always hope

I consider myself a pretty hopeful person.  I have my moments, sure, when I’m just kind of sour on things.  When I doubt things and just feel odd about things.  But, more often than not, I’m always able to hold out hope.  It’s the thing that allows me to be loyal to people.  It’s why I’m able to be brave.  It’s a core part of my own sense of resilience. I’ve found I have this ability to hold on that most people don’t have.

A few years ago, in the years that followed my mother’s death and a huge heartbreak for me–my first real heartbreak that nearly broke me in two–I took a writing workshop run by this amazing nonprofit.  They were basically doing what I didn’t know I wanted to do–until years later.  I had a chance to work with them for a little while during my time getting my Master’s.  In any case, I had just had kind of a awful breakup after a short, but passionate, relationship ended.  It was so demoralizing that it inspired me to take a break from dating that lasted over a year.  But I remember, at the end of that inspiring workshop, I had to pick out a button after wishing for something. And my button said “hope.”  I took it as a sign.  That I was doing the right things for me, and that the stuff that was unresolved in my heart–related to men and my own identity–would eventually resolve.  When that time was over, I ended up in my longest relationship and–while that ended–it restored my faith in my own ability to love again.

Over the years, I’ve gone through these cycles of hibernating–being a nun–and these cycles of suddenly being aware that love exists.  My life reflects my introvert personality in that way.  Rest followed by intense activity—that requires more rest.  I think part of that has to do with my need to think about things–not just feel them.  My heart is impulsive and silly and often foolish.  I don’t make the best choices, always, and what feels like home often is so wrong for me.  Because my idea of home is so complicated and often the opposite of what I actually need.

I’m not really someone who is wishy washy about people.  I know instantly if I like you.  I know instantly if I trust you.  And if both of those things are true, I will probably never completely give up on you–even if you are heinously awful. Even if you give me every reason to walk away.  I’ve always been that way.  Part of me hates that I’m this way, but it’s a core part of who I am.  I don’t throw people away.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be like it was.  It doesn’t mean I want much from it.  It just means I’ll be there if you need me.  Always.  It means I’ll give you a chance.  Always.

I’ve kind of been surprised by how much I’ve changed this year, though–by how much that part of me has been tested–by how much that aspect of my personality has had to evolve to fit my life and the boundaries I’m establishing.

I had kind of given up on the Canadian before we started talking again.  It was guilt that made me finally respond to him.  I was puzzled by my anger and how I was using it to keep him at arm’s length.  Mostly because I wasn’t really angry.  I was just using certain things to avoid him.  I think part of me knew there was still a connection there, and part of me knew that letting him in again would mean the connection would deepen.  And part of me knew I wasn’t equipped to deal with that and our situation was challenging.  It always was.

But I impulsively said hi, one day, and the rest is an interesting summer.

I’m puzzled by how I feel about him.  About the wishy washy feelings I have toward us.  By how angry I can get at him for what he believes.  By how hurt I can feel because of what he doesn’t do or can’t do.  And part of me wonders if it’s because the dysfunctional part of my heart is looking for chaos and all the reasons why not–all those things that I forgave and ignored with the guys I chose before.  That eventually slapped me in the face.

The hard part about all of it is–I don’t know what healthy or right or whatever really is because I only have sick models and no clear reference point.

I’m better this time about expressing my doubts and feelings–which, before, were secrets only a few knew about…but definitely not shared with him.  I was protecting him from me, and now, I seem to protect myself a whole lot more.  I wish I was better about it, still, as my doubts often come out as angry bursts of blurting about how we need to backslide and downgrade and not do this anymore.  But not go anywhere either.

We finally had a big talk yesterday.  Though it wasn’t tied up in a pretty bow like I wanted.  The talk was difficult and frustrating because I couldn’t get the words out.  So, we started by talking about what we thought about relationships.  What they were.  What was the point?  We got on the same page.  He finally acknowledged that–hey, we ARE in a relationship.  And HEY–this is not taking things slow.

And I told him I felt wishy washy and doubtful.  That I didn’t know.  That he angered me, and I feel like a weirdo.  And I’m completely confused by all of it.

And I felt really sad and frustrated as we kept talking, but at least I was being honest and so was he.  And then, he said he loved me.  But in a way he’d never said it before, and God–I felt it–in a way I maybe never have.  But it didn’t make me sappy or excited.  It made me kind of sad.  But hopeful, too, because–despite my doubts–that right there…exists.

So, we’re giving it more time.  I won’t run.  We’ll keep trying and keep talking.  And see where it goes.  But yes–it’s something.

I guess that’s a start.

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