Fiction. Based on a True Love Story Redemption.
“…the full force of all artistic sides…I started producing, just really started diving into stuff that I enjoy, not so much really ‘make it’ or anything…it’s like a release you know…djing became a little side hobby that got me relaxed or kept me through my days….” -Shmitty
by Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
@alexvargasmusic moved me with his voice 6 years ago at the Greek Theatre with Above and Beyond. I had the privilege of interviewing Alex as the first musician for a magazine when I first started interviewing and writing about artists. That was 2013. Today, I got to tell him how the conversation we had prior to the interview at his place in Hollywood 6 years ago, is where the heart of the story really took place…I did not write about that, even though that was the heart of his songs and his big why as an artist…that conversation eventually inspired me to start The Love Story, so real stories like the one Alex has can be heard in more depth. Today, I asked him if he would interview with my publication…guess I’ll be coordinating with his record label in Copenhagen 🙏❤️🌱 #FullCircle
You missed his performance, but as soon as you went inside Musik and Frieden, there he was, walking across to the merchandise table to greet his fans. He looked just the same, perhaps more sure of himself than ever before, this time with a four o’ clock shadow to match his panda eyes, the same shadow eyes you’ve picked up now that you’re trying out this roaming work/travel lifestyle with Roxy.
He recognized you when you introduced yourself to him. You told him how his interview made a real impact on you and how you’ve started your own publication since then so that the conversations like the one you had with him before the official interview six years ago can be revealed. He was your first. You always remember and appreciate your first. You don’t remember the details of your conversation, just that it was deep, real, and raw. One of the things that surprised you was how much of a happy person he is in real time despite most of his songs being sad and sullen. The way he explained it was that the reason he’s light in real life is because he is able to transmute his pain into his songs.
That planted a seed for you. Pain into creative expression…The Love Story project is about inspiring that experience Alex Vargas is able to experience for others.
Next, he talked about the people he loved in his songs that reflect the struggles of loved ones battling addiction and the way of his surrender to the powerlessness over these situations is through his voice and his music.
You wrote all that on a two page letter to him while on the train to Musik and Frieden, and when you got there, you were able to pass on the note to him.
You were still recovering from flu, and the one week of being bedridden in Berlin, reminded you of your need to strengthen physically, emotionally and spiritually. Berlin is a city of tough love. The people mind their own, the artists tell it like it is, and most people are just trying to survive the cold winter. The week you were bedridden, you were reminded once again that being with God is what matters the most–Roxy was faithfully by your side the entire time you were disabled in bed, coughing, feverish, bones aching, and weak. You remember the story Shrine told you of when he became paralyzed with the flu. At one point, he thought he had gone into a coma, and there was that moment of realization that nobody would be around if he were to pass away. It was just him contending with a portal into the passing as a lone traveler. You wonder if this would be the fate of most people–to leave earth when nobody was around to witness the passing, at least not the loved ones we would want and expect to be there in our passing. You remember a nurse sharing how she was surprised to realize that when most people pass on, they do it without their loved ones by their side. Some, if lucky, may have a kind stranger, perhaps in the form of a kind nurse on duty, witnessing their transition from this life onto the next.
So there you were, just recovering from the flu and Alex Vargas shakes your hand. You hope he washes it later, but you don’t say anything. Berlin is a cesspool of viral hosts coughing and hacking away, and you figure he would be exposed to many people infected, not just yourself. Earlier, you had just interviewed two women, one who wanted to contribute as a grant writer, and the other as a journal-artist. You were at the Nth Hotel at Frederich Plaza, next to Starbucks, Humboldt University, all the major historical museums, playing bougie boss lady, when really you needed to stop somewhere that had wifi so you could do the Zoom interview with passionate contributors from across the ocean.
You’ve taken a backseat in production. Now, it is a matter of building the business, designing the curriculum, and going back to what you’ve gotten your masters degree in and what the 11+ years of experience has prepared you for….teaching.
Master teaching and master curriculum design.
