OK, reaching out again, to the world, one baby step at a time, and trying not to trip over my own d*mn feet. Literally and figuratively.
Learning how to walk again has been painful. And time consuming. And is still ongoing.
Learning how to love again, or still, or something… Well, it’s time to stop wishing and hoping, Dusty, and get back to feeling good. Or anything.
So starting small. This all-or-nothing gal is learning patience the hard way.
And if I’m going to see the big picture, I have to see myself as part of it.
Posts Tagged ‘fear’
OK, reaching out again, to the world, one baby step at a time, and trying not to trip over my own d*mn feet. Literally and figuratively.
From Black and White to Shades of “Grey”: Does being left at the altar mean the end of a relationship?
A certain popular television series got me thinking tonight. When do you know it’s right to join your life to another? To add him or her to your hub of your community? To allow him or her access to your other communities?
When do you know it’s right to become married?
I say “become married” rather than “get married” because I do not believe that marriage is something you acquire. Achieve, perhaps, grow into, most certainly, but pick up like eggs and milk from the corner store? No.
Also, I believe it is possible to become married without having a wedding. If you throw the law out of it (which it should be), and if you throw out definitions using variations of the same word (sloppy), then we see the third definition in Merriam-Webster as being:
Which is entirely possible to develop without celebrating it, without publicly stated vows, without rings or things or kitchen sinks…
Now, I am not discounting the importance of weddings. I do not believe that in general they are frivolous affairs which change nothing in any relationship. I believe they can be quite transformative, but that every wedding may not necessarily be so.
I’m simply questioning the all-encompassing significance our society places on the altar. Is it truly necessary to have a wedding in order to enter that state of intimate union with another?
And, as in the case of our fine characters who inspired this line of thought, can a relationship survive one of the two not making it to the altar? How devastating to the relationship must it be?
I can understand that to the individual left waiting it must be a tremendous blow to the ego, and to your faith and trust in the other person, and that latter part necessitates that it must affect the relationship – but must it be devastating?
An intimate or close union. Union. That requires two people, two wants, two needs, two schedules, and two perspectives to consider.
And I believe one can be entirely ready for a marriage, for an intimate union, for a partnership of that magnitude, and yet, not be ready for a wedding.
Obviously communication is key, but if you are planning a wedding (and hopefully the after-wedding) with a person, and you show up on the day, brimming with certainty and anticipation and a certain amount of trepidation… and that person simply doesn’t arrive… Does it change who he or she is? Does it change who he or she is to you? Does it change what you want from/with him or her? Do you stop loving him and wanting her and needing him or her?
Or can you accept that it happened and move on and still be with him or her?
Is that too much? Is it an act devoid of self-respect to stay on? To continue the relationship after inconsideration and perceived rejection and (typically) intimate public humiliation?
Obviously, one cannot know until one is in such a position, but I can tell you what I hope from myself, and my partners:
Perhaps I am too romantic. Perhaps I was raised by parents who demonstrated such unconditional love that I can’t imagine any singular act on it’s own changing that type of bond.
But that’s just it.
“I love you forever” doesn’t come with caveats. Unless you put them there.
Perhaps it’s the divorced child in me, but I’ve had enough of secrets and ifs and situational relationships. A marriage is not the place for them. Not for me, anyhow. By the time I’m looking down an aisle (or trail, or path, or ribbon, or slip’n’slide – whatever we set up), I would hope that I am already considering that person waiting for me to be my partner, and for I to be his or hers. We would already be family. Our marriage would already have begun, and would not be solely dependent on a wedding happening that hour, that day, or at all.
You shouldn’t have to say “I’ll have an intimate union with you, only after we sign documents/speak vows/party with family,” it should be a process. An ongoing ever-evolving process. I hope I wake up everyday from the moment I know that person to be part of my family and think to myself “Today, I marry you” whether there’s a wedding or not.
What do you hope for in such an experience? Please share your story below.
OK, so last week got away from me – I know this early on into a series and I’m already flaking out – it doesn’t bode well…
Fear not. Because that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Not fearing.
I know for me, and I’m sure some of you out there, too, that there are those days when you just irrationally despise everyone around you. Especially those who care about you. I know, I know, Midol can cure this – or it could be that we’re just a bunch of scaredy-cats.
See, when I feel this way, it’s not just that everyone is irritating me, and making my life more difficult, it’s often that I feel so d*mned alone, and all those happy, popular, together people just seem so d*mned happy and together and popular and everything seems so easy for them that I just want to scream, and cry, and lash out because I’m jealous and can’t they see how awful and lonely they’re making me feel???
Umm, no, they can’t, crazy Miss Happ… Uh, remember how you work so hard to keep it together and not let them see how much you’re hurting and just want to be included? Yeah, that. That’s what they see, because that’s all you allow them to see.
