Maybe it’s the power of suggestion, but today (Saturday), and yesterday (Friday), I was feeling so antsy-pants. So I walked it out, which I hadn’t done since I left my job that was within walking distance 3 months ago. I took the picture of these azalea blooms, which are located about halfway in my 50-something minute, 2.2 mile walk. Azaleas down here act like semi-annuals, not like the spring annuals I’m used to. It’s mid-October, and spring flowers ever bloom.
So. Anxiety. It’s not really related to the joblessness. I feel confident in that realm of possibility in my life, as I am laboring to rest until Monday. It’s back to the last post: love.
I recognize the asynchronous development that I have with relationships. When it comes to this area of my life, I feel like a complete failure. I keep planting seeds here, for my own chosen family, my own community. Some seeds sprout. Joined groups, made acquaintances, but not any real friends. Everyone’s dance cards are full. I’m somehow at peace with that, because I know I’ve tried as hard as I could, but that there are other places to try. I look forward to trying things out when I’m more financial stable.
The anxiety I feel is rooted in knowing, somehow, that my singleton days are numbered. I’m happy about that. But I feel very vulnerable, like I’m out in open space, waiting for someone to just drop in on my head, or full-on tackle me and take me down.
Either way, it’s been a struggle, to wrestle with my desires, try to pin them down, get the five count of victory, and then, integrate them into me. But it feels really awkward. I’m not really used to this. I skipped a lot of this in my adolescence (that’s a whole other essay). I don’t know how to be earnest about romantic relationships anymore without feeling foolish.
I think back to the first two people I fell in love with: my parents. I don’t feel bonded to either of them, really. Growing up as the firstborn, and with my brother who has developmental delays, my parents implicitly relied on me to not need them. And then I relied on that as my identity: not needed. I’m good by myself. I sublimated my desires, right into the air. I took one for the team, often. When I was 8, I gladly took one for the team when I was presented with the choice of a boy’s bike that I could pass down to my brother, or a girl’s bike. I took the boy’s bike. Thirty years later, I have no idea if I really wanted the girl’s bike, though.
When I was 17, I wanted to go on this cross-country missions trip with my youth pastor who was leaving that fall. My mom decided it was the time to go back home to West Africa and visit for a few weeks. Granted, she hadn’t been in almost 20 years at that point, since she immigrated to the States. It was assumed I’d be the woman of the house. I don’t know if I was really needed, but that summer stunk with my frustration and disappointment.
In friendships, I rarely ask for help, to the point that asking for help felt shameful for me, and when I’m forced to, the compassion I am hoping to receive…it seems to come drip by drip. It’s not that I’m not grateful, but I feel the undercurrent of the assumption, that I’m gonna be just fine, that I don’t need help. Mentally, it’s frustrating because I know that’s not true. Yet I’m the one who has been passing out those propaganda leaflets. “Be my friend! Low drama! No need to even water or feed!” #DoubleCapricornProblems
As you can imagine, this dynamic doesn’t really work well in the pink fluffy cloud land of romance. Ideally, it should–hey, I’m here because I don’t need you. I like you. Let’s do life together. But, somehow, I’m still stuck in the wallpaper of my youth. Sometimes, people see me and try to pull me out. But many times, I’m still undercover, still a charming chameleon.
My time in Florida, which has been a transformative, painful experience, has also been quite disarming. In the last three years, I’ve met four disarming men, one online. I realized that the first was even in this list this week. He was like the third–said the right things at the right time, but wasn’t at all interested in carrying those words through to the real world of actions and consequences. I didn’t really realize how much that hurt until I was looking at an old journal entry right after he shut me out (three years ago), and how careless I may have been with my own heart.
Second guy, I don’t think he will ever know what he was laying down and why I was picking it up. I’ll blame his millennialness, for now. What I learned from our energetic tango was that true caring is starting to be the thing that I value most in people. I don’t think this was cowardice, why he denied the mixed signals. It was a sleeping but powerful consciousness calling me forward into a new level of spirituality (funny, we’re both ex-evangelicals)…but not for anything that would deal with him.
Fourth guy…is a set of ellipsis?
I may have said this in my last post, how I was drawn to him before I even met him, by his name. Kismet calling.
I’m still trying to figure out how I can be that authentically empathetic with people, like he was with me. I’m inspired, I don’t know if I have it in me. He should teach a class. If I could do for others what he did for me…
What’s scary is that I found that I was standing off from my own self when we met. I’ve been on a journey of self-love, like many of you reading this. It’s a lovely buzzword, and if you had some decent parents, you already have a head start. My parents weren’t at all interested in my very vast, emotional landscape, where I lived and thrived. I also was “just fine” being off by myself.
