I didn't really know this when I started Kaleidoscope, but when I finished it, it became clear to me that it was the final piece of the puzzle that I had began putting together with Fidelity and Force Majeure. Kaleidoscope is the biggest of the three, sitting at 3 feet across and 4 feet all, which is fitting, as I hope it provides the biggest takeaway for it's audience.
For a long time I let my ego (or perhaps my id) go unchecked. I was in a hole which I knew I needed to get out of, but at the time, I was just having too much fun digging. But digging for what exactly? I "hoe'd around" (haha) for a couple of months, delving deeper and deeper into my own self constructed chasm, and it wasn't until I hit the bottom that I realized there was nothing to find there in the first place, and there really never was. So, I sat down on the floor of the abyss, and finally took a breath. I looked around this cave I had built for myself, thinking about the days I'd never get back I'd spent digging it, and for the first time I saw everything I had destroyed or broken in order to do it. And where was I now anyway? Alone in a hole with nothing to show for it. So I stopped digging.
Coming to terms with your own mistakes and misgivings isn't easy, but it's necessary. I had hurt people who I liked or appreciated on some level, which I look back on with regret to this day, but I couldn't take any of that back. In my mind, the only option left was to change. It may sound extreme, but I decided to take a vow of "celibacy" - an attempt to let go of the destructive mindsets and attitudes I held towards women and my relationships with them.
For a long while, I cut "romance" entirely out of my life, and only interacted with women in a purely friendly way. I took my misguided perception of women as "opportunities" (whether that be for sex, or a relationship, or both) and put it completely out of my mind. This sounds elementary, but for the first time I was seeing women for everything they really had to offer, and not only what they could offer me. During this time I created some of the great friendships I still appreciate to this day, friendships I may have squandered in the past with my warped idea of how men and women could interact. Finally, instead of searching for something within these women that I could never find, I could step back and admire what these people already had.
I feel as if many men find themselves in that same cave I dug myself into back then, with only their misguided attitudes and ideas about women to hold on to. Maybe it's how we've all been raised in this society, socialized from birth to believe that our relationships with women are limited to those involving sex or love, or maybe it's just built in to our dumbass nature, doomed by the flaws of humanity. Either way, we have the power to overcome this inherent weakness, if only we take the time to look inside ourselves and try. Many of us men just look at women through one lens, but if you come from the right angle, you see them through the Kaleidoscope, more complex and beautiful than you could have imagined.