I have a recurring argument with one of my friends about the fundamentals of relationships. I always insist that women never marry the great love of their lives, or at least, they shouldn’t. She always tells me that I have a cold, cold heart, and have clearly never been in love.
Oh but I have. So many, many times. I have had relationships that felt like this, where I would want to spend every waking moment lying naked in bed. Where conversations would last for hours and everything around us would simply cease to exist. Two lovers who selfishly thought the world stopped turning just for them. And for a little while, it did.
But eventually, I learned the hard way that whatever goes up real high, comes down real hard. Whether this may be the feeling of having all the wind knocked out of you at the sound of fucking behind closed doors, or just the agonizing, heart-wrenching, twitching sensation of waiting for that goddamn phone to ring as it sits there silently and taunts you, it’s a long, sharp fall from heaven.
Your big love is going to be big in every way possible; big emotions, big laughter, big drama, big tears. So when, and if, you decide to pick out a man who will be there for you through childbirth, bills, mortgages, sick children, deaths, dirty dishes, unmade beds, homework, growing old, and,well, life really, you choose a little differently. You may not pick the guy who turns you into a puddle every time he strums his guitar. In fact, playing a musical instrument may not register at all on your list of must-haves. You may not even pick the guy who thinks you’re so hot he can’t resist putting his hand down your pants in the back of a taxi-cab.
At this stage, words like ‘dependable,’ and ‘loyal,’ and ‘good’ become a part of your vocabulary. You go for the guy who makes you feel like you have an equal standing next to you, and that if you ever stumble, he’ll be right there to help lift you back up. You go for the guy who loves his Mom, and maybe even has a dog. You go for the guy with the work ethic, and the ambition, but who also hangs out with his family. You go for the good guy.
Sure, the two of you may not have the same taste in music, and sometimes you’ll make a Seinfeld reference that he won’t get, and he’ll never, ever understand the importance of Liz Lemon in your life. You’ll want someone to light your cigarettes and he’ll tell you it’s a filthy habit. He’ll want to take you to soccer games and you’ll roll your eyes and act exasperated. But the life you create together may end up being larger than all of that and what’s more, it will be something truly and uniquely yours. And after a lifetime of bumpy rides, you’re going to want a little smooth sailing. Hell, you deserve it.
But that doesn’t mean that you don’t sometimes wonder if that kid is still in that band, or find yourself drifting back to hot, sweaty nights in a single dorm room bed, and think ‘What if…’
I miss my English Lit days.
I empathize with Charlie Brown. If someone’s out there holding a football, my immediate instinct will be to run in the opposite direction. (That’s also true because I have no idea how football works and I wouldn’t know what to do with the ball once I got there, but this is a metaphor, so bear with me). But then someone will convince me to go for it, that the Lucy person will hold the football for me, and that I will finally get to kick the damn thing. But I won’t. I’ll fall on my back, injured, hurt and embarrassed. So like glum ole Charlie, I, too, am afraid of being happy because if I get too happy, something bad always happens.
So when the opportunity came along to escape the clutches of the sinking ship that is my home country, I took it with my usual dose of trepidation. Things began falling into place, people began congratulating me on the move, the new job, the new life, and I kept looking around waiting for something to fall out of the sky. And that’s when I realized, that with my worrying and my moping and my Charlie Brown-ing, I’m the sole cause of my own misery. If I fear something badly enough, it will come.
I’m like the exact opposite of that book I refuse to read, The Secret.
Sometimes it comes because I’m busy living five-ten years into the future. Looking around at people who have their shit together and wondering when I’ll be able to do that. Conjuring up a house and family and kids for myself, wishing for a shot at the cozy four-bedroom with the big backyard, the supportive husband and the flexible working hours. Wondering why it’s not happening for me yet, and then remember that I’m still hanging around on square one, and become frustrated at everyone else around me who’s advancing on the board while I’m still hopping around in the confines of my lonely little square.
Sometimes it comes because I’m busy living in the past, wishing that I had nipped my wanderlust in the bud, and never gone to New York, instead sticking it out at a steady job and worked hard at making myself indispensable during the recession. Because then, New York would never have engulfed me in it’s smelly, crowded, overbearing embrace. I would have never fallen in love, never longed for another chance to wind my way through hot dog vendors and subway vents and street performers and stone faced commuters.
And sometimes it comes when I live in the present; fearing it, stressing out about it, making myself sick over it. An opportunity of a lifetime has fallen into my lap, and I’m fucking it up by worrying about fucking it up.
Yet now that I’ve firmly trapped myself in the quicksand of misery and self pity, how the hell do I pull myself out?