Wednesday night I laid on his chest, taking deep breaths, listening to him gleefully sing along with Louie Armstrong. It was amazing. It was almost exactly what I had wanted all day. Probably more.
“Well, I have to go.”
And just like that it was over. He left and I missed him immediately. I want him with me constantly. I want to know what he thinks about everything. I want to know how he feels in every moment. The time we spend together is amazing but I still want MORE.
“I must be sick,” I thought to myself last Saturday. It was the day after he kissed me for the first time—a completely unexpected moment. I thought we were just hanging out. Just going to be friends. I hadn’t dared to let myself think about, let alone hope for, anything more.
And then he kissed me.
I was so shocked that I wasn’t even completely in the moment when it happened. This incredibly smart, funny, good looking man, with this lovely, gentle spirit kissed me. Me. He KISSED me.
And the next day I couldn’t think about anything else. I was like instantly obsessed.
“This isn’t good,” I thought as I tried to trudge through my homework one more time. “I must be sick.” Now I wasn’t physically ill. I hadn’t contracted anything from one…two…three sweet kisses. From his lips gently sweeping against and pressing into mine. I hadn’t gotten a disease from his sweet warm breath on my neck as we hugged goodnight.
But something is off. My brain isn’t working anymore. Not like it used to. Not like it should. I can’t concentrate. I can’t focus. I can’t get anything done. I’m sick. Like sick in the head sick.
Or soul sick.
All of my personal aspirations and desires were suddenly different. On their sides. Confused. My plan doesn’t make sense anymore because I can’t think of a way to squish him into it. My focus was instantly off. My desires all shifted. I used to want to accomplish something big. Right now I just want him.
With the first kiss, I instantly wanted more. I wanted everything! I was thinking of him constantly and I wanted him to be thinking of me constantly. I wanted him to be mine and to want me to be his. To possess him. Be possessed. Yeah. I was definitely sick. That’s bad thinking. Bad desire.
I used to like this “in love,” quasi-obsessive feeling. But now…it makes me feel sick. Sad. Jealous. Afraid. A little angry. And it is actually in my stomach right now.
What is it?
The possession. The wanting to have, to own. Is it that? I want him. As much of him as possible for as often as possible and as long as possible. But it isn’t just regular longing that ebbs and flows like hunger in my body that can be temporarily sated. That’s probably the sick part.
No definitely. My stomach, my chest, my brain…they all want overload. How can I stop this desire. Balance it with the other desires of my life? If it can’t be sated it can’t be healthy. So…should I feed it only at my own peril?
Or is it enough to remind myself that you can never really have another person?
We say things like, “He’s my boyfriend,” that imply ownership. Our wedding vows are things like, “to have and to hold…’til death do us part.” To have. To own…until we die. Like a house. Or a car. Or a purse.
Now that I have you, I’m going to put all of my important items into you and carry you along with me where ever I go.
But relationships with humans aren’t like the relationships we have with our things. He isn’t my purse. He can’t be. Even if he wants to be.
My brain is circling about all of these ideas. There are all of these things that we imbue with permanence that will not—cannot possibly—last that long. So why do we use this false sense of security anyway?
Because we want more? Do we want forever so we trick ourselves into the idea that something could possibly be so? I want every moment with this guy I can possibly get. And when I get it I want more. I want it to last. I want the security that he will be back again and again and again. I guess I want to try to make it permanent.
But if he doesn’t belong to me—and he doesn’t, and he can’t even if we were to get married—then he can’t be permanent. Maybe I need to make that my mantra so that I can enjoy the moments with him.
“This won’t last, Crystal. So enjoy him and love him to your fullest capacity just for now. Just for this moment.”
“But I love him.”
“So love him.”
“But I miss him.”
“So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Profound, huh? I know it’s cliché at this point in American culture to be a single woman saying this, but that book really did change my life. I read it at just the right time, when I was wondering just the right things and it had a lot of answers for me. Well, maybe not answers. But it pointed me to the next questions. The right questions.
It helped me let go of a lot of things. A lot of people. A lot of ideas. Maybe I need to read it again right now, because I am in a quandary. An emotional, mental and spiritual quandary.
This is my current question: Is it worth falling madly, deeply in love with someone or something that you can’t have? Or that you can only have for a short time?
Until recently I would have said yes. Hell yes, even. Why not? I mean why not enjoy every moment available with something you love? Because it might hurt to let it go? Well of course it will hurt to let it go. It hurts to let go of anything and everything that we love. But we should love it anyway, right?
The knots in my stomach have me feeling not so certain of this anymore.
