All posts tagged relationships
All posts tagged relationships
When he is in love with you…
1. He stares at you like you are the most beautiful woman in the world
2. He finds ways to spontaneously show you that he loves you- in tiny details, in tiny moments, every day
3. He lets you take the spotlight, and he assumes the position of shadow- ever framing your brilliance
4. He will do anything for you, and it’s not a burden: it’s his joy and his purpose
5. He will face any fear, and wrestle any demon, if it will make you just a little more comfortable
6. He believes you are capable of miracles and that he is fortunate to be with you
7. The happiness of the relationship is his first priority
8. He uses the term “we” more than “I”
9. He fantasizes about growing a life with you and includes you in conversations about his future
10. He unconditionally defends you
11. When needed, he chooses you— over work, family, friends— without request
12. He remembers what makes you happy and surprises you with unprovoked acts of kindness
13. He respects and supports your interests by participating in them—even if only on the periphery
14. He lets you win, even if it means he loses
15. He asks to include you in his hobbies and interests, and in the relationships with the people who are most important to him
16. He is compelled to please you—seeing you happy MAKES him happy
Do you agree? What did I miss??
I came home tonight and our house smells like you—like boy. Some sort of man-body-wash, mixed with musky-something, topped with the rich smell of your clean, Italian skin. And I smiled for a second… wondering if you were going to greet me from the living room. But the house was still as it often is.
James Dean is a bartender. And I hate it.
His professional life consists of a 70-hour workweek—spent marinating in alcohol, and agave nectar and drenched in late nights and intoxicated company. He’s told he must ignore me when I visit him at work—not to touch me— because him appearing “fuckable” is good for business. And trust me, I know just how much the perception of his availability drives business. I once WAS that business.
I hate it.
My dear friend, Monica, has taken over his role of companion, emotional supporter, secret keeper. James isn’t around enough to consistently be my plus one, listen to my woes, hear me giggle. I replay the highlights of my last afternoon and evening late each morning when we get to spend a few hours together. Two to be precise— between 12 and 2. Hours that I subtract from my workday so that I can see him… before he once again returns to his booze stained workspace.
During the first bit of our rendezvous, he is usually waking up, slowly, drug of choice now caffeine. I am bubbling with enthusiasm. Dying to connect. But I forget details, the jokes lose their hootsva, my emotional strife has already dissipated into its muted self, palatable, cool enough to drink. This is not a full-blown relationship. This is what develops in the in-betweens. I can still keep secrets, still wrap a pretty yellow ribbon around my emotional lows, still disguise my grumpy, irritable, sweaty-from-working-out self.
I go to bed alone almost every night. And I feel very much alone.
Absent-men are a button issue for me—my dad’s commitment (read, obsession) with growing wealth shredded his marriage with my mother into an unrecognizable, bitter blob. And tried as he may have in the space in-between late nights and business trips, those days “Dad” was nothing more to me than a gift-wrapped t-shirt and a bag of Skittles left outside my door.
And it didn’t stop there… M spent more evenings in his architecture studio than he did with me. So much so that I started sleep on both sides of the bed, knowing he wouldn’t be there. So much so that “all-nighters” became a sign of professional prowess and, seemingly, of dick-size. He cared more about that paper, project, design, whatever, than he did about caring for his health. Even to the degree that he could continue to function as a human being— complete sentences, feel anything but intense, pants-pissing fear, share love with me.
Am I that 20-something asshole that doesn’t appreciate sacrificing for success?
I feel simply burnt out with supporting the man in my life in a career that offers a crap lifestyle for crap pay, during crap hours. ENOUGH. I don’t want it anymore… I want James Dean to have a career that supports the vision we have for our lives and our future. I want James Dean to remember that in our partnership, there is nothing that is entirely independent. Including work-life. And that what ain’t good for me ain’t good for us.
Maybe I am that asshole…
I love James Dean… more than anything. More than pickles even. And I really do love pickles.
It almost isn’t love—To say that I love him would assume that I, the lover, is separate from him, the loved. And that just isn’t so. I is Him. I is Him.
Late last night he told me that he couldn’t promise me that he would love me always… He said that he could guarantee there would be times when I would annoy the shit out of him. But that he promised tonight and always that he would never stop trying. He said that if I could promise him the same… that we could be invincible.
But in spite of all these remarkable, heart rumbling, universe awakening feelings… I don’t think I have completely fallen for J.D. yet. I am holding back. I find myself looking in his green eyes and blinking just as I start to feel myself summersault into him. It’s as if with eye contact we share our everything. And I am scared. I am afraid that I may lose all sense of my Self if I experience the reality that there really is no difference between James and I.
To completely fall in love with James Dean is not to let a foreigner enter my space. This is not the fear… for he does not occupy my heart, as the romantics say. No. He is the space I occupy. He is the person taking up space. And everything in between. I am swollen with him. He runs, plays, swims, grows inside of me.
