On Monday evening, over a healthy vegetarian dinner at Curly’s on 14th Street, I sat with an old friend and discussed the meaning of it all: love, loss, and lessons learned. It’s the subtitle of my blog, but I like to think it also sums up this great adventure we call life (take or leave the “loss” part).
Sometimes I wonder why we sign up to fall in love in the first place, when there is so much heartache and failed expectations but then I remember the good times, the beginnings of any relationship, the late-night phone conversations, the excitement of getting to know someone new, the physical/sexual/emotional connections that I have formed with lovers over the years, and it all comes back. I understand what it means to crave companionship and sometimes I have a hard time being alone at this stage in my life. I recognize that this is where I’m meant to be and there are days when I truly love being single, but I miss having a companion all the same.
I hope this means I’m only human. I’d still like to think that I’m a very independent person.
It was great to catch up with M over dinner and fill in the gaps since the last time we had spoken. I told her about the many external pressures I experienced when I was with Jackson, especially towards the end of our run. I opened up about what it was like to live in a fishbowl and how I felt everyone around me had an opinion about our relationship. It felt good to get a lot of that stuff off my chest (and thank you to M for patiently listening).
Less than a year ago I fantasized about walking down the aisle, the dress I would wear, the music at the reception. But I wasn’t entirely happy and Jackson and I stood on shaky ground. I tried to spice up the relationship (that should have been the first sign of trouble: that we needed “spices”). I suggested that we take a vacation, I surprised him after work with sexy lingerie, I played the role of “good girlfriend” in hopes that he would recognize my worth and put a damn ring on it.
But now that this time has elapsed and I’m no longer in this relationship, I feel liberated without the weight of all that pressure. I hope that doesn’t seem contradictory since earlier I mentioned that I miss the companionship. Of course I do. But if Jackson had proposed, I might be stuck in a terrible marriage today. The thought that I nearly let all reason fly out the window to wear a wedding dress is inconceivable to me now.
“You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.“
These words, spoken by David Walcott and given to me by M, leave me with much hope. “Love after Love” will happen, but now I need to focus on the woman within.