I’ve had this sort of weird realization lately. You see, when I’m sitting on an airplane and I’ve completed all of the tasks at hand, there’s a phase of flight where I’ve taken my jumpseat and we’re descending into landing and I have some time to think. Sometimes I worry I think too much. I internalize a lot. I wait to speak until I’ve formed it perfectly in my mind. (Which is what makes me so entertaining when I drink – that filter gets turned off. And I royally put my foot in my mouth. A lot. But that’s another story for another day.)
Recently, I was on a trip, and texting with a friend of mine throughout the day as I flew, and we were talking about our dating lives. (which I always appreciate because I miss my friends a lot when I’m gone, and I feel like miss out on these little day to day things, so sporadic as it is, it’s like an ongoing conversation we have all day and I love it.)
She was updating me on her feelings about her most recent experiences. I was trying to think of something encouraging and positive to say about love. I couldn’t.
You should know, if you don’t by now, I am a total sucker for love. I read all the love stories. Watch all the lovey-dovey movies. Gaze at the moon at night and wish that I was leaning into the arms of someone I love as they gaze at it too. I realize that I’m a hopeless romantic because I love all of these IDEAS of love. The ideas of finding your soul mate, twin flame, true love – whatever the phrase/intention is – it’s a beautiful thought that something like that could actually be a reality.
You should also know, I’ve taken a break from my dating life since I started this whole flying adventure. I just didn’t have the capacity to focus on it, and also I felt like a fuck-up, on a colossal scale. I really wanted to get to the bottom of it, emotionally. I’ve had points where I’ve had unexpected moments that make me re-think that break, but still I pull back because I want to make sure I’m going towards something healthy and positive for myself.
Upon this reflection whilst seated in the jumpseat of an ERJ175, now I see I’m the Fox Mulder of love. I want to believe. I see the evidence all around me. People who’ve met their soul mate on the internet. People who met their true love in a pub on a rainy night in Ireland. Pen pals that finally meet after years of writing each other and it’s destiny. People who met while on work assignments or in the grocery story and find “The One”. But personally, I’ve become convinced it’s a smokescreen created by Hollywood and the Brontes, Austins and Gabaldons of the world.
Which leads me to the hard truth about myself. I crave love. I’m paralyzed by rejection. Is this why I struggle with the idea of true love, that it even actually exists? Too much rejection? Is that what makes me certain it’s a fairy tale not meant for women like me? THAT’S why I’m so drawn to the stories. Because I WANT to believe it exists, that all of these stories are truth and possibility. But thus far, I’ve never been shown true love, and to top that, I’m not sure I even know what it is even if I did have it. At this juncture, I suppose this is where I also point how that I am a true believer of energy begets energy. You get what you put out there. So what am I putting out?
With that energy, I’ve gone into situations and I’ve proven to myself over and over again that it always ends, one way or another, the only way I know love to end: They leave. I’m always put on the back burner. Possessed and abandoned. Randomly picked up to be left behind. Misjudged for being too unfeeling or feeling more than I was supposed to. Overlooked and undervalued. Saved for a rainy day.
The most humbling of it all: I let it happen because I went into it “knowing” somewhere in my psyche that it would always end that way anyway, because that’s all I’ve ever seen love end with. Never the happily ever after. I’ve been too leery of opening myself up and being truly connected and vulnerable in many circumstances. I haven’t been bold enough to say something when I should have. I’ve left way too much unsaid, instead just reading into subtext when really, I should have been blunt and stated what I felt and what I wanted.
Now I feel like there’s nobody left to fall in love with me, except me, myself and I, while we make our way through the wilds of life. And that’s ok – I suppose I’ve become very self-sufficient. I’ve become an adventurer of sorts. I live a life full of family and friends who do love me and stand by me. Make no mistake, I’m very happy, grateful and content with many things in my life.
So if I’m going to be completely honest here, in my hypocrisy of loving love, I’ve been going through phases. Ups and downs. Beliefs and disbeliefs. I went through a phase of having telling myself that I actually don’t believe it’s a real life thing to be happy and in love with someone, I took on sort of a melancholic indifference. I gave up on the whole idea. I was okay with it, but at the same time, I didn’t like it. I had a number of people try to talk me out of giving up on love, including a recently broken-hearted Captain that I was flying with and also a vintner in Scotts Valley, both of who didn’t know me from Eve. A group of us would all be sitting around, in deep conversation, glasses of wine in hand, talking politics and philosophies of life and inevitably the question pops up….”Are you married/do you have a boyfriend?” and then the looks of disbelief and “How are/do you not?!”. It seemed weird to garner that reaction. What is it about me that would preclude that I MUST already be in a relationship. Do I just have that vibe? And where do I begin in answering that question without getting into the whole sordid history of my very dysfunctional past relationships?
But then, on a cold morning in Gillette, Wyoming, I woke up after a night of a sort of life changing dream. In the dream, I had an altercation with someone (who I’m not going to name here). I remember blowing up at them. Spewing words that I’d held in for a very long time. When I was done, I felt lighter. Free. I suddenly felt myself start to float up, tears of relief streaming down my face. As I floated, I heard a voice calling my name. It was a very familiar voice. I couldn’t see their face but in my heart I knew exactly who it was but my mind was still struggling. I felt their hand grasp mine and pull me into their arms and hold me as I broke down and confessed everything I had been feeling. I felt so safe, so wanted and so loved. And then I woke up. And I had never felt so solitary in my life. Not lonely. Not unfulfilled. Just so…. solitary. Like I’m journeying to somewhere and the burden is resting squarely on my shoulders to step into something. What that is? I don’t know. But I knew I wasn’t the same. I felt softer. More vulnerable. And more ready than I had ever been, to tackle this last remaining hurdle of happiness in my life.
I don’t know how to necessarily fix this existing broken record that’s spinning in my head. But I’m shutting down the voice that lingered in my head for years, telling me that I was never enough. The only thing I can do is let go and let that record shatter on the floor and put on a new one. Be present. Be in alignment with who I am and be loving and gentle with myself. Only put myself out there for someone who actually sees ME, who actually values my heart and my soul and who doesn’t want to break me.
And so until then, I’ll just be over here in my corner, living as full of a life as I can muster, and saving up my pennies to buy my Victorian on the coast, that I’ll spend way too much money on fixing up, keeping up on the love stories written in myths and stories that come to life on the silver screen, and hope that maybe someday, just someday, that some innocuous phrase similar to “As You Wish” might take on a whole new meaning for me too.