Hello you.

You.  Hello you.  I’ve met you before.  A younger, still hopeful, and somewhat arrogant version of me – she met you in a club 10 years ago.  You were unlike anyone she’d ever known and yet somehow, she knew you’d be her undoing.  One date in and that ME knew that she was done for.  She staggered forward anyway.  It’s not like she stood a chance, but she didn’t have a choice.  There wasn’t a world or a lifetime that she wouldn’t fall absolutely and recklessly in love with you.  And that’s just what she did.  That girl would go on to turn herself inside out to love you.  And man, did she love you.  If I’m being honest, I do too.  We never stopped.  Even when your words and your actions and the world would force her to leave the dimension in which we were still one.

And now, a decade later, we meet again.  You look different this time.  Tamer and more refined.   Taller and leaner with perfectly coiffed dark hair, except when it’s not and, God, do I love when it’s not.  And your beard, well it’s fuller and darker and haphazardly flecked with grey and completely different than the one I knew yet I’m still unable to keep my head about me.  You smile less and are conservative with your conversation.  You used to freely offer opinions and compliments and your laughter was barely contained by the edge of your thin lips.  Your jawline is still impossibly pronounced and I will never not crave it against my skin.  My chest constricts with ache to touch these new, fuller lips that act as gate keeper to the thoughts that could only be constructed by an insanely beautiful and flawed mind.  I remember when you eagerly and so damn confidently gave me your heart; you were the most unexpected contradiction and the very best tool to break through my cautionary wall.  But now, you vigilantly barricade your heart and keep your arms rigidly to your side as I plead for you to pry mine from this higher, more fortified wall.

I affect you differently this time.  I never understood the way you looked at me, spoke of me, and protectively held me.  We must have seen different things when we looked at me because you never hesitated to love me even when I couldn’t seem to commit to myself.  All these years later, I must have worn off on you.  You see me differently.  It feels like you might finally see me the way I see me; in jagged pieces.  You seem undecided, torn maybe.  I wish I could go back to the you that was blind to my physical imperfections and found my eclectic quirks endearing.

The form you currently inhabit and the one I first came to love, are very different vessels.  And I can’t deny the canyon of differences in the way you feel this go around.  Your energy seems to emanate from an entirely different source but is breathtaking, nonetheless.  The two of you, you’re not just separated by a decade.  The chasm between you seems impossible to bridge.  But don’t think my soul didn’t recognize you for what you were.  And more than that, I could already foresee what would happen.  Older and broken yet reformed; terrified and stubborn, I already knew I would love you.  How could I not?  I already knew what it felt like to have my soul find its mate.  So I knew that regardless of how you felt, I would fall absolutely and recklessly in love with you.

Time out

I put myself in time out.  Like the disciplinary kind of time out in which you put your kid in the corner to get them to think about the what and why of their behavior, I needed a minute or a handful of months to reevaluate my goals in blogging.  If I’m being honest, it probably had a lot to do with the reason I presented you with, but also there could be an uglier, less altruistic reason.

Quite sincerely, I wanted to find my tribe.  To scour the internet for my fellow cyber sufferers.  Less so I could find sisterly solidarity from the masses of betrayeds and more so I could possibly offer them hope in healing.  Or maybe it was to give them permission to tell their stories.  Or to feel enraged and give them a place to honor their temporary crappiness because they saw others sitting there too.  I had discovered on this road paved in bitterness, hope, recovery, relapse, and the ever-cyclical grief process that the best way to do these things and find my fellow warriors was to expose myself.  To be vulnerable and real.  But still in a protected way that let me control the vulnerability and realness that you saw; that still made me appear endearing and triumphant even amidst the brokenness.

I’ll blame my other motivations for blogging on the sun sign to which I was born.  We all know that Cancers have a mastery for mothering and nurturing and being adorably lovable.  We are born to be caretakers and lovers and the most pleasant of our species.  And when I felt that my inherent identity was stripped from me by no fault of my own (woe is me), I responded in a typical Cancer way.  I wanted justice.  Cancers have a heightened sense of right and wrong and can become incensed or passionate about seeing justice prevail.  I had been subjected to this horrific series of events by my sworn protector(s) and yet this “wrong” would go largely unrecognized and unpunished and my betrayers would move forward unharmed (apart from the dead one, obviously).  As a peaceful, nonconfrontational Cancerian, what could I do?  I could tell my story.  And I could do it in a kind of anonymous yet totally obvious to those that did a little checking kind of way.  And magically, I could find healing, and give others a face to identify with, and passive-aggressively leak my really ugly story so that just maybe he wasn’t totally getting away with it.  I’m not sorry that I did it and I’ll speak more to that later.  But I’ve come to a bend in this road where I needed to better visualize where I go from here and what my horizon looks like.

And after months of procrastinating, forgetting all that I’ve learned and worked for on this journey, stumbling back around to proven practices, I’m again seeing why I started writing.  And I’m ready to be back in this space.  Hopefully with an even greater sense of self awareness.

Second chances, same choices

The Bachelorette isn’t on Netflix.   Which is why I hadn’t seen an episode since the first season a decade or more ago.   And then a year ago, when Chris Soules became the man, I didn’t love being left out of the post rose office talk.  So I borrowed a friend’s Hulu login and joined the party.  And now I just can’t help myself.

Each season is gifted/plagued with a handful of seemingly genuine fellas, a few that seem to be misplaced and, of course, the requisite asshat.  JoJo may have been the most adorable and authentic bachelorette I’ve ever seen.  She had the usual misfits, some adorable ex athletes, and Chad.  Look, I’m a total sucker for beards and biceps but even I have no use for a tool of that variety.  Thankfully, with a little help from the other fellas, JoJo called him out and sent him home with all his protein.  Get him, girl.

Post send off, we gathered in our usual gossip spot to rehash the rose ceremony at work the next day.  Understandably, one of my female associates pointed out that Chad had just sealed his single fate.  No sane woman would ever accept a date from a man with such a steroid inflated ego.  One who was so obviously insecure that he was poised to pounce on an entire household of men in front of America.  After he cockily pleaded his case to be the next Bachelor during the After the Rose episode, where would ABC find two dozen ladies that were willing to vie for the hand of this season’s villain?  Where you ask?  Oh, just every city in America.  And basically a slew of beautiful, intelligent, and mostly lovely women would step up to submit they’re video application to be the chosen recipients of Chad’s adoration.  Except I’m certain he would be searching to find the female most willing to supply *him* with the adoration.  And also deli meat.

Because here is what I know about women: we are stupid.  Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  But we are ignorantly hopeful and saintly or so sanguine about our nurturing nature that we think we can charm the ugly right out of any man.

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