Also, people are incredibly self-centred. (Seriously, look at this blog.)
So while I’m all upset and worried about how I’ve offended someone and they’ll never forgive me, or how maybe I smell because no one calls me, or how I wish they would invite me for lunch, just once… They are worried about that zit on their forehead, or how they wish I (or someone) would just call them, or how they might get fired from all their extended group lunches and why can’t they just have a work ethic like Miss Happ’s….
It’s rough all over, kids.
So in the spirit of growth and development, and making friends, and conquering those fears one voice at a time… Try something new.
Something you’ve never done before, something you’ve never dared. Go cliff diving (and tell me about it!), take a ballroom dance class – without a partner – and meet some new people, take voice lessons and stop being afraid of impromptu sing-a-longs (they happen more often than you know), learn how to rewire or build something with your hands from those tutorials at your local hardware store, join a gym and learn how to do yoga or 15 chin ups or run 5km…
Better yet do something you thought you would hate – maybe that’s just your fear talking. Maybe it’s something you tried when you were young but it didn’t come easily so you gave up, or someone made fun of you before you’d figured it out, or someone for whom it came naturally made you (inadvertantly or on-purpose) feel inadequate…
For me that used to be just about any kind of land sport, singing, and driving.
And you know what?
I had to figure out driving, and while I used to cry EVERY TIME I drove – to the point of nausea and hyperventilating – now, I love it. I take scenic routes, and Sunday drives (even with the cost of gas). I love driving. But it took me years (and a few now ex-boyfriends) to get there.
I started singing lessons in August. I go once a week, and my instructor is fabulous. I can firmly say I have made a friend in her, and even if I were to quit, we would each want to stay in touch.
Alright, I haven’t really begun to conquer the land sport thing yet… But maybe I will. In fact, Dashing is a huge land athlete, maybe that is something he can teach me to enjoy.
The point is, when you try something new, when you face your fears, when you get over it and sit amongst all those whom you envied, you learn, you grow, and often, you come into contact with new potential friends. And after all that learning and growing, you become a new potential friend to yourself and those around you. Because each time you knock a fear out, you become more confident.
And there’s nothing more attractive than confidence.
So go ahead – Fear Not.
Alright, it’s been awhile since I’ve gone all Dear Diary on you guys…
There’s been drama and panic attacks and tears – and that’s all very boring and teen movie of the week, so, no, I’m not going to discuss it here.
Here’s where Dashing and I are now, though.
That’s it. Really. He is planning his return to school and I am working (and contemplating making it official!).
We speak daily, on the phone and via text. We see each other for lunch or dinner about once a week. It’s been awkward and awesome all at the same time. And we’re both learning loads. I can’t speak for him (I hope one day he’ll come online and give you guys his side, but, we’ll see), but here is what I’ve learned so far.
1. He really does want to make plans and follow through on them.
2. I took it for granted that an “in-person” chat would always be coming up – and excused my poor telephone skills with not liking the phone. It’s not a lie, I do hate the darned things, but it’s lazy to say that’s the only reason I can’t think of things to say while speaking to him through one. Fortunately, I’m getting the chance to improve that part of my communication with him.
3. I can have a more balanced life, and I can have it now. I think that with or without the break, I still would have made it happen eventually, but rebuilding my community became necessary therapy in the last five weeks or so. So far, I’ve gone out with friends at least every two weeks, I’ve texted other people several times – and they’ve texted back, I’ve been on Facebook and updated some things, and I’ve started my Christmas Cards. Now I should probably go back and check that list to figure out what I’m forgetting that I said I would do…
4. We really do have fun together. It wasn’t just loneliness, hormones, and escaping failing relationships that drove us together. And that’s cool.
5. And this is the big one… I have trust issues. With him. And specifically regarding our future together. But I figured that part out. And we’re working on some ways that we can make it easier for me to trust again, recognizing it will take time, and I’m so happy. I have something to work on, I am a part of this relationship again, I’m not just waiting for him to figure out what he wants.
It’s so important, this tiny shift in power. It’s not that I thought I was perfect, far from it. But I really did think that all I wanted was for him to want to be with me the way I wanted to be with him, or to be able to tell me what he needed from me that was different from what I wanted. That I was just waiting for him to catch up to me, or to make a decision not to.
And that’s horrible.
For him, and for me, that is so wrong. I want him to know what he wants, yes, but I want to be able to help him find it. And I want us to be a part of both our futures, but we can’t do that if I’m afraid to be myself with him. And right now, sometimes, I am. Because being myself got me hurt. He didn’t mean to hurt me, he just needed to slow things down, but we’re human (mostly) and we didn’t communicate well. I thought he knew that all I wanted most was him, not a house or a status or a ring – and he thought he was letting me down by not being ready for ALL THE THINGS at once. He just wanted to play with me (in the sweet flirty way we do, not in the string-me-along way or the naughty (also fun) way) and have fun being us.
