A Truer Shade of Truth 9/6/00

We interrupt this barrage of cynicism and misanthropy to bring you this important message ...

Dear Mr. Steele,

I've been surfing through your Archives and I have to say you are a very interesting person with some really warped views ... and you've dated some doozies as well! Can't believe you're getting married. I have a question: in reading the Truth about Letting Someone You're Dating Read your page, Parts I & 2 and the one immediately following Part 1 -- you mention that the future Mrs Steele dumped you for reasons you couldn't reveal at the time. Since you're marrying her now, what say you tell us what led to the first break up and how you got back together again? Inquiring minds want to know! (I haven't read your book yet. Maybe I will when I see the answer to my Truth question!)


Actually, I'm glad someone asked this question ... it gives me the opportunity to clear up some things that have been bothering me for quite some time.

First of all, the 'future Mrs. Steele' that I mentioned in the first 'The Truth about Letting Someone You're Dating Read Your Page' is not the Mrs. Steele with whom I currently share this page. But the real story goes much deeper than that, Gentle Readers.

Oh, is it deep.

At the time that I wrote that first Truth ... damn, do I hate talking about this stuff. Anyway, at the time that I wrote that first Truth, I was about five years into having sworn off humanity. The plan was for me to die and not be missed. I wasn't suicidal, and I didn't have a date set for the death -- all I knew for certain was that I was going to impact as few lives as possible in the decades I still had to play out. That way, I would fade like a ghost when my time came. People would barely notice that I wasn't there anymore. I'd successfully shut out the world -- including, to my shame, my immediate family -- and the world seemed prepared to accept my decision and proceed without me. I guess the clinical word for it might be 'Depression,' but Depression sounds like a mood to me. This was much more than a mood. It was a lifestyle.

Christ, do I ever hate talking about this shit. It all sounds so Gothic. Yes, it's true that I write vampire novels and all that ... but those of you who've read it know that the tone of these novels is decidedly un-Gothic, considering the subject matter. My characters don't drone on and on about their 'beautyful payn' or any of that shit. They lose themselves in their work, which is to make sure that the legend of the vampire remains a legend. That's where I was coming from. I lost myself in a bunch of things -- work, writing, computer games, and anything else I could find. I discarded myself.

I found myself dating a string of women who didn't really care if I lived or died. I didn't date often, as True Indifference is hard to find, but when I did I had to believe that I could never hurt this woman or else I ended it pretty quick. Under those requirements, that particular girl (who I shall here-forward refer to as Mannequin because she lacked a soul) was just as perfect as the others I was with during that time. She wouldn't miss me when I was gone, she wouldn't cry at my funeral, and she'd only brake her vehicle to avoid hitting me if her foot was halfway there anyway.

Which begs the question: Why did I write those things about her? Why did I claim that my Angry Place was losing ground to my Happy Place, if it wasn't? Why-oh-why did I refer to her as an honest candidate to be Mrs. Steele? Was I lying?

Why, yes, Gentle Reader. Yes I was.

You see, somewhere in the back of my mind, I still really wanted to believe that I was more than this inhuman thing that I'd become. Despite everything, I wanted to find that one perfect woman. I couldn't shake the feeling that she was out there, waiting. Couldn't shake it, despite my attempted evolution into someone who didn't need that sort of thing. So, I fantasized. I imagined what it would be like to meet that person, how I would feel if I did, and I wrote it into that Truth. If Mannequin had been a real, living, breathing human I couldn't have written it the way I did -- because if she'd been more than a Mannequin, she might have been hurt by the fact that I never had any of those feelings. Which brings us to the first reason why I greatly exaggerated my feelings for Mannequin: because the thoughts were pretty, and I couldn't help wishing that she were someone else -- someone I'd never met before.

The second reason was even simpler: I didn't want to admit (then) to the things that I'm admitting to right now. I didn't want to admit that I was lonely. Who wants to hear such things, anyway? And more importantly, how could I possibly make that little tidbit of information funny?

Then, over a year later, I met Mrs. Steele ... and I learned that I wasn't nearly as dead inside as I'd striven to become. She saw the tiny spark in me, and she fanned it into a flame. She made me a person again. She -- quite literally -- saved me from darkness. She was everything I'd ever wanted in a woman, and many things I didn't even dare to want. She answered prayers that I hadn't even thought to pray. She exceeded the fantasy I had of her in every possible way ... every single possible way.

The reason why the words I used to describe the Mannequin (my Angry Place losing ground to my Happy Place, and referring to her as Mrs. Steele) is that I was fantasizing about this -- what I have now -- when I wrote them. I was fantasizing about having a True Connection with a woman. The fantasy paled in comparison to the reality of it -- but my meager wordsmithing is insufficient to really show the true breadth and scope of the difference. Lord knows I've tried. It's true that I've written Truths since the first that might have shown a glimpse of it, but when I wrote that first one about the Real Mrs. Steele, I wasn't yet comfortable that this was a relationship that was going to last. So, I didn't try to really illustrate the differences clearly because -- quite frankly -- I didn't want to frighten her off with just how much I was feeling for her.

Woof. This True Love thing has really turned me into a sappy bastard, hasn't it? Has anyone seen my tits? They were here just a second ago.

So, now you know the Truth.

We now return to our regularly scheduled cynicism.

Have a nice fuckin' day.