“Murder was the Case that they gave me…” Snoop Doggy Dog
Yes, Stella is getting her groove back, this time in the context of a curriculum you’ve developed from a need you had and a need you see others have and a need you are currently addressing. This is all exciting work, yet in real time, you are sometimes excited and sometimes sad. It’s the sad you fight, the sadness of regret that you did not have Sonny’s two kids, yet here you are roaming from city to city, exploring as you go, and you wonder if this would be possible if you had his kids. The United States is having a big debate over abortion rights. Women are marching fighting for the right to choose to kill the unborn.
This triggers you.
If only they could hear how it has really affected you personally, not something theortical, but something raw, real, and lived –you who had two abortions with the man you love. You, who is now facing 35 years of living and contending with the real possibility that you may never be able to have your own kids due to your age. You, who now look back and realized what a fool you were to have made a Faustian bargain with the devil, a time when you thought that kids meant slavery, when now, a decade later, you realize that the best creative expression you will ever be able to make is making life with the man you love and seeing life in the from of two human beings and that no project, no company wide success could ever compare with what you had been gifted with and what you had forfeited. It is that gnawing realization that the punchline of the joke had always been on you when you had those two abortions a decade ago that eats at you. You know that the enemy is trying to distract you, discourage you, and depress you–accuse you day and night for this transgression–anything to keep you from doing God’s good works. Yet, you still stand. And you still work.
You watched Paul the Apostle’s story on his walk with Jesus. He asks God to take the thorn out of his proverbial flesh but God does not. His thorn are the painful haunting memories of taking life from children when he once persecuted Christians. The memory of a girl running away as he struck her from behind still haunts him. He knows it’s the enemy, the accuser, taunting him about his past. He wakes up to this painful reminder and reminds himself that God has already absolved him of this sin. You, like Paul the Apostle, wonder what happens to the innocent that have been slain by your hands. You wonder where the two potential life you have killed from within your body have gone to. In the movie, after Paul gets beheaded, he is reunited with open arms by the people whom he had taken life from. There were smiles on their faces. They are in a good place, a higher plane of reality, and Paul reunites with them. This moved you to tears. You hope that the two lives you had forfeited from your body are in a higher plane of reality waiting to meet you, in their full forms of being, and you would give thanks to God for redeeming your mortal sin and their life essence through the blood of Jesus Christ, because you know in your heart of hearts that there is nothing you could possibly do on this earth that could ever make up for the crime you have committed against your own children. Nothing.
Not even if you were to rally a pro-life campaign, which you plan on doing.
Not even if Love Story became a major world wide success, intervening in the lives of millions of young children who were planning on ending their lives because of heartache, which you have faith will be successful on this scale.
Not even if you were to start your own family, have your own child in the future, with a husband and father who can provide, profess, and protect his family, which you plan on having.
Not even if you were to adopt two children from broken homes and raise them as your own, which you plan on doing.
Nothing can make up for the crime of two beautiful lives forfeited by your naive, foolish, selfish, self absorbed choices. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can redeem you from these unrighteous acts.
You’re hit with waves of sadness. It has centered around “not having a family of your own” with kids and a husband, and you know that God has planned for you to have this nuclear and growing family, just on His time. It’s not a coincidence that two Sarahs are both in your life helping you and making time to get to know you. Sarah is the biblical wife of Abraham who finally conceived in her mature years after years of waiting. When you have your doubts, there would be signs sent from God, whether it is a baby cuddled up next to the father that’s sitting right next to you in the train, or the sound of a child crying while you are filming pieces of your vlogumentary, and an inner knowing that God’s got your back. Be still and know that God is with you (Psalm 43:10).
Who do you still need to make amends to? You know that the way of redemption is through repentance, and repentance is taking action towards admitting your part in the matter. You think about Aaron and the love you feel towards him despite what seems like a karmic setup. You realize that perhaps you were seeing his love for you from the filter of unforgiveness. You wrote an email to your ex-husband–this time a final and true amends from his perspective, giving him the benefit of the doubt, from the premise that he is good. Now you understand the meaning of “to suffer with” defined in compassion. You saw it from his perspective–a woman whom he loved so dearly, whom he so wanted to rescue desperately, but knew he could not. The addiction got in the way, both your addictions, and in the space of perpetual sadness, unsatisfaction, and explosive anger, you could not have been rescued by his efforts. There was absolutely nothing he could do to solve your problems.
