Hallmark Love

People often say holidays are the hardest after breakups (or losing loved ones, but that’s a different blog).  While together we establish traditions, and then everything changes.  This past Memorial Day was my first in 11 or 12 years not going down the shore (that’s Philly-ese for the beach or Jersey shore) and I instead spent the days participating in the many lacrosse activities commemorating the end of the season.  I found I didn’t really miss the former because I’d redirected my attention.  What’s different about Valentine’s Day is the emotion tied to the day.  This was also my first celebration in 12 years without a valentine.  It wasn’t quite as easy to redirect my attention from the red and pink, the hearts, the candy…the love.  This Valentine’s Day reminded me of what I was leaving behind.  

 

Today I crouched in the card aisle of CVS for far longer than necessary while I tried not to be too overwhelmed picking valentines for my family.  Most people smiled while they made their choices.  I held back tears.  The abundance of husband and wife cards on the shelves.  The hearts and kisses and word “love”.  I remembered the enjoyment of picking just the right card to let my man know how I felt.  It never even really mattered if he cared about those words as much as I did.  Somehow it was just important that I shared them.  Now it isn’t. 

There must not be that many (any?) people who send lovey-dovey thoughts to fathers, brothers, grandfathers.  Maybe it’s simply too hard to make the ideas and color scheme feel manly.  But here I am, making the grandest gestures for my family, my parents, and there’s no romance in that. 

At some point today, I told myself it was ok to feel shitty about this.  My birthday, Christmas, New Year’s were all tough, but this was the first actual expression of sadness.  All of those other days are about moving forward and/or appreciating what you have.  V-Day is all about love.  And mine is gone. 

Before you ever experience such feelings, rejection on this holiday is just longing.  You see other people happy and moony-eyed and wish you could be there too.  During is great.  It’s you in love and you wonder why more people don’t do this.  And then there’s the fall.  The reminder that you’re not in that club anymore.  The holiday instead becomes an attempt to avoid resentment towards who you used to be and what you used to have, not to mention those who still have it. 

The optimist in me believes this tide will turn.  I know deeply that one day it’ll get better.  But right now, I think I need to let the bad inside.  There’s no point in denying my own truth and no reason to pretend I don’t miss the fun of this silly holiday. 

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The Amazing Universe

I spent my day watching just about 11 straight hours of lacrosse.  My feet hurt from standing the whole time and wearing two pairs of socks to stay warm.  I’m entirely exhausted after four hours of sleep and a full day in the elements.  My face is burnt by sun and wind.  And somehow my eyes are both glazed over and totally dry.  Yet, as I got back in my car and turned onto a tree-lined road with the evening sun illuminating the leaves, I couldn’t help but grin. I announced to the universe (at least the part that could hear me over the car radio) that “I have a pretty great job.”  I opened the moon roof, turned up the volume, and sang and danced along with every song that crossed the airwaves.  This was a good day.  I smiled my contented smile the entire hour home. 

A New Year

New Year’s Eve is frequently a time of reflection as we mark the changing of the calendar (new puppies, kittens, and beach scenes sure do bring excitement to people).  This one marked a number of big adjustments and I greeted midnight with a sense of fulfillment, and the day after with a bit of longing.  I didn’t even get that drunk!

 

2012 was an amazing year.  I set 4 New Year’s goals for myself (find a full-time job, get in shape, bake more bread, and publish some form of my children’s book) and accomplished 3.5 (nothing in print, but I’m counting a public reading of the book as partial success, because, well, they’re my goals).  I took ownership of my life by moving out of a bad emotional situation and becoming the person I always believed I was.  I rediscovered passion and found a bit of external reassurance that I’m beautiful (shallow yes, but somehow important all the same).  I’ve put myself out on limbs and stopped numbing myself.  I’ve even gotten to kiss my first new guy(s) in 10 years.

This New Year’s I feel totally calm.  I know the year ahead will only get better.  I trust in myself to keep exploring and making my life what I want it to be.  Bring it on 2013, I’m ready!

***

I can feel happiness.  I remember the sensation of happiness.  What happens to your skin, heart, head when the world makes sense for even the briefest of moments. 

But I miss love.  The piece of your soul held in place by another.  The way that dislodged part of you can become whole again.  Knowing the difference between a kiss and a good kiss, between being in someone’s presence and letting yourself go. 

I want the feeling of someone knowing my body again.  Of wanting someone and being wanted.  This longing buzz runs throughout me almost all the time.  And I think I’m afraid of acting out of desperation, so I hesitate.

