Sunday, October 14, 2007

In which I emerge from frogland to find my prince

So I was in A Bad Relationship. Yall may have dated this one yourselves? Dashing mysterious lone charmer type, begging to be tamed. Like this character in Legends of the Fall, only not as hot. And no ranch.

It was sooo good at first. He made sweet love to me and said he loved me right away. Well, technically he didn’t really say that, what he really said was that I reminded him of someone he really loved once. But for sure he really meant that he loved me. Deep down. You know. He just needed me to be, well, just perfect every second, and then his full potential would come out! And hoo boy, I was going to be there to bask in all that realized potential.

Oh, you know him too? Refusal to let me go and refusal to commit, vague promise-like suggestions that perhaps if I would try a little harder maybe we could have a future. And try I did. I was a dancing bear! New restaurant! Artsy movies! Camping trip! Travel! Drink! Fun! I don’t have any needs, no siree! Just fun-loving and fancy free, you can always count on that. Jeepers, I was tired. That man used me up.

After a series of breakups that lasted about a minute each I finally started to sense through the fog that just maybe I could have something better. Maybe it was the emails I found to his ex-girlfriend planning a trip together, or the porn that he viewed on my computer, or when he made a pass at another woman at a party at my own house. Or any other of the BIG HUGE ENORMOUS SIGNS that he was waving frantically in front of my face that all said NO NOT ME DON’T LOVE ME STAY AWAY RUN FAST AWAY FROM HERE. I’m smart and all but those signs were in some kind of weird code that I couldn’t decipher, blinded as I was by his staggering potential.

Ever so slowly, I started to regain my life. I moved to another city, knowing I was not strong enough to leave him if I stayed and getting (finally) that he would keep me around as long as I would stand him. I got some religion. I got some therapy. And I started to picture what I wanted instead: someone kind, trustworthy, and who thinks about things. And I wanted a family, a marriage, the richness of a settled life. I wanted a break from the dancing bear. Oh my heavens, I wanted that.

I started practicing karate. It really might not be understating it to say that it saved me. I found my insides. I scraped them right up off the floor and built them a home in my body.

Through the magic of facing another in sparring I faced my own fears. Being alone? Fine. Am I secretly an idiot? No! I yelled, kicked, and punched my way to a wobbly but sure peace. I found kind, gentle people who accepted me as is. And not least, many (most) of them were men and NONE of them wanted anything from me. (You can see where this is going, right? Famous last words.)

But I still hadn’t ended it with Brian.

In August I went with my dojo to special training, a regional karate camp where you practice hard for three days with no distractions. I was a total beginner, a white belt way down at the end of the line of 80 or so people. And the guy next to me was too. He was a tall, gangly fellow with a scraggly red beard in the Abe Lincoln/Amish style and a scraggly ponytail. He had some pretty ripe body odor once practices were underway. We made jokes and giggled as we lined up for practices. At one of the meals he sat with me and told me about how he was in music school, had just graduated from college, was working for some researcher on a study that was using computers to simulate the eye of a fly (who can see in a bajillion directions at once, plus sonar, or something?). And he was kind and gentle, and he listened to me. I didn’t flirt. I didn't dance. I just was.

I thought, now this is more like it. A guy like this is what I want. Not this one—because really! This goofy guy who doesn’t wear deodorant? Four years younger than me? Who lives far away in Boston? Whatever. But a guy *like* him, that was who I wanted. We said goodbye and I went back to my life in North Carolina. Armed with the new certainty that there were men *like* the one I wanted in the world, I ended it with Brian a few weeks later.

It sucked, but I was strong. I stayed away. I was alone except for a brief interlude that can only be called a rebound fling. Life got so good and quiet and calm that I was thrilled at the thought of being a spinster cat lady for life.

Still I practiced. The following February, I went to another special training. And that guy? He was there again. Turns out his name was Jeff and he hadn’t forgotten me either. This time we exchanged email addresses. An email friendship ensued, and then some very, very long phone calls in which I could not stop grinning. There were visits. A long-distance roller-coaster relationship. We married. And now:

So the guy *like* the one I wanted? I sleep beside him every night. Yay! The dancing bear is long gone except as a ghost who lovingly reminds me once in awhile of the bullet I dodged and of the blessings I now have. I just am, and we just are. And now we are three.

This is an entry for Fun Monday hosted by from the planet of janet.

A few notes: That's not me practicing karate in the photo. And in looking for a photo of a dancing bear, I found that this is a very disturbing practice that is still going on in parts of the world. In some ways it describes my experience even better, knowing that. But the animals! So I couldn't possibly put a photo of a tortured majestic animal in my post. It seems that Dancing Bear is also the hero of a Native American warrior story, hence the photo of the sculpture.

17 comments:

childlife said...

Awww... And you ended up with two princes : ) I never noticed your little guy was a redhead - so cute!

Robinella said...

That was a great story - was he wearing deodorant on the second meeting? lol.

Blue Momma said...

That was really good! Those young ones kind of grown on you, don't they?

And deodorant? Always a good thing!!

I love to hear a happily ever after. Thanks for sharing!

Sayre said...

Oh, your story sounds so darned familiar... One of my Mr. Wrongs was probably your guy...

Thank goodness we noticed those Mr. Rights! They were just *like* the guys we wanted.

Andrea said...

What a great post...and yeah...I'm am SOOO happy that I am married to the wonderful man I have now instead of the first one I dated...yikes...when I look back, I think...what was wrong with my eyes? Couldn't I see that he was really no good?! Oh well...at least we noticed before it was too late! (p.s. I have a giveaway on my blog starting today if you're interested :) ).

susan said...

Why do so many of us not see how WRONG some men can be for us. Good for you for breaking free from him and finding your Mr. Right. (it's hard to go wrong with a red head!)

Sandy said...

Your story made my heart smile. Thanks.

Beckie said...

Great story. I just went to my daughter's belt test this weekend so I sort of understand how this could happen. The intensity and the bonding.

her indoors said...

love comes eventually, after we manage to weed out the wrongs, beautiful family you have there

Karmyn R said...

Yeah! Karate brought you together!

Robin said...

Wow...what a story, with the best possible ending--a HAPPY one! Love over martial arts, I think they've made a few movies outta that idea ;).

Welcome to Fun Monday, hope this is your first of many :).

Joy T. said...

Great story, you wrote it so well! Glad things worked out. That last picture is adorable!

Tiggerlane said...

What a sweet story - except, I hope he doesn't read your blog...he might be hurt that you said he stunk!!

Then again, men that age are still learning....

dawn said...

Such a touching and warm story. I am so glad you found yourself and you man. I love the photo of Jeff and your son. The colours of the sunflowers with their red hair and dark green clothes is amazing, not to mention the look they are giving each other. You are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing your story in such a beautiful way.

mjd said...

I love your title and the way that you wrote this story. "It really might not be understating it to say that it saved me. I found my insides. I scraped them right up off the floor and built them a home in my body."...priceless

Welcome to Fun Monday.

boogiemum (www.boogiemum.com) said...

Lovely story. Reminds me of my own. Are you sure Brian isn't really named Neil? Cuz he sounds like Neil. Maybe they are brothers :)

Melissa said...

I have the same question as a couple of other people... "Does he wear deoderant now?" :)

Great story. And interesting because 2 of my friends were telling me that they want to take Karate ONLY because they've heard it's a good place to meet nice guys!