He had to let you go.
This explosive anger.
This is the same anger that has Aaron feeling like he’s walking on eggshells around you. This was why he had to block you. He also felt the draw of wanting to rescue you, but both you and Aaron know better that only God can do for you what no human power can do for yourself.
How do you take away this explosive anger?
This explosive anger came from the sin of two abortions. Murdering the innocent from your own flesh is mortal sin. Just like suicide is murdering yourself and is also a mortal sin. It is not okay. It is evil. And Jesus delivered you through these unrighteous acts.
You are just beginning your journey of repentance and that way is only made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ and the bargain Jesus made for your soul, to break the Faustian bargain. Through His act of living a sinless life and dying a sinful death, that act He made is strong enough to break your contract with the devil.
You also asked God to take back your curse directed at Mickey, the woman whom Sonny had fallen for. You had demonized her, reduced her as this evil homewrecker, and wished that she would experience the same feeling of being lied to, manipulated, and cheated on, as you have, but this time with his children. You realize how hateful that wishful thinking actually is. For it is like wishing harm against your own mother, who gave life to you, and whose relationship with her husband has helped you stabilize and live a decent life in society. Your dad who provides and is there to help you out when you are in need, that dad who you need to forgive for all the facets of his life that you do not yet understand.
Now that you have received some bits of wisdom through the Holy Spirit and you have received a secure independent position in life, you realize that Aaron’s ex calling you a “homewrecker” is truly not your fault, nor is it Mickey’s fault that she had fallen in love with Sonny during a time when you were pushing him away.
Sonny is a man who women can easily fall for. He is mysterious, with a wounded and fragile ego, whom he covers up with doing, doing, doing. He has a tender heart, a sensitive one, despite the hard mask he wears. When he is in your arms, he is soft jelly and exhibits the loving and kind vulnerable boy, who wants to just cuddle, make love, and find home. He once obsessed over you, his woman. He used to constantly thinks about you, praise you, and glorify you. He paid attention to you and planned a life around your needs. This is the Sonny whom you had married. You had broken his heart when he realized he could no longer make you happy. You had wanted something beyond what he is capable of giving you. You had viewed family as a trap, and when he realized that you had viewed him as the ball and chain, there was nothing he could do but to let you go.
And so perhaps this is why the truth that was so hard to accept for so long is that she was ready to provide a family, a home, a grounding by which Sonny needed legs to walk on. You had let him go first. One man’s trash is another woman’s treasure. You had forfeited Sonny and his kids.
Now that you are free to roam between cities, you now realize how much you actually appreciate what Sonny had done for you. He has always been kind to you. His only crime was relenting on your persistent requests for him to let you go. How many times have you cried “divorce,” how many times have you felt trapped by his love and complained?
What has shifted for you recently is now seeing love from the perspective of Mickey, the woman who did want to get tied down, the woman who did want to build a family with Sonny, the woman who did appreciate what Sonny has to offer her. Sonny did not regret making his choice. He gave you feedback that he was really happy with his wife and child. She provided him with a new home, she validated him as a man and a provider, and she was able to show up as his best friend. You had forfeited that when you told him you hated him and that you no longer wanted to be tied down.
Now, you see a man who wants to give you kids through the actions he makes. He tells you he is a family man, yet the very thing that holds him back is the very thing that is holding you back. It stems from early childhood abuse that needs to be addressed. It is emotional abuse and instability in the family. You could see that if he is not recovering from it, then there is no use with trying out the relationship. You must learn to let go the way Sonny had to let go of you.
Aaron’s ex finds your social media and accuses you of being the other woman, but what you now realize now that you are walking in Mickey’s shoes is that you are not the other woman. You are Aaron’s friend and you have more insight as to what he will need to recover and become a man. You are ready to build a family, to be in the language of recovery, sobriety, and God-driven work in both your personal and professional life. You are ready to support him the way that Sonny has always wanted you to support him. By acknowledging his gift, his goodness, and his gracious love for you. The idea of building a family with Aaron excites you.
