Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chapter 23: Guest Post- Getting to know yourself

Alright, Romantics. 

Today's post is written by code name Big Sister.  No, she's not really my big sister. It just seems that way. :)

This is some really great, honest writing. I'm so thankful she took the time to write it for us!

Here it is:

When Greg asked me to write a guest post for his blog, I was pretty blown away.  What do
write?!  How can I keep up with what he's accomplished here?  Would the other Romantics care
anything for what I wrote?  Or would this be a post they'd skip over, eagerly awaiting Greg's
next chapter?

I figured that if I, a proclaimed Romantic myself, am willing to immerse myself in other
Romantics’ posts, maybe they would be willing to do the same for me.  If nothing else, Greg
sees something in my expressions & words that jive for him.
In getting to know him through his blog, I see a spirit that speaks to mine as well.  I offer thanks
to you, Greg, for this challenge & opportunity.

To be sure, there are many well-trod paths in my mind.  Not sure which one to take but as
things are re-lived in memory we'll see where this yellow brick road leads.

I consider myself a chameleon of sorts.  There's pretty solid mesh of tomboy & girly-girl in me.
My spirit is fiery, my tongue is quick.  And both contrast with my diminutive exterior.
I love sarcastic wit & utilize it as much as possible...but I also understand when I have to press
pause on the "everything I'd really like to say" opportunities & bring it down a notch (or ten).
I used to curse like a sailor, but I've toned that that down impressively.  It's a bit of a nasty habit
& there are so many other ways to be expressive.
I love people-watching.  You can learn so much about others when they don't know you're
I adore having a tear-jerking-I'm-about-to-mess-my-pants laugh just as much as I appreciate the
quiet introspective that lends to self-reflection.
As an avid reader, there are usually three or four very different books in my Kindle carousel.
Movies & music are my close companions, too.
With all these personal nuances roiling around, it makes sense to me that I've spent so much
time wishing for more than the eye can see.  Still though, I recognize my reality.
And where I went wrong.
Or what I learned.
It's all about perspective.

I am a hopeless romantic deep down.  I just knew that there would be moments in my life
straight out of the movies (& books) that I love so much...
A tentative moment when eyes lock across a crowded room.
Worn well-read notes declaring adoration & desire to spend a few sweet moments together.
The lasting interval of space when you're seconds away from a first kiss and you can actually
feel Time stop breathing.

(You know that space?  Take a second.  Revisit it.  Thrilling, right?!)

Unfortunately, my early realities couldn't measure up to those dreams.

Several of Greg's posts whisper to times & places in my life when I've been overcome,
overwhelmed and overthrown by emotions.  The most resonating "life lessons" have stemmed
from relationships gone by, never forgotten, for so many reasons.  As I write these words you're
reading, my face twists and contorts in & out of frowns and scowls, teeth gnashing on my
lower lip, deep reflective breaths thinking of the just-bad-wrong decisions, the knowledge I wish
I had "back then", and the wreckage I led a younger me to experience.

While I may pass over some details for the sake of not writing a book here, please know that
it's in all those little details and fractions of life-changing seconds that my mind wanders so

There are moments when those memories have held me hostage.
Little pools of time in which I have drowned, been resuscitated, and drowned in again.

But what do we learn from our experiences, fellow Romantics?
We learn to move on.  We learn to be stronger.  We learn to live.

In high school, I encountered the "bad boy".  (Ladies, for some reason, you know we love 'em.
Guys, we can't tell you why.  It just happens.)  He was a funny & interesting guy.  A little cagey,
but he seemed like good people overall.  He was all about me and seemed to worship me.  The
more I learned, however, the faster I should have run in the opposite direction.
He was so damaged!  And that only made me want to save him more.  I didn't realize how
damaged he was though, and it hurled me directly into a typhoon of self-doubt, debasement,
emotional atrophy, and violation.

When I started to realize how emotionally battered he was, I wanted to help heal him.
When I finally realized that he was destroying me instead, I wanted to run.
By then, I didn't know how anymore.

Abused physically, mentally, emotionally, I ultimately grew angry with myself for the time I
wasted being put down.
As frustrating as it was, it was also depressing & beyond exhausting.  I started receiving looks of
concern from people around me which made me just want to draw into myself even more due to
the embarrassment that I’d been so stupid & disappointing.
If the show Intervention had been on back then, I'm sure I'd have been on it.  Funny thing was, I
wasn't the one with the drug or deep-seeded psychological issues.  (And trust me, dude was out
of his bean!)  I was just a victim of someone who had them.

Super long story abbreviated, he eventually became incarcerated.
It was the only time in years that I felt like I could breathe again!  I started to become stronger
without my personal jailer.  I made new friends, developed new interests.  Learned he was
wrong for slicing away my life from me.

But I was more wrong for allowing him to.
I made the break & never second guessed it.

Seasons later in college, I got to know a friend of a friend.  We had so many common interests,
we would laugh & joke at the most inane things, and we were always happy when the other was
near.  We even used to answer questions to The Newlywed Game... (We would have totally
rocked that show!).

This time I let myself be stolen away again.  Granted, it wasn't through manipulation & fear, but
through the illusion that I was a part of something important and special.

This one, he was a world apart from the "bad boy".  But he was damaged, too.  Someone had
stolen something from him & never returned it.  And he never realized it was gone.
See, he HAD to know, as absolute as the sun will shine, that everyone thought he was a good
guy.  That he was well liked.  It became so important to him, in fact, that I became less so.

As time passed, he decided to move back home to follow his career dreams, of which I was
totally supportive.
Somewhere in there, without discussing it with me, he decided that I would move as well.

(Say whaaaaat?  Pump the breaks, brah!)

