Monday, March 10, 2014

Toxic Relationships

Loyalty is a wonderful thing. There's nothing so grand as a special friend who will stick with you no matter what deep, dark secrets you might reveal, no matter how much of a difference there is in social status, and no matter what you do:  someone who you can always go back to. 

But sometimes loyalty can become an issue. Sometimes being loyal comes at high costs. Sometimes loyalty is ones greatest weakness.

For my part, I seem predisposed to toxic relationships - lopsided relationships where one side of the equation seems to inflict all the pain and suffering, while the other takes it with a grin, sometimes separating for a while, but always coming back, no matter. Yet my loyalty is so strong, I cannot bear the thought of breaking it off, or replacing it with something else. "No, but THIS is the one! I just know it! Should we not follow our hearts?"

Ah, but the heart is deceitful. It seems I become addicted to the relationship, because of some arbitrary attraction, some uniqueness, the mere fact that others would not do the same, in spite of the fact that it is clearly bad for me, and not helping to the other either.

I put love and money into these relationships, and still, pain is the primary result. Do I truly enjoy receiving pain from those I love?

I'm afraid I may have made a mistake in choosing my mandolin. I was head over heals for it before even trying it out. Before trying any others, to know what to look out for.. 

Now that I have had it for so long, these issues are becoming more and more evident. Yet, we've been through so much together. We've gone through 30 states together. I've met people and made friends because of my mandolin. How could I ever replace it, and get something else? How could I betray my companion for so long?

Issues. So many issues. The pick guard is curled up. The body is scarred from misuse, the neck is bent, the body bowed, the action high, the tuners inconsistent, the metal rusted.. The strings take 3x the pressure to play that they should. 

Ah, but we'll make it work, I say. We'll work it out. I'm sure of it. We've got too. I've invested too much time in this relationship. I can't give it up now..

I can change the strings. Certainly I can figure out a way to lower the action. Sure, it will only fix the symptoms - the body will continue to cave in, the finish will continue to scar, the rust will not go away - but what other choices do I have? 

No, I can't give this up now. We're just getting close. I'm just starting to be able to make this work. 

So what if it's an off balance equation? So what if playing my mandolin still causes twice the pain it should, for half the enjoyment? It's my mandolin! After all, a toxic relationship is better than none. 

...right..?