Acts Of Courage


I am sitting here in awed silence after my last two phone interviews. I don’t know if I’m gifted enough to impart the courage it takes for the men and women I’ve spoken with to come forward and share their stories. Stories of horrendous experiences survived by training to failure, learning to deflect, mastering the art of invisibility, or shutting down all that is human and humane within them to make it one more day.

I have tears in my eyes and no voice with which to speak, but my fingers fly across the keyboard in a silent whisper of love, respect and support that sounds remarkably like the clicking of keys. The tapping you would hear if you were with me is my promise that your story will be told, your service will not go unnoticed, your voice will be heard and it will matter to someone who is about to let go.

I will admit that I cry for us when I cry for you, speak for us when I speak for you, and my fury at your struggle is equalled only by my respect for your determination to crack the cement of silence and speak to those who still believe themselves to be alone.

Your experiences matter to us, as does your pain. Your fractured bones, broken homes and unsteady yet relentless progress forward gives us hope. Remember the silent and courageous mantra repeated inside that over-burdened soul you’ve carried all these years when the world told you over and again that you could not make it one more day…

“Watch me.”

Advertisements

When Two Worlds Collide


Since a few days after my last post, my “datin guy” (as my dad and I like to call him) and I have reconnected and are moving forward. It’s funny to me that I feel this obligation to keep reporting what began as a joking foray into the dating world. We were both surprised by the existence of each other and it just kind of gained a life of its own.

I met his children a week ago. It was interesting for me to feel the terror and intimidation of that when so little intimidates me. They are handsome, charming, intelligent young men, still boys really. I found myself being very quiet which is unusual, but being empathetic by nature I could imagine what they must be thinking, wondering and perhaps feeling a little fearful of as far as the family dynamic goes.

What is she doing here and how does that change our lives?

I myself would be worried, confused and a little resentful, but aside from a slight reserve and a lot of silent brotherly communication, they were kind to me. I appreciated that. They did communicate the situation as they saw it with their mom via the ever present cell phones which I totally expected. Which instigated a phone call from her to my “datin guy” which for some idiotic reason, I did not expect. I’m a little disappointed with myself for that temporary blindness, but I digress…

Apparently they made the wise agreement (in my opinion) to keep the people they dated and their kids separate from each other. This is an excellent move when the parents are finding their own way around and have no idea who or what they want. Why cause confusion and/or anxiety by introducing someone merely passing through? It makes a world of sense to me when the priority is a child’s well-being.

Also, apparently, I am not just passing through.

I will admit that I was impressed by the way he handled that call, and I am not easily impressed. He invited her over to meet me if she chose to, which she declined, and I don’t blame her for worrying about what kind of woman her children were subjected to. I would be freaking out myself. Actually, I was.

She has no idea, nor does she care at the moment, that I admire her love and protectiveness for her boys, or that I’ve raised and fiercely protected one of my own. She doesn’t know that I won’t be used as a weapon to hurt her, or them, if I have the power to stop it. I know that they don’t need a mother since they already have a wonderful one raising them, and you will be proud and astonished to know that I kept myself from trying to adopt them and sweep them into my vortex.

They don’t need me, but their dad does. I love him, and that’s non-negotiable.

I don’t want to know what they think of me, or what her uninformed opinion of me is in these early days. I don’t want to have to fight the urge to smite anyone for dissing me when they don’t know me, so ignorance is bliss in this case.

My people tell me she should be grateful that it’s me. That the boys will love me eventually because I’m cool, fun, and easy to talk to. That she will eventually be grateful I’m not the empty-headed bimbo slut she may fear I am at the moment, and that her kids are in safe hands. That somehow we will be the Brady Bunch and life will be smooth sailing from this day forward.

I doubt it, but I’ll roll with the punches and love him anyway. 

The both of them have done a fine job in the raising of their children. I am not needed in that capacity. The rest is open to interpretation and the changing needs of the time so I’m just going to roll with it and see what transpires. He needs his children, and he needs a sanctuary where he knows he’s loved. I can walk that line, especially when he has so far proven to stand for me from a place of respect.

I think I love that about him most of all.

I’m a lucky woman.

 

 

 

 

 

Time Out


This has been a tough week for me. After my dating post a day or so ago, it’s important for me to make it clear up front that no matter what happens after this time to regroup, the guy I’ve been seeing the past 8 weeks is a good man. I’m saying this first because I can’t split my energies between dealing with the struggle of missing him, and defending him from misguided bashing on my behalf. I’ve appreciated the love and messages so much, but please understand that I share only because we’re all walking each other home here, we all struggle and hurt and find our way as best we can.

We can’t know what conflict is going on inside someone else unless they tell us.

We can’t make them tell us or solve it for them or take away their lessons, nor should we.  I don’t know at the moment what will happen, and that is hard. When I hear someone say, “falling in love” my heart flinches a little because the impact when you land “in love” changes things. It’s frightening because it’s not just fun and games any more. To me, falling in love, then having landed there means that you have fragile little roots in your heart planted by the flash and sizzle of  dating. Then you have to decide. Do you rip them out before they take root, or nurture them into something magnificent?

