You’ve had our differences you and I, and I have followed you through many a doorway and on to plenty a-winding path. Must it be like this?
I’m sun-touched feverish, and looking for relief. Will it come or won’t it?
It had in fact driven me to silence, and aside from my little note to Venus, an adamant refusal to verbally discuss my work, my love life, recent choices and pretty much anything that was in transition - which was well, everything. I hear questions and I think of it as a disturbance in the Force. Not unlike the way curious children poke at the determined gestating of pupae. It made me wonder what a fetus would say if it had to give a press release.
But I am not THAT unformed, and with focus, you do find the bits of steel in your stomach. This yoga of not succumbing to either pessimism or optimism, the latter being more difficult to avoid as Americans generally tend towards it. Yet there are days when I feel my emotions running willy nilly from one to the other. Days when I feel like a drop of water struggling to retain a spherical shape while I fall in excruciating slow motion from one solid shelf to another (I hope).
The point isn't so much the fall but how the context that normally defines you is changing, but there you are, still somehow intact. When you land, as you surely will at some point, you would have inevitably participated in creating whatever it is that will catch you. How we live after all is one long intimate conversation with the Divine both within and outside of us.
The young launch themselves outwards and the old travel further inward - not for lack of adventure, but because we acquire such varied and interesting internal terrain from living. It seems like one moment we're having our passport stamped and the next we realize we're a country unto ourselves! Who wouldn't explore? Maybe losing the hubris of youth also contributes to a heightened awareness of everything, surely our fragility but also our honed power.
I try to remind myself of this when I dissolve into sniffling, fearful crying. Into the weakness of childhood we all have, except now we are child as well as mother and father. I realize most of this is for want of a happy ending, the well rounded rosy end that justifies the means. That justifies the travails, the sacrifices, the low points finally relieved by the high ones. That says you deserve all the good things in the world and you shall finally, after all this, have it.
But I don't think life can be judged that way, even if we seem to have no choice but to adopt that perspective as a way of telling our story. It's difficult to make the interminable plateaus attractive, but often it's in those seemingly flat and in between places where we fester into growth. It is the quiet work before the leap, even if ironically, it's the leap we're most lauded for. If only people knew all the days of building right next to all the days of letting go.
Yet I have to say that though I've enjoyed some contented lulls in living, the steady job, the long time partner - even the familiarity of certain problems, it is the ability to change my mind about myself that has been the most challenging. It's fair to say we probably all wait for something external to impinge on our lives as we know it, to prove and to verify that we can finally believe we are something other than what we've always known ourselves to be.
Maybe I'd come to the point of the journey when healing is at its most taxing. This month in particular has found me exhausted, when to my mind I really shouldn't be. I'm no stranger to change but perhaps, the year so far - along with the impending birthday has amplified the lurking feeling of brittleness. A beautiful, emotionally aware and very forward thinking close friend had written me an email to say she felt about a thousand years old one day. You and me both babe, I wrote back.
I was reading the Golden Venus' posts on the recent eclipse and it's references to the year 2000/2001. I'd started my current job back then after leaving an industry I'd built a great reputation in. It was also the last lap of trying to make my then marriage work, and by the next year, it had all become a matter of working out the details of separating. Unfortunately, all of it was prolonged by the fatal illness of my ex's mother and her final dying wish of me, to not leave him till after she was gone and things were "sorted".
How can you say no to someone who for one, had no faith but asks you tearfully to pray for them anyway? Who took succor in your having been there in their stead? I couldn't, so I stayed. I wondered at the time if the delay forebode a reversal, that maybe the time would mellow us back into closeness. It didn't. Instead the period was punctuated with finality when the ex received a lawsuit, something else that landed on my lap to solve. So I did. But all that standing by my man had turned me into stone, and it was time to break the mold.
By 2005, I’d finally decided to move out of the marital home, leaving behind a place I’d cared for and nurtured, even rebuilt when it was falling down. I’d come to the same conclusion then as the one I’ve arrived at now. It was time to go, so off I went, into the blank blueness of not quite home. I would leave work and find myself driving back to the old house, back to an old life that lingered there. I would turn my car around the minute I realized I'd gone on auto-pilot, musing kind reminders to myself, you don’t live there anymore.
Back at the flat, I was excited by the empty boxes of rooms that laid themselves open to me. The previous tenant had been a single man who slept mainly at his girlfriend’s house, using the place as storage. I took my time filling it up, relishing the amount of floor space that stayed open, symbolic of possibilities and freedom. Finally living alone after years of sharing space was exhilarating, but at night the thrill of it would turn into shivers of loneliness, undeniable in the dark and quiet. In bed, there was no leg to throw mine over, no warm body to cocoon to – even while the worries of the world waited anxiously for me to wake, being with someone meant a few more minutes of avoidance while I hit the snooze button.
I didn’t regret moving out, but certainly living alone was a reckoning. My ex-husband helped once in a while, coming by to wield some handy repair. I realized he had hoped we would slip back into some kind of romance in this new space that reframed everything. We didn’t. I’d been gone for good now, and I couldn’t go back. I’d only had a few months in of lonesome residence when things started to happen, I’d met someone who made me laugh constantly but he disappeared just as quickly – it didn’t last at all. He’d summarized the break up succinctly into a single statement, “I’m an alcoholic and I have to go.” He probably did me a favor, save for the fact that it happened the same week my eldest brother died overseas and with the sensitivity of a mollusk, he'd decided to do it all by text.
