A Date

Last night I went on the first date with a boy that I’ve been on in four years. How crazy is that? I’m nothing if not extreme, when I do something, I really do it, and that includes swearing off men I guess 🙂 Anyway, this guy is 23 going on 24 and a student at St Thomas. We agreed to meet at the movies and we saw 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (not nearly as good as The Wedding Singer, by the way).

I wanted to write something down because I want to remember last night. Whether I see him again or not, last night was special for me. I’ve grown used to being alone, comfortable even, sometimes filled with a vague sort of emptiness. I’ve been so far removed from anything representing intimacy that I didn’t even know anymore what I was missing . . . or at least I could block it out most times. Last night awakened something inside me that’s been sleeping (or hiding). Last night confirmed something that I’ve suspected but have been afraid to embrace . . . I must claim my life, grab hold and start living again, start taking emotional risks again . . . and that means I need to leave.

This boy probably isn’t the right boy for me, but I feel grown enough to let passion back in, to embrace boys and relationships, to put myself out there again. I feel strong enough to trust that I can survive emotional devastation again, I can take the risk.

Mood: Optimistic

Drinking: Life, baby!

Listening To: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship

Hair: Tousled

And the Beat Moves On

I remember when I used to do these “I Remember” exercises every day. Every single day. And looking back on it now, I see I actually got a lot of work done. I wrote a lot. I found what I had written on my sad first attempt at a novel. The Val, Steve, Ken thing Steve at Vee’s, The Party Phone Call, Killing Harold.

Man! Everything was so organized and developed and I got quite a bit down before I went into short story mode. Of course, not much of what I wrote is very good. A lot of the newbie mistakes, passive voice, weak verbs, zillions of adjectives, telling not showing. Still, there was a lot of description there, a lot of detail. And salvageable, should I ever desire to do so.

The idea of writing a sort of mystery thriller type novel now just freaks me out. I was trying to write genre fiction because I thought it would be easier. Shit! I didn’t even have an idea, was just taking it day by day on what I determined from that writing book I was following. I didn’t believe I had anything spectacular to impart. All I knew was that I had a natural ability for the written word and I wanted to do something creative for a change. That was 4 years ago. My how the times have changed.

When I wrote The Lost, I didn’t particularly like it. It certainly wasn’t my favorite piece nor did I believe it to be the strongest. I wasn’t even certain if it was a story or not or what I was trying to do. Now, heaven help the man or woman that tells me it isn’t a work of art. Ignore those shallow critters who can’t see the message, because I am an artist and I’ve imparted something bigger than myself to the world. A crock of bull. All of it, but somehow I do feel I’ve grown.

There are messages in my stories now. Emotions, feelings, I want to show and share. I’ve come full circle, from just wanting to write entertainment and sell a lot of books to creating something unique and special, my message, and having a desire to share those feelings with an audience.

Like the leaves swirling in Limbo. Something bigger than me was at work with that. I didn’t come up with that on my own. I had never heard of the children in limbo. I’m not Catholic and know nothing about being so, besides what I’ve read in other people’s novels. And yet, there it was, waiting for me to find it and put it together. That was a gift.

And so I think if I’m getting gifts, something has changed. Of course, I’ll actually have to finish the piece or else I’ll be the only one who knows about it. Or will I? If I hesitate, will the gift be passed on to someone more up to the challenge?

That is something to consider.

Mood: melancholy

Drinking: Too much

Listening To: Everybody Hurts, REM

Hair: In an awkward stage of being

On this matter of commitment . . .

I fear.

I have examined this from every possible angle and there is no other explanation. I am afraid to commit.

In all my relationships (and there have been plenty) one of two things happens. Either I love too much and that love is not reciprocated. Or I don’t love at all and break the heart of a nice man who has made the mistake of loving me too much. There is no in-between, no gray area. It is either or.

I don’t do this on purpose consciously. I think it’s a subconscious thing. When I meet a man who is unavailable to me in some way, he is more attractive to me. I tell myself I enjoy the challenge. I want to be the woman who finally tames the wild heart of the Big Bad Guy. Of course this never happens. This can’t ever happen. I set myself up for failure every time. These men who I can never change, who will never be the men I want them to be, who will never love me like I love them, these are the men I feel most comfortable in loving.

And love them I do. I pour every ounce of my being into loving these men and I hang on to them until it becomes impossible to hang on any longer. It’s pure insanity.