This is not a simple decision, and not one to be made carelessly.

The human heart is at risk here and there are many things that factor in. If you’re dating someone going through the first year of separation/divorce, you have placed yourself in a minefield by your own doing. I kept myself out of the dating scene for 2 years for this very reason. The whole first year is horribly hard. All the holidays and other family events that are no longer the same, the guilt if there are children involved can be crippling, the stress of going from 2 incomes shared to being on your own…the adjustments mentally, emotionally and financially can be devastating at times.

You wonder if you did the right thing, you mourn the losses, you wonder what life will look like when the dust settles and it is terrifying. You dream of future happiness, wonder if it’s doable and if you are surprised by falling in love in the midst of all this, it can set off a series of events that will either bury you or pull you through.

We humans are such wonderfully complicated creatures aren’t we?

I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know if we’ll get the chance to become something more amazing, or if I’ll have to go inside and ruthlessly pull it all out by the roots. Change is inevitable and necessary for a beautiful life so I will deal with whatever comes and keep moving forward.

So aside from thank you, and I love you, please know I’ve been waiting for this moment. Dating is an important first step, but is exhausting after a while, expensive and an unrealistic place to “stay” if you want to build something astonishing out of your life, which I absolutely intend to do with mine.

I need more than flash, I need the sharing of burdens and sorrows, the blending of lives, and the constant discovering of the one I love. I want to be their sanctuary, their safe and loved place where there are no knives, harsh words or judgements. The place where they don’t have to pretend they’re super-human and have all the answers. The place they are most appreciated and loved. I need to be that.

I need them to be sanctuary for me.

I ask that you wish me luck, wisdom and strength until I clear things out, and please know that I’ve spent the last 8 weeks with a very good man. The hurt and the missing I’m carrying right now are because he is that amazing. It comes from what I hold for him inside, not from anything he’s done that I need defended from. But thank you so much for caring ❤

 

No Words


Five weeks ago, I returned to you with proof that the perfect first date was not myth or legend. I too was astonished at my findings. After two weeks of what my brother called “power dating” I’m sure you’ll recall that with as amazing and exciting as that was, I was looking for reality to edge it’s way in so I could see how well we handled its intrusion.

It’s good to take the time every so often, in any relationship, to revisit and revise based on what you’ve learned. Especially in the beginning when your heart is so open and easily led by joy. I want to check where I am, see where I’ve been foolish, selfish or wise. What do I need to see differently; what do I need to know?

Is that a red flag? A white one? Or just a weed that needs yanked out by the roots?

I need these times because (gut honesty here) when I’m with him all I can do is smile and feel the wonder of being with someone who will pull me to my feet to dance in the living room, reaches back to take my hand so he doesn’t lose me when we’re out, wants to know what’s going on in my head when I get quiet, and melts my heart when I walk in the room and he’s in front of the Keurig with the makings for coffee he doesn’t drink.

Last week I had a moment when I face-planted into a mistaken assumption I held to be true, tears were in my eyes and I had to excuse myself to go to the rest room and…rest. My experience being what it is, I rarely cry in front of anyone. So I’m in the ladies room, staring at myself in the mirror with new eyes that have tears just rolling out of them, and a woman comes in and touches my shoulder. Our eyes meet in the mirror and I wonder out loud…

“This is a stay or go moment. Am I going to be foolish, selfish or wise?”

My new friend pats my shoulder and tells me I’ll know what to do when I get back out there, so I do. I have questions, but the men I’ve known react to tears by backing away, getting defensive or ghosting altogether. I’ve told you before that I’ve yet to meet the guy who’s strong enough to hold a woman when she cries, especially if it has anything to do with him, but it looks like I may have found one.

We talked for a bit, I asked the questions I obviously should have, and I learned what I needed to know for the stay or go moment. Those of you who know me are now picturing the fist fight going on in my head as it does when something is important to me. It was pretty vicious for a moment or two, and I teared up again.

I have no intention of falling in love by myself. I refuse to let that happen.Then, instead of pushing back, getting defensive or ghosting to safety, he did the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen…

He leaned in, and talked to me.

My head got quiet, my heart started beating again, and they both whispered one word…

Stay.

 

The Sweet Spot


So, my loves, I find myself at the pivotal point in dating where you start defining what will work and what will not. We’ve made it through the accelerated fire of the initial phase where all is perfect, magical and intense.

We’ve so far successfully passed the intrusion of reality and differences in communication styles that bring confusion, second thoughts, second guessing and the confabulation that naturally occurs with a lack of information.

We make shit up when we don’t know, don’t we? Communication must have dwindled to feeble and generic because I stumbled into some bad lighting, spoke a little too honestly, showed a little too much of my heart, or holy shit…

Maybe I’m not all that and a bag of chips after all.

I’m happy to say that while I did lock into “chick mode” for a short time, I snapped myself out of it and asked what I wanted to know. Then let it go to unfold as it would. We are both busy people with family, friends and work. I wouldn’t long be dating a guy who didn’t put his kids in the priority position. I wouldn’t respect or admire that at all.

