I Have Been Changed For Good.

I have a sensory memory: sounds, smells, music, temperature and humidity or a combination trigger memories.

I have an emotional memory: I don’t just remember the situation, I remember and re-experience all the emotions that go along with it. Intensely.

I just saw Wicked tonight.

Wicked was the last musical I saw with my ex- right before we split. For the last time. For real. For ever.

When Elphaba and Glinda know their parting is nigh, they sing one final song together:

“I’ve heard it said / That people come into our lives for a reason / Bringing something we must learn / And we are led /To those who help us most to grow / If we let them / And we help them in return.”

He taught me to be selfless, to love, to trust in God. I hope, hope, hope, he has something positive to say about me.

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? / But because I knew you / I have been changed for good.”

Back then I knew that I’d been changed. I was afraid I’d become unable to trust, cynical and negative. I knew my resiliency and character had grown. Today, I can see how I’ve changed, both from that relationship and in the years since.

“It well may be / That we will never meet again / In this lifetime / So let me say before we part / So much of me / Is made of what I learned from you / You’ll be with me / Like a handprint on my heart / And now whatever way our stories end / I know you have re-written mine.”

I remembered the tears rolling down my cheeks the first time years ago as they rolled down again tonight. I felt the aching in my chest remembering how much I wanted to thank him for everything, the good and the bad, the friendship, the laughter and the tears. I remember the heaviness in my heart, the sorrow that we may never meet again, that I may never be ready to meet him again.

“And just to clear the air / I ask forgiveness / For the things I’ve done you blame me for / But then, I guess we know / There’s blame to share.”

A hard acknowledgement; a true phrase.

“And none of it seems to matter anymore”

We wrote the end of that chapter of our lives together. Not the ending either of us expected, but it was the ending we chose through the consequences of our actions. It was time to move on then. It was time to remember today. But, like always, tomorrow is a new day, with new light and new hope.

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t think about this anymore. I’m in such a different position in life now. Yet sometimes, memories and emotions come flooding back.

“Because I knew you… / I have been changed for good…”

Fears and Uncertainty.

I recently learned that a friend of mine who was engaged is no longer engaged. She realized that beyond not being excited or into planning a wedding, she wasn’t into being married. And thus she broke up with her fiance. This news has caused me to go into a bit of a funk, reevaluating and reassessing what I want in life.

My friend and her now ex- were relaxed about the idea of marriage, they were focused on just enjoying life together and being in a relationship. Time moves forward, years start to slip by, they eventually became engaged, well, because that’s what he wanted. My friend put the condition on it that she would never be a stereotypical, traditional stay-at-home, bake-cookies, host play-dates type of wife (sorry, I know this might offend some). Her boyfriend/fiance calmed her fears saying if she would transformed into that, he’d have to divorce her because that’s not who she was. I smiled at that. It seemed like they understood each other.

Six or seven months later, they’re no longer together. At all. What changed? How come it changed? Did it actually ever change – was it subconsciousness surfacing months later?

I’ve been recently reading articles on marriage on The Good Women Project. These articles talked about the challenges of marriage. They talked about the little good things. They made me have faith in my ability to love someone enough to marry them and work together to build a joint and unified life.

Then my friend becomes un-engaged and I find myself questioning whether or not I want to be married, whether or not I want to be in a relationship. I know that I miss / desire / long for companionship and the peace that comes with being in a stable relationship. I’m in an open relationship; I have what I’m looking for, sometimes, well, only occasionally. I recall the joy of living and breathing alongside someone you love. But then I look at my life and I look at how un-engaged I am in dating, in actively seeking out and meeting and building up relationships with people and I wonder if this is a subconscious manifestation of my un-desire for a permanent relationship. I wonder if my involvement with an non-committal guy is because I don’t want comittment myself. Am I afraid of it? Or am I afraid of getting hurt? Or am I afraid of actually being happy? Of finding someone who loves me the way I love him? Am I afraid that because I made the wrong choice before, that I’ll make the wrong choice again?

How is it that I can be so afraid of what I think I want most?

To take my mind off these thoughts I finished catching up on Gossip Girl this evening. The final lines between Blair and Chuck expressed what I’ve been desperately trying to ignore (yes, I acknowledge the ridiculous irony and sheer absurdness of this, but sometimes we hear what we need to hear through the medium we are receptive to at that moment).

Blair: People don’t write sonnets about being compatible, or novels about shared life goals and stimulating conversations. The great loves are the crazy ones.

Chuck: There’s a difference between a great love and the right love. I left the Empire State Building last year after two minutes when you didn’t show. Louis waited all night. This is your chance at happiness. You think you shouldn’t want it ’cause you haven’t had it, and it scares you. 

I love the crazy, intense passion. The last minute meetings, the spontaneous adventures. I love the drama. It’s kind of what I’ve always had. When I’ve dated guys who are looking for the “stable” relationship, I freak out. It’s too much attention. I like it on my terms; let’s have a relationship on the days I want a relationship.

