an excerpt from the upcoming UNTITLED BOOK ON LONELINESS
The dealing of cards of desire as a single person leaves me baffled because it’s not “done” to talk about celibate pain, and even if we were tempted to, the fear of the possible condescension and scorn, or worse, pity, would be enough to drive anyone deep into silence. While probably most of my crowd reading this book knows why a Christian is obstinate about abstinence before marriage (because really, it takes some serious guts), it’s also equally sure that for anyone else straying into this book that this kind of thinking will incur the wonderment of anyone who does not choose as I do.
For the single person it's probable to hear (possibly from someone who has sex all the time) that we should be satisfied with the good things we do have; so we hear in church, and in books, and in good Christian talks. Certainly, good things satisfy the parts of us they can satisfy: a hug from a friend is as integral to our humanity as a passionate night of amore but neither can satisfy the other part of us. What I believe they are saying is to be grateful, which is 110% a good perspective to practice. What we should not practice is this idea that gratitude and satisfaction in life are the same thing. I absolutely am not going to try to get the same satisfaction out of a hug as sex. That would be creepy. Same with my friendships vs. a potential life partner. That would be unhealthy.
This idea that we can transfer satisfaction across desires and wants is a wretched one. It’s akin to the idea that peanut butter could quench thirst, which is ridiculous, even as we realize that peanut butter is good nutrition. It’s just that peanut butter can’t be water to us. So are the desires of every person, trying to substitute in pseudo ways. We think it’s better to get used to not getting everything we want so we come up with ineffective, immoderate, or immoral ways to dull the lack rather than letting the sharpness refine our identity.