It seems that even the most authoritative, confident communicators tend to falter a bit and struggle when it comes to their personal relationships. I get that. I used to hesitate plenty, edit too much and accept too little. Not any longer.

Life’s too short to bullshit and play games so I just say or ask what matters to me.

I love that he does the same, even when it’s hard to find the words. I love wrapping my arms around the intrusions of reality that I quietly waited for, wondering what would become of us then. Would he take the easy way and ghost? Guarding a potential treasure is hard work. A lot of us aren’t up to the task because we haven’t learned how rare it is to find like hearts and endless potential.

But some of us know this well, and hold the line.

This is what I can report of my findings thus far…when I see his face, whether it’s after 4 hours or 4 days and I ask him how he is, and he wraps me up, brings me close and just breathes me in…

It is still for me, perfect, magical and intense.

No matter what intrudes.

 

The Beatitudes


For those of us who have wondered at the wars and the rumors of wars that come with keeping the faith in the possibility of the perfect date, I present to you proof from the front lines…

I have to write this down while it is fresh in my mind. My findings are astonishing.

He will text you, then call you, then ask to meet you. He’ll call you before you leave home to make sure you know where to go and when. In spite of knowing you can kick ass and take names if you have to, he will ask what you drive so he can look for you, and open your car door when you arrive so you will not feel awkward walking in alone to meet a stranger.

From the moment he sees you and for the 3 hours that follow, you will know that you are the most beautiful, interesting, intelligent and intriguing woman he has ever known.

You will, for the first time, believe it without any doubts.

He will take your jacket, pull out your chair, look at you as if he’s won the jackpot. His confidence lacks any arrogance that repels, he’s strong enough to be easy in the touching of your shoulder, your hair, your hand.

Not once do you have to defend your space because he guards it himself.

You’ll talk with the ease of years and the fascination of new, a sense of recognition in each surprise uncovered. You’ll wonder why it’s effortless when everything has always been hard.

There is a mutual wonder that you’re next to each other, breathing the same air…

It’s now what I call Star Date 13 and we’ve been together 11 of these days. I begin to over-analyze as I am wont to do when faced with something new and amazing…

Dating someone strikes me as a potentially religious experience. When I went through the phase of studying various religions, I remember the universal feeling that was the base of each one before individuals (or groups of them) bastardized them into rituals of ego and self-validation.

They both start off with the feeling of love, wonder and open-ness don’t they? Then you begin to sink in over time, and carefully unwrap layers of the unknown. This is when human nature kicks in and you may begin to uncover (much to your dismay) the actions and attitudes of burning the witch and stoning the harlot when you don’t match up to their pre-conceived notions of you.

You find yourself at times uncovering those who try to buy their way into heaven with shallow kindnesses and thinly veiled corrections while consigning you to “hell” with their judgments based on who they wish you/they really were. This is the beginning of the end of times.

The celebration becomes silence, the glory dims and the dreams fade to gray.

This is only one possibility. The other is that you embrace and enjoy the wonder of each other, accepting every damn thing that made each of you into the person that has rendered the other star-struck. You welcome the story of every trauma and heartbreak that gave you the sum total of the human being who has chosen to be with you.

You may decide to guard the treasure, fight the demons of conformity and become more than the sum of your experiences thus far. You could let go of the shit that limits you to everything you’ve had before and gives you a miracle.

It’s an option.

Blessed are the brave at heart, for they shall know love.

Heart-eology


Some ways of thinking have perplexed me my entire life. One of them is the way people need to “type” people around them.

“He doesn’t seem like your type.”

“They don’t look like they go together.”

“What does he/she see in her/him?”

It baffles me how we think we know stuff like this at a glance. What we look like can be fleeting, who we are is a constant discovery. Beautiful exteriors can hold beauty, or ugly, or emptiness inside. Surely the decision of whether or not to give someone our attention is worth the time to excavate some of what they hold beneath the surface.

I’ve met people who appeared to be physically stunning at first  who became uglier the more I learned of them, and average looking people who became so mesmerizing that to this day I can recall the flecks in their eyes, the tiny chip of a tooth, the way that they laughed and most of all the way they made me feel when I was with them.

I’ve known those who gave much to the world and sacrificed greatly for others who weren’t willing (or never learned how) to invest in a personal relationship. There are those with the gift of  beautiful words and dramatic performance who did not develop the heart and truth to breathe it into reality.

They were hollow.

Then there are the sleepers, the “type” who bring who they are to the table, and when they do it matters not at all that every head didn’t turn when they walked into the room.

What matters is that your heart recognized a master at living and giving.

What we truly need is to be (and enjoy being with) the “type” of person who is willing to grow, learn and invest time and attention into ourselves and others. To tell our stories, to hold hands and offer shoulders upon which to cry our tears, to travel and discover, uplift, laugh and enjoy.

We are supposed to excavate our hearts and take the time to discover what blends beautifully with what we uncover in one another. I don’t get the “types” and the checklists and the requirements we push on others without holding ourselves to the same standards.

A priceless jewel discovered by the untutored eye is still priceless. In the hands of a master, in just the right setting, it will be breath-taking.

As will the hearts we each hold within us.