Then there are the other guys. There is nothing wrong with these guys. In fact, they are Really Great Guys. Intelligent, attractive, employed. Caring, honest and kind. Did I forget to mention the wonderful sex and that fabulous way they dote on me? And yes, these Really Great Guys love me. They want to marry me and raise a family with me. Oh, the horror of it all! This has happened to me more than you might expect, given that I have a terrible habit of pursuing the Big Bad Guys.

Sometimes you just can’t tell right away which category the guy is going to fall into. You need to play around a bit and find out. Sometimes you sense an element of danger and it turns out that you were wrong. Some guys give off the wrong signals. And sometimes I lie to myself and pretend I want the Really Great Guy. Regardless of how it happens, it does happen and I find myself dating the Really Great Guy.

The deal breaker is usually when my parents, siblings or friends meet the guy and begin exclaiming about what a nice man he is, followed by not so subtle hints that I’m not getting any younger and this one is a keeper. A keeper! I hear anything about keeping, marrying, forever and nice guy, I freak out. The guy doesn’t stand a chance. I dump him so fast he never knows what hit him.

I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it is, or should I say it’s just the way it has been in the past. Because now, after much reflection, I have come to realize that all of this can only add up to one thing – I have a commitment phobia.

This didn’t come to me all of a sudden today as I wrote this post. I’ve been considering this for a long time. Actually, I figured it all out almost three years ago.

At that time there was a man in my life who qualified as a kind of sort of Really Great Guy (depending on who you asked 😉 We were friends for many years. Occasionally, we were a bit more than friends, if you know what I mean. He wanted more than friendship all the time. I shot this man down so many times I lost count. I’m sure he remembers every time. He loved me. And I liked him a lot. I never had so much fun as the time I spent with him. I never laughed as much or as hard as I did in his company. There have been three truly great moments in my life that I will never forget and two of them were spent with him.

I didn’t treat this man very well, and still he stuck by me. On the rare occasion when I let my guard down and allowed him to join me behind my wall it was magical. Magic scared the hell out of me! I ran from magic as fast and as far as my feet would carry me.

After I did my soul searching and discovered I had a commitment problem that I wanted to fix, I decided I would tear my wall down for good and allow myself to feel the magic. I didn’t know where it would all lead but I was willing to put myself out there and take the chance. I was terrified to tell him. I was afraid after all those years he had finally given up on me and moved on.

It wasn’t unusual for months to pass without us having any contact with one another after I had hurt him. Eventually, we always came back together as friends and he always forgave me for whatever terrible thing I had done. Like that time I called him up and got him to take me to a dance and then didn’t speak to him the whole time we were there and left early with another guy. Yes, cruelty I know thy name.

Months passed as I tried to work up the courage to face him and tell him how I felt. Then I decided I would go see him on the upcoming weekend and lay it all on the line. I remember feeling relief just by having developed a plan and set my mind to it.

He called me before I had the opportunity to call him. He invited me to a small gathering as a send off to him. He was leaving on Sunday to move across the country with his brother.

My heart broke. I couldn’t tell him then. I knew that if I told him he probably wouldn’t go. He seemed to be looking for an excuse not to go anyway . . . and if ever anyone needed to get away and start fresh, he needed to go. It was a great opportunity for him and I couldn’t hold him back from it no matter how much I wanted to do it. I couldn’t ask him to miss out on something so big, on the chance that maybe something real could happen between us and I wouldn’t flake out.

The irony of it all!

So, I didn’t tell him how I felt. I didn’t tell him any of the things I had figured out about myself. I didn’t ask him to stay. I wanted to ask him to stay. I spent the entire weekend by his side, smiling and soothing his doubts. He had never been so far away from home before. He was afraid of what he didn’t know. I reassured him as much as I could. I also took the little bit of time we had left and apologized for everything I had done to wrong him.

And then I kissed him good-bye and he left.

That was four years ago. I heard from him a couple of times. He has a great new job. He has a girlfriend he seems to care about. He has an unfamiliar accent. By all appearances, he is happy and settled.

But I wonder about it sometimes . . .

Sometimes when we’re on the telephone I sense for one second that I could tell him and everything would be okay. But the feeling is fleeting. It never lasts long enough. Logic tells me it’s too late to tell him. The moment when our happiness together was a real possibility is lost.

Was the moment ever really there?

I like to think it was . . .

Mood: Reflective

Drinking: Diet Pepsi

Listening To: That’s the Way, Led Zeppelin

Hair: Mousy Brown