We’ve only hung out five times now. But I already want to tell him first every time something fun or funny happens. And I already want to have him with me when something painful is going on. Just to kiss my forehead or let me lean on his chest.
I am smitten to say the least. It may be more appropriate to say that I am in deep smit.
Because where can it go? He has one, huge, over-arching desire for his life and it doesn’t jibe with the huge over-arching plan for my life.
I’m getting the hell out of here. That’s the plan. But here he is.
That’s not to say that he is wedded to this town. In fact, he has a specific place he wants to go that is NOT on my list of desires and possibilities.
So, is this just for now? It seems like he’s in – for now, anyway. He has said that he likes me a lot. I’ve been completely myself and completely honest. So I don’t have to worry about him suddenly finding out who I really am and deciding that he doesn’t like it.
I get anxious and nervous and scared when I think of the future. When I think of my plan. And ideas of my future, my plan, keep me from enjoying the moment with him and even my memories of times with him. So I should probably ignore them, right? Because they are keeping me from being truly present and enjoying our time together. And if our time together is, indeed, going to be short, I should be careful to enjoy every minute of it. To bask in it. To wallow in it. To jump in with both hands and both feet and a wide-open heart and mind.
Ugh…my stomach is starting to hurt again.
The truth is – and always has been; no matter what we acknowledge – the future doesn’t belong to us. The past doesn’t exist anymore. All we have is this present moment. And if he is with me in the present moment, I need to enjoy it. Not ruin it by desiring more than is even available to me in that moment.
This is a difficult practice. Emotional sit-ups. Mental pull-ups. Spiritual laps. Ugh…and regular sit-ups are already so emotional for me.
It wasn’t that long ago. Maybe a couple of months. I was a little bit tipsy, which means I was feeling a little sexy. So, I texted him. Just to say hi and flirt. I knew it would be safe because I knew he wouldn’t try to get in my pants – mostly because his house is way out in the woods. And even if his phone did pick up the signal he wasn’t going to come all the way to town. Even if he thought he might get laid.
I don’t know what I said to him, but his answer was pretty brash: I have a girlfriend.
Well, okay. Good luck with that. And I deleted his number out of my phone.
It’s not like I’d seen him for months anyway. The last time I saw him he was on a date with another girl…at the restaurant where I work. And I had to keep walking past his table, trying not to make eye contact. Thank God I wasn’t his server.
He caught my eye a couple of times and smiled. Grinned at me in that knowing way that made my cheeks catch on fire and gave me the intense urge to look down just to be sure that I was still clothed.
Isn’t it funny that being around someone who knows what you look like naked makes you feel like everyone suddenly knows what you look like naked?
And even though he was never my boyfriend — just a tryst gone a little wrong — he’s seen so much more than me naked. He held me the day of my uncle’s funeral. Watched me cry. Saw the laughter behind my eyes that one only gets a glimpse of when I feel comfortable enough to feel like no one is looking. Heard me singing to myself. Felt my breath on his neck while we whispered in the dark to one another.
And when I told him that I wasn’t happy just being a tryst — that I wanted a significant other, not just a lover — he behaved so bizarrely. Even when I told him he had a good chance at being my man, if he wanted it. He just disappeared.
An extra measure of pain in the vulnerability.
Then having him smile at me while I worked… yeah.
So, his number is gone and I didn’t think I would ever see him again.
Over, right? No biggie.
And then I went to the theatre. And I saw him — of all things — trailing behind a friend of mine in that way that a boyfriend trails his girlfriend when he’s been persuaded to go to the theatre but doesn’t really want to be there.
So she’s the girlfriend.
And I feel naked again. But no one saw him look at me. My friend didn’t. No one else in the room can see that I remember what he smells like when he’s been sweating. Or that he likes to mumble a bit so that a person has to lean closer to hear him.
And he avoided looking at me again.
“Well, I hope they’re happy.”
But, of course, I can’t leave it at that. I was curious. I asked some of our mutual friends how long she had been seeing him. (I wondered if she really was the girlfriend he mentioned or if she’s a newer incarnation of that position.) I got a very odd responses. Both of the people I asked were a bit confused. Confused because I had his name wrong. His name wasn’t Evan. His name is Eddie.
“Huh? I swear that’s him. Evan Romano, right?”
“Nope, Eddie Ramirez.”
Did something small just explode? And was it someplace in my head?
I saw both of them again a week later, Evan…er, Eddie and my friend, and I am just baffled at what I could or should possibly do next. I mean what are the options? Tell my friend? Confront him about it? I can’t call or text him, cause I deleted his number.
