I woke up this morning to rain pummeling against my bedroom window. The driving wind only added force; the thunder provided an added fierceness. There was no lightning ; nothing illuminated my darkened bedroom. I lied there, not wanting to do the things I had to do–even on a Sunday morning. Instead my mind spun dervishly.
But I was, as I always am, grateful for the two minute “post awakening” amnesia which offers its daily reprieve. My mind at this time was this nebulous state of nothingness– no one; no thing captivated it. It was for a few minutes anyway, a veritable tabula rasa for the day ahead, then thoughts of Him creep back in.
Him. In all His glory.
And thus the spinning began.
Thoughts of Him have dominated every waking thought for well over half of my life. I never wanted to see Him again. I never cared to know the man He had become; I was in love with the young man He was. But of course, I fell for Him again with such force and once again, every love song on the radio that was ever written and sung, convinces me it was written and sung for Him. It’s amazing that the 13-year-old girl inside me can completely usurp the strength and sheer will of the 50-year-old woman I’ve become. He continues to render me defenseless. I have wondered for almost 40 years, trying to figure out the mystical force He holds over me. I hate the term “soulmate”, but He has for years, comingled beautifully with all the other flights of fancy that have lived in my psyche.
I think back over the years and trace them to the present day. I think to myself, life can be so cruel. It offers crucibles and tests that must be taken pass/fail; nothing in between. We are optionless in these cases. Sometimes, we’re simply given opportunities, how they play out are our decisions. And we are judged on the decisions we make. And therein lies the rough.
Attraction/Repulsion. Love/Hate. Marriage/Divorce.
As I sit here and for the first time in my life, actually ponder the very real possibility that I might have found my future Mr. Kendrick in a man I’ve known all my life, I think a lot about the future and wonder if my past will affect it. I’m not feeling sorry for myself (no more than usual. I’m just a wee bit confused. Besides, I AM the consummate Goodbye Girl) but men leave they always do and when they do, they always marry the women they leave me for (sorry about ending on a preposition). But somehow, this one is so very, very different. Why? The answer lies elsewhere…down the road, in all of our tomorrows if God see fit to give us a few.
I make no bones about the fact that my love life has been in shambles for most of my life. I’ve loved unwisely 99-percent of the time. I think about how and why many marriage evolve into divorce and I think its because some couples never establish that oh so important communication bridge. They don’t cross it. Hell, some refuse to even meet in the middle.
They lose patience with each other and then frustration seeps through. When that happens, they go to their respective corners and stay there; they don’t come back out fighting and if they do, they fight “with” each other, not “for” each other. They don’t spend the “necessary emotional capital” to come up with joint solutions to their problems. Their end then, becomes sealed. Divorce becomes a done deal and half the time, that happens long before the papers are drawn up.
I’ve been involved in relationships that took emotional withering to new heights..or new lows, as it were. It was back or white, all or nothing and I couldn’t seem to understand that there were actually applicable variables. I didn’t see them. I suppose at times, I didn’t want to seem them. Neither did he.
Love, when held tightly in one’s hand (just like anything in nature) will never grow. It will wither and die. The same can be said about love that’s not cared for or tended to properly. It grows wild and uncontrollable and eventually, out of reach.
Both of these scenarios are lose/lose.
I have never been married and quite recently, I’ve realized that I’ve only truly been in love once almost 40 years ago. What is old is new again and this time, what I might be feeling these days is just a residual haunting that keeps repeating through the decades. Love that was just too vast to go anywhere else.
And now, lo these 38 years later, for reasons I can’t fathom, everything and everyone before this point in my life no longer matters. I loved the wrong people for all the wrong reasons and now that I face what could be “the one” in that crazy magical sense about which romance writers scribe, I think more about love, it’s alpha and it’s omega and all the daring and deviousness that exists between.
This is just my opinion only, but there are lessons in love and one that few learn is that in some ways, love is “directional” and must be looked at as such. To fall in love and look solely at the one person, never glancing away–even with the best intentions–is to miss the larger picture. To love someone enough to look WITH them, in the direction of the future is to truly begin to understand the meaning of the well-battered, weather-beaten word we know so little about.
I read somewhere that there’s a rapidly growing movement in psychological circles in which behaviorists are more closely examining the mother/infant dynamic as a basis for studying intimacy. Parents can’t possibly be in tune with their children all the time and research backs this up. We’re talking about a parental attention span of about 30-percent of the time. I understand this, don’t you? Babies aren’t in a clinical sense “benign, love emitters” by any means.