Perhaps I did not know myself completely until I met James Dean. I recognize him as part of me, like looking at my own reflection. Like closing my eyes and transcending. Before James I was just grasping, pathetically, at a foggy perception of “my” identity when all I needed to fully understand myself was… home.
That is what this man is to me… He is home. I am home.
Dear God, could it be that I am not an individual at all? That my identity—opinions, personality, experiences— are simply illusions? I thought myself the sum composite of all my life experiences. And yet… here I am… feeling abandoned and separate from the very things I held onto as “me.” And realizing… I am so much more.
So if I feel better, more whole, more grounded and gifted with James in my life, why am I terrified? Why won’t I let myself fall?
I don’t think it has anything to do with James. It’s me—I’m afraid of finally knowing me, entirely. For to completely fall in love with him would mean to fall around, in, through, behind, in front, of me. To know myself, without omission. And call me crazy, but the prospect of that is beautiful, yet terrifying.
I insulate myself in the guise of “independence,” “autonomy,” “power”, but if I’m being honest, the ship of I-Wanna-Man set sail right around the time I discovered how lovely Barbie looks with Ken (and how sad she looks without him). I mean, I don’t think I would DIE if I couldn’t fool one into marrying me (I hope you are wearing your earmuffs, James Dean). No, no. Certainly, I would continue to breathe and laugh and play and love. Yes. ‘Tis true. But I would laugh less, I think. I would love smaller. I would play empty.
I should just say it: Pssst. I want a husband.
And how do I want said husband? In a lovely marriage bundle. The traditional kind—where Dad gives his permission and walks me down the aisle. Where we blubber through our carefully crafted wedding vows, celebrate with a huge stinkin’ cake, and bubbly and FIND OURSELVES MAGICALLY BELIEVING IN THE POWER OF WE.
“Traditional marriage,” that dirty phrase, has become simply unmentionable for the educated, upwardly mobile woman. So what do we do? We collage together different bits of “relationships” with their various, (fucking) confusing rules, and norms, and correctnesses we think we have created something truly unique and therefore more valuable. And in so doing, we refuse to “settle”—because that (of course) would mean eternal damnation. We refuse to “give in” to gender norms. Oh and we curse those (weak) women who give into the social pressure of White Wedding.
Logically speaking, however, it is impossible to step out from the socially imposed constructs from which we are born into and raised. Therefore, all values, wants, dreams, and visions are (at least in part) socially imposed. My desire or rejection of “marriage” in part or in whole is as co-created as the fact that I have “chosen to” shave my armpits, am drawn to literature over mathematics, and add conjunctions to every (sorta) definite sentence.
I have wavered back and forth on this point over the years—ever loyal, (boo-fucking-yah) to the feminist movement and the social paths and professional possibilities she blazed in cement in my honor. But conversely, I now know (as my recent upchuck of JEALOUSY clearly illustrates) I am intimately and irrevocably interwoven with instinctual/personal/culturally-imposed desires for security, stability, commitment, love-ridden, fairytale.
So I confess that perhaps I have been pretending a little. Pretending to side with the “independent” (Rah!), self-made (Rah-Rah!) Jodi. Ignoring the part that has already made up her mind at the life I want to lead. At some basic needs of I. And those needs… yes, needs… include a marriage, and a husband, and some kiddos. Who? What? When? Where? Je ne sais pas. But I’m working on it—starting with the honest declaration of “personal” desire for ‘Til Death Do Us Part.
I discovered another little piece of ugly in me tonight. I am ashamed of this piece. She probably deserves to be drop kicked in the groin. But (alternatively!) here, Piece, take the mic…
One of my lifelong friends got engaged tonight—after eleven years of dating the guy—and I turned my head from the (text message) news with distain. QUICK! Running through all the reasons I just knew it wasn’t going to work out. And why they should not have made this decision. Phah! What are they stupid?? My whole body thought.
I damned their marriage in my own mind before her engagement ring even had a chance to carve a dent in her finger. And it totally makes me feel like a lump of shit to say this out loud but: I AM JEALOUS.
I am jealous of it all. The spotlight, the “announcement,” the sparkly, silly priced ring, the planning, the believing, the making others believe in it, too, the name changing, the name creating, boo la la, I am jealous of picking out linens, and wall paint color, and becoming Mrs. So-in-so, and sharing dreams and bank accounts and bathrobes.
But most of all… I am jealous of their readiness. Their HOPE. Their TRUST. Their LEAP. I crave to be ready for the marriage bit. The wedding bit. The baby bit. The husband bit. But as much as I want it, I’m not ready. It frightens me.
