A couple of weeks ago, a long long time ago, I came across ‘Eat Pray Love’ at a book sale. It’s not your everyday run of the mill book sale. No one mans the table, a poster above the table lists the prices (divided in hard cover, paperback and something else that I can’t remember right now), an honesty box serves as cash register and the funds go to the NSRI.
At the time I bought the book because it had such a huge impact on me the last time I read it, which coincidentally was right after my divorce. When I bought it, it never crossed my mind that I might need to refer to it so soon again.
Obviously I have been doing a lot (and by that I mean really a shitload) of thinking over the last couple of days. Thus far I have managed to categorize it in the following. It is a work in progress, so bear with me as I am sure these categories will be added to and re-arranged and what not over the next couple of weeks.
How do I love
That one is easy to answer. I love completely and utterly with all that I am. Like a junkie I lose myself completely in love. I crave it like my life depends on it. I am addicted to love. It is irrational and complete and it makes sense. Love is where I feel save, love is where I belong. I was made to love.
Page 21 in Eat Pray Love describes it best:
“Addiction is the hallmark of every infatuation-based love story. It all begins when the object of your adoration bestows upon a heady, hallucinogenic dose of something you never even dared to admit that you wanted – an emotional speedball, perhaps, of thunderous love and roiling excitement. Soon you start craving that intense attention, with the hungry obsession of any junkie. When the drug is withheld, you promptly turn sick, crazy and depleted (not to mention resentful of the dealer who encouraged this addiction in the first place but who now refuses to pony up the good stuff anymore – despite the fact that you know he has it hidden somewhere, goddamn it, because he used to give it to you for free!). Next stage finds you skinny and shaking in a corner, certain only that you would sell your soul or rob your neighbours just to have that thing even one more time. Meanwhile, the object of your adoration has now become repulsed by you. He looks at you like you’re someone he’s never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is, you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You’re a pathetic mess, unrecognizable even to your own eyes. So that’s it. You have now reached infatuation’s final destination – the complete and merciless devaluation of self.”
I could not possibly have put it better. A couple of days ago I tried to explain to Sailor what falling in love is like for me, I tried to explain to him how I completely lose myself in that beautiful torment, but words failed me. I wish I had started reading the book earlier, and then I could have described it to him like this.
Is it a “type” thing
No it’s not. Well for the most part it was, but no. Let me explain.
No 1 and 5 were special, different… 2, 3 and 4 – yea, they were just about the same
My dating history goes back just short of 21 years
My German lasted 2 years. I was still crying over everything that brought me to this new city when I met my German. I was all wrong for him. I had too many issues to deal with and too many insecurities and a stubborn and rebellious streak that defied everything about him and our relationship. I was the downfall of that one and still wonder how things would have been different had I not punished him for all the wrongs that came before he even knew of my existence. Eventually I got fed-up of the battle and ran.
My FatCat lasted 14 years (married for 12). I was still crying over No 1 when No 2 walked in the door and swept me off my feet. The first couple of years were amazing but 10 years in it started go south and then just followed the plummet to that Wasteland of accusations and guilt and denial and resentment. Eventually I got fed-up of the battle and ran.
My Teddy Bear lasted 1 year. I was still crying over No 2 when No 3 came along saying all the right things and being there to listen and encourage and support and before I knew it I was so in love with him that I was blind to everything that was wrong about him. Support and encouragement soon turned into leaching and sapping the life out of me. We went the same route as with the previous one and that Wasteland became the battle ground of our relationship. Eventually I got fed-up of the battle and ran.
At this point I decided I will never love again. Never again will I entrust my heart to someone else. Never again will I allow myself to fall into the abyss of love. I spent 2 years alone, finding myself again, figuring out what I want – trying to persuade myself that I was happy alone. I wasn’t. The constant nagging desire to have someone there in my life kept throwing me back into the arms of despair every night I went to bed alone.
The next year and a bit were confusing and messed up and exhilarating and exhausting, it took me to highs I’ve never known to be possible and depths of despair I wish I never knew existed. For the first time in my life I knew the absolutes that this drug I crave so much can do to you. Sailor came first but only for a while then Superman and back to Sailor so for the purpose of this I will put Superman first. (Keep going, you’ll understand later).
