Alright friends, I don't write about dudes on this blog very much. I think in five years I've only posted one photo of someone I was seeing and as I was taking it down I vowed I wouldn't do it again. I spend too much time here to have to go back and edit out things I don't want to have to see. However, I am a single lady and darn it if single people don't spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and talking and worrying and trying not to think and talk and worry about relationships. I can only imagine that married people find themselves with a lot of free time not having to do all the thinking and talking and worrying. So I'm blogging about a boy tonight, sorta, but don't get excited because this is not a love story.
I got an email I was dreading today. The one that said, "I'm married." I read it as I was leaving work and I thought, "ok, good, there it is. Done." I packed up my stuff and I went to the car and started driving to the Incline. And when I got in my car I just lost it. Big heaving sobs that I couldn't control. I was so disappointed in myself. I knew this was coming, I've had loads of time to get used to it. I worked like crazy the last year to get to a point where I could hear his name and feel so over it I was practically under it. You know, when you don't even have to sing along to Adele songs and pretend you are fine. Really and truly over it. So these tears? What business did they have sneaking up on me like this? I'm better than this. I texted my mother who said the right thing that was the wrong thing for gaining any sort of control over my emotions. I drove to the Incline. I turned on my iPod. Weird stuff that should have made me feel better made me feel worse. I spent the first 20 minutes trying to stay ahed of the kids behind me so they wouldn't wonder why that lady was crying on the trail. I was pulling out all the stops-remember this jerky thing he did and remember how he said this and remember how you are better than this?
And then in the middle of berating myself for all these nonsense tears something clicked and I was suddenly incredibly grateful for the depth of sadness I was feeling.
In a world full of love songs and romantic comedies and vampire novels and being raised in a culture where people feel the need to remind you that you ought to be married by now, you simply cannot reach the age of 34 still single and not be just a bit cynical about the whole thing. Because all you know is that sooner or later "you are so awesome!" fades into "you are so awesome, but". When well over half the people you know were married before they could legally rent a car, you have got to turn off the piece of yourself that would let your self worth get wrapped up in your relationship status. It does take some work and it's work I'll gladly do because no one wants to be the bitter man hater who can't appreciate how rich and satisfying her life is. I am genuinely happy for all the wonderful things that happen to the people I love. But it does come at a cost, and that is that after awhile, I simply have to put MY happiness eggs in other baskets. I can't want the fairy tale anymore. A very sweet boy once whispered to me, "you are so guarded," and when he was explaining to me not too much longer after that all the reasons this was not going to work, I couldn't help but say, "this is why I am guarded. Because I see this moment from that one." And again, I work my tail off to stay open and vulnerable and to not let the next guy take the heat from the last one. To hit the gym after a heartbreak instead of the freezer section. To meet new girlfriends and to send baby presents. But the walls go up a little higher, I feel like they have to. And I have to set other goals, ones I can actually control.
So. When someone I tried really hard to shut out, someone I wouldn't even speak to for an entire year and who I thought I had cleared out completely can blindside me and make me sob like I haven't in ages, it is in every way a huge relief that I have not managed to beat my heart into submission. It's still going to take charge and make me feel something that I couldn't control. Because guys, even at 34 and with more than a few scars, I still want the fairy tale. I've had too many tastes of it to think I'm dumb for believing it can happen. It's a fairy tale anchored in the reality that you marry a human and humans are messy and complicated. But I know the opposite of what I felt today exists and I appreciated the reminder that I'll keep putting myself through THIS for ten or twenty more years if I have to. And in the meantime, I will get on planes and I will make new friends and I will dance until the wee hours and I will flirt shamelessly with strangers and I will drag myself on blind dates. And I will not lecture myself or be disappointed when I have the audacity to be hurt.
I have always loved this old Steve Earle song and I listened to it about a dozen times in a row tonight. One fearless heart please.