My friend, Monica, asked me recently over ice cream what I fear most in the world. “That I’ll end up like my Mom,” I said. “Devoted, loyal, blindly in love, desperate to salvage a failing relationship, but ultimately incapable. Because he leaves me anyway. He tells me that he never should have married me, that I am crazy, that I was a bad mother. And he happily builds a life with someone else with the tools and the assets that we created together, that we were supposed to realize together. He does this with her. And never looks back with regret. And never credits me for my tolerance, my sacrifice, my forgiveness, my love. He just walks away. And never looks back.”
This is my biggest fear: That I will marry the wrong man. And he will realize it first, and leave me.
So while I crave to be married, I WANT to believe in it, I WANT to trust that I am the future Mrs. James Dean, I want to trust that he wouldn’t do that to me. That he is reliable, loyal, nothing like Dad, I don’t. I don’t know how. I simply don’t know how to trust. Not even for a little bit, not even a little bit.
How do I learn how to trust?? Please. Tell me. How do I learn to trust?
So yeah, our souls connect or whatev. But it turns out he’s still dude, and I’m still a chick, I’m still a Jodi and he’s still a James Dean. So we’ve got stuff—DAMN-IT!! Thought the whole soul mate thing was going to rescue me from all that WORK shit? No? Oh stop nodding your head, loser. Sooooo I took a short ride in la-la land. We all gotta vay-cay from sanity every now and again… right?
This might be last night’s whiskey talking but I seriously thought that all he would have to do is put his hand on my chest and make me melt ‘n stuff and things would be right as rain. Baaaaaat, I vhas wrong. Yeah, yeah… I #saidit.
Last night I asked James Dean his number. I know. Stupidstupidstupid. I was just curious, I swear (awkward face)! I didn’t think it would bother me. And I was prepared for any figure. (I mean c’mon, the boy walks into a room and women spontaneously remove their panties. BELIEVE ME, I GET IT). But when he said it, and I felt it, suddenly my brain FLASHED with images that NO GIRL ever wants in her mind about HER MAN. Gulp. (Aaaand, that’s when my stomach turns over, again).
With the news and the image(s), I did what every highly emotional (shit-show) does in times of distress— I became an immediate horizontal human erection. Stiff as wood. In bed, comatose. Silent. (I dooo this whole implosion thing every now and again…). He was pawing at me. Said he, fucking hated this topic because no matter what he responded, it would upset me. I told him I needed a little time and space. And I fell asleep to him snoring in the back of my head and me holding both palms over my heart, trying to tame its tom-tom beating.
You know when you try to push magnets together the WRONG way? Yeah… This morning I just couldn’t look at him. No clear thoughts like, Gosh, things would have been so much better if you were a 28-year-old virgin. I just felt, like, EWE. I felt sick all over. And covered my nakedness with his crumbled white top-sheet.
We made a deal early on—no leaving when fighting. So physically, I sat, rock-like, on the bed. Keeping my promise… barely. My spirit was already halfway down Mapleton, noticing how nice it felt to be wearing my ol’ reliable running shoes. We also made a deal that we would be touching whenever we were feeling uncomfortable. But touching his perfect skin this morning (that oddly smells of high grade Olive Oil?) was about as comfy as jalapeno juice feels underneath your fingernails.
Finally I started to verbally express myself. Let myself voice all the (stupid, illogical) upset feelings. Then he took my hand, pulled me into him, and forced my bare chest against his. COMBUST. Deep breath. Re-lax. Ahhhh, I remember you, I thought. They may have had your body, true, but I get your soul. So I guess I win.
All better. Soul Mate.
"Bet you’re glad you don’t have to deal with my shit anymore," I self-consciously finished my email to M. It was a response to his unexpected e-note where he informed me (after three months of zero contact) that he has been reading my blog. And knows. Everything. He wonders how it’s possible that I could have discovered LIFE (real, live, life with love and tenderness and reciprocal everything) and am still wounded, bleeding, and needing to ooze publicly about him and his general crapiness.
Well Kum Ba-fucking-yah. One note and he’s successfully silenced my voice, again. For weeks, I’ve been unable to write through the self-consciousness and what feels like a loaded rifle in my gut.
So why the incoherence? Frankly, this bitch has multiple personalities— two, that I can think of in this troubled moment.
One is me ON FIRE. Like President of the United States type (super) human being. This one can change the energetic tone of a room, just by seeing and noticing and intending to up-lift. This one believes in the power of me. And excitedly scribbles her signature on the document that requests One innocent heart + lifelong loyalty + “every last sip of your being” in exchange for a boy who promises to love you long time.
J’aime this part— she wakes up, brilliant, ready for the fight. Jabs her chin proudly skyward, like “‘Sup World.” She drinks the stars, religiously. This part is invincible, looks damn sexy in white lingerie, and could charm the pants of any ol’ professional. Because she dips herself daily in authenticity and integrity and an inspiring set of moral standards.
