Boxing Butterflies

I still have butterflies when I see him.  I can’t help how I feel; my heart just hasn’t been able to catch up with my mind.  I know at this point that it’s best for me to let go and walk away, but when I see him I just can’t.  Who he is, how he is, what he is… I’m still in love with him.  In spite of obvious flaws, shortcomings, and his own demons.  Truly unconditional — something he wasn’t ready to return or face.  How I feel isn’t logical, productive, or even right anymore.  But it IS.

And, in all honesty, I just can’t stop.  I want to, to save myself some hurt, but I can’t.  In my mind, I know I have to let it go, I know that I’m enough and that I can survive without him.  I just want him.  And when he walks into the room, everything I feel comes rushing back like waves, pulling me with the tide.  How he ended things wasn’t right; I deserved better treatment, no doubt.  But I can’t deny what we had, or how quickly I react when he’s in my presence.  I haven’t accepted the entire picture yet, because bringing everything into complete focus means having to address the mistreatment and the immaturity.

But being around him for over a week on a tropical island like Barbados?  Complete torture.  Seeing his ex constantly in his face, obviously still harboring her own feelings?  Killing me slowly, like the death of 1,000 cuts.  Wondering whether he would succumb to her advances because she’s right there in front of him, and we all knew he could get it if he wanted to?  Hell.  Beautiful, tropical island hell with a big cup of rum punch to fuel the flames.

We were civil.  Most days I felt like he was avoiding me, which I understood.  Guilt can do a number on you, and it has certainly been doing a number on him.  We had a heart to heart one day in an attempt to clear the air, and honestly I think that he expects me to make advances to get him back.  He thinks that I will ask him to come back to me, beg him for a reason, or let him into my bed just for a fleeting moment of reminiscence.  Thankfully, though my heart hasn’t caught up with my head, I can salvage enough reason and self-respect to know that I can’t (and won’t) ask him back or open myself up to more hurt.  I may not be ready to completely let go, but I’m not going to beg someone to be with me.  I don’t want to be with anyone who doesn’t want me.  That’s been my saving grace.

It’s sad, but I wish he would give me a reason to hate him.  Maybe he has, and I overlooked because I feel the way I do.  But hating him would make things so much easier, because I wouldn’t struggle against letting go — I just would.

I have everything I need for closure.  I’m almost there.  It’s akin to packing for a move.  I have the box and the tape all set.  But my heart has to let go of these feelings so that I can pack them away.  I’ll always have some feeling for him, but this box needs to go in the garage and stop cluttering up my house.

Time for a little spring cleaning.

Opposite Sides of the Broom

This isn’t even the first or second time that it’s happened.  I just know I don’t like it.  I don’t like feeling like I’ve done something either consciously or subconsciously to attract such a man.  It feels wrong, I’m not the kind of girl who could ignore the big picture, and it makes me wonder how the outside world perceives me for this to happen so often.

He’s married.

Now you may or may not have the right idea about me, especially after my last post, but let me say this:  I have no interest in ruining a marriage, being a homewrecker, breaking up a family, or catching feelings for someone that has sworn vows to someone else.  I might see a married man and think he’s attractive, sure — I’m a flesh and blood woman.  I’m human.  But I’m not going to take it further than a glance.  There could never be more than that.

Last night, I was hit on by a work acquaintance that I’m still getting to know.  I’m still getting to know everyone at my job… I travel so much for work, people barely know me.

Let me give you some background:  I’m genuinely a warm person.  I smile a lot — so much so that if I’m not smiling people think something is wrong.  I love to laugh, and I love the warmth and friendliness of New Orleans because my personality fits here.  It was lost on many in Los Angeles because you can smile and greet someone there, and they’ll look at you like you’re carrying the plague.

