Margaret

When it comes to matters of the heart, I used to believe the highest form of love involved passion, the inability to think, breathe, or move when the one you loved was near or far. Romance is definitely a beautiful thing, even for me, a cynic with a lot of dark humor and dry wit. I think most fairy tales are toxic codependent relationships. Lola loves The Little Mermaid for her red hair, and yet something makes me cringe every time Ariel gives her voice box to the sea witch to capture Prince Eric‘s heart. I realize its not that I don’t want my girls to believe love isn’t out there, I just want them to have the real thing, something so much better.
I want them to keep their voices in the process.
I have learned a lot about myself in finding my dearest friend Clyde. We are going on a bear hunt (that is code for adventure between the girls and I) to pick up 5,000 bees on Saturday. Yes, he has decided to become a beekeeper, and has a bee suit and everything, even though he lives in total suburban land. He loves bees. I know all kinds of facts about them now, bits of information I find surprisingly fascinating.
Did you know the Queen bee gets one week to go out and mate with as many bees she wants? She gets to be as selective as she wants, collecting their semen to bring back to the colony. Did you know when she gets fat and pregnant, the other bees have ways they make her exercise? Who knew?
It makes me laugh till I hurt imagining him in his back yard dressed in full suit retrieving honey as his neighbor, a famous drag queen in Atlanta, looks through the window. I think about how we have evolved, how blessed I am, how dear he has become to my heart. When M first waved her blind date wand at me, I wanted to run for cover. Actually, I wanted to break her damn wand and lay it at her feet, my arms crossed, pouting in protest.
I had been tending to my wounds, recovering, and she was telling me to take off the bandages, believe her that no man was as good as Clyde, to suck it up, get back on the field.
So I went out with him and as always, the battle was within myself, with this notion that romance and sex would somehow make my life great, complete, whole. The conversation was fabulous, the phone calls endless, the energy between us felt real, healthy, and being around him felt better than good. I would not use the word romantic to describe it. More like delight.
There was just one small problem.
Her name is Margaret. I would change it for the purpose of this blog but I just can’t. The name itself describes her in my mind, and she is everything Clyde has ever dreamed of, and she was the center of our first talk, him letting me know he was having a hard time letting go of his ex.
That was the understatement of the year.
I disliked and feared her at first. She was a ghost, someone I would never live up to, and no matter what I did or would become to Clyde, she would always be first. I was cautious, a little in denial at first, thinking he might just be stuck. He would come around. I felt my heart strings pulled and in reaction, I wanted a magic wand to make her disappear so that I could run into forever after land with the man I love to make laugh, the man I could spend every second of my day talking to.
Where is my fairy godmother?
It was hard at first listening to him speak of her, his relentless agony over how he let the best thing that ever happened to him slip away. He went over and over the details in his mind over what he had done to lose her, how he struggled to move forward. She always reminded me that my dreams were silly, that I wasn’t good enough.
And despite bringing up all my insecurities, she has began to grow on me, and I knew she had to be special and beautiful for Clyde to love her so, and I took her side in many of her issues with him, my jealousy easing over time.
I saw a book that had changed my life spiritually, excited he had the same one, picking it up just to see her handwriting on the first page, an obvious gift sent from her. It was the first time she spoke to me, her energy burning through my hands, staring right into my heart, asking me what I was doing and if I belonged. I clearly did not.
I went home in despair, and knew I had to face myself or I would lose him, and I was exposed for wanting what did not belong to me, and it hurt. And yet, it was the first time I saw something real in me for a long time. I saw that I didn’t really even want the passionate tearing off of clothes, tearful goodbyes, the romantic ending. I wanted Clyde. He was enough. I want to be someone’s Margaret. I want to be living the dream, not chasing it, asking it to change its mind.
This realization was transforming for me. I see now that in loving myself enough to ask for what I deserve, I got the best gift of love in return. I got a best friend. The magic is not always in our expectations. Its in our courage to face our fears, and this is the truth about my happy ending. Never lose your voice. Its all you got to bring you home.
As for Margaret, I don’t know if she can imagine how loved she is. I watch Clyde struggle still, talking about it just today, and I heard him say he had lost all hope. And yet, I can’t let him. His desire to move forward, to work on himself, to accept defeat has made him the hopeless romantic, completely heartbroken Prince women dream of.
I have to hope that one day she will return to him.
It goes completely against my nature to pull for her, the cynic in me never seeing these stories end well. I believe false hope is a terrible waste of energy, that lessons are in the hardest places, that Clyde and Margaret are exactly where they should be.
It is a silly ridiculous notion indeed to dream. It could possibly break you wide open, hurt you, humiliate you, send you spinning into a darkness so great you may never recover.
Or it just might find Margaret.