Recommendations? Advice? Thoughts? Shared experiences? Books I should read? Leave it below, I’d love to hear it!
I know, everyone is very proud.
I’m having supper with one, and then meeting the other at a bar where more of our friends are playing (they have a band).
I’m a little nervous.
I mean, it’ll be fine, totally. Except that the last time I saw the one friend, I ended up crying about the state of Dashing and I in the middle of a restaurant, and the last time I saw the other, I offended her by being, well, me, and not thinking about the words I use while speaking (another plus of blogging!).
Mostly I’m nervous because when I get around people, I get excited. And when I get excited, I tend to get a little, um, EXCITED. I chit-chat-chitter away, speaking without filter, and then I end up spilling all my secrets (I can keep other people’s secrets, just not my own), which leads to crying. I cry. I’m a cry-er.
I didn’t cry for something like ten years, and now, I cry. Most often when angry or frustrated.
But anyway, I’m nervous about getting EXCITED and crying. Again. And talking too quickly and offending people. AGAIN.
But these are my friends, right? These are my people, the community I’m trying to preserve, right? We are there to support each other, and they know me. They usually find my quirks endearing, refreshing, even… right?
But what if…?
There’s a lot at stake, and I have to trust that it will get easier. The first step is always the hardest – it’s why I talk myself out of it so often.
Deep breath. Wish me luck!
How do you get over the hurdle to take a first step? Is it easy to trust your friends? To trust yourself? What do you think?
So this break thing is hard. Honestly, I really didn’t expect it to be a romp through the daisies, but it is hard.
And I thought this break thing was all for him, he needed space and time, he needed to figure out what he wanted, he needed to be a whole person before being a twosome…
And I need to learn to let go.
Seriously. Because what I’ve learned in these three days (yes, it has only been three days) is that night-time is the hardest because I don’t get to say goodnight, and morning is the hardest because I don’t know if he’ll call or not and I wake up to the lack of him, and afternoons are the hardest because I can’t pick up the phone and tell him about my day, and what I learned, and felt, and dreamed.
I’ve learned that I’m a fighter. I’ve described my self as a woman of extremes, a control freak, and someone who takes on too many projects at once, and I’ve been described as a go-getter, and impatient, but never a fighter.
Oh, I like a good debate, and I’ve been known to pick a few fights in my time, but I’m not competitive. And I’ve quit every relationship I’ve ever had – because I knew they weren’t going anywhere, and a few times, because I knew the guy wouldn’t fight for me to stay.
I guess I never figured out that I wouldn’t fight for them to stay either.
Now I’ve found someone who I would fight for, who I desperately want to fight to be with me, and my instincts are telling me to do more, to say more, to compile mixed CDs of songs that are poignant to this situation and mail them to him so that he will know that I love him, that I’m still here, still wanting to be with him, but that I get it, I understand, and I want him to be ready.
And I have to remind myself that it’s not about me. That I have made my position clear. I need to trust that he understands how I feel, that he knows I am here whenever he is ready, and I need to have faith that this will be good in the long run – and I have to realize that it may be a long run.
I have to believe that he will want me again. Or still. Or something.
But it is hard, oh so very hard. I have debates every few minutes about texting, or calling, or emailing, or just driving to his home or job, about breaking down to mutual friends and hoping the sentiment gets passed on to him… And then I remember that I am an adult, and not in sixth grade, and that I made this choice with him and we decided it was best, and part of that means I need to uphold my end of the bargain and let him make the first move. It is not my turn yet. I have had my say, and he is still thinking of the right words. I have to let him think.
I just miss being able to reach out and touch him with text or a phone call. I miss knowing that he’s missing me, too.
OK this one is all about Dashing…
Dashing loves me. And I am so very in love with him.
That right there, that says everything.
I do truly believe that he and I may end up together. But we are taking the scenic route for a lot of reasons, which I’m not featuring today.
I believe that he and I could be very happy together. I know that I would love to have his children, and to live day to day, and have adventures, and experiences, and disappointments, and arguments, and making up, and flowers, and chores, and finances, and taxes, and growing old together. I want him. I want us to live together – and I don’t mean co-habitate.
I have no idea what our life together would look like. I see flashes. An eighties montage of varied possibilities and they all could be true. But I truly have no idea, because I don’t have his input.
He is afraid. He doesn’t want to make a mistake again. He doesn’t want to disappoint me. He believes he can’t envision his own future, and so shouldn’t be tying me down to create one with him.
I just want him.
I do also want a home. But I don’t care if it’s a city townhome, or a country cottage, or a suburban cardboard box, or a highrise apartment. Alright, I have my preferences. My very opinionated preferences.
