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Doug Anderson: On Having

After my mother died in 2001, I found myself un-layering years of accumulated expectations. One of those expectations, and what I haven’t achieved, was to have a middle-class life, get married, have children, and thus validate what she always wanted for herself. My marriage lasted eleven years. Her marriage lasted only six and she raised me by herself. My father was gone by the time I was six and was away in the Navy for most of the four previous years. My mother considered their divorce her life’s failure.

She believed that anyone who had been divorced should not be elected president, that they were somehow invalidated as human beings. Her self-hatred overflowed onto many things she wanted for me. I carried this feeling of failure for her in all my years of sexual abundance and later, serial monogamy. When she died, I began to free myself. This is how it often happens.

Most of the pain in my relationships has been from the notion of enforced permanence. You are married for life. You never stray or even think of it. This false permanence damaged my relationships either because I wanted a lover to stay forever under those conditions or I was afraid they WOULD stay forever. In the first case, they would usually leave; in the second, I’d take off at a dead run.

In this long project to accept myself exactly as I am, with compassion, in fact, with pride, I’ve thought a lot about old relationships and have grown to see most of the women in my life as partners in my growth, as catalysts, and finally as beloved friends. I hope I’ve done as much for them.

As for the future, I have no expectations at all. I have many women friends who are as dear to me as a lover ever was. Some of these friends have been or are lovers. I have no more interest in locking them into a “relationship” than they do me. Nothing is permanent. We lose all the way through life, but we gain, too. And finally, we die.

I find myself, finally, happy, loved, and content to be a conscious responsible person.

copyright 2015 Doug Anderson


Doug Anderson: 1967 Que Son Valley, Vietnam

3 comments on “Doug Anderson: On Having

  1. Claudia Nolan
    June 14, 2017

    Expectations close so many doors, indeed make doors invisible at times. So many of us walk stooped over with the burden of them. I am so glad, Doug Anderson, your project is bearing such hopeful fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen Nolen
    May 17, 2016

    Doug you are not alone in these sentiments that were handed down, now only through your mother, but a sort of cultural mythology. It’s harmed women who stayed in relationships out of dependence, learned helplessness, survival. Most of my lovers were mere projections of how I wanted to be seen. Now that I’ve finally learned that person is me, beauty reveals itself at every turn. I’m glad to have lived long enough to awaken.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. globalalbum1
    June 13, 2015

    Reblogged this on GLOBAL ALBUM and commented:
    My dear brother Doug Anderson you are not alone there aremmay out there living the same situation, I am one like you and one of them, the solution is you nust never giveup, big support to you.
    This is GLOBAL ALBUM

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2015 by in Personal Essays and tagged , , , , , .

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