The One Who Got Away

 

I was waiting tables six years ago when he wandered into my section with a mutual friend, and I believe he ordered a couple of draft beers, something dark, and later, a cup of coffee, black.

He was very quiet, with a plaid shirt, tats, a hat he took on and off his head nervously. I noticed that he stared at me a lot.

Even more, I noticed how much I liked him staring at me and it made me flush deep shades of red, my hands shaking every time I filled his coffee.

He stared right through me, like he could touch me with his mind.

I didn’t know you could feel naked completely clothed, not like that.

He was there a few hours and I don’t think I noticed one other person in the smoky bar but him. Our mutual friend chit chatted about this and that, my stomach turning as I talked, feeling him stare straight through me.

And then, out of nowhere, as I talked fast and nervously, he interrupted,

YOU’RE MARRIED?” He asked it like he had just found out someone shot his favorite puppy.

I blushed. “Yep!” I shoved my ring out in front of the table, shaking, wanting to cry, not really understanding why.

He laid his head down in quite a dramatic way, and I felt this horrible rush of guilt as I wondered for the first time as a married woman what it would be like to be completely free, having not made any vows, any commitments to a mortgage, a child, and a husband. My husband and I had long began the process of leaving one another when this gorgeous stranger appeared from nowhere, reminding me what it was like to feel again.

Our mutual friend kept telling him it was time to go, and it was. We were smiling way too much, connecting in a way that felt uncomfortable, and we both knew it wasn’t right. When he got up to leave, he put his arm around me in a friendly way, and leaned over and smelled my hair.

Mmmmm. God, your hair smells nice.” And just like that, he walked out the front door.

I relived that moment in my mind over and over for years, after having another baby, a separation that ended terribly, and finally, a divorce. I wondered about him a lot, but knew all hope had been lost, feeling for sure he was married himself, and that moment had been built up in my mind, completely forgotten by him.

And then he found me. He lived hours away but he still found me by searching my name through Myspace, and had just gone through divorce himself, and on top of everything, he was convinced that I was the only woman for him. It was a fairytale, and I was finally Cinderella. We fell in love over texts, hours of phone calls, and a trip promised, planned, just like our future together.

I waited for him in the rain, freezing, as he jumped off the train to see me. I felt like my life had just jumped off the pages of a romance novel, and everything I experienced with this man was so magical, so breathtaking. It was like I finally realized what I had been missing.

Until our last day together. He was distant, nervous, anxious to get home. I didn’t know what had happened or why but something had completely switched, and I knew by his eyes that something was so wrong.

I can’t do this, I’m sorry. I can’t.” He could barely look at me.

I started to sob, and he just left. He left me there without even turning to say goodbye. Just like the first time he walked out of my life, but this time, his steps haunted me.

It was brutal for me and I could hardly get out of bed for the next three months, my grief so heavy and my heart completely broken. Every day was a challenge, and I didn’t know it could hurt that bad to just be alive. Its a testament to the human spirit that just when I thought I couldn’t go on, I did. And slowly but surely, things healed and my laughter returned. Days turned to weeks into months and now more than two years later, having nothing but that biting moment of being left by a man I loved with everything I had, I get this text from work.

U were never meant to be mine but I love you. It has always bothered me that you weren’t sure about that. I’m moving even farther away- I wont be back.  I just pray you know how much hugging you would mean to me- how smelling your hair would make me feel eternal- how watching you eat would make me feel alive. I have lived on the memory of seeing you two Springs ago. Your an amazing woman. I will pray to cross your path once more. Be blessed.

Two years later and I can finally receive the closure I have always wanted. I can’t be angry anymore or sad that the fairytale he promised didn’t exist.

I can finally stop blaming myself for somehow not being enough, and I cried tears of relief that I had not been crazy, that he did love me indeed.

I can finally breathe gratitude for a boy who stopped me dead in my tracks. Its like a ghost from my past has stopped by to remind me how deeply I am capable of loving, how much I have to give.