Then there is part two… me, shriveled and muted. Her voice is quiet, lost, alone. Misses pieces of M. Fears the key that James Dean gave her to his apartment. And the whispers of (shhhhhh…) “honeymoon period” in the deep of her mind and in the hidden crevices of her friends’ chatter. This one can feel her heart in her ears during random (inexplicably frightening) group events. Implodes with the SHOCK of a sudden hurricane of emotions. Hides behind the curtain of logic. Explains away every “feeling” as incidental and manageable and under control. Believes that all people she loves will leave her, eventually. Has accepted that she will never make any real difference in the world, except maybe as a back-up performer.
This part I loathe— she pretends that the disposition of life is mean and non-discriminating. This part wonders why M didn’t fight for her. And if she was actually non-supportive, unable to understand his professional pressure, stifled his growth, and generally deserved to be blended with blades of thoughtlessness.
But you know what? This is me, SHOUTING THROUGH THE MUZZLE. And favoring the GIRL ON FIRE. Hear me from both voices. Double the tenor. Double the richness. And bloody hell. I ain’t got a choice in the matter anyway— this is me. Jodi Dey. Both Princess of the Universe and mole in the dirt. And every damn thing in between.
So apparently 94% of twenty-somethings believe in soul mates. Soul. Mates. Souls that merge, have intercourse, dunk into each other‘s personal bits. Wiggle around and feel better together. And according to that same article, 87% of us think that we are going to end up marrying that one, predestined person, who makes us stronger, faster, and more perfect. Oh, and then? Dot, dot, dot. Here is where I become skeptical… I become concerned whenever the story ends with shrugged shoulders and a, “You know, dot, dot, dot…” Naw. C’mon now twenty-somethings. Get a grip.
Or so I thought…
I am the last person I know who would ever leap forehead first into the pool of non-logical, soul mate proselytizing. Nope, not this girl. I intentionally coat myself in logic, in check-lists, in vision creating, in tests and re-tests, in we’ll just “make it work,” in partnership-seeking and building. I think (thought. Yes, it’s coming…) of relationships like a financial investment. Like a venture capitalist—analyzing, evaluating earning potential, calculating risk, consulting experts, board of directoring, ass covering. That’s me—boom, boom, boom, chhhhh. But something happened on Sunday that turned my logical ass on its ass…
Jamie…. Sigh…. O, o, o, he’s magic.
I looked at him and recognized him. I felt him, I knew him. And I couldn’t look away. I felt his skin against mine and suddenly lost the ability to clearly differentiate where my physical body ended and his began. It was as if our essence, our molecules, and protons, and neutrons, and electrons, were all reduced, beyond quarks, to their immortal essence. And the vibration of that essential energy was THE SAME. Our vibration was the same. I felt us pulse—starting from inside my chest where my former heart used to live. Beat, expand, push. Beat, expand, push. I couldn’t hear my thoughts or feel my feelings… because I didn’t have any of my own—they were OURS.
He put his palm against my chest and took my hand to his… and asked me if I could feel that. THAT. Electric, ridiculous, stretching of feelings, and love, and magic and beliefs. THAT. Melting of disappointment and heartache and whatchagonnadoaboutit fears. THAT. Destruction of isolation, of alone-ness, of disconnection.
Yessssss….. I could feel that. I WAS THAT.
I wanted to pull away. Afraid of him, of us, leafing through what had not yet been seen, or experienced. And what desperately wanted to remain under wraps… to keep me as THE SAME: delusional, and separate from other forms and beings and lives.
Please don’t pull away, he said… because he heard me desire it. I cried. Stayed put. And pooled into an ever expansive ocean of Jodi. And he cried, too. And wrapped himself around my separation from M, my anger, my loss, my void, my drained and discontent and wounded. He said he thought he was processing my sadness, because I couldn’t do it on my own. We sobbed.
And then, POOF, gone. No more pinchy, ouchy, hurting. My heart(ish area) felt like putty. And I could see myself, better. I could see myself at the end of the grief, looking back, like phew. HE DID THIS. This magical man…
It occurred to me that this is what GOD had in mind when he created the concept of teamwork. I KNOW THIS: I will never again process a single challenge alone. He is suddenly, inexplicably, and necessarily a part of my everything. So yes, we are stronger together. And yes, he makes me more perfect. And yes, I believe him to be predestined. Goddammit! I want to scream in public. Okay, OKAAAAAY. You got me… I FUCKING BELIEVE!
Conveniently he looks great on paper, too. (So CHECK that off my list). But all that is now a moot point… because I’ve realized something so beautiful… this is a zero risk investment. Because how could I possibly hurt him when I IS him? How could I accidentally stomp on my own heart? How could he ruin me when his bits are ours? Not possible. Nope, not possible.
Well hello, Soul Mate. I’ve been waiting for you. Dot, dot, dot.