Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?
Today is yet another day I don't feel like writing about travel adventures. Nope. Today I've got some domestic goddessing to do because my perfect little square of suburban paradise is turning into a festering shit-show.
I need a break at the moment so I'll write something about one of the many weird things I ponder while cleaning the house. (I get most of my best philosophical ideas while house-cleaning. Hey, whatever works.)
I Hate Being Single
This is actually really hard for me to admit. I was raised in a world where it was pretty cool to be a tough, independent, go-getter, modern woman, with my own shit, my own house, and my own thoughts, dammit! I don't need no man!
Sorry my sistahs, I quite love and admire men and quite like having them around. I love the idea of being in “a team”. Of having a life partner. A soulmate.
For the first eight, or so, years of my life I was raised in a rather strict Christian – first Lutheran, then Fundamentalist – household. Mom's idea. Not dad's. He stayed the hell out of our moral upbringing unless there was a valuable lesson to teach about Tough Midwestern Work Ethic.
Our media was tightly controlled and I wasn't even allowed to play with Barbies. This means I learned what I know about love and relationships mostly from PBS dramas and gorgeous, soulful movies such as Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. I still adore these movies with all my heart to this very day.
When I was old enough to understand romance I dreamed of a man just like Gilbert Blythe, and since he's how I first learned about men, I imagined the world was positively peppered with guys like him.
Spoiler alert: it is not.
So, my mom is out of the picture by the time I'm starting fourth grade. (She didn't abandon us. She got very sick.) This was just in time for me to journey down the Lonely Road of Horrific Puberty all alone.
Picture so far: I'm an innocent little Christian flower. I'm thrust into the world of boys. I think all boys are just like Gilbert Blythe, but maybe some are like the imperfect, yet romantic, Nazi in The Sound of Music. (Act One, not Act Two. Think gazebo scene.) And to add an extra little giggle, this is all happening in South Florida. If you're from South Florida you know EXACTLY. WHAT. I'M. TALKIN'. 'BOUT. #flogrown
Dear Baby Jesus in Heaven, please look after your little daughter.
Long story short, I got the wakeup call of my life when my expectations in no way came face-to-face with reality. Turns out, dudes were dudes, not characters from movies and books. They were real humans with myriad flaws. Just like me.
Let the Rebellion Begin
Something in my cute little feminine brain snapped. I don't know when and I don't know why, but as each year of my adolescence and teen years passed I grew more and more ruthless when dealing with the non-fairer-sex. As I write this I'm still trying to figure it out and when I say I don't understand this I'm being 100% honest.
This is my theory: I mistakenly believed the perfect man, is a perfect man.
The novels and my fantasies said so! He's out there, so keep looking. The second you see you didn't reel him in, move on so you don't waste anyone's time.
I swear to God, in my mind I'm doing them a favor by leaving. In my mind their perfect fantasy girl is out there, too. Let's be adults about this and respect each other enough to allow each other to fulfill our dreams. Right?
I've been told this is an awful way to behave by more people than I dare name. The freakin' Bible even says so!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails...
This is the word of God himself and I still can't bring myself to behave. Some good Christian I am.
Unicorns Do Exist
It's not just movies. I've witnessed relationships I deeply admire out in the real world, too. Through traveling, both in a pair and alone, I've met half-a-dozen or so couples I've envied so much. You've probably seen the type: intellectual, a little eccentric, comfortable in their own skin, mad about each other, fiercely loyal to one another. One of 'em can make a joke or poke fun at the other and they're able to laugh and fire one right back.
They've usually been together for years, with no intention whatsoever of changing that. I love couples like this. And if I can't be like them, maybe I could convince them to adopt me.
I've been really bad to a lot of men. I own my behavior, take full responsibility for it, and will not make any excuses for it. I'm just as confused as they are.
But, then, there's that time when I was the worst.
I left my then-husband in a foreign country and walked out the door with two suitcases without even bothering to give an explanation or talk about it.
The guilt didn't even sink in until about six months had passed, but when it did, oh freakin' man. Oh-man³. Wanting to die doesn't even come close to how I felt. To how I feel. I'm still traumatized even though this happened well over five years ago. Actually, I think it's been six.
When it sank in, really sank in – what I'd done to him – I went stark, raving mad. Hurl myself off a building mad. Shouting apologies into the air and hoping somehow he'd hear them 5,000 miles away mad. Dig a hole, fill it with dog poop, lizards, and vomit and jump into it face first mad.
I vowed there and then that I'd never torture another male soul again.
When I did kinda, sorta, consider another relationship I made him sign a contract that stated he was of sound mind and knew full well I'd ruin his life. I still have this contract. It was written on a napkin at a high-end whiskey bar.
He found it amusing. Little did he know I was dead serious.
All I Can Do Is Write
I'm writing this because I still ache. I'm so riddled with Lutheran guilt it seems impossible to escape. I might also be writing this because I'm hoping just getting the words down and out into the universe will inspire forgiveness.
I'm writing this because I can't stress enough that my intentions were pure. Are pure. I wasn't then, nor am now trying to be evil, cruel, or sadistic. I'm writing this because it's all I can do to prove how I think and why I do the shitty shit I do.
I'm writing this because I desperately want you to know I try really fuckin' hard to be a good person. But I'm flighty. Stubborn. Hard-headed. Creative. Kooky. Probably still fantasizing about Gilbert Blythe in some sick way.
I'm also writing this because I want you to know how deeply I do love. I care so much and feel so much sometimes it hurts my tummy. I think you're a beautiful human but I couldn't dare possibly tell you. I was raised to keep a tight lid on emotion – which is no excuse, for sure – but I'm begging you to try to understand just a little. I have reasons to fear dying tomorrow, at a young age. I'm almost her age when she died, you know? I have reasons to fear wasting precious lives with precious little time.
Life is precious. Why do we struggle and fight to make something work when it clearly doesn't? Am I the only one who still believes in “if you love something, let it go?” And, if so, does that make me cruel?
Gotta get back to my housework...
I really want to get married again, but I'm here today to make a vow. I will never again go out into the world actively looking. If the universe sends me someone who has the intestinal fortitude to put up with me, well that would be swell. If not, sucks for me. There's always my Anne of Green Gables DVDs and adventures with the dog.
And, if my next victim is out there right now, in addition to the contract I'm going to require you take a test on our first date. The test will be based on all the things I write on this blog.
It will be pass or fail.
If you're still brave enough to wander down life's nature trail with me, well then, welcome to the family.