This is a long one, people, and this time, we're not joking around, so be ready for that.
So, yeah. Unrequited love.
People like to make fun of it, especially when it involves writing letters on the internet to sexy-little-ass-having rockstars that you don't so much know. I get that, and I know why; but you know what? It's all bullshit. Love is love, and it's nothing to scoff at, requited or not, and no matter where it's directed.
All the enlightened Buddhist Lamas out there can worry about me for my 10-years-running never to be requited passion for a man who doesn't know I'm alive, despite the fact that it's a bit ironic that they, of all people, whose spiritual path is one of renunciation, would advise me to invest in the concrete desires of the flesh, when the love I speak of is, in fact, of a more spiritual, renunciatory nature. You can tell me that the love of real boys I actually know -- love that stands a chance in hell of being requited -- would be better and more fulfilling than being run through by Trent Reznor's mojo from afar. You can say I'm a pathetic dreamer, and that this kind of love means I'm crazy and need psychological help. Sure, you could say all that.
You know what, though? I don't care.
I hereby swear on a all that's real and true, that I'm never going to camp out in Sparklepants's bushes, or otherwise impinge upon his sovereign right to not return my affection; hence, my love from afar isn't doing him any harm. Meanwhile, all things being equal, I must tell you, that to date, no man I've ever personally met has even come close to filling me up, mind, body and soul, the way Trent Reznor did 10 years ago, and still does, today. In fact, I have no idea, really, how you could listen, and really hear that voice -- listen to the way his music, his words, and the entire grain of him is so ineffably soulful and utterly committed, in a way that is so entirely disarming, and for all of its strum und drang, is really just all about wanting to be truthful, authentic, and wanting to love and be loved -- and not be a little in love with him.
Unrequited love, my dear readers, is all about dreaming. It starts with some real catalyst, say, an especially beautiful and perfect performance, or a particularly clear voice that for some reason, goes right into you, or even less -- maybe just a fleeting expression in someone's fine, dark eyes, or the way he moves through space -- but after that, you want more of him, so you listen carefully, and watch attentively, and look more closely than you ever do at other people.
Not on purpose, really, but because you can't really not, you start collecting the pieces of a puzzle that tell a story about someone other: his story. You collect all these little details -- magnificent perfections and flaws, spiritual and physical, all his good and bad -- and recompose it as poetically as only art or love could do, and you rebuild that magnificent creature in the space between his reality and your imagination, out of all his most beautiful pieces and parts, using your most aching empathy, sharpest attention, fondest wishes, and pure devotion as glue.
But, he's not imaginary, is he? The man moves, of his own volition, and when he does, he blurs your perfect picture, complicates it with things he says and does. In his hands, he's holding all your fragile hopes for the beauty of a human man, along with the strength to break them, and he makes you nervous, because you want him to be just like you imagined; but even more than that, you want him to be real, and surprise you with beauty you couldn't dream up by yourself.
Before you know it, every new thing he does or says thrills you, because you're not completely sure exactly where your dream ends, and his reality begins. It's like a roller coaster, because every time he acts, there's a chance he could falter, that his work could become heartless, or his voice could become shrill, and stop speaking to you; or, he could somehow just prove, conclusively, that he is incapable of carrying your hopes -- in short, that he is not the man you'd hoped he could be.
I've been carrying Trent in my heart for a long time, and I won't lie: he's had some bad days. there have been times when I could not hear him, times when he has seemed nothing but sad and ridiculous -- times when I'd nearly given him up for dead -- but there's always been a process in him, an ongoing story that I've needed to hear, and in some very serious way, remarkably, he has never been a disappointment, because what I've always loved about Trent is his work, and his work has always come from the soul, even if it's been hard for me to swallow it all.
That Trent, himself, in his work, so clearly imagines purity, truth, ideal love, and their diametric, impassioned opposites -- that he so ardently strives for his own unalloyed truth -- makes him seem essentially unrequited, too, in a way; but in my heart, he is every thing he has ever aspired to, and more. I'll always be watching him and listening to him, and it will be the dearest wish of my heart that he can make everything that's best in himself real.
What are "real boys" to that? I mean, have you seen them? Wandering with bovine submissiveness behind their big-haired, dumb looking women in the mall, resplendent in backwards baseball caps, cargo shorts and stupid t-shirts? Seriously, go outside right now, and I promise you, you will see an entire herd of steers that couldn't stand and deliver despite enormous cost, like Trent does, if you drew them a fucking map. Do they even have souls? Do they aspire? So many real boys are just so paltry in comparison, and even the ones who say they aspire to something fine are usually all talk.