But I know it’s not what will bring me happiness in the end. I know it. I know that I know. But I ignore it. I often look at all the storybook marriages I see; those couples who met, courted, got married, have a happy little house with a couple of kids. I look at it and feel it is so far from what I want. And maybe that exact situation is so far from what I want; I don’t need my love and relationship to materialize in the same way as someone else’s. But I do want someone. I do want a relationship. I want to be with someone who is passionately in love with me. Someone who can’t live with out me. I want the Right Love to come out of the Great Love.

I’m not saying that the relationship I’m in is wrong, or that I shouldn’t be in it. Just like every relationship that I’m in, I know it is essential for helping me along my journey in life. It is teaching me many things about myself. It has helped get me from point A to point B in many areas of my life. I’m not saying it’s over, I’m just realizing I’m very, very afraid of letting myself find (or accept) lasting happiness.

A Poem. Not Mine.

I’ve quoted a poem by Brittany before, I need to do it again. I came across a blog today, a young girl (well, same age as me, so maybe not so young, or maybe I think of myself as young still) who is going through a divorce. It made me think about my own past, and how, well, I don’t really think about it much anymore. Except for the days that I do think about it. In my blog perusing, I came across this poem tonight. I feel I need to share it. If I had the courage to put it in an envelope and mail it to the ex, I would. But I don’t. I always thought that one day I would write him a letter, and tell him my reflections. I don’t feel like I need to (anymore). Or maybe I don’t feel like I can. Maybe I’m not ready to. Maybe I don’t want to, because I hate it when thoughts of the past creep into my current relationship and scare the shit out of me. Not everything is a pattern, I tell myself (although I don’t know if I believe it). I don’t know. I just don’t know.

What I do know, though, is that this poem spoke truths to me just now. And so I share it with you (thanks Brittany).

If You’re Out There

If you’re out there.. somewhere.. reading this.
Know that I’m happy for you.
Know that just like I always did
I only wish the best the world has to offer for you.
Know that all of the hurt is gone.
And that even though the hurt is gone
I will never forget how it felt.
Know that I’ve forgotten the fights, and tears
the silent days, and the hurtful words
And when I think of us,
I think of the laughter,
the late nights spent on the couch testing boundaries.
The soft kisses, and lazy days.
Know that you got my heart racing,
and my blood pumping like very few before you.
And our first kiss, is still my favorite kiss.
Know that there are many things I love about you
And if the timing had been different,
maybe we would have lasted for eternity.

But you should also know…
You’re the only thing I regret.
And if I could go back and do it over again
I wouldn’t choose you twice.
And that even though the hurt is gone
I will never forget how it felt.
Such strong words; such true words. I don’t have memories of things and words, or at least many of them. I remember emotions. Emotions I never ever want to feel again. I remember feel little; feeling as if the world was around me, but I wasn’t there. I remember feeling as if I was ripped into a hundred million billion gazillion little pieces, and that no matter how much glue I used, I just couldn’t get them back into the right order. It just felt wrong. But I don’t hurt anymore; I don’t hurt because of you. I just remember. And I remember because I don’t want to experience it again.

Mixed Emotions.

I don’t know exactly what I want to write. I have a thousand little, or maybe big, emotions inside of me. All I really want to do at the moment is jump in my car and drive 845 km to see this boy that has been preoccupying my mind, my heart and all my physical desires.

It’s been a year since we first kissed. A year, yesterday. That first kiss very quickly became a first everything. I’ve never been so comfortable with anyone. Even now, if I just close my eyes and think of him, think of being next to him, with my head on his shoulders, there is this peaceful calm that comes over me. I’ve known for a long time, with an absolute assuredness, that he is something wonderful in my life.

And yet I haven’t talked to him for two weeks.

After every time we reach a new level in our un-relationship he goes MIA. Two weeks ago he met my family. He’d met some of them before, in bits and pieces here and there. This time he met everyone. Him sitting on the couch, my parents talking to him. This was followed by him meeting a lot of people I’ve grown up with. We enjoyed the night. I think about it retrospectively, and maybe I wasn’t there enough. Maybe he didn’t realize how much I loved having him there, how much I love him. I was nervous; we hadn’t seen each other for three months. Maybe he was nervous; maybe his nervous now. Maybe he didn’t actually enjoy it all; maybe he is done. Maybe he is just processing everything; maybe he isn’t processing anything.

What I know is that I can’t stop thinking about him: about how much I miss him again and want to be with him. But also, about how this pattern sucks. How it is probably a pattern that will stick forever; a pattern of non-committal. Boys? What does the boy brain say?

My brain tells me to move on. My heart tells me to give him more time.

I think about the last year. It’s been one good year. Should I take that year and move on? Should I hold out for a little while longer, maybe I can add another awesome year to it.

Just call me, dude. Just call me.

 

** ADDENDUM – May 31, 2011 **

I just re-read this post. Looking back, I feel I was perhaps being a little melodramatic. While I was definitely feeling all those things the day I wrote them, today, my heart is bigger than ever. It takes a little down to truly feel the up.

Anticipation.