In this journey of being pro-me, I’ve gotten better about not being negative about myself. But being positive and affirmative? Outside of academia and music, I don’t know how to do that very well. So it’s like I’ve been driving in neutral for most of my life, just coasting. I’m not horrible. I’m excellent in a couple of things, and the rest of me is OK. Ordinary. Nothing to scream about. This coasting then became about survival, which I am excellent at. But this summer I realized I was doing more than surviving. I was on my way to thriving, but still had (have?) the mindset of living in extremely hostile conditions.
The fourth guy…I’m not sure what driving metaphor would work. He waved me over? He lurched me into first gear? He stood in my way and I had to slam on my brakes? All of the above?
And in a minute, I’m already going into my feelings about stuff. I had gotten so great at dreaded small talk, and now, here I am pouring my anxious heart into some new acquaintance’s hands, and he didn’t even flinch.
And it keeps happening, and then I leave the conversations not knowing anything about him and I’m flustered. And it’s two weeks later, and I feel chagrined.
I’m past survival, hooray! BUT, internally, everything wasn’t “just fine,” and he knew that. I had said so. And I hadn’t had anyone in town to talk about this. It’s all been online–and I’m grateful for Twitter. All I thought I was doing was sharing this very common professional experience of living in the gig economy. But I was coming out of the wall, so easily.
There are a lot of thoughts about this 4th person, and about myself, and I don’t know how to thread them. There’s the thread of the anticipation/dread which is pretty basic: will we ever see each other again? And that’s not my call. Dude has the digits and the email.
There’s the thread that stands out in a full moon like this: what do I really want? This feeling of easily being seen or this person who chose to see me? Right now, it’s both/and, not either/or, and that’s going against what I’ve had readings on. But I can’t even be spiritually logical and commonsensical about this anymore. This may be a must-take, a mistake I need to make.. Also, the outcome doesn’t matter as much as I feel it does (easier said than felt and realized).
There’s the thread of self-disappointment and sadness: I’m still not where I want to be in my life, circumstantially especially. If anything started, with anyone, what am I bringing to the table? A lot of potential?
There’s the frayed thread of dealing with this idea of being separated from my emotions and my desires in order to pacify and please others. It’s frayed because I basically came into the world with it. I didn’t think this was me–seems very antithetical. That dude held up a mirror and showed me it was.
There’s the thread of fear. I don’t like being vulnerable and open, because people are assholes, lots of them. And, this has been an ongoing conversation with the Universe, of using my flatlining love life as a way to spiritually up-level me. I’d like to declare that season over because it’s exhausting, to gather up my energy and try again, scared to make the same mistakes over and over. Reading the old 2013 journal entry about the first guy made me scared that I was stuck. But no one who has read for me in tarot or otherwise thinks that. Even my own readings tell me I’m not stuck. Things are moving forward. I am ready. For something.
And I have to start thinking about what I deserve in a non-entitled, life has been hard way, but in a more receptive, the Universe has my back sort of way. To be proactive in creating wholeness in my life. To affirm myself when no one else does. Now that the storm is over, the fire is out, the war has ended–I can start to choose what I want to do, where I want to go, and who I want to be with. I’m not beholden to anyone.
Related (or, said in another way): there’s a thick thread of shame, about all of it, it being my realm of relationships. How many more wild goose chases in the name of spiritual growth can I take? This feels like the last one, for many reasons–the main one being exhaustion. I’m glad I’m efficient in the recycling of my heartbreaks, but this is starting to look a little silly, like I have really poor judgment and poor boundaries (not like those couldn’t be corrected, of course).
Ultimately, it’s the shame of having feelings, of having desires, of not being on the same page with, honestly, most people. I don’t need most people, though. Still, when I get in sync with someone, it seems so rare, like it’s fate. But it could be another kind of fate. And that’s a growth point for me, beyond rescuing myself from self-abandonment. Sometimes a conversation is just a conversation, even if I want more. And wanting more is OK. Even as a double Capricorn, I can only calculate risk so far. The leap of faith beckons. You take your first step in the air. Gravity takes care of the rest.
Sometimes, you have to admit to yourself that you want to him to feel the same way as you do, and that he’ll do something about it. You want to bask in the sun again, the sunlight of recognition and acceptance. Your true stellar alignment comes when you are no longer a moon, gaining light from other stars, but when you are your own sun.
You were already, and always will be, the sun.