Aaron asked your friend out to dinner when you asked your friend to pick up the keys from Aaron. He talked mostly about the technicality of money, but when the topic of why he had your keys came up, Aaron said it was because you love him. And this is true. When your friend asked him if he loved you, he said that it was out of the question, yet he has been acting to the contrary of what he says. He calls you to say he misses you, then hangs up. You realize as you are putting together the landing pages, the copy for the crowdfunding campaign to sell the journals, and getting into the mindset of Love Story’s target market, you realize that Aaron is your ideal target market. Hence now, you have empathy for Drum and Bass, who loved you so much because all that he was studying and working his way to heal, you were his ideal target market, yet he was powerless over doing anything to help, and eventually he gave up on you. But for some reason, you do not want to give up on Aaron. Not after the way you two made love. This is something perhaps Aaron will never admit to anyone but perhaps in the quiet spaces of his conscious when he gives himself a moment to be honest. And this is something that perhaps you are only willing to admit in a fictional diary entry…the love making was so intimate, loving, raw, and real. It is the closest thing to heaven on earth. It is accepting him for all that he is and more.
He calls you on the 19th day of no contact to tell you that he misses you. That is probably one of the hardest and terrifying things he has mustered up to do. He tells your friend about the times he was homeless, about the times he was struggling to take care of himself, and in those spaces, you realize that he wants to charm your friend into liking him so that he could get more validation that he is lovable. You know that your friend finds him attractive, charming, and inexperienced, which makes him more charming to codependent, older, women like yourself. You realize that there is a high probability that you are among the many who are magnetically drawn to narcisst man-boys because there is this lure, this false hope, that we can somehow rescue them–we see how we can be of value to the relationship by “opening their eyes,” but you know better.
A true healthy relationship is when two people are ready to offer rather than to take from the other. That all the women are a certain “type” he is drawn towards, and there are the kind of women who will draw to the many Aarons, Bs, Rylies, Green Eyes, and Sonnys of this world. It’s both chemistry and childhood patterns that is drawing you to him, like coke to a cocaine addict.
What he aims to take, what he does not realize he is aiming to take, is to project his unrecovered trauma onto a woman who is willing to love him unconditionally. He aims to use her as an emotional punching bag, seeing what she values so that he continues to push the boundaries to what values she is willing to violate and compromise in order to “prove” that she loves him. He aims to have her lose all her self-respect because he secretly views himself that way. He has no respect for her by the time he is done with her because a narcissist subconsciously aims to strip her of her self-respect and dignity for that is the voice that is driving his engine–”if she loves me, then she would…” and if she does not to preserve her self-worth and sense of self, then he has no respect for her and if she does not put up with him, he walks away telling himself that she has never loved him. It’s a trap that aims to take down both the narcissist and the victim of the narcissist.
The narcissist has no sense of what true love is because the early child imprint was not a real reflection of what true love actually is. The broken sense of self is why you are now on this journey in Europe. You need to first recover that which you have been searching for–a deeper meaning of love to replace the false one, so that your own narcissist tendencies ceases. You can’t fix a problem. You can only create a solution to replace the problem. And in order to create this solution, you must co-create it with God, so that the solution is a viable and the algorithm true.
Perhaps, The Love Story Playbook is the journey of solving your own narcissistic tendencies: How can true love treat narcissism?
It has to do with truth.
There’s the lead.
It has to do with telling the truth.
Telling the truth is the only protective boundary you have placed between you and Aaron. Without it, it would have been a slippery slope to hell for the two of you. You realize that both of you are narcs, staring each other down in a perfect darkly mirror. The work you are doing is exactly this–allowing the mystery of love to reveal itself through the actions of telling the truth by leveraging the twin flame soul mirroring effect.
You had written in the email:
“I think you like the idea of me rather than the actual me. You are not capable of loving another person until you first love yourself. You must have a relationship with God first in order for this to happen. The mark of a real man is in his ability to love a woman. Love is patient and kind. Let’s start there.”
Then your amends.
“Sorry, I was not patient nor kind to you. I am still working through my own issues and working on loving myself unconditionally. I’m paying attention to the voices in my head–the various voices that battle within. If I pay attention carefully, I notice that one voice accuses, blames, and condemns me. Another voice loves me, shows patience, and kindness. I am working on discerning these voices.”
Then your call to action.
