After another amazing conversation with a older friend this afternoon and then sorting through a box of fascinating 1930s old Hollywood photographs with dearer friend, I drove home at sunset with the windows down and good music turnt up. I smiled the whole way home, singing and bopping along. I decided to stop for a drink and no sooner did I shut my car door and take three steps away, I saw a ghost. Someone I used to know. A an empty shell.
I had a typical ghost reaction: shock, alarm, fear, 4 seconds of bravery and escape. I turned on my heel, got in my car, reversed out of a spot and got back to my journey. I could feel myself becoming disassociative to the present. Beyonce saved me, y’all.
Seldom is the answer Im looking for not found in music.
As I lay here awake in bed at 3am, I can feel myself wanting to retreat… to hide. I guess more than that, it’s a longing for safety. A soft place to fall. Shelter. There is much I cherish about my independence. What I once saw as lonely and forlorn, I now see as sacred solitude. However, I would gladly cut away a pound of flesh at this very moment, to roll over and look into someone eyes. To have this craving for touch satisfied. To feel home. As quick as that feeling was acknowledged, it’s gone. Took me longer to type.
I can’t hide. This much I am certain of, but damn that zone looks comforting. Smart enough to know nothing grows there.
I’ve done a lot of work, reaching out and being vulnerable lately. I won’t retreat. I just desperately need some reassurance and reciprocity, please?
Ball is in your court, universe.
This had a very strong effect on me.
When one of my closest friends transitioned out of this life several years ago the experience became one of the most important soul lessons of my life.
The hospital room was overflowing with women, each with a significant and sacred place in my friend’s story. There was a lifetime of heart connections present, witnessing and holding the space for her exit.
As the sun was setting on the day, a man entered the room. There was a collective pulling of breath because everyone present understood the significance of this moment.
He was “the” man—the one who had resided prominently within my friend’s heart—for too many years to try to count, for as long as I had known her. There had been a time when he was the one she had mindlessly reached for, she had known that their souls were meant to be on this planet together, evolving and expanding and becoming.
They were soul mates. But he had not been able to fully show up.
He tried in his ways, but he simply could not or would not step in to the work that a soul mate connection offers to two Beings. He was never ready to be completely in. He had wanted her to be there, heart-connected and available, as an option for that future day when he would be ready, though the future never arrived.
She went forward with her own life, and he with his. There were sometimes years with little to no contact, and times when they easefully reconnected again as old, true friends. I don’t believe that she was waiting on him in a romantic sense—she closed the door of their romance long ago, though I do believe that there was always a wish within her soul that he would someday decide he was finally ready for this soul work.
As he entered the hospital room he was moving at a fast pace, the momentum it took to propel him into this moment. My heart ached as he hit the brick wall of reality taking in the scene. The sight of her literally hurled his body backwards several steps, and stopped him cold.
But then he knew what to do. With laser precision he walked over to her bedside and placed the tips of his fingers ever so gently upon her forehead.
He stood; eyes closed with her, for several moments. Then he turned away walking over to the window to look out at the gorgeous setting sun. Everyone in the room turned their gaze to follow him, and as we were admiring the beautiful sunset she took her last breath.
The women began to cry and mourn and gather around her, but the man just stood there watching, as still as a stone.
He had accomplished what he came there to accomplish, which was to show up for her. The women started to comfort him, saying, “She waited for you. Thank you for coming. It means so much”
He didn’t respond to these acknowledgements of his place of importance in her life, he just gazed upon the ceremonial farewell now underway. The women bathed my friend in lavender and sang songs rejoicing her. Someone handed him a towel, to help dry her body off. He held the towel but did not move from his place.
It all felt so representative of their experience together, I could see how locked down he was and it broke my heart. A wave of compassion flooded over me and a deep sorrow for the beautiful soul work left undone, unchosen. I could see on his face that he knew. He told himself for all these years that she would always be there, for the day he became ready—and now she was gone.
He believed they were soul mates, he referred to her as such; the connection was undeniable. Anyone who had ever spent time with the two of them together could feel the truth of this, regardless of circumstances or storylines.
When I left the hospital late that evening I immediately dialed the number of my own long left behind soul mate. It had happened that we spoke briefly that morning, so he knew my friend was in her last moments of life. He knew I was calling to tell him that she was gone. He knew I needed his comfort. But he didn’t take the call.
He said no to me. Again. Still.
Even in my disappointment I recognized that he had done the right thing, as brutal as it seemed. He was in a relationship with another, and we share the past not the present. He was no longer “my person” nor I, his. It had been wrong for me to make that call.