Maybe when I saw the two of them I should have introduced myself and seen what he did. Maybe it isn’t him. Maybe I should ask if he has a big surgical scar on his thigh and see how guilty he reacts.
That makes me laugh to think about. Like an awkward scene in a movie.
In a movie — right? Not in real life. It’s unreal.
Maybe I imagined it all. What was his name again?
Main Entry: puppy love
Definition: transitory love or affection felt by a child or adolescent
Since 1823 this phrase has been used to dismiss many attractions. I’ve used it myself. But I really wonder how the term gained its definition. If you think about it, it doesn’t make too much sense.
On the average day, as I wander around my apartment my puppy, Snicker, wanders around behind me. At the very least she watches me. She absolutely dotes on me.
She’s follows me from room to room, up and down the stairs repeatedly. When I sit on the couch, she jumps up onto the couch. When I go to the bathroom she follows me and waits outside the door until I’m done. She’s even lying on the floor next to me at this very moment with her head on my foot.
Yeah I know it’s a bit much. But, my point is, she is cheerfully, energetically, and undyingly devoted to me.
The more I think about it the more I don’t think the term puppy love should be associated with transitory, immature or silly love. If anything it should be associated with loyal, endless, cheerful love.
Now I don’t want a fella following me to the bathroom, but I think we could all use some puppy love (especially from the people we love).
I know I needed the puppy love today and I wish you all get some puppy love this Valentine’s Day.
Obviously something is going on. I try to get it out by talking to friends, meditating a bit and now writing (I probably should have tried writing sooner, but you can’t sit down to write while you’re slinging seafood).
I’m freaking out a little bit. My brain keeps circling one topic — the way water circles a drain — and it won’t stop. I’ve looked at it from a multitude of angles and thought of as many solutions as I can, but my brain just won’t put the stupid thing down. Why can’t I concentrate on anything else?
Something that won’t make me anxious…something that will allow me to fall asleep…something that doesn’t make me clench my teeth?
And, maybe the worst part of all this: it isn’t an unfamiliar feeling.
I get like this sometimes. If you have read my blog for a couple of years you may remember a few posts about it from the past.I don’t know what causes the feeling. In the past I usually blamed the “high stress” situations at my job. But really, were they that stressful?
And if it was stress, why am I stressing out so much about this one thing?
Okay, it is about work. And money. And it involves my biggest client at the moment. So there’s that.
I don’t want to think about this so much in a negative way and turn it into something worse than it is because of all the concentrated negative energy — BLAST IT! And the next meeting isn’t until Monday afternoon. If I am thinking about this, like this for the next three days I may just go insane.
Please, God, take this out of my brain. Give me a sweeter drain to circle. Like the class I’m taking to creating love in my life. Or the writing class I’m going to be teaching in March. Or getting my apartment clean. Or even just work while I’m there for the next two days. Something I can actually do something about…sheesh.
A couple of months ago it occurred to me that every now and then I have a few really awful days and then I’ll get my period and think, “Oh, maybe it was just PMS.” And I realized that during the awful days it almost never occurs to me that it might just be PMS. So I resolved to remember that and see if realizing that it might be a common female occurrence could help a little bit.
Well, I remembered. And I really do hope this is just PMS (so that I can feel better without much effort in a few days). But, sadly, realizing it might be PMS doesn’t really help at the moment.
So, I’m sure I’ll miss something and I’m pretty sure that I’ll get something out of order too, but 2011 was a pretty big damn year for me. There were some big events, some great events, some awful events and…well a lot of important ones.
So, here are the ones I can think of off the top of my head:
525,600 Minutes on Stage
This year I got a chance to hit all of the high notes in Rent for an actual audience. Okay, so I didn’t get the part I should have and that is my fault — at least in part. I should have made them listen to me sing “Take Me or Leave Me” at call backs, because I’m amazing and I should have been Mimi. But since when is local theatre in Rapid City even close to perfect?
It was a pretty emotional situation for me too for a lot of reasons. Of course being in the chorus again created a lot of emotions. Also, my best friend and all of her sisters were in the show — which was amazing in one sense, but in another I felt like a big outsider in one of my very important relationships.
But I also got to perform at my high school again and sing some very important music that has a lot to do with the person I have become. So I have to be grateful for it.
The Jewel of Minnesota
Near the beginning of the year I got to visit one of my best friends in Minneapolis. Seeing the city and seeing her at the same time (along with my bestie Dee) was amazing in so many ways for so many reasons. I just wish we hadn’t wasted so much time looking at the U of M campus. Boo.
