It’s almost over. I’ll be done in little bit more than a week. I still have a lot of work to do before the end, but the end is in sight. It’s the last lap, the final push to the end.
When I work out — which I rarely do — just the idea that I’m close to the end is usually enough to inspire me to dig a bit deeper for some more drive, stamina, something. But these last laps, over the past few weeks have been psychologically and physically draining for me in a way that running or walking never could.
And the truth is, I made some bad choices. I didn’t balance well. I was wrong about some things. And my performance was off. A few late assignments, and one or two that just sucked. And now I have to pay the price.
What will the price be? A ridiculously harrowing last lap? An extra couple of laps?
At the very least, it looks like I’ll get screamed at by a couple of my coaches about my bad time in the last phase of the marathon. The locker-room scolding looms today: 4 p.m.
I don’t know what to expect. The last one liquified me. And it didn’t actually help much. I am afraid. I’m disappointed in myself. I’m sad. I feel guilty and I’m trying to forgive myself and move on. I need to look forward. I need to pull hard in this last lap. I need to envision the finish line. I don’t want to think about the footfalls of the past few laps.
My stomach hurts. I want to cry.
I don’t want to make things worse during the talk. And I have a big mouth that is capable of making things worse.
Accept and move on.
Listen, respond as little as possible.
So, something my readers may not know is that despite my issues with the idea of withholding sex in order to find love (which you can read about here: http://crystalspins.com/2011/03/14/holding-out-for-love/), I did decide a few years ago that I was going to hold off on the sexy stuff for a while. My basic idea was that I didn’t want to have any more anonymous sex, or sex that was just for fun. (Despite the fact that is it very fun.)
So I didn’t make a hard-and-fast rule for myself about when it would and when it wouldn’t be okay to have sex. But I did sort of have it in my mind that I didn’t really want to have sex again until it was special – and with someone special. It’s kinda complicated actually. And I haven’t really put it into words until now. But I guess I decided that I was tired of guys wanting JUST sex from me, and that they wouldn’t get sex from me unless they also wanted all the other great stuff about me. (Or at least some of the other great stuff about me.)
I’ve considered giving in for a few hot thrills over the past few years. I even gave in a couple of times. But each time I considered giving in (and both of the times I did give in), it really reinforced my original decision. It reminded me that I wanted all of the things sex could offer. Not just the physical thrill, but the mental, emotional and spiritual bits too.
Plus, much like the average woman, I have some broken things surrounding sex in my heart, mind and past. And I wanted to be able to work through some of those things.
It’s been a good decision.
But I made a mistake. I haven’t really worked through much. And honestly, at this point, I’m not sure what I can work through on my own. It’s becoming clear that there is more work to do than I had realized and that the only staging ground for such work may be a safe, stable, sexual relationship.
But I have to say, it feels like a lot to launch on a guy. “Hey, my emotions about sexy stuff is broken. Wanna work through it with me?”
It feels unfair.
I wonder what I’ll do.
It all returns and yearns
what do you see?
That effigies are lost on me.
Burn, baby burn.
Turn, orbit turn.
(Parenthetical aside: We fly all the way – or slice, as you say)
So edifice or crucifix
Believe or bleed…
…isn’t that your say?
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.