The real boys I've met may be able to requite a momentary need with their real cocks, but they don't seem to have the tool that can quench the pure, eternal flame of the love I'm talking about, and that's because they can't even imagine that such a thing exists. I know Trent can. I'm totally positive that he does.
What? You say Trent, himself, is a real boy? You say I've built him a pedestal far too monumental for his freaky feet of clay -- that he is flawed and imperfect? That, as much as I like to tell myself that it's nothing but a photoshopped monstrosity, he may even have smiled like a retard and allowed the infamous "red robe" pic to be taken (and, that link is hereby dedicated to Gabriel Miller, try not to touch your monkey when you look at it, ok G?), which will traumatize us all for all posterity? What about the fact that in the past, Trent has been at the bottom of the most squalid pit in the garbage dump of hell, covered in disgusting slime and sleaze, and probably vomit, has had intimate congress with Courtney Love, and very likely has behaved as ignobly as it is possible to behave.
Yeah, sadly, I know that, too.
Maybe as much as 95% of him is just an ordinary man who shits and eats, and gets dirt under his fingernails, and makes big mistakes, just like anyone else. I know that. I know that guy wakes up with nasty ass-breath, scratches his nuts, and gets pimples on his back. Also, he's short, quite possibly a bit napoleonic, can sometimes be ill-mannered with the help, and wears black socks at inappropriate times. He obviously spends far too fucking much time looking at his muscles, and plays lame video games. I know that man is there, and that he is probably endlessly capable of being thoughtless, unconscious, uninteresting and worst of all, utterly common.
But you know what? The fact that he is just flesh and blood, like anyone, makes it more unspeakably gorgeous that there's something else about Trent, too. That's not all he is. There's another part of him that I can see with the x-ray eyes of my love, and it's pure poetry. It's the part of him that falls from grace, and struggles back up from those depths, the part of him that wants what it can never have, but it keeps striving, and nothing can stop it -- the part of him that decided it wanted to live and work despite all he's undergone, so he listens for his muse, faces fear and all his demons, and feels divine and godlike when he creates. There's a part of him that's always going to be singular and secret, and it's the part that holds the truth of his soul, and the soul of his work, beating as quietly and as surely as my heart does.
That part of him is just as real as every shit he's ever taken, literally or figuratively, and it's every bit as divine as my ideal love. And you know what? On the day that love is requited by a real boy, I'll thank Trent for making sure I'd know what it looked like, and that I'd still be waiting.
But, having said that? At the same time, I'd be delighted if Trent would quit fooling around and satisfy some of my momentary needs with his real cock, too. I mean, I wouldn't throw him out of bed for eating crackers, or anything.
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Dierdre, That is absolutely beautiful!!!
Posted by: bex | Aug 26, 2005 7:05:34 PM
Wow, Deirdre, that was genuinely moving. And quite funny in parts. Excellent use of the term "sturm und drang."
I empathize with a LOT (read: 99.9999%)of what you've written. I've had many great unrequited loves; some of whom I still love, some of whom make me reflect, "What in God's name was I thinking?" I do enjoy my requited love from the hubby; he's the creme brulee of men, in my opinion. There's some heavy shit in my life that he has carried me through like a big, strapping, sweaty, heroic firefighter. But...that's a different kind of love, and there's still room in my heart for that odd happy pain that a good unrequited love stirs. Just as long as I prioritize properly, etc. etc. (I once had a problem with prioritization, and it made me a very unhappy person for a long period of time. Fortunately for me, that person turned out to be one of history's greatest tools, so it was a passing thing. Btw, I'm totally digressing.)
Sure, you'll get the haters who don't understand, who want to laugh and point and call the police. But I think Herr R. has quite a bit in common with you. I mean, the man is 40 years old and has never married. Even Marilyn Manson has gotten himself engaged (to someone who is way more beautiful than he personally rates, but hey, if they're happy, I'm happy for them; I don't dislike him). I think Trent hasn't quite found "real girls" to be all that, either. Although I'm sure at any point, he's going to cave from peer pressure. Completely understandable.
I have to admit that while I have always loved NIN and Trent's music, I didn't really have a thing for the guy behind it (other than passing thoughts of, "oh, he's pretty hot in whatever contraption he's wearing")until I learned more about his real-life flaws and struggles. Whatever insane, debauched shit he did that I would normally oppose on moral, feminist, or hygenic grounds doesn't really bother me because he seems to have really risen above it and is bemused by it all in a charming way. A way that makes me think, to quote the Jets, "I've got a crush on you."
