Sunday, August 21, 2011

So It Turns Out I'm Human.

A long time ago, I decided I would not allow myself to be emotionally manipulated by a man. I would not let him woo me with fancy words or romantic gestures, because I didn't want to deal with the inevitable opposite.

So when I let my guard down last spring and allowed a man to woo me with fancy words and romantic gestures, I would apologize every time I'd talk to my friends, because I was gushy and gooey and downright disgusting.

They kept telling me I was human.

And when he told me he needed to move on three weeks ago, I tried to be robotic, stone-faced. One day, I was with a friend and could not stop crying. I kept apologizing to her, saying that it had been a week, and I should be over it, and I had no right to still be upset.

She told me I was human.

I saw The Philadelphia Story last night with a friend, and the men in the film really work over Tracy Lord and her superwoman approach to keeping men at bay in the name of emotional preservation. At the end of the film, she realizes her steely exterior has actually drawn in a man with whom she has zero chemistry, a man who would not challenge her, a man who expected a neat, near-robotic, tidy wife instead of a nuanced and at times emotionally messy wife. She exclaims with great joy, “I'm human! I'm human!” before walking down the aisle to remarry her ex-husband.

I've seen The Philadelphia Story several times, but it was the first time that Tracy's discovery that she was indeed human affected me. I thought of how many times in the past four months I have apologized to people for either being unable to stop smiling or unable to stop sobbing. True, one of my friends commented earlier in the summer that it was somewhat bizarre to see me so giddy, because I was always so rational and even-keeled. But she was glad to see I was capable of being “normal.” And when I was crying in her car a couple of months later, apologizing for being such horrible company, she told me to stop apologizing, told me I'd be okay, and told me I was “normal.”

Apparently, I'm human.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When It's Over...

So I spent all summer wrapped up in a relationship that I felt had real potential, and last week it ended. Abruptly. So abruptly, that I'm still reeling, and I don't want to be a complete downer so I've purposely held off writing here, but I feel like I need to put this thought out there...

Seeing a relationship end at my age is so much more complicated than it was when I was in my 20s. Yes, I miss him terribly and I'm confused and hurt and all those familiar emotions that I felt when guys would break up with me over a decade ago. But my hurt is now compounded by a fear that I might not meet many more suitable men. After all, it took quite a long time to find the one who left me last week...and it's not like I have a whole lot of options where I live, unless I'm willing to go to bars.

Which I'm not.

I need more time to process and heal from this, but I want to offer up this tiny piece of hope: in the past week, I have felt God's love for me more acutely than ever before in my life. As friends learned the news, they prayed for me, and I felt their prayers. And even though every night I've been on my knees, sobbing, my heart feels peace. I have no idea how this summer fits into God's plan for me (and I can't try to make sense of it now, because the first place I end up on that train of thought is Bitterville) so for now, I focus on my career that I love, my family that I love, and my God that I love.

After all, they all love me more than he did.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dream A Little Dream...

I am one of those kooky romantic types who thinks dreams actually speak to me and teach me something new. I remember my dreams, often in vivid detail, and can usually find symbolism or at least explanation for the dreams I have.

About five years ago, for one week, I had the exact same dream. I can still remember snippets of it now. I was being chased. I was with someone I loved—though I don't remember who. And I was carrying a bouquet of red balloons. We were making our way through a train station, and every night, we were caught, and I would wake up right as our chasers, guns drawn, found us in a baggage car.

By the sixth night of this dream, I was afraid to go to sleep. But I eventually fell asleep, and the dream started again. Same sequence. We got to the train station, and a thought came to me:

“If you want a different outcome, you must let go of the balloons.”

But the balloons apparently were important to me, because I was hesitant to let them go. I ran a few more steps, looked up at the balloons, and then let them go. My loved one and I managed to escape with ease, and I haven't had that dream since.

So why I am telling you about a five year-old dream? Because while at the time, that dream taught me something important about my professional life, I find myself thinking about it now as I am once again navigating the waters of relationships. I struggle to make different emotional choices than I've made in the past, citing all the failed relationships as reasons why I need to maintain a brick wall around my heart, or why I can't trust him.

But, as the saying goes, “if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.”

Or something like that.

I have to let go of my bouquet of red balloons of damaged relationships, and take the chance that he isn't like the others. And sure, he could turn out to be like the others, but a certain path to that outcome is to make the same choices I always have.

It might be time to choose a different outcome.