I sat in my car weeping uncontrollably for a long time—for the loss of my beautiful friend, for the shocked pain and regret I saw on the face of her soul mate knowing the door of opportunity had now closed for this lifetime, and for my own disappointed heart with its similar story.
I don’t take my soul mate’s no personally. It is not some defective aspect of me that he has turned away from. I know this. I accept his right to choose the work his soul shows up for in this life and his own pace of readiness.
But there is an unresolvable heartache, a disappointment that does not become diluted with time or distance. My own work has become navigating these difficult emotions with an ever open and compassionate heart.
I remind myself that this whole lifetime is but a cosmic blip on the map and there is so much more we cannot see from this physical body’s vantage point.
The end is never the end.
I believe that my friend was wise in not trying to push this man completely out of her heart. She did not allow her life to stall and become stagnant waiting, but she did not sever the connection and banish him as punishment for his no. She accepted this and moved forward, still embracing and acknowledging the small piece of her that would always be awaiting his arrival.
As Pickle is nearing the end of his senior year of high school, prom is in the air. Pickle won’t be attending as he attended the Heart of Rock and Roll prom this last fall, but he is going to After Prom at Cedar Point the following day.
All of this got me thinking about my own prom.
Even though it will be 20 years ago come next summer, 20 YEARS, I remember it like it was yesterday …
Before I even started getting ready, my date had a dozen, long stem roses delivered to my house. I was still in my pajamas but I felt like a queen. I went to a salon for the first time that day. Got to be waited on by two incredibly gorgeous, well put-together ladies. One working my hair, while the other worked on my nails and make up. This would be a fantasy I would not ever again reach, even on my wedding day.
Then I went home and put on that gown. Classic Hollywood black, with Audrey Hepburn gloves to match and for good measure in attempting to leave my little girl ways behind, a low cut and high slit, paired with velvet pumps. I don’t remember what he said when he saw me that evening for the first time, but the look on his face, I’ll never forget.
I remember trying to be very sophisticated as we made our promenade into dinner. All eyes smiling on the two of us together, wanting to make him proud. I also remember the highlights of the actual dance. Getting our pictures taken. Rocking out with my girlfriends but taking every opportunity to slow dance with him.
But my favorite memories came after we left. Just the two of us in the backseat of a stretch limo while taking in the sights and city lights of Washington D.C. after dark. All the memorials being lit up. The busyness of Georgetown on a weekend night. It all felt like a dream and I didn’t want the magic of it to ever end.
There’s something very magical about being young, in love and sharing a night like that. Something that can never be replicated. While a part of that girl still lives in me, wanting that kind of magic to grace my days again and no matter what happened in that relationship with that boy in the days and years that were to follow, I will always hold those memories close to my heart and be so appreciative of that night … and that magic.
Because of that night, I will always believe in magic.
You, sir, are an asshole. An asshole of epic proportion with an ego to match. You think you’re special. I can hear it in your lines and even though I’m gracious enough not to call you on your bullshit, trust this, I know it is.
Look down on me all you want, I know you do. And it’s fine by me.
I know who I am and I like me, even the messy parts that you term “crazy”. Ive had enough experience in life and love to be ok with loneliness and others disregard without it bothering me. I choose not to change the fact that my scars are on display, that they are a part of me. Yes, it can make me a little insecure. Sometimes I don’t make sense. But I put myself out there. I’m in the arena. So yeh, I like that about me. It makes me ME and it makes the world my oyster. I’m always gonna keep looking for and learning about the pearls. That’s how I grow. I’m ok admitting I’m no angel. I never claimed to be.
In fact, I’ve always been honest with you. I’ve always told you what you need to hear, instead of what you want to hear. You call it rude. I call it reality. If you don’t like it, change it, but you can’t change me. Unlike you, I can own the good and bad, the triumphs and the failures. I can say “I was an asshole” or “I’m sorry”. I don’t think those are things I have ever actually heard, or for that matter, ever will hear from you. And you know, I don’t need to. I know you better than you know yourself. Maybe more than anyone else does.
But you don’t get it. You never did. No matter what I do, I just can’t convince you to just believe that what you see is what you get with me. This is real. I can’t even convince you to just hear me out. You always know everything. Everything about what I think and feel. What I really mean. What my intentions are. The truth: You don’t know me at all. You dont even know yourself because even though you think you dont care, nobody gets that heated about things that dont matter to them.