And if you find that real life never quite measures up to one's dreams, at least you're in good company: Werner Herzog, Terry Gilliam, a deceased Golden Retriever that haunts the Internet...
Posted by: maise | Aug 27, 2005 12:48:44 AM
P.S. Pandora's Box beckoned me to click on the red robe link...goddamn it!...find a happy place, find a happy place.
Posted by: maise | Aug 27, 2005 12:57:55 AM
Wow Dierdre, you've outdone yourself with this one. I'm impressed, and I'm so glad you've reflected on this to the extent that you have. I thought it was kind of insulting when some people said that you need a 'real man'. Fuck that. Requited love is all about having to put up with someone else's disgusting habits, having the same arguments over and over, and banging the same person 9,000 times. You're not missing a thing.
On the other hand, unrequited love is just so...frustrating. I like how Maise described it as an 'odd, happy pain'. Ummmmm.....I feel like I have more to say, but I guess I really don't.
Posted by: Jessica | Aug 27, 2005 4:31:22 AM
Oh wait, yes I do! The red robe pic! I love it! I think it's fucking hysterical. Trent with that big stupid smile and his freaky hobbit feet, exposing his mangina. A priceless moment of distastefulness.
Posted by: Jessica | Aug 27, 2005 4:38:04 AM
Dierdre, that is the most beautiful essay on love I have ever read, and I'm French! Your time in Paris has served you well to reflect upon these things. And I do agree that sometimes unrequited love, especially when you know the one you adore is a $500 air fare away (plus taxes), can be much more satisfying than just accepting the affections of the clods in their oversized garments ambling around you, trying to look down your cleavage as you try to write a little poem dedicated to your Unrequited at an outdoor cafe. Bravo, cherie!
Posted by: Mimi | Aug 27, 2005 7:28:41 AM
I had to add one other thing..didn't want to do in the same post recognizing the beauty of what Dierd. wrote.
That DAMN red robe pic. Yeah, it's funny..ha ha ha...but I wish it wasn't there for the world to see. I actually hate it...it makes me think of all the shit I've done in the past that got recorded in some fashion..and is floating around for all to see. What's even worse, I don't go looking for the pic..but when a link is in front of my face..as much as I try and resist..I can't! Then I get so mad at myself.
DAMN YOU RED ROBE PIC...DAMN YOU!
hugs, from a very distressed bex
Posted by: bex | Aug 27, 2005 7:46:37 AM
Oh yea Bex, I'm sure Trent has cringed over that one. He was probably fucked up at the time, too. I've totally been there, and if others had to witness me in such a fashion, I would rather they laugh than cringe with me.
Posted by: Jessica | Aug 27, 2005 4:00:09 PM
Get out of my head, D. Had I taken the time to work out exactly why I love this man so much, I think it would read a lot like this. Excellent work, as usual.
Can't wait for your next photo essay.
Posted by: emerald527 | Aug 27, 2005 4:33:43 PM
Maise, you know when I wonder what in God's name I was thinking? With the requited loves. Sweet holy hell, there are some doosies in that history. What the hell was I thinking, indeed. I haven't given up hope, but in the meantime...
Jessica, I don't find unrequited love frustrating, I think it's delicious. The most painful part of it is how people who don't get it tell you "Ooh, get a real man!" and look at it as some kind of replacement for something you lack. I guess my point, here, is that it isn't a replacement; I haven't saved myself for Trent since I was 12, or some shit. I've had my fair share of requited loves, some good, some not so good, but I've kept dear old Trent in my heart, too. I think unrequited love is useful, and if you feel it, it has something to tell you, so rather than letting other people make you feel ashamed of something that is a perfectly natural response to something like what he does, and which is also a naturally arising, positive feeling, tell them to go fuck themselves, and listen to it.
Bex, I like to hope that Trent doesn't sweat the stupid things - not even the red robe pic, if it is, indeed, real. I mean, it's more just funny than anything, and everyone acts like a jackass sometimes. We still love him despite what I shall, in future, refer to as "the mangina incident." Jessica is absolutely right, I think: better to laugh than cringe. If Trent has something to be ashamed of, it isn't that picture.
Em, thanks, as always, for your kind words.
Posted by: Dierdre | Aug 28, 2005 1:22:37 AM
Nope, no shame over the pic ( I agree..we still don't know if was true), but makes you appreciate how in this day & age..we cannot get away with ANYTHING as it will surely come up at some point. It's a good point to make to laugh instead of cringe....but like I said...it's not so much me cringing that I think Trent did something wrong or anything..but that it reminds me of a few things I did myself earlier in life!!!