To a haggard and harried mother struggling to give that 30-percent, their babes in arms certainly take more than they give. They are, by what they are as infants, rapacious little critters who very often bite the hand (or breast) that feeds them.
Good mothers tolerate their infants rage as well as her own very natural hatred of their children. She’s the one NOT sucked into abandoning or injuring her child. In showing this restraint, she’s instilling a self protective mechanism. She doesn’t deny her anger, yet she doesn’t act on it either and this, according to shrinks, teaches the child that anger IS survivable.
It’s been said that romantic relationships reproduce the same tensions that exist in infancy and childhood. Because I had a mother who showed no restraint in her anger and physically exerted resentment towards her own children, I’ve had to unlearn everything. If I did nothing to incur her wrath, things would be OK. I had to become a pleaser. If she couldn’t or wouldn’t love me, I had to learn not to anger her and my over accomplishing everything I did was one way to deflect her ire. That stuck and stayed with me for most of my adulthood. As I was able to progress to a point where I could express my rage, I got mad at an ex and rightfully so, he stormed out and into the guest room and within minutes, I lost all self respect by virtually crawling on my knees to him, begging for forgiveness and promising to repay some emotional debt I never owed.
I’ve also been in relationships in which my boyfriend weathered my anger (when I was brave enough to allow it verbal passage) and then he expected ME to change and take responsibility for causing him pain and he punitively withheld kindness and tenderness and avoided me when we could’ve used that time to being angry and hurt when we could’ve been making the effort to get along.
Nobody was surviving the destruction; the rupture was never repaired.
In spite of all of my emotional foibles…and I have many…I am trying my best to understand how healthy relationships work. I want this with you. I have toyed with the idea that I don’t really want to commit until I’m happy. Is that selfish? Maybe, but it feels important to me. We can’t be fully involved in a relationship until we are OK in our own skin. But to wait for that to happen is a futile effort at rationalizing. No one…NO ONE comes into any relationship with every piece of emotional baggage checked.
That’s what I want with you, I DON”T to further obviate nature by completely obviating nature. By that I mean denying what we both really feel because of some fear-based obstruction. The truth is, you’re not sticking around to see how this ends. You’re not hanging on out of deference to me. You are willing to be with me because you want to be with me. Hell, you’re dying to see how this thing begins.
As am I.
We have a history, one that dates backs to peace signs and love beads, but even so, we have to get to know each other again; we have to get to know the adults we’ve become. There’s much to learn; much to absorb and all things considered, I suppose we’re both doing quite well. Sadly, the road ahead that leads to every place we want to go is very well-travelled. We could listen to all the stories, those cautionary tales of woe and what not to do. Or we could formulate our own strategy and compose our own stories as we go along.
We’re both doing a lot of emotional weeding these days. If we’d stop for a minute, I think we can both admit that we make each other happy–in spite of everything and that’s undeniable. As this “thing” comes full circle, I realize we have amazing potential. Even our imperfections are damned near perfect in terms of being our being suitable partners.
You know this. I know this. We even had a juvenile sense of it years ago.
But for now, we both have to eliminate goddamn pride from the equation AND make the effort and see through the miasma of our own fears. There can’t be this distorted trio in our bed consisting of you, me and everything we’re so damned scared of.
And of course, we’re scared. What other women have done to you has been gut wrenching. But I’m not one of them. And you’re not any of the men who’s torn me asunder. We’re realists. Reality forced us to be. Thinking that we’ll have an error free relationship that only involves laughter, love, fun and nothing but mind-blowing sex is naive. Love and relationships get messy. There will be fights and angry nights and silent dawns and ups and downs and hurt feelings. And that happens in between the periods of joy and bliss and resilience.
But let’s do everything we can to have those things and more. Let’s reach for and grab on to the whole package. Let’s not be afraid.
And you know what? Fuck “love” in that Hollywood sense. There are no gaffers, best boys or craft services on set. No make up or lighting. There’s no orcehstra playing the beautiful soundtrack of our relationship hiding behind the big boulder on the beach. The members are all union, of course; they’ll eventually leave.
Let’s just try our damnedest to care about each other and respect each other enough to fight for this; for us. Care about me enough to make a difference and I’ll do the same.
I promise you, I am worth it.
We are worth it.
Well, I must close now. The weather is getting worse. The wind is blowing harder and the rain is now coming down in sheets. There have been power surges all morning and I would imagine that there have been lightning strikes all around. Close by, in fact. I don’t mind it so much. Lightning turns the dark into daylight enabling me to see things around me and today, it has improved my clarity.
And I am grateful.
You see, my love? The morning has become electric.