Friday, April 12, 2013

Romantical Fridays: Perfect on Paper

Read the last installment here.  


Blue Eyes and I broke up. And eventually we got back together. You already know that because it’s the whole premise of this story, right? The tale of how two people decided to make a life together and ended up moving to Missouri with fanciful ideas of starting a sustainable community together. Perhaps it’s the modern day version of the dime novels that took place in the Old West. Perhaps sustainable homesteading is the new frontier.

But this is not a romance novel. It’s my life. I can romanticize it all I want, but those dime novels didn’t tell the realities of living on the frontier, did they?

Here was my reality when I made the decision to break up with Blue Eyes:

We shared a desire to live off the land, to make healthy food a priority in our lives, to live with passion, and to raise our children in a beautiful world.

And we loved each other. There was always that.   

But he was in Hawaii, had no income, enjoyed living out of his backpack, and had lots of growing up to do. 

I was in grad school, was busy writing a cookbook, had dreams of becoming a successful businesswoman and wanted to be with someone who I felt matched where I was in life.

We both had more educational debt than we could fathom ever paying off. Neither of us had health insurance. And I was beginning to understand that my chronic health issues stemmed from Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid disease. With everything going on, there was a heavy weight of fear and circumstance holding me down, and I didn’t have the tools at that time to handle it.

When Blue Eyes left, and even before then if I’m being honest, I began to wonder if the vision of what we could share was enough to outweigh the reality of where we actually were.

What had begun to happen was something I had experienced in relationships in the past. Slowly but surely, I began to close myself off, disconnecting from what I had in order to dream about what I could have.

I walled myself off so completely from Blue Eyes that breaking up with him wasn’t the painful experience I felt it should be. And that of course made me feel guilty. Perhaps it was just that on some level I knew we would get back together. Or maybe it was that I had a stronger sense of myself than I had in past relationships and so losing him didn’t also mean letting go of who I was. You see, every time I was in a serious relationship, I learned from the broken pieces when it ended. And by this time, I had learned that I was a complete person, separate from my boyfriend or future husband. I had learned that my happiness, my hopes and dreams, were not contingent on someone else. And I had never let go of that while Blue Eyes and I were together.

And so when it ended, my life just went on. There was someone missing, but I was still there and I kept pushing forward.

Here’s what happened during that time. There are a few different stories that need to be told here and I’m laying them out so that I know where I’m going. Today, I’m going to tell you a story called Perfect on Paper.

Next week, I want to tell you How Hypnotherapy Transformed My Life.

And then finally, The End. Which, as you know, is only the beginning. 

Perfect on Paper
The grass is always greener on the other side. When I was younger and single, all I wanted was a boyfriend. Once I had one, I began to envy my single girlfriends who did online dating, speed dating, and the ever-popular meeting a guy at a bar. I told myself that when I was single again, I would go on OkCupid, Match.com, and just for fun, try speed dating. I promised myself I wouldn’t settle down and I would just have fun dating for a while. Of course, you all know how that went. I broke up with my ex, moved to Seattle, and immediately met Blue Eyes. So this time around, I was determined to date up a storm.

I started with OkCupid. I think I was on there about a week, maybe two, before I decided online dating wasn’t for me. Frankly, it was way too much work and I was already online all the time with this blog. The last thing I needed was another reason to be sitting on the computer.

So that meant I had to go out and meet men in person.

I really didn’t know how to do that though...

One day I was sitting at home feeling rather sorry for myself, lamenting that my friends were all busy and I was lonely. I began to thumb through my phone, trying to decide who to call. Do you ever do that? When you feel depressed and want someone to talk to, but then you can’t seem to make yourself call anyone?

I realized that there were a lot of numbers I needed to erase. There were names I literally didn’t know. Kind of like Facebook where you see a friend update and have no clue who the person is. My phone was the same. And there was one name in there that I had assumed I had erased long ago. Well, I would have assumed it if I had even put that much thought into it. Mostly, I just forgot.

His name was Tom and in parentheses I had written (dog rescuer). Back when Blue Eyes and I had first started dating, I was driving one day and saw a dog running in the street. It was a busy road, so I stopped with the intention of catching the dog before a car hit it. Tom did the same thing. Between the two of us, we managed to catch the dog. Tom was on his lunch break and had to get back to work, so we exchanged numbers, he told me to call him if I couldn’t find the owner and we parted ways.

I thankfully found the owner and dropped the dog off.

But later I got a text message from Tom asking me out. He was impressed, he said, that I had stopped to help the dog and he wanted to get to know me better.

I had also been impressed that he had stopped. But I was dating someone and my heart and mind were completely filled with thoughts of Blue Eyes. I thanked him and gave him my regrets.

Never to think of it again until…fast forward to lonely single me in my kitchen…and suddenly I find his number in my phone. It could be fate, I thought. And what a great story to tell our grandchildren if it was.

So I texted him (no, I was not brave enough to call) to ask if he was still single, if he remembered me, and if he wanted to go out on a date. He was, he did, and he did.

So we did.

We only went out on a few dates but the impact it had still reverberates through my life. Tom was one of the nicest men I think I have ever met. He was handsome, intelligent, funny, and seemed to be in the same place I was in life. He was just about to start grad school, shared my social and political beliefs and truly wanted to make a difference in this world. Once again, I was impressed by him and I knew that he had many of the qualities I had been looking for.

Blue Eyes used to tell me that he didn’t look good on paper. Tom was perfect on paper.

And yet not once did I ever feel the spark of passion between us that I felt with Blue Eyes. I felt friendship, a desire to connect, and shared beliefs. When I looked in his eyes, I saw someone that would be the perfect husband… to someone else. I desperately wished that person was me because here was someone who fit me the way Blue Eyes didn’t. Here was someone whose goals matched mine and who “made sense.” 

But try as I might, I couldn't make myself feel something that wasn't there. 

I realized then that I had no control over who I loved. I could control who I chose to be with, but not who I fell for. I had always tried to control that just like I wanted to be in charge of everything else in my life. And of course it had never worked.

Blue Eyes may not have been perfect on paper, but he was the one my heart wanted. For better or worse.

Now, I didn’t realize all this right away. I knew only that I was trying to force a relationship with someone that wasn’t right. But it wasn’t until Blue Eyes came back from Hawaii that everything began to fall back into place.

To be continued... 

1 comment:

Cheryl Harris said...

I had to laugh, Iris! I dated my first love for a few years and was *determined* to go out and have a fling before even thinking of settling down into a relationship. And my chosen fling? my blue eyed husband to be, of course.
Life happens the way it wants to.

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