Moving away from my friends, my mom, school...picking up & just going to a place I had no
interest in idea where we were going with our relationship beyond our current dating
status...  It was all a bit too much for me.
When that didn't take as he'd anticipated, he threw mountains of verbiage at me that caused a
good bit of emotional carnage in my heart & spirit.
As is the potential in long-distance relationships, (not all mind you, but in this one), we grew
apart & called it quits because things had become more of an obligation than anything else.  But
I was wrecked.  My best friend was gone & it was painful!

I remember crying as if my heart was clawing a gorge into my chest...that it would hop out, grow
legs & run off, never to be seen again.

Tears, anger, pain needed to have their say.  Resentment also sprouted as I realized that in all
of my support for his dreams, he never considered (or asked!) what mine were.

I later found out that during all that time, he'd been corresponding with an individual I'd tried
to talk to him about previously.  He just had to prove that he was a great friend & a good guy.
She more than believed it.  They ended up dating for a few years after that.

Jackleg move on his part.

But what I came to see was that I had yet again allowed someone to take me away from Me.
I had assimilated.

And for the next bit after that, I didn’t' date much.  A few casual dates, but nothing serious.
For me, the serial monogamist, that was tough!

Fast forward and I'm joining a gym where a friend ended up introducing me to a guy I would
later become engaged to.

Engaged to.
But not marry.

He was a very nice, soft-spoken guy.  Never saw him get riled up.  We talked a lot, about so
many different topics, and really clicked.  One thing that "got me" was when I found that he'd
been raised by family other than his parents (due to his mother's death when he was young).
He expressed gratitude over that & also mentioned that when the time came, if he & his partner
weren't able to have a child, he was absolutely for adoption.  I've always felt strongly about
adoption due to the family connections I have.
From the beginning of that year we'd spent almost every day together & "knew" it was right.
(Interesting how when you "just know" something, you can look back later and think "What in the
___ was I thinking?!!")
After that summer's close, we were looking for an apartment together.  By the end of the year,
we were engaged.

Lots of little things eventually started to rear their ugly heads.  Discussions about family,
spirituality, finances turned into fights & arguments.  I tried hard to make things happy &
peaceful, but my inner voice was screaming at me that we were finally opening up to the place
where our trees grew in separate orchards.
These were big issues!  Not things I take lightly when I'm engaged to marry someone & we
cannot find a place of center.

Let's add this fuel to the fire: once a lucrative off-road truck driver, he had to leave that position
& have back surgery.  Out of work for about a year.  Following that, he went back to school.
Then quit.  Then back.  Then quit.  All the while, he was feeling so badly that we had to live off
my small wages & burn through my savings.  Yet, my credit cards were supportive enough to
handle with negligence surmounting purchases for the most random crap, to which I explained,
pleaded, nagged, could not happen.
I should have stopped it.  I should have taken a stand.  I should have stomped my little foot &
set boundaries.

Shoulda  Woulda  Coulda

Again, skimming details for brevity, I finally had to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Sonofa...this
wasn't supposed to happen to me!
But it did.
After that we were almost like strangers in the same apt.  We could be in the same room & not

speak to one another the entire time.  It was all I could do to maintain until the lease was up so
we could move apart.  I was angry, frustrated, stressed...and resenting the one person I thought
I was going to spend my life with.  All because he, too, was broken.
And I tried to fix it.

(Lesson learned!  Fast forward again, we're now friends & have a good relationship.  He has the
dog.  They need each other so I'm ok with it.  He sends me pics & stories about her.  I can talk
to him without resentment.  I can focus on why I liked him as a person to begin with.)

There were a couple of others mixed in over the years.  You know the ones.  You feel like
you're ignited & buzzing with an electric high that comes from being with someone that you think
must be your personal drug.
Somehow the timing & things just never worked out.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t meant to be.

Full circle...
I was married on 11~11~11!
Now, I know what you're thinking:  "Not another rush job!  Hasn't she learned ANYTHING?!"
No worries.  We met at work.  Spent a few years and learned about each other, became friends,
fell in love.  The synchronous way the Universe works & my life finally fell into step together.

To be sure, the storybook Prince Charming would NEVER be able to handle my boundless
sarcasm like my Prince Charming.  Coincidentally though, he gave me all three of my "movie
moments", plus a few more!
We might create a newer, better Newlywed Game...and it will rule.

He's my rock.  We are pieces of a puzzle and complement one another completely.  I finally met
someone who gets my weirdness.  And I totally get his.
Best of all, I don't need to try to fix anything or be anyone that I'm not.   I can be ME, and I've
started learning more about who that really is!  It feels good to find her again.  Finally, I can
share her with someone that appreciates her.  (BONUS!)

(I'm pretty awesome, BTW.)

If you've lasted & you're still with me, THANK YOU.  I am grateful because this has been
surprisingly healing!

So, all that delved into & here's what I've come up with:
Over the years, I've learned I'm not here to fix anyone or anything.  I'm here to be a witness to
Life & all its turns, detours, dips, and thrills.  What that means & where it takes me, I cannot yet
Which can be so frustrating.
I'm a work in progress, gimme a break.

But, I do know that even though you can be there for someone, you can never live for someone.
I've learned about taking responsibility for yourself and your decisions & actions.  Sometimes
we overlook the most obvious culprit for our trials.
Each of us is on our own journey.  Sometimes you meet someone who travels with you and
sometimes you travel solo.
But you're never truly alone.
Everyone that you've touched & encountered brings a different light to your journey, helps you
see things that you are meant to see, even when there are things you don't want to.

One thing you should always see in the clearest thing you should always
understand by opening up to Divine thing you should always strive to know with
absolute YOU!

The Oilfield Romantic
and friends...

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully articulated, touchingly honest, lovingly shared.

    Thank you G2 for sharing your Big Sis's chapter; and thank you to the writer for 'going there'! Exquisite.