For the Love of a Woman

Katie and Flint       I am not a self-indulgent person. I don’t need coffee or tea to wake me up in the morning. I don’t need a beer to wind down in the evening. I don’t need fancy clothes, and I am content driving a rusty bucket of bolts. I don’t own a smart phone, a cell phone, or even an iPod, although I might change that one day. I like background music, but usually tune it out. I am admittedly addicted to chocolate. But otherwise, I can rock ‘n roll from four or five in the morning until ten or eleven at night, and few people can keep up with me. I have a thousand grand dreams and epic projects to make a positive difference in the world, and there is only one external substance I really depend on to keep me going: the love of a woman.
Katie Silhouette       People often say that it is important to be self-sufficient before getting into a relationship. Be comfortable in your own skin and follow your dreams in life, and when it is meant to be, the right partner will come along. That may be true, but somehow it doesn’t resonate with me. I am already about the most self-sufficient person I know. I have designed and built houses from the ground up, including doing the wiring and plumbing. I write books, produce videos, and often do every part of the process from rough drafts to layout, graphic design, publishing, marketing, and even hand-coding the HTML for the website. I don’t need help, nor do I need to be entertained. Television and movies are often tedious. Bars are boring. Most people are uninteresting. I am almost content with nothing more than the company of my own thoughts, but I do have my limits. It is difficult to achieve emotional self-sufficiency in a vacuum.
Tom with Rock Cairn       As with many introverted people, I am most content in a relationship with an extrovert. I like being in the “fun bubble” of a woman who knows how to have a good time. For me, it is a way to get out of my own head, and it is like a passport to enjoy social events that I would otherwise find alienating and stressful. It is a normal form of co-dependency for a lot of introverts in the world.
      In addition, my best work is often tediously demanding and emotionally draining. I am content hiking and camping alone, and I enjoy teaching and being around people. But as a writer, being alone in my head 24/7 is much like being locked away in solitary confinement. It doesn’t matter how many people are around me, I live confined within the walls of my own head. I find it necessary to put words to paper, and the end result is usually satisfying and sometimes potentially world-changing. The process, however, can be infinitely tedious. Writing a book, for example, requires a single-minded devotion to the end product and thousands of hours of solitary, introspective thought and writing. But solitary confinement is often used as a form of torture. Locked away by themselves, people eventually go mad.
      The only escape I know from the solitary confinement of my writer’s brain is the playful presence of an extroverted personality. I don’t need a lot. I just need to get out of my head from time to time to shift emotional states, to wrestle, tease, laugh, and play. My last relationship was all teeth and claws as we engaged in epic battles. I am so cerebral that I crave that kind of play. With nothing more than the love of a woman, I am inspired, empowered, and energized to do great work and make a positive difference. Sometimes I feel so energized and empowered that I am sure I can change the course of the world. But take away the love, and suddenly I question if the world is really worth saving. I lose interest in my dreams, goals, and ambitions. All I want to do is hang out and ride my horse.
Tom and Katie Shadows       Maybe I should learn to be more emotionally self-sufficient and keep plowing forward, working to make a difference in the world, but I’m just not sure what for if there isn’t someone special to share the journey with. I don’t need much in this world, and I definitely don’t work for money, although I often get paid. But I do need to get something out of it for me. I can work miracles on a hug and a smile. Take that away and I would rather go on strike than continue working. And so, when my love life falls apart, so do all my dreams of making the world a better place.
      I have often said that the greatest obstacle to creating a sustainable civilization is that people are too wrapped up in their petty personal lives to see what is right in front of them. We have all the knowledge and technology we need to create a functionally sustainable civilization, and we can achieve it with less work and less cost than the way we are living now.
Elpel House       As a young married man, I found it relatively easy, even without much for money or job skills, to buy land and build a passive solar home without a mortgage. With the basics covered, I have had the rest of my adult life free to work towards making a positive difference in the world. But as my marriage and family began unraveling six years ago, I found myself in the same boat as everyone else, too distracted by my personal life to focus on saving the planet. It wasn’t until I found a new and seemingly sustainable relationship that I was able to pick up where I left off, and start working for the benefit of others. But her path ultimately took her away from me and left me alone again.
      I’m not sure what the answer is. Maybe my path would be easier if I had smaller dreams or worked a steady job that was independent from my love life. I don’t know. I’ve only been in two romantic relationships in my life, and both were so intertwined with our mutual goals and enterprises that disentangling the relationships unraveled a lot of other dreams in the process.
Tom with Moe       What I have learned, however, is that it is essential to prioritize relationships first. Strangely, it doesn’t matter if climate change is spinning out of control, our forests are dying, species are going extinct, our government is corrupt and nearly bankrupt, or that our kids are losing touch with nature and physical reality itself. Without love, nothing else really matters, not even the fate of our planet. And so, here I am again, looking for love.


Thomas J. Elpel
August 29, 2013


Filed under Autobiographical, Uncategorized

6 responses to “For the Love of a Woman

  1. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Sometimes we women, even the most self-sufficient of us, just need to know that even in the middle of a project or deadline, we’re important and not just there when our fellows have time for us. That may not even apply to you…I’m just saying.

  2. Jared

    Nicely written and insightful! I struggle with the same issue and it was nice to have someone confirm what I believe. When I look at all of the issues we are facing in this day and age I lose all hope and zest for life. The only thing that keeps me going is love for myself and love for another. We are all in this together so we need to start coming together. Thanks for allowing me to be in your head for a few minutes. Mine doesn’t flow as eloquently as yours.

  3. Alexsandra

    Thank you for your wholeheartedness, honesty and courage, Thomas. The world needs more men in their hearts like this….and maybe in doing so we can all realise that the interdependence of all nature is fortified by this incredible intangible force. Recently in same place, realising how amazingly resilient and productive I’ve been- without ‘da luuurve’- but how really it all- ALL- just pales without the oompf of inspiration from this essential nutrient in the equation.
    May all of our hearts be filled!
    xwarm gratitude for all your offerings

  4. Tony

    I’m sorry to hear about your emotional pain. I appreciate the work you’ve done and I think if you never write anything ever again, you’ve done more than enough. Maybe my thinking can help you out a little? As you know modern America is built on lies and false dreams. I realized this applies to women and marriage as well as pretty much everything else. At one point, God gave me the grace to realize that marriage is a duty, not a romance. It’s starts with a romance, but once the words, I do, are uttered before God, my wide and I are bound to do our duty and stay married no matter what. It’s not a matter of feeling, it’s a matter of doing. It doesn’t matter if I don’t feel that I love my wife, or if I don’t feel romantic around her. Or, I don’t think she share’s my worldly ambitions. It is our duty to by loyal to each other. It might involve serious compromises on my part, but all the compromises are nothing compared to being true to my word and to God. May God bless you and grant you the strength and wisdom to find the love that’s waiting for your return.

    • Tony,

      Thanks for your kind words. I held similar beliefs and stood by my wife as a matter of duty and honor for twenty years, until our relationship became damaging to our children, and I finally broke down emotionally. Leaving and starting my life anew has been good for me as well as my children. Even after losing my newest love, I am still in a far better situation than I was before.

      Best wishes to you!


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