Wednesday, April 18, 2012

L is for Love and Lisa

I couldn't decide on just one topic for this letter. Every time I'd start to compose this in my brain I'd end up on the other topic. Decide, okay, perhaps I'm meant to talk about that topic and find myself back at the original one. So, it felt important to write about both.


Last year I fell in love with someone for the first time in 19 years. The second I saw him everything in me said, "YES!" I had been waiting for that feeling for a very long time. I can't say that I wholeheartedly trusted it... but I didn't deny it's existence.

My first love happened when I was 20 and I loved him fiercely and passionately but was never able to tell him (see B is for Bravery for reasons why). Oh, I told him that I adored him and that I thought he was amazing. But I could never say those three little words. They meant too much... they were too powerful. And, I don't trust love much. So when Smitty and I broke up, it was one of the things that I regretted... not saying how I felt.

Since then I hadn't met someone that drew me enough... that I wanted to spend that sort of time with... until Sean. My dynamic with him was 180 degrees from what I had with Smitty. With Smitty it was a flash fire, fast and intense, passionate and dramatic (oh the drama and fighting!)... and so quick to burn out. With Sean, I knew immediately that he was someone that I wanted to spend a lot of time with. Those voices in my head that ordinarily flash into the future and predict how the relationship will go were turned off. I was content to take it a day at a time; to simply enjoy the experience and see what happened. I felt I had nothing but time. I didn't want kids of my own (I knew I'd some day be a step-mom, there are few men my age that don't already have children) and I wasn't sure where I stood on the whole marriage concept... so there was no reason to rush. But, to quote Tori Amos, "I like rivers that rush in." So though emotionally things weren't moving quickly, for me at least, our lives together did. In some ways, things were very easy between us. We lived well together. We shared domestic duties well together. We didn't argue. We could have deep, intense conversations without feeling the need to change or convince the other person that our position was the correct one. Each of us are very good listeners and we both like to live life beneath the surface. In some ways, we were very alike and in others total opposite. For me, it was a nice balance. We didn't always have a lot in common to talk about but it meant that there was something new I could learn from him and also gave me the benefit of remaining close to my female friends because all my words weren't given to him. I still had more to talk about. He was strong, physically and emotionally, but also unafraid to cry. I liked that in him. It made me feel as though I didn't always have to be the strong one; that I could let go and surrender the need to control for a bit. The world wouldn't fall apart if I sat in the passengers' seat for a while. With Sean, I was slow to fall in love. Both of our lives were in flux and we were dealing with a lot of life changes. I wasn't 20 anymore... I was rapidly heading towards 40 and I looked at love in a way that wasn't about simple infatuation. We questioned at times whether there was enough passion in our lives. I think that aspect bothered him more than me. I saw it as lack of drama. I felt passion for him. I wanted to watch him because he amazed me, touch him because he turned me on, talk to him because he intrigued me and for me, that was passion... it just didn't come in that intense package. We were about 6 months into our relationship when it began to occur to me that I loved him. But because it was still fresh for me, I didn't say anything. I didn't trust my feelings and honestly, I didn't trust his. I didn't know where he stood where I was concerned and was afraid to ask those questions. And then he broke my heart. That story is not for here and not for this time. But I found myself finally telling him that I loved him on the last night we were together as a couple. It was... ironic.

Now I have the chance to open my heart again. Love for me has never been an easy emotion. It's wrapped up in all sorts of fears. Because of Smitty I wonder if the flash and burn is real... but because of Sean I question if I'm on the road alone. I don't know where to find the balance.

This new man is interesting and intelligent. He looks amazing on paper and I've enjoyed our conversations. Each relationship is different and always... always... a new dynamic is created between those particular individuals. I liked me with Sean and I grieve that loss of self. This new man is interested in me in a way that Sean never expressed and that's a bit scary. He lives a good ways from me so seeing him has, to date, not been possible. And, if the chemistry is there it would require leaving everything I moved back to Denver for behind again. That's scary, too. I'm still not sure I'm ready to take that leap.

I feel torn because Sean still holds pieces of me... but I feel the tug of this potential, too. I still want to say "YES!" to Sean but question whether that's possible and letting go is what is supposed to happen. What I do know is that I want to love and I want to live. Turns out that despite all the intimacy fears that I'd had between Smitty and Sean, I'm really good at relationships. Who would've thunk it?!?


I've mentioned The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin... oh, about a hundred times, so it should come as no shock that I'm mentioning it again.  She talks a lot about "Be Gretchen." I've always felt that I've been pretty true to myself, that the image that I project is pretty authentic. But, "Be Gretchen" made me think about where I wasn't "Being Lisa." I have moments of "shoulding" all over myself. I "should" like this. I "should" not like that. I "should" be this and I "should" let go of that. Recently I gave away copies of all of Anne Rice's vampire books, plus, Violin, Pandora and one of the witches books. I had been carrying them around with me for about 17 years... including across the country - twice... and finally decided that I will NEVER read them. It's not my thing... and Anne Rice is not an author that appeals to me... and that's simply ok. I may never watch another movie that was made before 1970. I'm sure there are many that are brilliant... I just don't like them. I can't get inspired to watch "old" movies. And, that's ok. I'm starting to realize that it's perfectly acceptable that I have preferences and that doesn't make me close-minded, shallow or in any way limited. It's simply me... and it's okay to Be Lisa.

a mug I'd painted as a little reminder

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