Posted on August 1, 2012 - Filed Under 2012, mind, self reflect
“…but he was stubborn and refused to be thrown by anything I lobbed at him.” (Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)) … And suddenly I realize I connect so well to this thought because I am doing the same thing. I test the waters of a potential relationship with briefly acrimonious or even benign stories of my experiences, and then gaze at him and ask, “have I scared you off yet?”
I am curious about this behavior in me. What kinds of waters am I really testing? And what could I possibly come up with what would make me undesirable? Why would I even think such a thing about myself… And as that question floats around my tired monkey mind (as i sit exhausted already on the second leg of three flights, of which two were NOT what I booked, on my way to California) I hear the little chants of my early belief systems suggesting that I haven’t gotten much of what I thought I needed because there is something fatally wrong with who I am. And how, or why, would I even cater to such a thought? …. Because I am scared. Because what if this doesn’t work, what if I give myself up, what if I find myself paralyzed again, what if I don’t see the “signs”??? What if we stop communicating, what if it gets too comfortable and I am back to nights of television and exhaustion? What purpose do I serve for him? What if I have another broken heart, or have given away the last fragments of my youth and die alone? What if I fall in love with co-sub-step-parenting and he walks away with her. What if Justin doesn’t like him, what if he doesn’t like Justin? How the hell is this going to work? And as my sweet bear of a friend, Josh, would remind, “Hey, great job “what if-ing” it to death before it even really gets started!”
I suffer from a profound need to know what is going on in my world as vividly and predictably as possible, because in that way I am (inaccurately) safe. And damn, if the world isn’t set up so that I can’t control the idiosyncrasies of the rest of the humans in it. So, once again I am faced with the challenge… Leap, or hold back. Whatever the circumstance I usually don’t feel like my monkeys are any more sane when change is underfoot. And to challenge me further, I hate to hold back and yet stand at that ledge, counting “1…2…3… Ju…., okay, one more time, you can do this, 1… 2…” looking down at the perilous possibilities of worst case, survival stimulated, possibilities (meanwhile, there are probably luscious snowflakes, and breathless loving exchanges, and Captain’s Butterscotch ice cream, and winged fairies, and rainbow burping purple unicorns in that amalgamated concoction I perceive as perilous.) and when have I ever really known what life would bring? And have I regretted any of it yet? The answer is “no.”
What I find interesting is that I make the request of the universe and here it tosses me, during an unexpected tropical storm (I don’t have TV) this gentle, warm, goofy, well matched guy… And I keep fluctuating with so much apprehension, and he just keeps holding my hand. That I would hang on, tenaciously, to my apprehension when I feel so at ease around him. That I tell myself to run, run like hell, and instead I show back up on his doorstep, to the gentle trill of a soft melodious “hi-eee” and kisses, and then walk right in as if I had been doing this for years. That I would show up, on a second date in jammies, hair frazzled, not a spot of makeup, to curl up on his couch and eat bowls of cereal, and laugh and rub feet… how unconventional! That his steady, quiet, a little vigilant, yet open and attentive personality would warm me so much that I keep asking, “but… but, what’s ‘Wrong’ with you?” which should be a question to me… What is wrong with me?
The answer, “Nothing that isn’t anything more or less than any other human be-ing out there.” I like myself… when I am alone. I am not sure about myself in the wake of someone (potential partner – relationship) else’s presence. No, to be more specific, I am not sure about myself under the gaze of someone who I don’t know the depth of yet, and who is making decisions about me that I CAN’T SEE! (and the monkeys start shedding at the very thought.) Better yet, I like the way I feel – he doesn’t make faces at me like a curious bystander when I hike up my skirt and start dancing in puddles on the beach with his 3-year-old under the moonlight. Or maybe he IS a curious bystander – until I slink over to a steal a kiss – then carry on with my business. Maybe I am good entertainment. Ultimately, what I am trying to persuade my monkeys to see is that it doesn’t matter HOW many times I re-arrange the cage furniture, a fresh batch of flowers and a new scent is not toxic, and how else are we all going to learn to get along in here if I don’t add something new to explore and chatter about? And NO, I don’t need television – it only makes my monkey mind more agitated watching stories and getting ideas about what life SHOULD look like, or what a train-wreck society currently is. It adds to my what-ifs.
So I guess I will keep lobbing myself at him in different ways, and hopefully I can still rest my head in his hands every now-and-again. And secretly, because I think I can read minds, he may be going through a little of this himself (if he was asking what’s wrong with her, I think he would be “running like hell” at this point.) I will take all my polka-dotted learning experiences (seeing that nothing has been a failure in my life – EVEN a divorce) and tuck them under my arm, and stand at that edge, counting “1…2…3… Ju…., okay, one more time, you can do this, 1… 2…”