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    It’s been said that cynicism is just an unpleasant way of telling the truth. It’s also been said that if you scratch a cynic, you’ll find a disappointed idealist. 

    The argument there is that, originally, the cynic deeply trusted, deeply invested, deeply believed, and then had those ideals and beliefs shattered. So, as an act of protection, they became cynical, because the pain of that betrayal was so devastating.

    Years ago, I unconsciously developed a cynicism about love. Any love. Be it from an intimate partner, a friend, or a family member. I didn’t start out that way. And I’m not that way any more. But it took a fuck ton of work to shed that shit.

    When I feel the word “love”, I feel the word “team”. Because sharing love with another is being part of a team; the two of you have this relationship, it's sacred, and unique, just to the two of you. It's a special energy, a one of a kind bond, never-ever duplicated in the history of humankind, because there was never, is never, and will never be ever, two people just like the two of you. That gives me goose bumps.

    From jump street, I was part of a team. I’m a twin. In the womb, I had company. Being part of a team is in my DNA. It's in my damn electrons. 

    My whole life, a constant driving emotional thread has been to be part of a team. I believe that drive is in everyone. We need connection. We need intimacy. Maybe it was just more overt in me.

    My childhood was ultimately lonely. My family never felt like much of a team. Emotionally, I felt that nobody had my back. That scenario got even more aggravated as I got older. 

    As a kid, while all of the material essentials were generously provided by my parents, little John (my name before I legally changed it) was dying emotionally on the inside. I learned not to share how I felt, because that proved dangerous. My parents, and my siblings, did the best they could, and there is no blame here, just a recognition of my very personal experience. I developed a cynicism about love. About relationships. Fuck, if my own family wasn’t going to be there for me, who was? Nobody. So I learned that, emotionally, I better take care of me. I better cover my ass. 

    My years as a young, selfish, gloriously testosterone laden male of his twenties saw that the only team I gave a fuck about was Team Me. Yup. I could be a real douche bag. When I hit thirty, however, something shifted. Literally, overnight, I didn't want to be that man anymore. 

    In hindsight, maybe I just connected to my life long burning desire to be part of a team.

    In the past ten years, becoming part of a team, romantically, as in a life partnership with a woman, has become very important to me. But, from twenty-five to almost forty, the most important objective of my tender heart was to not get hurt by women, to not get cut deep enough to bleed but an ounce of blood. I looked at love like money:be generous, but always keep enough of it in the bank so that, if she bolted, I would be just fine. I literally wouldn't skip a beat.

    That came at a cost, yes, but I was not ready for the kind of intimacy that my heart desired. I was not ready to seek what I most wanted. So I had a lot of fun. And broke a lot of hearts. 

    Life has a magical way of balancing the scales, however. Right after I opened myself up to just how important becoming part of a team was, in the most rewarding yet emotionally vulnerable of arenas (an intimate romantic relationship), I got a dose of what I had been protecting myself from. In the past ten years, since opening up my heart, which is also the time that I started this blog, my heart has been broken, shattered, and otherwise pierced with incendiary projectiles, multiple times. 

    But, yet, I keep coming. 

    I will always keep coming.

    Until I get you. 

    Until you get me.

    Until We Are A Team. 

    My strong and tender heart bleeds for you. I will find you. You will find me. I've learned, that’s how it works.


    ©2018 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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