He will always be the boy who stopped to smell my hair.

He will always be the one who got away………………..

 

Grief Observed

Yesterday I watched tenderly as a very old lady on a busy intersection, cane in hand, placed a stuffed teddy bear at the foot of a simple white wooden cross.

I was at a busy traffic light, on my way to work, and felt very much like an intruder, a witness to the horrific grief this woman was experiencing, tears flowing down her wrinkled cheeks, teddy bear being patted, picked up, placed down, and up again.

She couldn’t seem to make up her mind which direction of the cross the teddy bear should face and at one point, she just sat on the ground, staring, the teddy bear on her lap.

I wanted to open my door, ignore the honking people trying to get here and there to just sit with her, hold her hand, offer up a tissue or a hug. Instead, the light turned green and I can’t shake the image of her out of my head, as I said goodbye from my rear view mirror, watching as she took her hands off the bear and on to the cross itself, shaking from obvious sobs of grief.

I don’t know what happened or who this woman loved and lost. I want to tell her that she touched me, that she is forever connected to my soul, reminding me that death is part of being human, something we all have or will face. When you strip it all away, I am a breathing, loving, grieving soul, just like her.

So, I thank you, little old lady on Hwy 141 with hair in pink handkerchief, cane in hand.

I promise to pause and say a prayer for you when I pass by your white cross where you lost someone you obviously love so much. I am sure they were better for being loved by you.

Clyde

I have been asked by several people to write a book about some of my dating experiences. OUCH.

I admit that after my divorce I didn’t give a damn, became somewhat a serial dater, protecting my heart so insanely that it just made sense to date the outrageous and ridiculous, rather than risk finding something real.

In fact, I wasn’t real. Not really. Not yet.

I think I will eventually write about some of these experiences, like Mr. Electric, who picked me up at church, took me to Moe‘s, and bought me a car the next day. I think about all the musicians and I just cringe, especially B. H. Rocker, who screamed into microphones and called it music, believing he was so huge underground that I should have to walk behind him into bars. It was for my safety, you see.

The man wore pigtails and different colorful bandanas for God’s sake.

There was the man prescribed to me by my doctor, Prescription Dan, who after coffee, sent a penis shot captured in the midst of ejaculation, a stream so brilliantly photographed, I can’t figure out how he did it. A tripod? My doctor was profusely apologetic.

I think you get the point.

After being devastated with my last boyfriend leaving to live on a boat in Italy, I decided it was time for me to take some serious time out, to refocus, to think about who I was and what I wanted out of life. I buried myself in self help books and work, and at first, I didn’t like what I saw. I avoided mirrors and had night sweats, breaking addictions to sleeping pills and anxiety meds.

I found that all my coping mechanisms came in the form of blue tablets called Xanex and without them, I had to rediscover ways to function. The first thirty days were terrifying. I put one foot in front of the other, took on one day at a time, let every scary emotion I had been running from come to the surface. I wasn’t used to feeling anything much less everything, all at once, all the time.

I felt like I would never stop crying and that I had been issued one big life sentence, a lifetime of pain for all the mistakes I had made, for all the hurt I had accumulated and had been unwilling to address.

And then something rather shocking happened.

Thirty days turned to Sixty and then to Ninety and by the time six months was approaching, I was beginning to not only become comfortable but actually like my own skin. A spark I forgot existed began to ignite inside of me and I was effortlessly laughing, creating, dreaming.

Until my friend M decided it was time for me to be set up on a first date. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Hell no. NO WAY.

I wanted to vomit. I listed out every reason why I was one big mess and she laughed me off saying it would be fun, great, and well past due! It began with text messages and he had this irritating way of making me smile constantly, pulling me in to compulsively checking my phone again and again for what he would say next.

We decided to meet the day after Valentine’s Day and quite frankly, I kind of hoped it might be disastrous, so that I could wipe my hands of this risky relationship business, something I was so tired of failing at.

And well, he wasn’t a disaster at all, damn it.

he was smart, and funny, and kind, and yes, sexy.

The entire time he talked I wondered what the hell he would do with a girl like me. He was a gentleman, thoughtful, believed in taking his time in relationships and I respected him immediately.

There was also something so endearing about his open and honest nature, telling me things about his past relationship that made me know he was healing as well. He let me know things right away that were not easy for me to handle at all, but for some reason, I just couldn’t find any of them reason enough to walk away. And believe me, I tried.