Anyway, I’m warm, I’m smiley, and I care.  I want to know the names of the security officers and the cleaning ladies, I want to be able to ask them about their weekends and their families.  I like building a rapport because I don’t like feeling like I work with and around strangers.  It’s just a part of the fabric of my personality.  I won’t say I’m a social butterfly; rather, I would say I choose to be familiar with those that cross my path on a regular basis.  And familiar doesn’t mean close, necessarily.

Anyway, a work acquaintance joked around with me and some of my other co-workers about being huddled up in the cold (the weather has been weird this week).  Perhaps it was innocent, or maybe there was purpose behind it.  I don’t pay any mind, especially if I see shiny metal on the third finger of a left hand, so I was completely oblivious of any connotation.  I smiled at him the same way I smiled at the woman next to him.

Because of a safety concern, we all exchanged information.  I’m notorious for working late, and when my ground floor office is lit at night, I can’t see anything at all… Even if someone is standing directly outside my windows.  It’s creepy.

About 2 hours after the office closed, I was still working.  It’s not unusual, and often co-workers will check on me or offer me a ride home (I walk to/from work).  I decided to leave, and I walked out with the same work acquaintance, who happened to be right outside.  We chatted for a minute, nothing flirty or anything, and I left to go grab some soup to take home for dinner.

When I got home, he called me.  He joked about random things, and then he said something that raised a warning signal for me.  He said he wanted to find a reason for me to come back to work so that he could see me again.  Mind you, I know he’s married, so I stopped him.  Don’t let the smile fool you, I can be extremely serious and I tend to be very blunt.  I asked him what he was really asking of me, what his intentions were, and the obvious question. Aren’t you married?

I think he was surprised by how direct I was, but it didn’t really phase him.  He said all of these things, that he thought I was cute and funny, and that he wanted to get to know me better.  That one time I patted him on the shoulder, and he had wanted to react to it but didn’t.  That he didn’t see anything wrong with an innocent hug or kiss, and that we should hang out.   He didn’t see anything wrong if things went further than an innocent kiss, but he understood why I might.  He said he wanted to hang out with me before I left for my Christmas vacation; we could have breakfast or take a drive somewhere, hang out by the lake.  Said we could always talk about things if I felt uncomfortable.

Except I was already uncomfortable.

I do believe that people can be friends and be of the opposite sex.  However, you have to set boundaries, and you have to be willing to determine those that can’t stay on their side of the line.  I didn’t want to shut out someone that I’d just met, especially someone that I worked with, but I had to set some ground rules.  Namely, uh, we’re not hanging out, you’re married, and I’m uncomfortable.  We’re cool in the context of work, but that’s all it can be.  Friend zone.  If you’ve ever been a fan of Kevin Hart, this would have been a perfect opportunity to say “Pineapples.”

What he proposed made me feel sullied and cheap — like my friendliness had been taken for granted or skewed into something unbecoming.  I may be missing closeness and affection, but I’ll never be that desperate.  I could never cross the line drawn by the broom he jumped with someone else.

I just don’t have it in me.

The Dating Rotation

Do you ever try to keep your calendar full so that you don’t have time to think about the fact that you’re very much single (and maybe a little lonely)?  I’m not afraid to admit that I do.  Especially around the holidays, more than any other time of year, I miss having someone to spend time with.  I miss cute little gifts (and big expensive ones too), cuddling up when it gets cold outside (though I’m starting to think there’s no such thing as cold in New Orleans), and making plans for the new year.  I’ve filled up my calendar, made some new friends, and kept myself busy at work so that I don’t really have time to think about it, but I still do.  Why is it always so difficult to find someone that wants to be there?  Wants to make an effort, actually cares, can be 100% real?

I used to have what I called a dating rotation, but my BS meter failed me on several occasions, and I’m to the point now where I’m so wary of nonsense that I don’t want to bother.  Each person in the rotation served a purpose.  One was fun to go out with, watch movies, shoot some pool, etc.  One was more of the “stay in” type for movies, cuddling, and well… you know.  One was a total foodie and would explore restaurants with me or be my guinea pig on new recipes I was trying out.

