from those who’d seek me out -
ostensibly, with no regret, to be the
unwitting target of their
contrived game.
Simpletons? Or, more sinisterly,
minds that were unhinged or, even
worse, irrevocably deranged?
 
Nevertheless, I took a long, hard look at myself and decided
there and then: that from that moment onwards I’d never
knowingly allow either my abilities or ambitions to
ever again be circumscribed or nullified by the
cynical and selfish whims of women or men
with parochial attitudes and jingoistic
minds; or brains– it must be said– if
previously they ever existed,
were long since dead!
 
I was, after all, a free spirit: relatively wise, gifted and endowed
with an astute mind and sound intelligence; none of which I was
prepared to forfeit or willingly compromise. Consequently,
I was determined that should I ever become personally
involved again with someone of the opposite sex, the
very essence of that quest would specifically be to
find a partner of the cerebral kind: a genuinely
discerning female with interests well beyond the latest
banal TV soaps or fashion catalogues, with whom I
could conduct a dialogue of substance; and not
forever be immersed in a diatribe of facile
discourse born of untutored thoughts:
themselves reinforced by latent
xenophobia and ignorance.
 
It’s not as if the mating game or selfish and unthinking procreation -
alas now rife - have suddenly and inexplicably become a major
priority for me; let alone my sole remit in life. For what I
value most of all in any relationship– great or small–
are trust, respect, loyalty and genuine friendship:
a sincere compact of lasting characteristics,
which for me mean a great deal more
than just hopping into bed at every turn
or given opportunity with which I’m fed,
to cover some compliant female: whose glaring
inadequacies and striking ambivalence about her
own sexuality and what she genuinely wants from life
are a thinking man’s graveyard; and very often, as well,
the Genesis of immeasurable impending disappointments,
unmitigating disasters and, unsurprisingly, unrelenting strife.
 
Therefore, whichever of the groupings you opt to fall into: my
implacable enemy or devoted friend; it’s against this backdrop,
and it alone, that any objective judgements of me should
be honed and ultimately depend - not based on idle
speculation or wild, subjective perceptions
gleaned from cursory snapshots
fashioned arbitrarily that bear no true resemblance to this
man you see, and whose ethical benchmark is his very
own. Its moral standards set by him alone and not
devised or influenced in any way, either by the
actions of others or what they have to say.
 
© Stanley V. Collymore.
30 November 1997.

(1997)

love, self-analysis, life

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