The only reason I made the choice to reconnect with you is because unlike you, when I give my heart and makes promises to people, I mean them … I keep them. It’s not just words. When I tell someone I’ll always be there for them, I will. No matter what is said and done between us, when push comes to shove, if you need me, all that shit is gone, just like that. No apologies. No expectations. When I say “I love you” I know what love actually means. It means sacrifice, it means forgiveness, it means setting aside all the things that you have said and done to hurt me and choosing to hold on to the good times.
Sitting next to you, while we flew down back roads to share intimate moments away from the rest of the world. Just us. The radio cranked up and me singing along. You laughing. Running to the car in the rain and getting soaked, laughing our asses off until you took me in your arms and kissed me. It didn’t matter that we were literally taking a shower with our clothes on and you had on brand new shoes. Nothing else mattered. The way you let me hold you like a child when your family and childhood were too much to bear and you broke down. Those are the moments I’ll hang on to. That’s the pieces of you I want and the pieces of me that I wish you recalled more often than the flaws you invent. That’s where I hide my heart when you hurt me … again.
For now, the defending is done. I won’t concern myself with defending myself against things I never thought, said or did. To be honest, I don’t have the energy for any of it and shouldn’t have to, so I won’t. Making myself small enough to fit into your life is done. I’m the kind of friend a friend would want.
You, sir, are no friend of mine.
Just love this. Very relate-able for me.
You see there is this guy from my past (dont we all have, at least, one) who emerged in my present a few months ago.
I relate to this because initially what brought him back about was photos that I found. As I looked upon him in the pictures I thought, “What happened there? He’s a nice guy.”
I should also mention that there was a distance forming between my husband and I at this same point and I, not being able to leave well enough alone, reached out to him.
At first, the nostalgia and attention were intoxicating. But it was fleeting fast. I am reminded, as our conversations continue, exactly why I moved on.
This man is not the one in my pictures or who lives in my memories. He needs help and I am not the one.
Who’s the person in your past that allows you to relate to this?
(I’m not sure what will come from this exercise but here it goes)
Stop listening to this sad music. Listen to the good stuff. How about some Lionel Ritchie? Remember that song Ballerina Girl? Dad used to play that song for us. Remember when he brought home the pudgy, stuffed, cabbage patch ballerina that hung by the pretty ribbon? You focus to much on the pudgy. That’s your own hang up. No one else thinks you’re fat. Yeah the mean boy at school said it but you see the way he looks at you when his buddy isn’t around.
That gym teacher in middle school who called you ugly. That guy was stupid. I don’t remember what he looked like but his heart was ugly. He is probably just a miserable human. Let it go.
That’s why you like that song so much. Because you have a hard time letting go. It’s become a prayer for you. You’ll figure it out. You’re almost there now. You have to work on forgetting. You’re worried about forgetting but you shouldn’t be. Just remember the good stuff though. Clear out more space for that stuff.
Remember bowling and having Happy Birthday sung by the waiters at Denny’s, the way Amy laughed when she embarrassed you. The day Julie moved away and you sung ‘That’s what Friends are for’ all day while staring at the big tree branches through the bedroom window. Melodramatic, but you loved her. Exploring the woods and crawling across the fallen tree over the creek. You could’ve walked. It wasn’t that deep but the adventure was cool. Oh, flashlight tag! Even the high school kids would play. Remember the time that neighbor kid shot Julie in the butt with the BB gun? The open classrooms at Kerrydale? I wonder if they’re still like that, don’t you? Probably, since the high school was too. Seems like a stupid idea. Very distracting. Remember when that dentist came to visit? You still think about fluoride being instant throw up when you go to the dentist, don’t you? Did you ever try eating chalk instead of Tums? I wonder if that was really true.
Do me a favor and stop worrying so much. You’re not dying. You’re going to be an old woman with children and grandchildren who love you so much. You will have a legacy of love. You’re a great Mom. You’re kids know you love them. You’re allowed to be grumpy. You’re better than your Mom and Dad. That’s what bothers you so much about Jer. You think he’s not paying attention and will give the kids bad memories, but he’s more fun than Dad. You just need to tell him you need more fun. He’ll understand that. Tell him about the piggy back ride and why it’s important. There will be piggy back rides and you’re going to figure out cartwheels. Dance more. You love to dance and you’re really good at. Just do it.AND spin. And lay in the grass. Roll down a hill. Even without the kids. Do it for you. Just for fun. There is still fun to have and you will.
I love you just the way you are. You’re awesome. Go to sleep. No bad dreams tonight. It’s happy in here.
(This writing was done with my non-dominant hand. Turned out pretty interesting. I hadn’t thought of many of these things in years and had no idea where each thought was coming from or going to. I would challenge you to try it out yourself. I double dog dare you.)