The Wizard of Oz is a movie that is burned into my brain. I know the entire story, have lines memorized and I can sing along with the movie. I loved Judy Garland as Dorothy and always got a kick out of the Scarecrow, the Tin-Man and the Cowardly Lion. The Lion has always been my favorite (if you read last week's blog, you'll understand why) but recently, I've been paying a little more attention to the Tin Man and I realize - I am more Tin Man than I thought.
I have been walking a long, yellow brick road, waiting most of my life to fall in love. I have wanted to love someone and start my life with that person and while I have tried over and over it seems like I never quite get there. I've waxed poetic on the subject of love to the point that I feel like there is nothing left to say about it, but there are so many more things to say - the most important being this:
Love was there all along.
All the time that I've waited to find love, I've been surrounded by it. All the times I said and wrote and felt afraid to fall in love, I already was. I've been in love my entire life and I didn't even realize it. Just like the Tin Man thought he needed a heart to be able to love, I thought I needed to be someone's someone in order to do so. The reality is that I always had love because I am love. We all are.
I've thought about my capacity to love a great deal since F. and I broke up in April. Recently, I wrote that I am completely unafraid to love, but I would have never felt so free had I not loved F. I loved him and I didn't even care whether or not he loved me back. I loved him good or bad, right or wrong, as we were breaking up and even afterward. I can admit this freely because when we truly love someone, there is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of - and when it's right, I will share my love again.
I met someone at the beginning of June who, by all accounts, is a pretty cool guy. We had an instant connection and conversation flowed easily between us. I took everything in stride - he may move out of state very soon, so I didn't allow myself to jump ahead as I normally do. Instead, he was the one who had us married and divorced in his head before the week was up. After just a few dates, he had freaked out that we were moving too fast... which was funny to me because I was just taking things moment by moment.
He handled things really badly - blowing me off, being a jerk and when he tried to let me down easy, I beat him to the punch. After I told him I wasn't really interested, he still tried to give me the "I can't do this, I'm not ready" speech. I didn't even flinch. I simply patted him on the arm and walked away. When I was recounting the events to my friend P., she brought up a good point: it isn't enough to have easy conversations and a good connection. There has to be a mutual willingness to grow something and be unafraid. Anyone who is afraid of my love - or love in general - isn't worth my time. Someone who isn't ready to love with the same openness that I am isn't my person. Someone who freaks out after a few dates isn't worth much more thought than a mention in a blog post.
Two years ago, however, I would have been devastated. I would have wondered what is wrong with me and felt really badly about myself. A year ago I would have pretended not to care but it would have eaten me up inside. This time around, I simply walked away. I'm not any stronger or wiser than I was two years ago - I was wise all along. I was brave all along. I've always had the ability to love - I foolishly convinced myself that I didn't.
I won't make that mistake again.
Next time: All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down