I love you Jewels and I miss you even though I got to see you just a week ago!
Said the ‘C’ Word in Public
That’s right. And I talked about vaginas and I wore red and I met a lot of lovely ladies. while helping a great cause. And I think I got the part because of my aunt Sylvia. Copying her accent got me into the show. Love and miss you aunt Syl.
I also have to say, I love reader’s theatre. It’s so great to be able to put on an awesome play in just a month! I also got to meet my Toms that night and they have been a wonderful addition to my life this year.
Grad School Fail
That’s right, I didn’t get into grad school. And, strangely enough, I didn’t really mind. I still might try to go again, but I’m confident that it doesn’t matter if I ever get in. Although I was newly energized to get out of my job that was sucking my life out through the eyeballs on a daily basis. Do you know how much it sucks to know that you’re doing a bad job every day? I do, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
So, I didn’t get into grad school. But I did get a new dream almost immediately — like the same night I read the last rejection letter. Several really. And I haven’t been able to fully realize them, but I have taken steps toward them and it feels pretty amazing. I’m free. I’m empowered. I’m newly committed to daydreaming. It’s one of the most useful things I’ve ever done.
My Name is Crystal, I’ll Be Your Server Today
That’s right. I started waiting tables again. I went to college and graduated with straight…eh, Bs, and worked in my field for six and a half years just so that I could be a server again. Ain’t life a bitch?
Well it is and it isn’t.
I started waiting tables for extra money to pay off debt and save up for that whole dream thing. And it went pretty well once I got over the fact that the last time I waited tables was when I had dropped out of college for a semester. It’s funny, I looked back on waiting tables as motivation to get through college (so that I would never have to wait tables again) and now, in a sense, I’m back where I started.
This time though, I like it a lot better and I am much better at it
I also lost 20 pounds in the first few months. I’m sort of getting paid to work out, eh?
I Paid the Piper
Waiting tables worked. I was able to pay off my most significant credit card debt, incorporate my business and save up a few thousand dollars of capital as well as a few months of living expenses. And honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to even pay off one credit card waiting tables for six months.
While working both jobs my apartment became incredibly messy and several of my friendships suffered. I’m rebuilding all of that now. But because it was for a short time I do feel it was a worthy sacrifice. But I miss those friends and my poor blog died a little. Here’s to new life in the New Year!
That’s right, I quit, my regular, stable, soul-sucking job. And it might be the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. (Only time will tell, I suppose.) So far I’m making more money and working less often — at least it feels like it because when I work I get to do it in my pajamas if I want.
Let’s get Started
You may have figured out from the previous bits that I started my own business. Well I did and it’s going great. I love it. Most of it. And it has been a great first step toward one of those dreams –as well as the full realization of my dream to quit that job. Hooray!
We’ll have to see how the next steps work out.
After I quit my job, one of the first things I did was teach a writing class for community education. Two in fact.
The first one was a blogging for business class. And it went pretty well. I liked my students and I learned a lot about teaching. The second class was about memoir writing and the personal essay and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life so far. My students were amazing and I know we all learned a lot.
In fact, it looks like we may try to get together for sessions in the coming year and I am stoked. I just have to find a place.
Yeah, not exactly a high note to leave on for the year, but it is very significant. The day before Thanksgiving my mom’s mother — the only grandparent I remember — Catherine Bennett, left us all behind. She was the oldest child and daughter of the oldest child and daughter in her family. Just like my mother. Just like me.
I’m crying about it again right now as I type this. All I can say is LOVE.
Luckily, I was able to spend about a week with her before she left. And every time anyone calls me (or anyone else) “honey,” I will think of her. And probably cry a little.
In the last few weeks of the year I have been doing a lot of work for my business (ironically the contracts have been with my former employer) and I have already made back the majority of my initial investment. The work has been fun. Writing, photography, page design and advertising.
I also have plans for new projects in the new year. I’m still waiting tables on the weekends, and I probably will be for quite a while. But I do enjoy it — as long as I only have to do it for a few days each week.
My counsellor asked me on Wednesday what I want 2012 to look like and I’m not completely sure yet. I want my business to continue in the direction it has taken in these first few months and I want to create something with it that will make this a better place to live.
And I still want love. And maybe an apartment where my puppy can live.
Oh, there’s more, but I will write about it for all of you (and for myself) very soon. Happy New Year (and New Year’s Eve) toall of you. Please feel free to share your most significant momentws from 2011. I’d love to know all about it.