How do I let the past go when it will always be the measuring stick for future relationships?  Once upon a time, that which has made me so miserable was my true love.  Do I have to hold onto this until someone else helps me keep that part of myself in place?  Because there’s a separate part of me that really just wants satisfaction.

Back to the Future

December 2012…ain’t love grand?

 

Having experienced a variety of suitors since becoming newly single, I had some level of optimism for the next date on my agenda since he’d been super chatty online and through text.  I wondered if I could be genuinely interested in spite of his being 13 years my senior and having three young kids.  Turns out, not so much, but for wholly separate reasons.

In person, this guy wasn’t quite as charming as his digital flirting implied.  He not only seemed less sure of himself, but struck me as not quite as interesting either.  Most of our conversation was about his kids and making the custody schedule work with his ex-wife.  While the first part could be endearing, the details of his son’s anxiety and OCD made it far less so.  He also told me he had often given up his “off” days from the kids when the ex came calling so she could go on a date with someone else.  This was all offered readily on our very first meeting.  Is he even over her?

What sealed the deal was the discussion about his work life, which bore too close a resemblance to a certain character I already know.  Here’s another guy who doesn’t know what he wants to do and leapfrogs from one hair-brained idea to the next because it might make sense.  He seemed to have so little knowledge of himself or how to feel successful, and I’m not looking for a project.  I’m also not looking to right myself after jumping ship with a clone of my own ex who’s older and already has kids.  It was odd to see what he (and we?) might have turned out like had I stayed for a few more years.  Tonight, I’m really thankful for my decision, even if it means more of these adventures ahead.

Perfection

Perfection is such a strange concept.  For my whole childhood, I felt held to this standard.  I had to get A’s, be on top, behave myself.  And so I not only practiced being perfect, I chastised myself for imperfections.  I felt let down when others showed theirs.  I grew frustrated when obstacles stood in the way of the path I felt I saw so clearly. 

Now I’m being told that nothing is perfect, that my expectations are too high.  That imperfect things happen and rather than get upset, I need to be ready with a back-up plan.  Was this myth of perfection a façade for childhood or has the entire philosophy changed? 

Wasn’t childhood supposed to be preparation for adulthood?  The chance to practice while the stakes were low?  Yet somehow I’m supposed to become someone different from whom I was always expected to be.  On the precipice of real opportunity, with a new job and a new life, why wouldn’t I want to try to be perfect? 

All I want to do is charge ahead.  This is the first part of my prize and I want to grab it.  I suppose I must learn the reality of patience without giving up on the idea of perfection. 

First Date

Months ago I started dating again.  Let’s just say it has been an adventure…

My first post-separation date was with some guy from JDate.  My closest friend told me I’d be entertained by the site, which should have been a flag about the whole process.  Online dating is supposed to be a better method than randomly going to bars and finding strange men, but a monthly fee doesn’t really mean people are less strange.

In truth, it wasn’t the worst date.  Nothing actually inappropriate happened even though he kept wanting to touch me – hold my hand, put an arm around my shoulder, etc.  And yet, he still just acted like an insecure child.  He seemed so practiced at trying to impress, though he never actually came across as impressive.  So happily shocked that I was different than the usual girls he dates, yet only prepared to interact with them.  Plus, he was just so Jewish.  The giant Hebrew tattoo, the large Star of David necklace, the persistent questioning to clarify my religion were all kind of annoying.

Why is it so hard to find a real man?  Someone who is strong, assertive, decisive, with an appreciation of a woman’s need for a gentle touch.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no wilting flower, but rape’s not really my thing.

So here I wait, hoping each IM or secret admirer match will turn into something.  It’s another weekend with no plans.  Another night my body desperately craves the touch of someone worthwhile.  I miss that connection, and I worry that I’m forgetting what it feels like to want a person and not just an idea.  Losing the muscle memory to know how to act on that feeling when it does come.

But I still don’t have any idea what I’m doing.  I lucked into love on a blind date after hooking up with a handful of guys.  Everything with him seemed so easy until it went terribly wrong.  It’s all new to me again now.

Funny how after taking so long to come to terms with all the negatives of the relationship that I’m only just honestly mourning the good parts.  The sensation of being pulled back to him for our first kiss, of cozying into his nook, of trusting each other’s hands and motives.  I took it for granted when we had it, but it’s been gone for a long time.  I miss it.  I need it.  And most importantly, I have to remember how it felt so I never lose sight of the fact that I’m worthy of finding it again.