Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lulu Diaries, 1999 - Love: "A concept not quite formed.”

Today I got a text that my cousin is coming to visit. It made me nostalgic for my dad, but also for our friendship. My chest let loose a little. I found my journal entries from my younger self this weekend.  I posted one in:"Lulu Diaries,1996”  

It’s pretty funny to see how very close I was to understanding my deepest flaws. I named my patterns, and even wrote the corrective method! YES! And then.........nope. Didn’t stick with it. This one explains a lot. If I could bend time I'd go look this girl in the face and scare the shit out of her....but then She'd rebel, because she’s me. So. Yeah.

More on this topic later in the series: “Redefining what ‘Whole’ Means.”


July 20, 1998: 
Rural Iowa. 

I am sitting here, smoking a cigarette in Dad’s back yard. I’ve been thinking about the differences between men and women. I pondered the wonderful, sloppy, mistake-ridden traipse around my own “backyard of love and relationships."

The crisp sound of chirping, and sight of humming birds bring to mind the flutter and sail of one's heart. The quest for that calming and chaotic feeling in a new crush. I see ants marching in lines dutifully; and I think of the sometimes inevitable fall into line of marriage, child-rearing in tandem, and the lost sparks that occur, almost necessary for routine to be maintained, this turning to the mundane. I lean back into the beaming rays of the sun, knowing its rays (like an ex) can burn me, or brighten me with equal measure.

The art of attraction has always seemed infinitely flawed to me. I am the first to raise my foolish hand in a crowd asked: "Do you know what you want in a partner?” It seems simple enough. Right? Just by looking at my handy-dandy spectrum of Exes you can see I have tested that silly question with equal measure of face-plant falls into love-lust fantasy long distance relationships, and real founded (albeit, ultimately unsuccessful) connections.

Sitting here I find a very small clarity in moment of stillness. I realize that it was so easy to project my best self out to the world. Why wouldn't I have? I am still learning, but I think there can often be a great divide between the man you want, and the man you need. I guess self-awareness plays far more into all of it than I originally expected. I am a love-addicted commitment-phobe (one of my many personal oxymorons.) I have read more books (on self help and literature) than I will ever admit. I have too great an understanding of the obstacles the human heart faces. The "passive avoider," "the needy," "the active runner," "the sex-a-thonist"...(just checking that you are paying attention.) 

I write with honesty, I suck at relationships most of the time but I am smitten with the concept of love, so I say with a rueful smile and the hope that every day is some small step of improvement. Life is short. Love is so rich with experience, finding someone to share your conversations, grilled veggie burger, orgasm (why not) the backyard is fun. It is part of the "good stuff" that helps us maintain a level of sanity managing the bad.

There is no doubt we can do it alone, sometimes even enjoy it...but I once heard a quote that stuck with me. I will paraphrase: "Falling in love is learning someone else, hard and fast. If it is real love, you start to see your best self through their eyes, almost as if you are falling in love with yourself...." It is summertime. You are ripe with the possibility of yourself. That is far greater a tool than anything else. Grab a drink, a patio chair, and take the time to notice what you need vs. what you want. Take the time to find the beauty in the moment and spinning world around us. Love outwardly if you feel the inclination, if not, love inward. There are no wrong turns there.

Sixteen years, a failed marriage and three kids later, I realize my last two sentences were so wise but unfinished. So too, was the definition of “Falling in love.” I now think I’m learning that to love and be loved in a healthy way, is to see yourself and love him/her wholly FIRST.

Only then, can one see their best TRUE self through another’s eyes. More importantly, and a far harder feat for me will be the challenge of authenticity to myself. I am no expert, and have so much more to learn, but I do believe:

It is only then, that I can and will believe love received,  not as a projection mirrored, but a recognition accepted.  
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