Monday, March 21, 2011

Trees and Rivers... Or, Part Two

When we last left our heroine, she was flowing like a river, much to her dismay... (please read part one if you haven't done so already)

I realize that in the last installment, I gave the impression that I was head over heels for Freddy (I was) but I failed to mention that in the beginning, he was really into me as well.  He loved my taste in music, my sense of humor, my community involvement and he really loved that I am a poet.  The conversations we had when I was in LA were fun, fascinating and it felt like time ceased to exist when I was there - we built an island unto ourselves.  When I first got home from LA, things were still good between us, but our dynamic quickly began to change.  He was still sending texts, but not as frequently.  Our phone conversations were still hours long, but I could feel his...distance, and I don't mean the distance of being two states away.  He seemed distracted and I could just feel that something was wrong.

Anyone I spoke to said I was overreacting, but I knew something was different.  As my discomfort grew, so did my need to push him, to get answers from him.  I wanted to know what he was feeling, when he was going to feel differently, when was he going to commit to me once and for all.  I had grown completely insecure; I was on edge all the time, wondering if he was going to call and wondering why he had changed.  When he did call, we would have these long, drawn out conversations and I would feel a tiny bit better, but then I would start to dissect everything he said (or didn't say) and have a list of new questions for the next time we spoke.  I wasn't sharing poetry anymore and he wasn't sharing much of himself either - we got to the point where we were only talking in circles, trying to figure out which direction to take.  I was a mess, and I didn't even recognize myself anymore.

The entire time that we were trying to figure it out, he constantly reminded me to "be a river."  His philosophy, in a nutshell, was that we had to "just be," meaning we had to relax and not try and control things (which I understood but it didn't really feel like that's what was going on).  He wanted to flow like a river and allow it to take us where it wanted.  That scared the shit out of me.  Water felt so out of control, and it was in constant motion - there was no stability.  Anytime I said that the river didn't feel right, he pointed out that I was just being impatient, and that I had to just trust that whatever was supposed to happen would happen.  Now, don't get me wrong, I definitely believe that the universe takes care of us and leads us on the right path if we let it, so that logic made sense to me.  The problem was the river itself - it had no destination.  The analogy felt like Freddy's way of appeasing me without having to make a decision or worse - admitting that he didn't want a relationship with me.

That was it all along - he didn't want a relationship with me and he just couldn't bring himself to say it.  Instead of wasting time saying he wasn't sure, or that he wasn't ready, he should have just said he wasn't sure about me.  It would have hurt, but at least we would have ended the relationship sooner.  He came close one afternoon - he finally told me he didn't have the spark for me, quickly followed with  "but I'm really trying to find it!"  He said that because of his last relationship, he didn't have it in him to love again.  I have heard that excuse time and time again, and it never feels good to hear it, and it sure as hell didn't make things better between us.  I was devastated that those words came out of his mouth.  I built a wall around my heart, and I began to shut Freddy out.  After that, nothing was the same.  Within a month our budding relationship fell apart.

Our demise wasn't a dramatic blow-up, or even a serious fight.  We just decided to end it after realizing that we were making each other really miserable.  In the end, my brain finally caught on to what my heart had known for a while - he wasn't my person.  It's tempting to place all the blame on Freddy - and it would be easy to do so because I'm the one writing this.  There is no blame to place, but I wish he had been honest with me, and I wish I would have listened to him more carefully.  I wish I would have done things differently, not been so insecure or demanding.  I don't wish these things because I want us to be together, I wish them because being so insecure damaged my spirit, and it's taken a long time to get back to feeling like a whole person.

I went on strike because of my break-up with Freddy, but also because in the midst of my break-up, I slipped back into an old pattern - I hooked up with someone I didn't even really like (also known as The Reason for the Season) because I was lonely and heart-broken.  It was like scraping my knees- it hurt when I scraped my knees the first time, but before the scrapes could even heal, there I was, falling down and scraping them again.  

When I was a kid, I grew really tired of falling down, so I learned to be more careful, paid more attention to where I was going and what I was doing.  My body finally started working with my brain.  In many ways, the strike has had the same affect.  While it has been hard, lonely and at times, almost un-bearable, the strike has given me a chance to slow down, pay more attention and my heart and my brain finally started working together.

I'm not sure when I'll try out the relationship game again - it's been a long time since I've even been on a date - but I'm glad I've taken the time to let my scrapes heal.  I have scars on my heart just like I have scars on my knees, but my knees work just fine, and so does my heart.  When I look at the scars on my knees, I remember a time when I fell down a lot.  When I think about the scars on my heart, I remember that even when I've felt completely broken, it keeps beating, and I'm still alive.  I'm still here, un-movable, like a tree.  I've planted my roots deep, and this tree has no choice but to branch out and grow.

Virgen Tree, Plaza Vieja, Albuquerque, NM

Next time: Full Circle at the Crossroads


  1. I’ve spent the last week or so catching up on your posts and I have to tell you how much I adore you, how you write and that you put it all out there. You seem very real, up front and straight forward and I appreciate that a lot.
    I'm currently getting divorced at 29 and haven't dated since high school so I'm a bit rusty to say the very least. My fumbles into the land of boys, since my husband cheated and left me, has been nothing short of a fall flat on my face. But reading through your posts I feel so much less alone then I did. Dating is hard and I haven’t even been on an actual first date yet. I’m also cautiously optimistic because I do know there has to be a good guy out there for me and when I get myself into a better place emotionally I’ll find him.

    I really like the idea of the strike. It is so tempting to find yourself in a situation of being with some guy to pass the time before your person comes along. But you are right, what good is that doing? All you do is waste energy you could be putting on yourself. I find myself in the same mindset and it seems silly now, but always makes so much sense at the time. The loneliness can be palpable for sure but I would rather be alone then with someone who doesn’t make me happy and love me. I know I have so much work to do on the inside to be ok and be able to be ok in a relationship. You’ve made me feel ok about that. Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing your stories.

  2. Wow, thank you so much for your comment. This blog started as a piece of fluff - a weekly rambling of my funny dating life but as I kept writing, it kept getting deeper, and you have no idea how much it has helped me get through so many emotions and sort out so many lessons.

    I know that feeling you're talking about, and just know that it passes, if you let it. Take the time to get to know you as you, not you as someone's wife and then the dating will happen when it's supposed to. I really appreciate your kind words - good luck on your journey!

  3. I believe that. Some days are easier and some are harder but I know as long as I can get happy with me then someday I might just find someone else to be happy with. In the mean time I'm enjoying my own company.
    Thank you :)