So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive?
It’s driven me before
And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I’m beginning to find that
When I drive myself my light is found
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
I’ll be there
I have always thought of myself as a shy person. I have tended to be quiet, especially as a kid. I have been quite self-conscious, never quite believing that other people, mostly, would find any value in my companionship. At the same time, I have always had a lot of body-issues, as most women in our culture do, regardless of their health or appearance.
Over the past few years and months I have come to term with many of these issues. I have come to realize that my ‘shyness’ was not shyness at all, but a psychological repression built upon speech classes I had as a young child. I have come to understand that people do find value in me as a person, that I have something to offer that is insightful, entertaining and compassionate. And I have even begun to take a firm grip on my body issues, although I am uncertain whether I will ever be truly free of them.
When I went out to see Eddie, i found that he brought out the positive effects of these changes in a tremendously dynamic and intense way. I felt like i could conquer the world when I was with him. I realized that what I had always seen in him – this ability to really connect with people and create in others a response (not always positive, but always intense) – was not just in him, it was in me. That if I gave myself a chance, I could be that person as well, and that being around him helped me to embrace that possibility.
Then I thought about it some more. And I realized that I noticed this as a result of spending so much concentrated time with him. He brings this out in me like no one else ever has – but he is not the only one that has ever encouraged this behavior. In fact, all of my old friend do. Perhaps not at the same level, but certainly in the same sort of ways. That stymied me for a time. Because if everyone brings this out, why has it not been a part of WHOIAM for so long? The answer I found is that my SO dampens this same behavior in me. Not intentionally, but simply because he is far more introverted and dis-interested in people than I – and I have an unfortunate tendency to reflect the people I spend most of my time with.
This led me to understand that part of what I had been searching for in myself was this dynamic interaction with other people, and perhaps, it was the one thing I could never have so long as I was with my SO.
But there was another piece to all of this as well. I don’t know if it is directly related, in some ways I think it certainly is, but in other ways, I think it may be entirely different: Eddie has a joy about him. A simple enjoyment of life. Even at his worst moments, this inherent joy still radiates from him. Again, I came to realize that I too could be as joyful as I see him as being. But again, my SO, really a negative personality at times. And so my life has been rather negative at times, merely by reflection.
That is not entirely fair. Many things in my life have contributed to my inability to encompass joy in my life. But these are personality traits deeply embedded in day to day behavior. And I see now that the daily behavior I have engaged in these last fifteen years have driven me further from my desired path than I had ever realized.
On other levels, I found that over those few days in a hotel room, I had expressed some of my most personal feelings and desires, and Eddie had done the same, yet somehow, it never became heart wrenching or sad. No tears, no yelling, no digging at the core of our beings to find the Truth. Just a comfortable openness and sharing. I found that quite enlightening as well – that open and honest communication does not require emotional devastation.
I also found a person that after fifteen years of separation, holds far more of the same values, hopes, fears and beliefs about the world than the man I had spent the last fifteen years with. In some ways I was unsurprised: every person I was close to in high school that I have since rediscovered has been in many ways similar to me in world view. We all grew up and went out into the world – but our earlier foundational beliefs are so similar that our interaction with that real world has fallen into similar patterns. Again, except for my SO. I almost think that his divergence from this shared (or rather similar) path has been cause by the interaction of he and I. And that is scary in itself.
So back to my story: when I returned from my trip, many of these thoughts were yet unclear in my mind. I had a vague understanding of most of it, but I had not yet made clear connections between the experiences, the feelings I had about those experiences and the intellectual understanding of how it all fit together. So when my SO began quizzing and pushing me, much of it came out disjointed, or bitter, or incomprehensible to him. I’m sure some of it came out in ways that seemed contradictory to him. And when I first broached the subject of separation, i am sure he was completely flabbergasted. And, of course, very hurt.
What ensued was five days of pain and anguish and fighting and crying. We saw the worst of each other in those days. And then I left.
It has been a month since then. It has been a difficult time, with my SO still struggling to understand what happened, trying to figure out his own feelings, and in many cases, discovering new things about himself that he wishes I would give him the opportunity to explore. Unfortunately he has been unable to show me that he can – and should – make these changes. I would like nothing better than to see him come out of this relationship a better person (in his own eyes) than he has ever been before. But I cannot condone him reshaping himself to create some ideal that he believes I want. And I cannot go back to the constant promises that next time will be different.
All of this began many months ago with an article I read from Dave Pollard a few days after my initial contact with Eddie. Somehow, now as I approach the end of this story it seems appropriate to dredge it out out once more. At the time it nearly broke my heart. Today, I hope and pray that it is a sign of better things to come:
For many of us, it is life’s promise that is good. It’s what we could become. It’s the potential. Many of us daydream our lives away, buying lottery tickets, imagining ourselves on American Idol or the New York Yankees or surrounded by adoring admirers in thrall to our sexual magnetism, or living vicariously through our children, or through ‘successful’ or beautiful people we know, or even through complete strangers (celebrities). As I keep saying, the scarce resources we most crave are appreciation and attention, and most of us have no hope of ever getting much of either. So we cling to our dreams, the possibilities we know are really impossible. For many of us, life is not really good. It is only the promise that it could be that keeps us going. – Dave Pollard
(Originally Written April, 2007)