For as long as I remember, I’ve just wanted to be loved. While I have been loved in varying ways throughout my life, there has always been this immeasurable hole that never seemed to be able to be filled–no matter how much someone said they loved me.
I’m a meaning maker–a connection seeker–who really just wants to be seen and to see. That’s the gist of who I am and what I’ve always done. My main motivation, always. And while I’ve loved the men I have been involved with, I’ve never felt that deep sense of belonging that I’ve always sort of ached for. I wanted to–desperately–but at the end of most days, when the lights were out and he was sound asleep next to me? I’d walk out to the couch or set up on the floor instead of settling in to him. And he probably never even knew.
I was always afraid that me just being me–even in sleep–would hurt him somehow. So I went back to being alone in the ways I do.
Yesterday, he told me I’m a hole poker. I’ve been called Chuck Norris before, so the concept wasn’t lost on me or even much of a surprise. The way he said it and how he said it? It fit. “Oh, yea. I am.” Made sense. Because I had done it this week. This beautiful man tells me how much he loves me, and instead of just accepting it–I tell him why he shouldn’t. I tell him about all my bullshit. And worse? I try to protect him from it. But like me with him–he just wants to know me. And he actually loves me. The person I am–not the one holding up the entire world. All the holes. All the crap. He just wants to see me.
My ex told me something like this once, and the way he said it stung. Actually made me do it more. Made me test him more. Because I felt us unraveling, I guess. Even as I told myself some other story that I wanted to believe more. The way he said it was mean. And I felt more unseen than I ever had been. Instead of helping me open up, as he probably intended in his comment, it made me close up tighter than Fort Knox. Mostly because the way he said it made me feel like he had no idea who I was or why I was like this. I was just some fucked up girl he couldn’t love.
It was different this time. Because there was empathy. An–I get it, and I love you anyway. A please don’t do this anymore. So, I heard him and started the work again of being present instead of debunking.
This whole relationship feels like healing from the damage of my last major ex. I don’t think I realized how much that relationship broke me until I starting loving this man. But I’m grateful for it because I am not that woman that other man didn’t love enough anymore. I am a woman deserving of this love, and that’s kind of stunning.
I am actually hopeful about this. Sure about it. Serious about it. Happy. Because I fall asleep with him. My arm is still up, but it’s coming down. I feel safe. We just fit. He is just as silly as I am, but achingly sincere and forthright. We struggle together and are better together. I want to crawl inside a little ball with him wrapped around me forever. Sometimes, it feels like we share one big heart. I don’t need to fill up the entire Universe with words. I can just be there with him in the dark. Just me. Just him. None of the crap I’ve always been. It feels completely different from anything I’ve known, and I’m just sorta amazed that this is actually mine.
So, many of you might be seeing these posts on social media today from women in your lives. Some people explain what it means. Many don’t. What is it about? Well, we are sharing that we were either sexually harassed or assaulted in our lives. There are varying degrees of that. And if you’d like to have conversations about these things, I’m open to it. But mostly, I just want you all to be aware that these things happen every day to women just like me who did absolutely nothing wrong.
It’s been a couple months since I first became aware you existed. You started the clock then, and we haven’t gotten sick of each other yet. I don’t think we will. Somehow, we’re here–in spite of all of the obstacles and shit we’ve gone through to get here. Every day, I look forward to saying good morning and hate saying goodnight–even though you’re usually so cute and groggy that I oddly also look forward to it.
Finding someone to love, who somehow (miraculously) loves you back? Sometimes, it feels like some kind of goddamn miracle. Of course, loving someone is just the beginning of the story. There are layers to scavenge and holes to plunge. Knowing someone and loving them for a while takes guts and time. And it can be hard.
Years ago, I wrote this thing on my blog–not to anyone in particular, really–but it was a way for me to cliff note who I was for guys who wanted to be someone to me. A way to save time, mostly, because that’s my way. So, this week has been one of those magical weeks that have left me smiling like a ninny. This good thing that somehow showed up in the darkness I was living in just a few weeks ago. You.
Maybe it’s silly to write something like this…maybe I should just tell you to read the blog–as I did when Mama died. But meh. I’ve never done the conventional/wise shit. So here’s your crash course in me and how I am sometimes.