“I would rather you choose one woman and stay by her side loyally and faithfully, then be wishy washy by wanting to keep both women, using one against the other as “safety” or train hopping from one relationship to the next as if it’s the woman who is the problem. That’s a cowards cop out. I would rather you block me and work things out completely with her than to put me in a position of being the other woman. You can trick me into being the other woman through lies, manipulation and deceit, but given the respect of the truth, I would rather be alone than be in the way of harming another woman. I have too much respect for the wife I used to be, the mother I have, and the many other women out there with men they have invested their lives in. You must chose and if you choose her, then block me.”
He has been blocking you. He has chosen.
He has given the love story keys to your friend.
He calls you and tells you that he would never want to keep something from you that is yours.
Aaron is doing his best.
Just the way Sonny is doing his best.
Just the way you are doing your best.
Then after he meets with your friend, he calls you that evening.
This was after he read your last email…about choosing you.
In this email you wrote, “but if you choose me, as in fully monogamous you and me only, going steady, working things through faithfully and together, in a committed relationship, then I’ll come home.”
He called you that evening and asked, “So when are you coming home?”
“Did you read my emails?”
“What did you think about them?”
“They were heartfelt and moving.”
Faith over Fear
You open up the Churchome app and listen to Judah Smith’s sermon on what faith really is. He makes the distinction that faith is not something you earn, you do, or you make actions towards. No, faith in Greek, is “to persuade” as in God’s ability to persuade us rather than the other way around. He points out that we have a small concept of a great God to a point that we feel it our “duty” to “convince” others through rationality and great persuasive techniques that God exists, when the truth of the matter is that God will reveal Himself on His timing to every individual. You woke up to a daily spark of “God is able” as in “God is able” when the timing and the method is right.
Your job is to trust God on the timing and the method.
You can’t blame Aaron for his narcy ways for your narcy ways are just as if not more bad.
You can’t blame the women in the feminist marches, for they are just as naive and susceptible to the cunning, baffling, and powerful ways of evil as you were susceptible to when you were their age.
You can’t blame even the systems.
In fact, you are stopping the blame altogether.
Drop the rock.
You discovered that you are six minutes walk away from an English speaking Drinker’s Den meeting in Warsaw.
“Yeah, I still attend meetings. I was just at one last evening,” Aaron tells you. This brings joy to your heart.
Aaron has a very sensitive artistic side, he is socially awkward, and highly intelligent. He is tormented inside, always wanting to do for others because he feels as if he is not good enough as he is. Perhaps, that’s why you fell in love with him–because you understand him, because you are that socially awkward girl.
While sick, you were watching, “What Happens in Vegas,” and the premise was about two unlikely people getting married in Vegas while drunk and agreeing to annul the marriage the next day until a two million dollar jackpot was won, making the couple fight for the pot of money. The court ordered them to work on their marriage for six months during this time or else the money will get tied up indefinitely in legalise. They agree and part of this agreement is also to see a marriage therapist. At the end of their six months, the therapist tells the judge that individually they are each sick people, but together they are compatible and perfect for one another. They are able to be themselves. And perhaps, this is why you love Aaron. You are able to be yourself and work through your issues with him just by the way he is being and the way you are being.
The last thing your CBT therapist said to you was, “people date so they can work through the issues they need to work through.”
And there it is. You know exactly why you are so attracted to Aaron. He offers you a glimpse into how you’ve been being in certain ways–socially awkward, attached to a result, impatient, fearful, sensitive, insecure, yet the need to love and be loved, the artistic deep side showing in creative expression, the emotional attachment, the need for functional consistency, the need to break out of the generational patterns that no longer serve, the need to see the higher version of yourself in this realm, to truly be free in a matrix of illusory traps, snares, and evil.
The Nature of Evil
After you arrived in Warsaw, Aaron called you in the morning, which was his midnight. You realize that Aaron needed to hear your voice so he could fall asleep. He had severe anxiety, overthinking, unable to sleep, and when he hears your voice, he is calm, and this puts him at ease. Before, it used to upset you that he would fall asleep when you would talk, as you had interpreted his falling asleep as a sign that he find your discussions boring, but upon closer inspection, he gives himself perhaps 2-3 hours of sleep a day, running himself to a point of exhaustion, battling with a kind of mental dis-ease that you understand so well, a hell you had put your body through back in 2011 when you were going through your breakup transition. He does not know how to take care of himself or rather, he had found himself unworthy of taking care of himself. And when he calls you, your voice puts him at ease, and he can feel calmer, loved, warmed, and this brings him peace to a point where he can sleep.