I'd dabbled with the idea of putting my real pic up on myspace and a few other places I talk, and my mother said NO...you might become a photoshop victim. After some careful thought, I decided..not right now.
I agree about the unrequitted love point..that it's useful at times. And though you don't stop your life....there are certain people that never ever leave your heart..I have a couple of them that I've been carrying around inside of me for quite some time. They occassionally show up in my dreams, and it reminds me of the beautiful things I've found in them.
Posted by: bex | Aug 28, 2005 9:52:57 AM
i like it!
do u have msn !?
Posted by: má | Mar 20, 2006 12:49:40 PM
Well, that made me laugh and you said some very true stuff there. Glad I'm not the only one! Wouldn't you just love to have Trent's kids?
Posted by: alex | Mar 24, 2006 7:18:48 AM
amazing essay! nearly every paragraph blwe me away with your talent. and i thought I loved him! haha humerous pic..
anyway, very well done :D
Posted by: wato | Apr 12, 2006 12:55:11 AM
Wow! I'm utterly speechless your true love for Trent is greater than who knows what. Even more so when you say that unrequited love can be just a dream, but as long as you keep it alive, whether it becomes true or not is the most amazing thing.
Posted by: Flor | Apr 28, 2006 12:58:36 PM
Amazing... Just pure truth.
It makes me feel like someone is reading the darkest depths of my mind.
Thank you for your great letter.
Posted by: Tia | May 1, 2006 4:33:45 PM
Thanks, you guys. Aside from that time I (Dierdre Keating) saved Trent's hair in my mouth after stroking him in San Diego, or that one letter where I promised him that I would love him even if he were a hobo, and his world tour were of trainyards where he played air guitar on an old broom, I think this is my personal favorite post to WTC, so it's great to know that it strikes a chord.
Posted by: Dierdre | May 2, 2006 1:24:50 AM
trent is amazing
Posted by: | May 9, 2006 11:55:25 AM
Thanks for that insightful comment, Sir Obvious.
Posted by: DUH! | May 10, 2006 3:26:55 AM
Is NIN at the end...
Posted by: JhaCkie | May 13, 2006 10:41:53 AM
urrr, wtf? um, i'm half blind from the picture. ummm, shit...........i uhh, gotta go back to my little white padded room now.... *runs awyay from the horrid picture. screaming*
Posted by: goloves | May 24, 2006 4:22:52 AM
Yes, goloves, the red robe picture is troubling to us all.
Posted by: maise | May 24, 2006 6:57:37 AM
Hi. I know you don't know me and I know you probably never will, but I know exactly what you're saying here. It's amazing how much you sound like I do, not out loud, no, but when I have thoughts to myself, when I write in my journal and online journal. You can't help but love how his music makes you feel. It makes you feel whole, accepted, not alone and it's amazing. His voice can ease my anger about something or soothe me with the soft tones he has.
And I may sound like a psychopath, probably, but I was so happy to read about someone like myself, who knows how I feel, that I couldn't resist from commenting on this.
If you do ever want to talk sometime, you can e-mail me email@example.com or talk to me on AIM: Pure Evil Youkai
Sorry if I seemed at all weird, but like I've already previously stated, I was ecstatic to find another person like me.
P.S. Think the red robe picture is bad?
Look at your own risk...
Posted by: Christine | Jun 9, 2006 12:37:26 PM
Welcome aboard Christine. I think if you hang around here long, you'll find that you and D aren't the only ones that are run completely through by Mr. Reznor and his work. While some of the rest of us **points at self** may not be able to say it quiet so elegantly as Dierdre, we all feel it. And there’s nothing psychopathic about it.
Unless you think like Dom, who regularly likes to point out that Trent has no sack. But then there’s always that one guy who tries to ruin everyone else’s good time.
Oh and that link you posted…I don’t think it’s nearly as forehead slapping embarrassing as the “red robe pic”. I mean it’s at least clearly visable that he has a cock in that picture.
Posted by: Iris | Jun 9, 2006 10:57:39 PM
I found your blog, Dierdre, while attempting to view the infamous "Red Robe" pic (which doesn't seem to be working, unfortunately), & thought it was very interesting & well-written.
While I share an "interest" (to put it very mildly) for Mr. Reznor, I thought that your comments could be applied (where applicable, of course) to almost any celeb that someone loves.
Do I have an example to prove my point? Well, not really (seeing as how my example is the subject of your posting). ;)
Posted by: LadyCrow | Jun 11, 2006 4:53:51 AM
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