This past July, I spent about 2 weeks meandering through the streets of San Jose and the adjacent little towns/cities (?)–trying my darnedest not to feel like some newb alien girl. My roommate had the radio station tuned to some abomination that these folks call radio, and I made it my mission in life to find a decent radio station before my time was up. Back home, in Denver, I was spoiled by the best radio station in the world (KBCO, if case you’re wondering). What made KBCO great was they played an abundance of popular stuff alongside really old stuff and mostly unknown artists. I used to love to listen and discover music that maybe I missed or that no one knew about. Van Morrison, Stevie Nicks, & Tom Petty were mainstays–holding down the fort with their dependable brand of tunes. These artists were always a part of my life, though. Every happy day included a few songs from them, and I knew all their songs by heart. Especially Tom’s.
I remember that hot as fuck day in July, driving around–looking for a goddamn Starbucks–just wanting some damn iced tea–wanting to do a good deed–and being lost as all get out. I finally found a radio station that didn’t make me want to stab myself, but they played far too much Imagine Dragons. So I was more than grateful when an old friend appeared. This song.
I remember rolling down the windows, driving probably too fast (as is my way)–singing my heart out–and finally seeing the elusive Bux. I had done this exact thing so many times, on dozens of mountain roadtrips. This music had always been mine, and for a second, I felt like I was still me. Even though I was here.
There was something about Tom. About his sad, weary eyes and his gentle voice paired with his layered lyrics and infectious riffs. Above all, he was a storyteller. The people in his songs were outsiders who didn’t fit in and knew they were meant for something more–something else–and life often kicked them in the gut. He told stories about people like me. There was always a bit of humor and a bit of badass to these stories. The music was about standing back up. It was about telling the truth. And it was beautiful and sexy and fun.
I remember this music was always in the background everywhere I went as a kid. It was always next to Elvis and Cash in our home. Every single happy day in my life, this was my soundtrack. It was music that could send you flying down a highway, hoarse from singing along. Lyrics that meant something with a beat that made you move in your seat. It was hopeful, but only because the narrator had seen some shit and come out somehow alive.
I knew nothing about Tom’s story until my late 20s when his music became even more important to me, getting me through terrible relationships and jobs. Then I found myself listening to interviews about his life. About his childhood–one that was a lot like mine–and I found myself identifying with him. He respected his audience above all else and wasn’t afraid to be himself with them. I admired how he stuck by his art–but moreso the process of creating something from nothing–and how he advocated for other artists. He inspired me to do the same for myself and my peers. The idea that an artist is an activist was especially important to me this year. His music, again, got me through the darkness by acknowledging its existence and raging back with its allegiance to flight.
Yesterday was hard. But not in the way I expected. When you’re approaching forty, life often feels harder than it needs to be. Some of us have lost our parents–or are starting to–and slowly, as time goes on, our heroes go too. Those people we thought were immortal. The ones that transcended space and time and showed us who we were. Artists are especially dear to me, I’ve found. They help me access the person I was when life was simpler. Maybe not good–but that is still mine.
Whenever someone’s heart just stops, I think of my Mama. Well, I think of her every day of my life–all day long. That is not new. But I specifically think of the day she died, and my heart breaks a little more because no one needs to die like that. And that was kind of what yesterday was: one wave of needless suffering after another. But then I remembered I could still sing along to that lush chorus, and I had another day in the sun to look forward to. And I decided then that I’d honor that suffering by ending my own as often as I could. And I could do that by accessing the gifts that man gave the world.
Thank you, sir.
Before we discuss the topic at hand, I kinda want to let y’all know something. I’ve really tried to shy away from sharing huge specifics about my love life (because it’s not just about me & what I want to share), but I do try to keep y’all in the loop because I do like to discuss shit that comes up for me in those relationships. Love is fertile ground for me in terms of learning about myself and how I want to be in the world. So, that said, while it’s still very-very-very new, I’ve met someone I’m pretty smitten with–and he’s an infp. It’s a bit like looking into a mirror at times, which is actually fairly amusing. We laugh so much, and he never tires of my crazy stories. My logic makes sense to him. There are some obstacles, of course, but I’ve been enjoying his company. He makes me feel special–which is super rare for my relationships. So, if I seem a little lighter these days, I probably am. I had basically given up any hope of finding even a strong friendship out here, and then this person showed up in my inbox. I’m not sure what will happen, but I’m certain it’s all good, and I’m just taking my time enjoying what is.
