Read the last installment here.
Last week, I told you about meeting my first boyfriend and how madly in love I fell.
In hindsight, I wonder what a therapist would make of this happening right after the death of my grandfather.
I grew up surrounded by women. My mother was and is the strongest presence in my life. My older and younger sister are like extensions of my own heart. My best friend as a child was named Lily and we liked to think of ourselves as The Flowers. Every once in a while, someone would call me her name by mistake. The same happened in college, when Cecilia and I became inseparable. When I moved to New York, I immediately developed a strong friendship with my female roommates, and when I moved to Seattle, I met the women I think of as my soul sisters. I have always bonded easily with women. I even remember visiting my dad when I was nine and falling madly in love with his then girlfriend. I don't even recall her name but I know that it was easy for me to love women, to trust them.
Not so much.
Something else I remember from that trip to visit my dad was that I would wake up before him in the morning and grab my book (probably Sweet Valley High) and read. When he woke up, he would admonish me to wake him up rather than just waiting. Didn't he understand that reading was my favorite thing in the world? I would rather lie in his apartment all day and read books than explore the streets of San Francisco. That's just who I was. But I didn't expect him to understand me.
I didn't understand him.
My dad was a wandering soul, a free spirit who wanted a home, yet was deathly afraid of one. A man with countless wounds from childhood, a boy with very little knowledge of family. I saw him every three years or so and never really knew who he was.
I get him a little better now.
Blue Eyes is like him in a lot of ways.
Sometimes I think that scares my mom.
They say you fall in love with men who remind you of your father. Of course I never believed that would be true for me. Yet the longer I know Blue Eyes, the more he reminds me of both my father and my stepfather.
Blue Eyes is a wandering soul, a free spirit who wants a home, yet is afraid of one. He is a man with countless wounds from childhood, a boy who grew up with a family very different from mine.
Blue Eyes is also a man of impeccable morality, a truth teller, someone that can be hard for people to understand. He has his own set of rules that he follows, rules that drive me crazy sometimes, but that on a deeper level I respect.
From the moment I met Blue Eyes, he encouraged me to be myself and not care what others thought of me. He encouraged me to let my inner crazy out, and I did. Occasionally. In small increments.
I think in order to really accept who you are and be yourself, you also have to completely accept others in all their naked glory. I wasn't there yet.
Our relationship had been strained since he returned from his stint at a permaculture farm in Washington. He had been having a blast and wasn't quite ready to be back on the grid. But my uncle was getting married and my family was all coming to Washington for the occasion. So Blue Eyes came back to meet the family. He was in "peace, love and permaculture, baby" mode and I was in, "Oh my God, you're meeting my parents for the first time, could you please act like a normal person for once" mode.
We began to hit that point that always comes for me less than a year into a relationship.
It was the end of the honeymoon phase.
I think what comes after the honeymoon phase is the acceptance phase. You're no longer so blindly in love with someone that you ignore all their flaws, and you have to decide if you love that person enough to actually deal with the entirety of who they are.
This went for both of us.
Could he accept that I was never going to be the type of woman to hitch hike around the world with him, working on farms, crashing on couches, and waxing philosophical into the wee hours of the morning?
Could I accept that he was never going to settle down and get a respectable job, a sentence that would surely lead him to gnashing his teeth like the monsters in Where The Wild Things Are. Could I accept that he had no interest in fitting into society or buying a house with a white picket fence?
In late summer of 2011, Blue Eyes hopped a plane to Hawaii with plans to
live and work on a farm for a couple of months. In true Blue Eyes
fashion, he didn't actually have a farm in mind when he left. Just a
plane ticket and his backpack.
I had just begun writing my baking guides and was in full cookbook ambition mode. I was secretly relieved to have the time to myself so I didn't have to juggle a boyfriend and writing a cookbook at the same time. He was not-so-secretly relieved to leave my house, where he had been staying with me and my four female housemates. Our initial passion and fascination with each other had given way to the frustrations of two people who were both finding themselves while finding each other and living together way too soon.
As he gave me a hug before boarding that plane to Hawaii, I knew only that the time apart would test us both.
To be continued...