Knowing a man’s weakness used to put you in a power position so you can use that as leverag, but this power is illusory, temporary, and based on a lie. The truth power is in the power of love. True love.
By withholding yourself from that person, you are in a strategic position of leverage, and this is a form of manipulation and control. You thought perhaps the 40 day no contact would be good to heal your own addictions to love–this impatience to effect a desired outcome rather than just being patient and enjoying the person directly in front of you. But when he first contacted you on the 19th day, when you were at the ER to make sure your breathing is not going to be a problem, you realize that the longer you withhold from contacting him, the more manufactured desire this would create in him. This is a from of manipulation, a form of control to punish the person. You check your own feelings. You desire him just as much. You miss him just as much. You love him just as much. So why the wait? He is not some sort of predator, though he may act like he is one. You think about the show, Once Upon a Time, where Rumpelstiltskin acts out his cowardice through the profession of making faustian bargains with creatures who are desperate for magic, but it always comes at a price, but it was Bella who inspired him to transform from villain to hero. She did it by reckoning the good in him, and who spoken goodness in his life that really began the transformation for the better in him.
You can’t fight evil with evil. You can not transform a narc by using narcy ways to out-narc a narc. You reach out to him seven hours later. You tell him that you are recovering from the flu.
You are at peace knowing that he still cares a lot about you. Who cares if he doesn’t love you? He cares about you. He thinks about you. He has good intentions surrounding you. He admires you. He looks up to you. He wants to make love to you. At the end of the day, when you let go of the attachment to the result, of a label, a title, a box, the love that is present is palpable between the two of you. In the silence between the two of you, the attraction is obvious and simple.
Perhaps that’s all that matters. You want to just be loving. When you love yourself, you are capable of loving him. When he lacks love towards you it means that he lacks love towards himself, and that only means that he is in process. He is doing the self-work. You both have met in church. Loving him as he is, exactly as he is….”come as you are…” you think of Nirvana. You accept from a place of non attachment, from a place of compassion, to suffer with, that is what God is doing for you, so you know how to do for others what God is already doing for you.
The Last Berlin Drinker’s Den Meeting
You go to your last Berlin, English speaking Drinker’s Den meeting. There you shared about the bully in your head that tells you things to try and get you to react. You realize that a key part of the spiritual winning over this accuser is by not doing anything in response to that taunting in your head. When you do nothing while in fear, you are essentially letting go and letting God work through you and around you so He is able to play the non-zero-sum game that you want to play. You can play this game well. Just let go and let God. The people laugh when you mimic your reaction to this bully in your head that accuses and taunts you day and night. Later, people come up to you and tell you that they liked your share.
One of the last people who shared talked about a woman he can’t shake off. “If it were not for our child,” he would say, but you could tell that he still has blind spots he is not seeing. He could not see that the partner he currently has serves as a functional way to get back at his ex. Something about him was clearly inauthentic and this instinctively repelled you from him. He later comes to you and thanks you for your share, and you relax a bit knowing that this is not personal. His being is not personal. Aaron is using you as a functional way to get back at his ex and this is why the man who shared his delight on how upset he was able to make his ex feel triggers you. This is why you must detach from Aaron despite the lure of a family with him. It’s not him that upsets you, you tell yourself. It’s the forces that are trying to create a snare, but you must be vigilant. You must continue to date and not make Aaron “the one” like you have made B “the one” or Rylie, “the one,” or Green Eyes “the one”, or Sonny “the one.” Because time and experience has proven itself that once you got “the one,” it’s still not enough…not with the ego running the show anyway.
So what is enough?
Renew your mind, renew your spirit. Be grateful in all things. Give thanks and love.
You are on the mark.
You are on draft two.
Give it some time to breath.
Come back to it later.
Then do the courageous thing.