Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Chapter 8: Fell in Love

I know. Shocking. Shocked the shit out of me, too. It’s so cliché, that it happens when you least expect it, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t true. For goodness sake, though I know this will sound negative (and I honestly don’t mean it or feel it that way), but I truly thought the statute of limitations had run out on the possibility of my falling in love. And though I have worked hard to keep myself open to it happening while building a full life that truly fulfills me, well, it’s just been so long, I had come to terms with it possibly never happening again. It’s been about 24 years since the first (and probably only real time) I ever fell in love, after all. Now that’s not to say that I don’t fall in lust here and there (thank goodness)…but there’s a helluva big difference between love and lust…in terms of romantic relationships, this red-blooded American girl thinks that, ideally, the former includes the latter. For me, though, the latter hasn’t really included the former for, well, 24 years.

There’s some bad news, though. Though I fell in love, at this point, I'm unsure if there will be a relationship. Yah…bummer. With good reasons that I won’t expand on here. What I will expand on are some of the ways I’ve been impacted by this, have grown and learned through it.

First, hell, now I know I can still fall in love. That’s quite the relief. I think that somewhere deep down I thought I might be broken. I don’t know exactly what it is inside of us that allows us to fall in love, but I figured whatever it is in me, was just broken. It’s not. Whew.

I also know that when it does happen, in addition to coming out of the blue, it’s so easy. My God, it’s sooo easy. It just happens. It’s not there one day. And it’s there the next. Big. Bold. Amazing. Mmmmmm. Yummy. I haven’t been a monk all these years, so I’ve dated and lusted and dated some more, and because the “love” thing never materialized even when I really liked a guy and wanted it to, I think I developed the idea that it takes a lot of work to fall in love. Hmph. Not so much. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to realize it takes work to make a relationship, to keep the love alive and truly fulfilling….but to actually take the fall? may only come every couple decades in my life, but, damn, when it shows up, it’s effortless. Again…mmmmm.

People ask me all the time why I’ve never married. Depending on who is asking, and how it’s being asked, the question can be flattering…not really affect me one way or the other…or be just plain insulting. But no matter how or when it’s asked, I never really have a solid answer. One minute, it can feel like there are millions of reasons, and the next? Like there are absolutely no explanations. But another really important thing I learned from falling in love this summer is that I’ve made the right decision by not marrying. That first time I fell in love, at the mere age of about 19, I wasn’t even close to being ready for the type of work and commitment it must take to maintain a strong marriage. Hell, I wasn’t even ME yet (yah…I know…yet another cliché…but true). Maybe we could have made it work, I don’t know. But I do know that the paths that decision set me on have been amazing. I love my life. I love who I am, where I am and what I’m doing, and all the freedom I have to continue to grow wherever and in whatever way I choose. And besides, I haven’t been in love – for real – since then. Until now. That’s not to say that I never will marry. But for whatever reason, it took me a really long time to fall in love again, and I know if I am ever to marry, it will only be for the kind of love I just experienced. It was perfect. Well, except for the fact that it may not culminate in a relationship. Yah. I realize that’s a conundrum. But it all makes sense to me.

And that’s another thing I’ve learned. It only needs to make sense to me and the guy I fall for. I’ve spent a lot of time, not only in the arena of love but in many other arenas in my life, considering what others are thinking about what I’m doing or feeling. I haven’t always been able to admit that to myself (a bit prideful, I am), but have realized through a variety of circumstances recently that it’s the truth. Ummm…now I know…not always so important. Perhaps I’m not giving myself enough credit, though, because if I did worry too much about what others thought, I would have gotten married to the wrong guy a long time ago – after all, women are pretty much considered freaks if we don’t get married. Hell, men are, too, for that matter. (But I think women are considered MORE freakish.) But feeling all the things I’ve felt recently, figuring out what’s possible, what I want, what I need…has made me realize that I don’t need others to understand or approve of my feelings to feel at peace with those feelings. Man, that’s empowering. Don’t worry, I’m not going to become all antisocial and deviant or anything (well, other than maybe never choosing to marry – blasphemy!), but I’m just more at peace with knowing what I want. And I won’t settle for anything less than the kind of love I’ve just experienced.

So, that’s just a few of the things I’ve learned, and a few of the ways I’ve been impacted by falling in love this summer. It all seems good, no? Mmmmm….there’s more, of course, that’s not so comforting. Like, well, it hurts like a mother fucker to fall for someone (and feel fairly certain the feelings are reciprocal) and realize the universe might not be aligned the way it needs to be for the love to get a chance to do more than take root. Like. A. Mother. Fucker. When I think of all of this, the entire progression and context of falling in love this summer within the broader context of who I am and what my life is, I know all is alright…all has happened for a variety of reasons, and has likely even happened to prepare me for something even better to come. But when I think of him…and how he may suddenly. Not. Be. In. My. Life. At. All. Ever. Holy shit. That’s empty. And awful. And so very, very disappointing. Because it felt really, really good to be in his arms, to simply be in his presence. He got Bridgeport (a VERY important thing to me). And he got me. Hell, he saw me more clearly than guys I dated for two to three years…How is that possible? Yah. Don’t know. And don’t feel like I even have to explain or reassure anyone else that it’s true. It just is. I miss him. I miss the reality of us…and the potential of us. Plain and simple.

But again, when I shift my focus back to the broader context of my life as a whole…I know all is alright, and will continue to be so. No regrets.


Anonymous said...

Oh, what a powerful (good and sad) story -- I'm so happy for you! I wish more people understood love as well as you -- and realized that the best kind demands that it be on your terms (not the terms of others').

Also, I wish we'd had a chance to chat at the wedding -- crazy times, though and never enough of it! =)

Leslie Pompa said...

Thank you for sharing your love of life and, now, your love of love. Although I've only spent a few hours with you, in person, your openness and who you are makes it impossible not to love you. I'm so glad to have met you and to be able to continue to share your love of life and living.