You’ve been away for almost a month now. I can’t wait for you to get home, and yet I am also incredibly nervous for you to come home. With every day that passes, with every thought I have of you, I know that I really want to be with you. I’ve spent time trying to determine if it is a relationship that I want, or if it is you that I want. I know it is you. Right now, at this time and place in my life, I know it is you. I think of you, of all the little moments we’ve shared, and a smile comes across my face. A smile that is accompanied by a warmness in my heart and a longing to be beside you. I hope you feel the same way too. I hope that I haven’t been waiting, anticipating, wishing and missing you for this month to be put to the side. I don’t think that it will be that way. Or maybe I just hope that it won’t be that way. Hope and know sometimes get confused in my mind. Nevertheless, there is always that fear. I am always afraid of losing you, but then, when in your arms, that fear just melts away.

Single, Female, Mormon, Alone – A Review.

I came across an article recently in the New York Post entitled: “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone“.

Adjective One – “Single”: CHECK

Adjective Two – “Female”: CHECK

Adjective Three – “Mormon”: Yeah, CHECK

Adjective Four – “Alone”: well, most of the time. So, CHECK.

Yes, the link is embedded above, but I am going to quote pieces of it here, to help with my discussion.

 

Most troubling was the fact that as I grew older I had the distinct sense of remaining a child in a woman’s body; virginity brought with it arrested development on the level of a handicapping condition, like the Russian orphans I’d read about whose lack of physical contact altered their neurobiology and prevented them from forming emotional bonds. Similarly, it felt as if celibacy was stunting my growth; it wasn’t just sex I lacked but relationships with men entirely. Too independent for Mormon men, and too much a virgin for the other set, I felt trapped in adolescence.

Yes. Yes. Yes. This I can relate to this statement. There were readers who commented that this was a hyperbole, and perhaps, insensitive to the plight of the Russian orphans. I understand the basis of comparison for literary value. But I also understand where Hardy is coming from. There is undeniably an additional connection that is granted when physical intimacy is present. Even in those first few youthful relationships I had I could recognize the impact intimacy, granted at that time it was holding hands, or kissing (to various degrees) had in the progression of not only the relationship, but in my own development. As I progressed through my 20s, I became increasingly awkward around the male species. I think there was a point where I realized that my peers/crushes/whatevers had reached a certain level of sexual maturity, or maybe a better phrase, sexual expectation. I wanted it, but wasn’t willing to act on those desires. And so, this apprehension, dreading the “sorry, I can’t have sex with – not today – not ever” conversation, led to avoidance of second dates, then of first dates, then of flirting.

Yes, one can argue that there are many who abstain until marriage and who live happy, fulfilled lives. I’m sure they do.

I needed to experience 1) A man’s hands all over me. 2) A man inside of me. 3) The joy of sleeping held in the arms of a man. I don’t anticipate turning into an individual who sleeps with every gorgeous man that crosses her path. In my current pseudo-relationship the possibility of sex is there. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not an obligation, it’s not even a priority. But it’s really nice to have that option.

 

Obviously, I was left over, too — I was just never sure what my problem was. Until one man let me know. After overhearing a friend and me comparing our weekend horror-date stories, he walked up to me and asked, “You know what your problem is?”

No, I did not know what my problem was. And I was dying to find out.

“Your problem,” he said, “is you don’t need a man.”

I thought that was a good thing — to be able to take care of oneself.

He asked if I had a job.

“Yes.”

“A car?”

“Yes.”

“A house?”

“Yes.”

“Clothes?”

“Of course.”

“Food?”

“Obviously.”

“That’s your problem.”

“Excuse me?”

“Men in the church are raised to be providers. We are the breadwinners, the stewards of the household. If you have all the things we’re supposed to provide, we have nothing to give you.”

“What of love?” I asked. “What of intimacy and partnership and making a run at the world together?”

“Nope,” he said. “We’re providers.”

 

Ahhh! This passage sent the deepest, darkest chills throughout my entire body. I haven’t had these words spoken to me, but I’ve felt them, I’ve seen them. For as long as I can remember I have staunchly believed that I will 1) have a successful lifelong career, 2) I will not be a stay-at-home-all-the-time-for-20-years-mom, 3) I will not be dependent on anyone, although I’m willing to build a partnership in which we both contribute to the best of our ability and 4) I will not date or be married to anyone who does not fully endorse points 1 – 3. Thus, I don’t date Mormons and drive my parents crazy.

 

How unprepared I was to experience tenderness in the place I had been warned so vehemently against. How unprepared for the flood of relief, the bud of hope, after a life devoted to keeping myself separate from my body. Here was a path, an opening; here was empathy.

Dear Mark (not his real name).

Thank you for the tenderness and mercy you have shown me as I’ve explored this thing called sexuality. I was ready. But I was scared. I was worried that you might have expectations seeing as I am 29. Thank you for telling me you had no expectations, as if you read my mind. Thank you for telling me that we could do whatever I was comfortable with. Thank you for being willing to just hold me when it was too difficult, and to guide me when nervousness took over. I have always felt comfortable with you, but your tenderness, love and respect for who I am has increased this 100-fold. Because of this, I’ve felt what it is like to have my body loved after been so boldly rejected previously. I’ve felt what it is like to be a woman, and am slowly learning to embrace the beauty that I have. Thank you for encouraging me to be true to myself. Thank you.