I’ve always been a huge believer in the idea that your mate should inspire you to be your best self. They should support your dreams, but also make sure you’re being true to yourself. If you change your mind about something, that should be okay too. They should want to understand you and want to be there with you for all the great things and the horrible things. I’ve had a lot of men in my life who were one or the other or they couldn’t allow me to change my mind. I’m a fickle girl–prone to massive about faces–so this flexibility is pretty important to me. In the end, this is all about loyalty. You may not understand my thought process, but you respect that I know what’s best for me…even if it makes you wonder who I am.
I try to be like that myself. In fact, as an infp, maybe my downfall is that I am too supportive. My other downfall? I see the good–and potential for greatness–in everyone. Seeing that greatness can be hard because, if someone isn’t ready for that greatness I see, it can be frustrating to watch them struggle. I want them to be themselves and to be truly happy–so seeing them not see what I see irritates me to no end. And I can get this malaise of disappointment because of it. It’s a little unfair, and I’ve been guilty of pushing people in ways that are not supportive.
I share all of this with you guys now because I realized today that I do this to myself, too. I know–deep in my bones–that I’m destined to make a big difference in the world. I recently came through a period that I can only describe as a dark night of the soul where I literally wondered if I was a good human being because I didn’t want to make a career out of rescuing people. It’s been a long lesson for me–and a devastating realization that maybe I’m not who I thought I’d be. But I knew I’m capable of great things, and that my lot in life is not just to make money, work, and retire.
I’ve always known I am a writer. Always. It’s my therapy, really, and it’s the way I connect to other humans most deeply. I often struggle with sharing who I am with people in person. I had a sort of a-ha moment about that recently when I realized I hadn’t really been me the entire time my last serious boyfriend lived with me. That constant requirement of intimacy caused parts of me to go into hiding–so I’m sure I felt very different to him–and he was just getting the surface shit I normally serve up when I’m being polite. Then my life sorta tailspinned, and I couldn’t let him in. No one’s fault, really. It needed time, and had we had that, he would have been let in. But that deep, painful intimacy most relationships need takes a while for me–especially when I’m licking my wounds. The truth is–that year was just the start of a multi-pronged realization that I wasn’t who I thought I was…that I didn’t want what I thought I wanted…that what I thought was good and healthy wasn’t healthy FOR ME. And welp, I’ve now done that work. My last therapy appointment was so positive. My therapist was so complimentary and so impressed with the work I mostly did on my own while we were on a short hiatus. She was proud of me. I was proud of myself. Strong. In a vulnerable way. Still terrified, but fully owning who I am.
So, here I am with this blank slate.
I can do anything.
This makes me cry. Like Mama dream tears.
I’ve always wanted freedom. As a little girl, my life was about obligation and duty. And I was happy to be all about that if it meant those I loved were okay. But it wasn’t okay.
I’ve lost literally everything about that old life. I feel like I’ve been burned alive, sometimes. But who I am–who I really am–is still here. And who I really am is someone who writes. Someone who watches. Someones not bound by anything.
The past several days have been kind of healing because–after all that introspection and tearing down bullshit and reasserting boundaries–I was given this gift of sharing who I was with someone who really valued it. Who wanted nothing from me except to know me. I told him so many stories, and I realized how much I fucking missed that.
I miss sharing what most people forget. I miss sharing the people I used to know.
So, I’m working on some things to create that life–that free life full of what I love. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and it’s scary as fuck–but it’s mine. I know it. More mine than anything I ever worked for. And like fresh love, I’m going to let myself meander–find my path–figure it out. No rush.
I’ve always been in a rush, so this is going to be different.
I have a couple stories I’m writing in the meantime. Both of them, if they ever see the light of day, might get me burned at the stake of public opinion. One of them is about terrorism from a perspective most never have. It’s going to be a real stretch for me because it’s WAY out of my comfort zone. But I know I have it in me to do it, and if I write this thing, it can really change perceptions. It’s going to ask some tough questions about good and evil. It’s going to be unflinching. But more than anything, it’s going to be about human beings doing the best they can. No boogeymen. No fucking monsters. Just two little boys I knew once. The other one is going to be something I’ve wanted to write for a very long time about women–about my experience as a woman. And it’s going deep. It scares me to write it mostly because it’s shaking out all my BS and looking at it up-close. I think both these projects may be years in the making. I’m still setting up my French scenes, but I’m excited that I’m back, knee-deep into what has always been my home.
I think it’s going to be a good autumn/winter.