In the space of a few days, I’d got off a plane from Costa Rica having been asked out by the guy next to me, just as I received a voicemail from the Adulterous Toro who’d flown in from Australia. A few hours later I was outside a laundromat straining to hear him on my mobile when a zooming car quickly u-turned and the tall dark driver hurriedly hopped out. In seconds, he was next to me asking me out on a date. Yes, while I was on the phone with a much chagrined Adulterous Toro. Friends tut-tutted at my new found dating hyper-activity.
But I didn’t see it as dating, to me it was just anger management. This all ended of course, upon arrival of the Sewer. Very long story short, it was a year of bliss followed by three of horror. I’d loved him, whoever the him was that happened to be before me because he wasn’t for a single moment ever true to anything or anyone. But it took away my anger, and distilled it into compassion.
Years of dealing with magnificent deceptions and being all kinds of broken makes you earn yourself back a single hard won inch at a time. Being thrown back and forth, turned inside out bestows you with a kind of truth sight that is both welcoming to others and terribly lonely to yourself. As well as an inability to judge so harshly. You recognize a bit of you in the folly and faults of everyone you meet and know, you remember how not so long ago that was also you. Happy, prideful, lost, giddy, hopeful, scared, avoidant, clinging, dashed.
It’s been two and a half years since I’d fled him. And it was fleeing. There were costs and consequences. Mainly I try to avoid a revival, but leaving did give me a sort of prison break frame of mind. Mostly I’m ecstatic about being unfettered but there are times, some worse than others when I really wonder if I’ll ever be normally hopeful about relationships again. Hope as I wrote to friends via a post, can very well heal and hurt in a single stroke.
In the Art of Now, I learned things and that learning was enough. The aggregate made up by the previous year's Rotational of Lovers had created the perfect lover with the perfect amount of space. But lately something odd had begun to happen.
It had started with the Well-Hung Uranian (WHU), so famed for the moniker and his rather previously unpredictable orbital patterns. Here one minute, gone the next - though of late, Here was becoming much more frequent. An ex from over eight years ago, he had morphed into being the occasional lover I saw when we were both free. Our agreement to keep it steadily casual when available was tacit. At least until it turned out he was harboring deeper feelings, which I could only surmise as inspired by his advancing to the ripe old age of 34. I'd dated him when he was 26 and since then he'd consistently hung in the background.
I thought this was largely influenced by geographical desirability and the comfort of being familiar but apparently not. At least not judging by his launching proclamation of how I am The One. "The What?!," I asked askance. "No, you know it's never been like that between us." And he couldn't help but admit to that, despite threatening to hurt anyone else I could be dating. I shrugged, it was the truth. There was so much space between us that I didn't quite know what strange fiction convinced him otherwise.
"Well, you know.. it means you can be in it to win it. Maybe that last one was like a Starter Marriage and the next one will work out. With the Right Man of course." he reasoned. I was sipping a cup of coffee as he posited this and almost sprayed it all over him when he followed it up with a sizing once over that took in every bit of me. "AND," he continued with narrowed eyes and a cunning conviction, "I bet you're a damn good cook too. You'd date me seriously wouldn't you?"
He was a staunch conservative who'd just spent a half-hour mocking Feng Shui and telling me astrology was bunk. Or that sure, he'd learn more about "art shit" if I wanted to go out again. I smiled wanly and drank the rest of my coffee silently while he told me how all his friends marrying had started to worry him. "I think it's time I think about that," he looked at me for a long unnerving minute. How Un-Gemini is this, I thought. But of course, I couldn't say that to him for fear of another smack down on the subject.
Even Kentucky, whom I thought I'd managed to dissuade from pursuing me, suddenly rung me up at work last week to say, "Hey, I'm back from Hawaii, thought you'd want to know." I would? I'd forgotten he even left. He'd gone for a friend's wedding and now that he was back, wanted to know if I was free that evening. "Won't the wife and kids mind?," I teased him as I'd always did, accusing him of being married was a running joke between us. He barely skipped a beat and replied with dead solemnity, "You KNOW I'm not & never been married, besides I'm waiting for YOU." I laughed. He didn't laugh with me.
So no, I was not free that evening. Did the Rotational finally hit a new peak of maturity? Was it something in the water? Or did it finally click with all these men that I am in fact Relationship Material temporarily docked in Fling Central?
Looking back I think their own circumstances had finally allowed them to accept that insight. As the WHU readily enumerated, "you're like beautiful, challenging, you have your shit together and you're amazingly good hearted". He sounded like he'd just realized all this in some unusual epiphany and was finally enlightened to my qualifications as a life long partner. "Plus, you're incredibly STRONG." Partner or pack mule? I mused to myself.
Due to its fluidity, my friends saw the Rotational as impermanent and threatening to my future happiness. Yet it was precisely for that virtue (or lack of) that I found it safe. "What about The One?," I'd get asked. I'd stopped explaining a long time ago, "Well, right now there's only The None." Or was it a case of E Pluribus Unum?
No, the truth is I'd loved so hard all the other times that I understood the lesson love was teaching me about diversification. I accepted that this was about me, so I have no pronouncements to make about the state of manhood or any expertise to share on strategy. I found ways to be happy in the moment as I learned the nature of each lover, and from that, understood the distance each relationship could go. I was disappointed a few times, with B and Mr. X but even that had something to tell me - about where I was, and who I was becoming, what I was or wasn't ready for.
I loved being pliable to each lesson, even if at times I felt like I was being wrung out. I'd begun to hear my intuition much better beyond the temptation of focusing on a possible forever, on the promise of how my life would look like if this or that person figured prominently in it. Yet I'm equally as grateful not to be so valiant about my solitude so as to make like being alone is all that good business. I may be Ruthless, but I am romantic.