(This series will be way better read from beginning to end, rather than end to beginning.)

Last time on Naked: Lizard boy began his quest to find love without fixing his broken heart first.

Because I didn’t know I needed to work, I didn’t do the work that needed to be done. And so I passed through the lives of many wonderful women: confusing, annoying and confounding them as I walked confidently in two different directions.

Popular Ways to Not Love

What Problem? If a sunny woman wanted me, I would let her approach and have sexual intimacy, which I have never been afraid of, but not true emotional intimacy. I’m good at having very deep and soulful talks while keeping most of my own personal dumpster fire private. If she was wonderful and came closer, loving me too much and too sweetly, I would fucking panic and begin pushing her away. My reaction to my black radioactive moon problem was to keep things a bit light and distant so we could stay together. This, of course, means creating and accepting a relatively shallow and safe love that doesn’t remind you of the real problem. Or it only does in introspective moments when you wonder if this can really be all there is to it. A lot of decent marriages coast here for years.

This is the Forbidden Forrest problem. A secret broken heart hidden in dark woods breeds monsters and they…wander. 

Arms Length. I might become suddenly difficult and spiky in a distancing way. Or maybe I’d cheat and be at a safe and cool distance from two women at once because triangulation guarantees an underlying lack of intimacy. Even if triangulation isn’t cheating but instead a profound commitment to something else in your life, good or bad, it guarantees this emotional distance from the beloved. Doing this doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you are choosing to keep your distance. Perhaps it’s reasonable? Perhaps you should hold it up to the light?

Personal breathing room isn’t toxic, it’s healthy, and the required amount is individually set. A secret need for more breathing room means a dishonest foundation. It’s breathing room to express something forbidden. 

The Two Way One Way Street. In a later phase, I went for women who had acid scars on their psyche just like mine. Brilliant, wounded, complicated women. I picked those who didn’t dare to love so that I could love them without the fear of true reciprocity. This was unconscious by the way, I had no idea that I was choosing badly on purpose. I thought I had a type, but I had a pattern. Here I could love passionately, without restraint. It was joyous to love deeply but ultimately sad and empty standing under Juliet’s balcony all alone. The partner’s corresponding pattern is to receive love in a passionless, flat way. They are judgemental and critical.

This is mutually unrequited love as a couple’s lifestyle. Two people who aren’t allowed love build a love machine.

You Probably Don’t Even Know Your Own Truth

A question: Why can’t those people see what they’re doing, and just fucking do something else?

Because they are terrified to be vulnerable and learn what’s really inside them. What’s inside them is a fucked-up child who wasn’t loved right and now compels them to live a life plan crafted and set in stone by that FUCKED UP CHILD.

A question: What the fuck did I think I was doing during my version of all this nonsense?

If you answered “I honestly can’t imagine”, you are correct. We would also have accepted “Wasting everyone’s time for nothing”. I might as well have been a moth dry humping a light bulb. I was a whirlwind of impassioned actions without a map or a plan. I was that dumb fly that never gives up on banging into the window to get outside. For way too long, I learned nothing and persevered. I looked within…but the monkey in the mirror just looked back like “What?”.

Most people who avoid and destroy intimacy in these stupid ways aren’t awful, mostly they are trying and failing. For every narcissist there a thousand inept, self-sabotaging, frightened seekers.

This behavioral mess is just what it looks like when people seek joy but neither believe in joy nor experience it. It’s Sisyphus going up the hill with candy and flowers.

Being certain that you don’t deserve love in no way diminishes your need for love. You will pursue it anyway, or dry up in your room like a mummy. Considering the weight we place on finding love you’d think breakthrough eureka moments of self-knowledge would be as common-place as dandelions but something obscures our vision.

The patterns of these self-canceling behaviors are the darkness surrounding us until something reveals our real problems and we address them. In this darkness, we play with hammers and guns, we throw bombs and drive dangerously. All the people we love are with us in that darkness too, because we have no light for them. True love provides light.

Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” We have a self-help market valued at over $10 Billion dollars annually. That’s a fuck-ton of insane people not noticing some critical flaw in their sweet moves.

Not deserving love is generally an unconscious belief that shapes behavior like a mountain shapes a walking path. You simply walk the available route around it. But there are other people who don’t have a mountain in the way and they move directly in a way that you can’t.  Your brain requires an explanation for this that you can live with.

There is a mental function that generates and preserves excuses explaining these “built to fail” patterns. Let’s call it the Auto-Rationalizer Function. As a social primate, you need a story for every piece of human business and this machine in your head will make you one. Whatever you do, it tells you why it was OK. It rationalizes, justifies and forgives you your trespasses with lightning speed. Half defense attorney. and half PR flack, it auto weaves stories of you as a moral giant or an innocent victim and eventually, these begin to seem like the inescapable, rock bottom truth. Excuses become our stories, stories become memories, memories become ourselves and create a map of our possible (and not possible) futures. Even our stories come to protect us from vulnerability and growth. Not surprising since we write them.

Your story is a box whose walls reach the sky and horizons. When you fail, your story puts an arm around your shoulder and says: “See? Didn’t I tell you?”

Your story is the one you don’t know how to doubt.

If you yearn for something better, you will have to learn how to doubt your story. Hard.