Along comes Superman. That lasted 8 months. Superman falls perfectly into the same “type” as Teddy Bear and FatCat. If you had to put the three of them together in a room, you would basically have three versions of the exact same thing. So there it was obviously a “type” thing. I just didn’t see it. With him I discovered an adventurous and fun side of myself I never knew existed. I discovered so much about myself and he drank up everything there was about me. He showered me with love and adoration and kisses out of nowhere and hugs at the most appropriate and inappropriate times. We shared music and cooking and laughing and wrestling and driving fast and walking slow. He ticked every box in the list that I made during the two years I spent alone – every single one of them and then some. By the time I realized it was over I hit a never-ending pit of self-destruction. The levels of despair that I experienced were something I couldn’t possibly put into words. I was lost and rejected and thrown away without us having reached the Wasteland I knew so well. I was still in love and happy. On the Saturday we were still laughing and wrestling and cooking for his family and doing the things that made us “us” and the Sunday he walked out. Just like that. No warning, no nothing. He just left. For two months after that he kept playing the game of “no we are still on, I’m just too busy to see you right now. Just be patient I have to sort out some things, he said” and like that it faded into nothing. The worst part, I couldn’t even run – he left. I didn’t even have reason to want to run. I didn’t even have a reason to want to hate him. It just … faded into nothing.
Sailor, now that one was (is) different. Sailor popped into my life out of nowhere. At a place I didn’t want to be on a day I wanted to forget existed. He was the life of the party, eyeballing me from across the room all night long, with the most radiant smile I have ever seen and eyes that could see right to the bottom of my soul. By the end of the night he jokingly proposed on the dance floor with a serviette ring, I accepted and we exchanged numbers. I was his Pocahontas and we would marry in Croatia. He has the perfect smile, one that reaches your soul. It was great fun. The next couple of weeks he did all the things a man is supposed to do. I was showered with flowers, he would hold my hand every opportunity he had, he showed up at my house with flowers for me and ice-cream for my mom and my son. He would call or text all the time. He would take me to dinner and for drinks. He refused to let me pay for anything. He loves the big blue ocean and I feared it. He did everything right. He was perfection. And I ran. It was just too much. I didn’t know how to handle a man wanting to be a man. I didn’t know how to handle the fact that I didn’t have to pay for anything. I didn’t know what to do with this guy that was just so different from anything I have ever known. I didn’t know what to expect so I ran and banished him from my life. Dumbass? Yes, I know, believe me, I know. Then came a blimp on my radar and the whole episode with Superman. By the end of it I needed of voice of reason and Sailor stepped right in. I fell for him before I knew it happened. I got over my fear of water, because I know he loves it so. I fell hard and deep and kept telling myself that I didn’t. I kept telling myself that if this had to end I would be fine, because it doesn’t really matter. Every day the fear of us reaching the end got bigger and the voice inside me that told me that I love him got louder. I kept trying to figure him out. I kept trying to figure out where we were and where we were heading. I was driving myself insane with trying to figure it all out. He was just so different and I didn’t know what to expect. And just like that, before I could figure it out, it was over. I’m sitting here and I’ve got to tell my heart to stop feeling the way it does. I’ve got to tell myself that it’s over when I don’t want it to be that way. I somehow have to convince myself that it wasn’t real and we never really had a chance. I see him and his smile punctures my heart. I have to stop and tell myself to not feel. I have to get back into the friend-zone because that’s where I belong.
What went wrong
With No 1 and 2 I know what mistakes I had made. I know where I went wrong and I fully accept my portion of blame. With No 3 I tried to do it different, but in retrospect he had more issues than the Cosmoplitan magazine and it was doomed from the start. Two years single gave me plenty of opportunity to figure out what I had to do different. The most maddening thing right now is trying to figure out what went wrong with Superman and Sailor. Superman, fair enough he was part of the “type” so just another douche that I picked. But Sailor? I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t know what happened to bring us to this point. It drives me insane.
Where to from here
For starters, I want to run. I know how to run. I’m good at running. Sailor doesn’t seem to think running is the best solution here. He says I’m more resilient that I think and I don’t give myself enough credit. But running seems like a good option. O, and I’m also good at being a friend when it’s all over. How do I go from here and open myself up to someone again? How do I trust someone with my heart? How do I try again if I can’t figure out what went wrong the last time? I almost want to say I don’t to have a next time, but even thinking it, I have to laugh at myself because I know it’s not true. I will forever want a happy ever after. I will forever hope that “The One” is out there for me. I will forever go to bed wanting to have someone to snuggle up to. I will forever dream about the memories there are to be made with someone who will love and accept me for who I am. I will forever cling to the thought of someone loving me and me alone for as long as we both shall live.
But do I still believe it to be possible? I’m afraid I’ve reached a point where it has turned from a belief that it is possible to a realization that it is all just an illusion. And I want to run.
Perhaps go work on a kibbutz in Israel (do people still do that?)
Perhaps become a crew member on a yacht and go sailing to find new places and people and meaning
Perhaps sell everything and move to Put Sonder Water
Perhaps take up a new hobby
What happens from here remains to be seen…