And Oh my goodness, is he funny. Silly, actually and very childlike.

And a really good friend.

On our third date, we went to the movies. It was fun, relaxing, and I didn’t really want it to end at all. He drove me back to my car where we talked for at least an hour, until I noticed a man in a hooded jacket cut across the parking lot, his eyes darting back and forth, and my stomach started to turn.

I felt something might be dreadfully wrong. I felt my blood pressure rise and my heart stop and I worried about what Clyde might have to do, knowing he kept his gun close, having been robbed at gunpoint just earlier this year.

The shady dude slowly opened my car door. I almost vomited. In a flash, I saw every scary horrible scenario flash through my mind like a series of bad movies, but happening to me, to Clyde, to the people who might never see me again.

I froze. My jaw clenched tightly, my fists tight.

“Is that your car, K?” Clyde said quickly, pointing to my actual car a few feet ahead of me, where the relief of the moment melted from shock to hysterics.

I couldn’t stop laughing. It reminded me of nervous relief, and I am definitely the kind of girl that laughs at funerals.

I have been living on edge so long, waiting for someone to hurt me, to break into my car, to crush my heart into a million pieces, to lie, hurt, and suddenly disappear.

My mind has taken over and I see that it has been playing tricks on me, and somehow I had turned a man with a sweatshirt getting in his vehicle into a possible murder scene where I lost my car, possibly Clyde, and myself. I

realize now that I have made the same mistake with my heart, giving it away to unusual suspects and jerking it back before some unlivable crime is committed and in doing this, I have become guarded, afraid, and alone.

I don’t know if I give Clyde my heart some day if he will break it into a million pieces. I just met him.

I don’t know if I can handle the hurt of another failed relationship, what and how much the human spirit can take, but I must have the courage to at least try.

I guess this is what it means to trust, to feel the fear and do it anyway, to surrender to now, to live in the joy of today.

I guess this is what it means to be real.

90 Day Diet to Follow Your Bliss

Last weekend I met with two fabulous ladies for martinis and chocolate cake to discuss future plans for following our bliss. I am a lover of all women but these two are just sensational. I shall describe them as soulful, gorgeous, hilarious, and fearless. I believe we initially met for support for M, who had just broken up with her douche bag boyfriend, a man I dare say never deserved her in the first place, a realization that her head knows but her heart does not seem to want to accept.

We discussed her 90 day diet, which she decided should mostly include men, sex, and Jager bombs. To M, following her bliss meant healing her heart and many wounds, taking full responsibility of her financial situation, and most importantly, keeping party girl tamed, away from shots, and off the bar.

JC, the married of us three, with even a phone that organizes, calculated this should end approximately June 7th, which we all three groaned and agreed, seemed a lifetime away. A hard working career mom and wife for 15 years, JC described her bliss to mean being more playful, which we cheered with approval by clinking our martinis. She said she must start taking care of some of her own needs, something very apparent by the amount of times she exclaimed she couldn’t believe she was not chewing on a chicken nugget for dinner.

She thought she needed a little something, possibly dreadlocks, and had some hilarious notion that she should have to fly to Vermont to find them.

As the drinks flowed and the food came and went, so did the topics involving JC’s stressful job, where she had to manage a woman who actually spoke with a puppet who was very distressed over frownie faces and exclamation points.

Somehow the thought of her talking into a puppet as to not stress a woman in her mid forties made my stomach hurt from laughing as well with her worry over toddler biting issues, M’s labor stories, and my dating catastrophes.

As for me, the last six months have been marked by reconstruction. I have been healing my own broken heart and dreams, waking up for six months finally sober after years of struggle with anxiety meds. Six months may not seem like a long time in the scheme of life, but when your heartbroken, sometimes even waking up each day is a miracle in itself.

So, with my martini glass raised and my heart wide open to these beautiful women, I decide that it is time to join the living. I have been living my life for too long with my hand over my face and my eyes squinted, too afraid to see what might happen next.

I am dreaming big.

Pursuing a career in photography inspires me as well as making a commitment to my writing, to becoming financially independent like M, and if I’m really lucky, perhaps a relationship too, sprinkled with love and trust, commitment, fun, and some hot mind blowing sex.

A girl can dream.

Cheers!