I had a really great and enlightening conversation with a lovely friend of a friend a few weekends ago while she was in town for business that put a lot of thinking in motion.
Over a glass of wine and a few tapas we caught up on work, family, friends, life and inevitably...as the female gender somehow always does...made our way to the topic of romantic relationships. I listened to her explain her current, somewhat unsure, "status" and gave as much support and girl, I hear ya love as I could.
"So," she asked "are you dating?".
Oy. When, I immediately thought, will this not be such a loaded question?
Yes. No? Sort of. I think? Not really. But yea?
This is what I could muster:
"I'm trying to trust the process with someone I've known for years", I said, "who is an amazing man I'm so grateful and happy to have in my life. He's funny, thoughtful, smart, loyal, playful and so easy going. Also, let me be real--he is a total effing babe. But he lives on the east coast and I, obviously, live 3,000 miles away from there. So...it's....I don't know. And sometimes I feel...just...I don't know."
Then a few days later, in an unfortunate liquid courage fueled moment, the act of trusting the process was crumpled up, lit on fire and used as the flame to burn up a great deal of my street cred. In short, I came clean about my fears of the blurry, undefined nature of the relationship to B way too late at night through tears I could barely understand my own thoughts within. To be clear, it wasn't the coming clean aspect that I was disappointed in myself for (this is a brave and necessary act in relationships) but the salty, boozy, shouldn't-you-both-be-asleep timing I chose for it. Even Superman has his kryptonite, though, right?
Much to my relief...and much to B's credit...when I then called the next day to apologize, he was sweet and forgiving, kind and patient. Telling me "there's nothing to be angry about. Everything you said was totally fair." He even made a few jokes to lighten the entire ordeal and lessen my worries. If it were possible, I would have reached through the phone and kissed him for that. And even though no great mystery was solved or resolution shook upon, I felt a lot better simply because of B's nature to be generally unafraid of the unknown future and his gentle willingness to let the past stay where it is...including "the past" of just a few hours before.
So here's what this mini melt down lead me to wonder:
If I truly have the faith that I speak of here on TGL--faith in myself and God, faith in the process, love and light--what, exactly, am I stressing about? I think it comes down to a couple of things. For one, I've got a lot of love to give and I'm excited to share it with someone. For another, my past few attempts at dating have left me still a little scarred. The residual fears and insecurities from those are hard to keep from bubbling up at times. And most of all, I'm homesick. It's odd for me to publicly state that since my rolling stone soul has craved ever changing adventure for as long as I can remember, but there it is--I am deeply homesick. This wave of homesickness has caused me to feel like the glorious freedom I've had for the past 2 years in particular...a freedom that has been a huge gift, learning process and healing path...has finally started to lose its appeal a bit. Or perhaps more accurately, I'm losing my ability to manage it. In the ultimate #firstworldproblems statement, it's almost as if too much of my life is flexible, willy nilly, fly by the seat of my pants. I have no one to answer to, no one to hold me accountable for much and no one to make a priority besides myself. And that has been OK. Good for me, even. But I think I'm craving a bit of structure (security? responsibility? commitment? I'm not quite sure.) now and I've been putting all my attention into gaining that structure in the form of a partnership when there are so many other ways to be fulfilled.
Ironically, everything that I told my wine and tapas date a few weeks ago in the style of big sister advice applies to me now, too. Mostly:
Love comes in many forms. It's important not to close yourself off to any of it.
At one point in our conversation my friend glanced at her phone, sighing. "You know what sucks? I have 4 different friends texting me kind and loving things right now..but because none of them are *him*, I feel like I can't appreciate it." Nail on the head, right? Life is big. Our hearts can be bigger, if we open them enough. So learn to appreciate love of all kinds; let it come in and freely give it out.
Be careful where you put your passion.
In reply to an old, dear friend and Grateful Lifer I recently said (pardon my email cut and paste job): Passion is something I will, like you, continue to chase my whole life. It's just who I am...when I put my source of passion in another person, however, I'm screwed. I wouldn't recommend that to anyone. But when passion comes from within, is generously shared with others (including friends, family and partners) and explored even within the mundane? That's when I feel the most full. Make sure to take the time expressing and indulging in passion from the ooey gooey goodness within you, instead of seeking it in another person.
And here is what I know in my heart, above all else:
No matter what, everything will be OK.
I know that both B and myself are in the midst of a number of life changes and there are things for us to "figure out" that have nothing to do with one another. I can't speak for him, but I know it's important for me to figure out my own shit first in order to be the best possible partner I can be to him or anyone else. Two halves don't make a whole; two wholes do. The "security" I was seeking in a title of sorts is for the benefit of others, anyway. A title only goes so far; the life that happens between two people is what really counts. And if you can be light and love during that shit figuring out process, regardless of the outcome? If you can be present and playful, authentic and kind while knowing you are worthy of good things?
Well, that's a pretty damn great place to be.