I do also want security. But I don’t care if I have to work corporately to support us, or if he wants to work to support us, or if we both have to work to support us. And let’s face it, I’m so frugal and careful that we could probably both be un-employed for six months before we really had to start cutting back on, like, internet usage.
But he says he may need a break. To figure out what he wants. I am all on board with this idea. It’s the word may that I’m objecting to.
See, I don’t always know what I want, but I usually know what I don’t want. Dashing is swayed. Back and forth like a swing. He knows what I want – uh, the grocery clerk, the dentist, and the construction worker on the corner all know what I want. And he wants to deliver – but is it what he wants??? He says he doesn’t know. So please, I say, please by all means, take a break, take all the time you need. And he says, he’ll think about it. And I say, OK let me know when we’re breaking.
And he hasn’t let me know.
We’ve talked about it a couple of times since then, and … nothing.
It’s like every time we get together, every time the phone rings, I’m just waiting for him to say “Yes, now, break time.” And he doesn’t. But meanwhile we are in this weird limbo. Because he also hasn’t said “Break unnecessary. Pshaw, to you, Break!”
And so I wait. And I worry. Because it is important that he call this time out. It is important not only that he take it, but that it be on his call. I worry that he is so scared of hurting me, that he won’t do what he needs for himself.
So he calls, and asks what I’m doing, and if I want to do lunch, or how is this night for date night this week – as if nothing has changed. As if we are still working towards building whatever life together we were working towards. And I can’t say no, stop, wait, do you not see how this is hurting you, and hurting me, and not helping anything.
Because I gave him all the power. I told him what I want, and how I feel, and that I’m willing to wait in the background until he figures things out – but this waiting in the foreground thing is killing me.
If I knew we were on a break I could distract myself, because I assume he would call less. Because he would be figuring out what he wants out of life. Because we wouldn’t have weekly date nights. Or weekends to organize. Because he would be experiencing life without me, so that he could be sure that he really wants life with me. Or that he doesn’t, and that’s OK too. As long as it’s what he wants.
I can be his friend. It will be hard, but it’s how we started out, and eventually we’d find a new balance.
But in the meantime, I need him to decide. To choose. To flip a d*mn coin already.
To take the break. Because nothing will change until he does. He won’t know if he needs it until he takes it and goes “Yeah, I needed this” or “What was I thinking?”
Enough with maybes. I may be (ha!) a woman of extremes, but I’ve tried walking the middle path on this one, and it sucks. So rip the stitches, strip off the bandage, drop the robe, open the door, jump off the cliff, and then… ride the wave home to whatever shore you find.
*I wrote this post Sunday. We spoke at the wee hours of Monday morning. We had date night Monday night. We officially started our break Tuesday morning. I’ll let you know how this social experiment goes…
OK, so two things to know about me: one, I’m a control-freak who cries, and two, I’m terrified of moths…
Seriously. Stop laughing.
Not even joking, I do believe that moths are out to get me. When I was seven one landed on my hand that was holding the flashlight my cousin made me hold. Now you could be thinking, “Sure, flashlight, moth, of course it flew to you.” Yeah, alright, fine, but why then did it continue to drag its furry body all over my hand after I turned off the light and flailed around like a cartoon character??? Yeuch.
Then, when I was 21, and driving with the windows down (because, seriously, air conditioning bugs me), and a giant moth flew in the window and struck me in the face. Now, I thought it continued out the window, but no, it fell into the seatwell and started to climb up the inside of my pant leg – the leg that operates the accelerator and brakes, yeah, that leg. I almost crashed my car. And if you scoff at the word giant, let me tell you, no exaggeration, that thing was bigger than my two hands with the thumbs and first fingertips pressed together.
Also, we had a moth infestation a few years later and one flew into my iced cream sandwich as I was walking along, while my friend’s cone was totally left alone. Plus, there’s a myriad of other times where they will fly at my face – in my mouth – or into my hamper – or out of a cupboard when I open the door…
And that brings us to today. I was having a fight with my boyfriend while on my way to work. We were fighting because, well, that’s a much longer story and I’m so jumbled up right now that I can’t even begin at the very beginning… Suffice it to say I’m a control freak with crying issues, and he’s sensitive and takes things personally.
Anyway, he stops the car to get some kleenex because I’m practically having a full-out panic attack and what else can the man do but try to prevent my snozzing all over his new carseats – and because he’s nice, I know, shut up! So while he’s inside, I’m sitting in the passenger seat facing out the door I’ve just opened to try to let some early morning air penetrate my lungs as I hyperventilate, and a moth flies not only at me, but down the top of my dress.
Which just proves that someone out there still finds me amusing… Lord knows on this day, that person’s probably not my boyfriend.