You may wonder why I decided to date a bunch of people, but there was a real reason.  Alone, each of these guys wasn’t boyfriend material.  They were good for certain things, but none of them really fit the mold of what I really needed.  I never lied or gave anyone the idea that we were exclusive, and I was forthcoming in admitting that I was dating other people.  I expected the same honesty.   I kept the rotation because I knew I didn’t want to fall for these guys, and what I had in place kept me from developing feelings for any one person.  And it worked for a while, but I eventually wanted more.  Just not from any of them.  Maybe I sound like a terrible person, but there was no deception.  We all parted ways amicably, one by one.  And then it was just me again.  And then I had butterflies… and, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out.  I was so sure about that one, would have done anything for him, but it didn’t matter.  At least not to him.

Though I’ll be the first to admit that I want someone right now, I don’t have the energy to start up another rotation.  Maybe it comes from turning 30, maybe I’ve just decided that all of the BS isn’t worth the trouble of dealing with a few.  I just want one.  One that I can be dedicated to, be myself with, share and experience things with that wants to be with me in the same ways.   Someone that’s willing to work at it, will tell me when I’m wrong, but who will also hear me when I’m right.  I don’t need pretense, nor am I looking for an immediate fix.

I’m looking for real.  Well, maybe “looking” isn’t the proper term… I’m praying for real.  When I look, they’re never right.  I assume that’s because when we know what we want and need, we try our best to make the person in front of us fit the mold.  But they don’t.

Everyone says to just let it happen.  Well, my white flag is waving.  No more rotations, no more quick fixes.

If it doesn’t have true potential, I just can’t do it anymore.

A Warrior’s Wall

I don’t honestly believe that time heals all wounds.  In some instances, like love, I do think that time can mend things and eventually open you back up to the possibility of a new love.  However, in other areas (like loss), some wounds just aren’t meant to heal.  Some people are irreplaceable, and they leave a void when you lose them.

Even with such loss, you may never find adequate closure.  The wound may stay fresh, but you have to find a way to continue moving forward.  I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to… but you should.  The tough part about loss is that we humans like to believe in something called hope, and sometimes hope leads us straight onto a path of denial.  When you lose someone, you don’t want to believe it’s true.  You don’t want to believe that the last time really was the last time.  You hope it’s wrong.  Even if you know for sure that it’s right.  They’re gone.  You still hope, against the odds, that somehow some miracle will bring them back.

But nothing will.

One of the scariest things I’ve learned about loss is that I have to depend on my memory to keep my lost loved ones present.  My mom said to me, about a year after my sister passed, that she’s been writing down all of her memories of my sister.  She’s afraid she’ll forget something, and she believes forgetting dishonors my sister’s memory.  My mom hasn’t completely moved on, and I don’t think she ever will.  And I’m not even saying that she should.  But I worry about her.  I worry that she’s so focused on my sister’s life that she’ll completely lose the opportunity to live her own.

Losing memories of my sister worries me too.  I don’t think I’m all that great at grieving, honestly.  I always have to be prepared to be the strong one; ready to pick up the pieces when anything goes wrong.  I can’t let down the wall and be vulnerable if I have to be my family’s warrior.  When the wall is up, you learn to smile a lot.  You have to.  A million things could be going wrong, but you have to keep it together.  Show a brave face to people, so much so that they don’t know the difference between true happiness or the wall.  They don’t recognize the wall because the brave smile becomes the default.  Smiling is my grief mechanism.

Maybe it isn’t the best thing, because I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t dealt with everything I feel, but at least I acknowledge that this is what I do.  There are very few people that I let see the other side of the wall, perhaps because I worry that someone doesn’t really want to know everything that I’ve been through.  I also have learned that, in the past, I trusted too easily.  I don’t want to continuously repeat the same cycles.

At the end of the day, you’ll find me smiling.  Every once in a while you may see some other emotion flash through my eyes, but I pick it back up and keep pushing.  My baby sis would have it no other way, and it brings me great joy to keep working toward accomplishments that I know would have made her proud.

