Ah, Don Quixote, that madman of Spanish literature who fought windmills as if they were dragons and called prostitutes ladies…he who was on a crusade to revive chivalry after being driven mad by books full of romance. How terribly wonderful one would think…a man who decides to embody the bravery, chivalry, and romance of leading men of prose.
But he did nothing but wreak havoc wherever he traveled. He turned the countryside on its head.
And here I am…trying to slay the dragons. I have this image in my mind of what love is…what romance is…what qualities are lacking in those who pursue me. I could blame romance in novels or on TV or in the cinema for my visions of what I need and want, but honestly, I think my mission in the world of love was formed by craving what I have never truly had, and my windmill is nothing more than my past and my nonacceptance of that.
I want what I’ve never found, so what makes me think it even exists?
What drives me in matters of the heart, perhaps, is the longing I’ve held since early childhood. That need to be loved and accepted in the midst of growing up in an incredibly dysfunctional household where children only spoke when spoken to and didn’t truly matter and had to stay in their beds when they had nightmares and were punished tremendously when they had done something wrong. Making mistakes wasn’t just part of life, it was a fatal flaw. And I was never aware of what it felt like to be looked upon with love and admiration. I was forever trying to be perfect so I wouldn’t be punished. I was forever trying to earn love.
That led to being a young girl who was book smart and proficient in many things, but naive and gullible and hopeful when caution should have been used. That led to a girl who had her heart easily manipulated when the one thing she craved most was dangled in front of her. Because it wasn’t. It has never been offered. In just shy of forty years, it’s always been that mirage just out of reach…so close, so close, so close…but never within grasp.
Here I am, still chasing those windmills. Still coming ever so close to that perfect reverie, those effervescent quixotic bubbles that pop right as I reach up and touch them with hopeful fingers quivering in anticipation of having all that I’ve dared to dream for.
Is it there? Does it exist? Is there such a thing as someone who offers without expectations of changing me, molding me into something new and foreign? Is there the possibility that I won’t be too little or too much? I’m always too little or too much…never just right.
I don’t know. I suppose I’ll only know for sure if I find it, and until I find it, I’ll continue to battle my windmills and wreak havoc on the countryside and ignore the ending of The Man of La Mancha. I could dare to dream impossible dreams and fight the impossible foe.
I could ignore that in the end, Don Quixote was only deemed sane when he realized how damaging his quest had been, accepted that chivalry and romance were the root of that, and rewrote his will to say that his niece would inherit nothing if she married a man who read books of chivalry. The story was bleak…he had changed nothing positively in the world around him and only made things worse. The hero was only a hero when he lost his illusions of romance.
I could refuse to become sane. I could.
I could, I could, I could…
This is my quest,
to follow that star.
No matter how hopeless.
No matter how far…