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
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.