The wall is up high, but I know when to bring it down.

Drawing a Line

Sometimes I think you hope that there will be more, even when you know it’s over.  Maybe because it wasn’t your decision to end things, maybe because you don’t want to start all over again.  There’s always a reason.

I think one of my biggest hangups has always been that I’m completely honest, and I expect the same in return.  I want to be able to tell you what it is, and I want you to do the same.  I don’t see the point in flowering words to save feelings, someone else’s or my own, because then we’re not really at the heart of the matter.  We’re skating around it.  I always come back to two words: be real.  In my last romance, I honestly don’t know what happened to cause our demise.  I just know it’s over.

I started blogging just over 9 years ago.  My first start was on Xanga, and then Blogger, and now WP.  Over 12 blogs in all, multiples are still in use.  I was grieving over the loss of someone very close to me — someone I’d known her entire life — my sister.  That same year, I lost 4 more people close to me, and I felt like my world was closing in around me.  Honestly, I’m still grieving.  Writing has always been my outlet; I always knew how to describe and myself through written word.  It wasn’t until I’d dealt with some demons through writing that I realized that I had a need to express myself verbally.  If I love someone, I need to say it.  I can’t hold back anymore.  I’ve lost too many opportunities with people I grew up loving to continue to hold back.  The cycle would just repeat itself, and I don’t think that I could bear it.

The one that gave me butterflies… There’s no question, I love him.  Even now.  He knows that.  And maybe he didn’t love me back, or he wasn’t ready.  Maybe I just wasn’t the right one for him.  I may never know, and I’ve accepted that.  Maybe we can never be friends or be close the way that we were.  He’s drawn a line.  At the end of the day, though, I just hope he remembers.  I won’t forget how I felt, or how I loved him, or what I’d hoped for.

Maybe there’s something better out there and I just can’t see it yet.  Maybe.

Closure

Sometimes you just don’t get it.  There’s no warning, there’s no explanation… Seemingly, there’s no reason.  And it hurts.  You feel rejected, you question everything that transpired, and you wonder what it is that you did wrong.  You’re assuming it was you.

If you can relate to what I’ve just said, I’m here to tell you that you can do everything right and sometimes it’s just not going to work.  I’m saying this from experience.  You can love, give, try, work at it, everything — but it still takes two.  That darn free will element.  But that free will portion is so clutch.

It’s easy to say hey, I’m a good woman.  I cook, I love sports, I play video games, I’m intelligent, I’m funny, I’m sweet, and I don’t need to be up under him all the damn time.  I have a life and my own friends, and I intend to keep them.  He compliments me, he doesn’t complete me.  He says he loves me, and I haven’t given him a reason to stop, so logic follows that he should just keep loving me.  Stop right there — that last statement is flawed.

I hate to compare love to a job, but maybe it’s not such a bad analogy.  A relationship is like at-will employment.  You can be fired without cause; meaning, you don’t have to do something wrong to be dumped.  Whether it’s timing, he decides he’s not ready, a lack of chemistry, a loss of chemistry, dishonesty, or whatever the case, you may not have done something wrong.  And, still, you’re now seeking closure for the end of a relationship.

But think about it:  you’d rather KNOW that someone wants to be with you, rather than feels like they HAVE to stay with you, right?  It makes a difference.  Knowing that someone chooses to spend time with you over someone else, chooses to treat you with love and respect, makes you a priority… Doesn’t that feel better than someone who is just with you for now, biding their time until something they perceive as better comes along?  Or better yet, someone who is with you for that one thing only?

It’s so easy to overanalyze every single event, thought, expression, conversation… But it’s pointless.  If it’s over, give yourself the time and space you need to accept that.  Whether you ever get that explanation you’re hoping for, you’ll find closure.  It’s really about getting back to the place where you can accept that you are enough.  With or without someone else.