Oh my these past couple of weeks have been a lil tough…this growing & stretching phase of practicing vulnerability is NOT comfortable, at all!
I am grateful for this peaceful Sunday morning, as I sit here with my windows open, feeling the fresh Spring air, smelling the sweet scent of the blooms outside my apartment. I am comfortable here. I feel safe. I am alone and am starting to embrace it.
Lemme roll back the calendar to a couple of weeks ago to when a new match popped into my world. Still not sure if I wanted to dive back in to full swing dating mode, I responded anyways. We seemed to have some shared interests, I liked his smile, and I guess, why not?, at this point…
It started off slow, a lil conversation via text each day. Not much, dipping a toe. With our interests piqued, we tried to set up a first date. Coordinating busy schedules proved tough, but possibly by the end of the week. Then one evening I got a late night text, he wanted to say hi & see how my day was, hoping it wasn’t too late…funny how the Universe sends what you need at the perfect time, as I was plopped on my couch feeling a bit lonely…conversation was exactly what I needed.
Ping ponging questions & answers, likes & dislikes, we chatted via text as the hours passed. He recorded the falling rain & sent me the audio ~ the best soundtrack to intimate conversations. Our questions began to delve deeper, really exploring what each of us longed for, tears streamed down my face as I typed my desires, sharing truthfully what I hoped for, I opened up & began to expose myself. I hadn’t been this vulnerable in a long, long time & I was scared, but it was also the first time I’ve felt safe & heard by a man in a very long time too. We chatted til 3am and could’ve easily kept on going but the reality of the approaching morning loomed and sleep was necessary. I dozed off to sleep with a smile on my face.
When I told a friend about the evening & our conversation, she point blank asked if at any point the thought occurred to pick up the phone & actually talk?! Nooooooo, which yes, sounds silly, I know, but I wouldn’t have shared this information so freely! And, while technically yes, he was still a stranger via text, I felt safer to be me with him in that format. I know I may have been hiding behind the screen but I WAS opening up again.
During the evening, he mentioned a few times about calling me the next day. I looked forward to hearing his voice, wondering what he sounded like. The day floated by with ease, the world seemed brighter, I felt like me again. Its been a while. A mid-day text to see how I was holding up brought a bigger smile to my face. And then that was it, no phone call, no voice message.
I felt so raw & deflated. I put my hopes out there only to be met with silence. I’m a big believer in words & actions matching and I can’t wrap my head around asking repeatedly to do something & not do it? The walls around my heart started coming back up. I could almost physically feel them. BUT I don’t want to hide behind them anymore. How can I stop my automatic response, my safety mechanisms? I kept hearing this lil voice “stay open, be vulnerable” & I just wanted to shout back “why?????! this does not feel good”…but I must try. I promise myself I will try my best to remain open to the process…
I couldn’t rally my heart for a Friday night date, even though work finished in time. I figured Saturday would be better, since he said he’d keep them both open for me. Saturday’s day plans timed out perfectly, leaving me free for a date night & I texted him excitedly, I was ready to dive in again. Oops, except that he had made plans…so much for keeping the night open, or my heart for that matter. It took another week of reschedules & busy lives to finally meet up. At that point I didn’t know what to expect, or what I was even feeling anymore, I’m just showing up.
From the moment of entering the lounge & sitting down, the date just flowed. Conversation delved more into our beliefs & outlooks on life versus the standard interview questions. It was so lovely to look into his his kind eyes. Then I asked the question I really needed an answer to ~ how long have you been divorced? He paused. Well…… Only a few months separated & in the process. My heart sank. I can’t do this again. A red flag began to be raised up the pole. He continued to share a little of the situation which I appreciated hearing, but I wanted to shift off this topic for now. Cue the loud bad 80’s hair cover band…we grabbed our martinis & ran for the peace of the patio. Outside we got cozy & enjoyed the rest of our evening. I was definitely looking forward to seeing him again.
The beauty of dating a couple of guys at once is the compare/contrast, it can get really clear what attracts you & repels you. The following night was movie night at the Canadian Librarian’s. I knew where this could lead & apparently I’m a glutton for punishment (i.e. boundary setting practice). Parking can be tricky in Hollywood & all the visitor spots were filled in his building, so he hopped in my car & we hit the lot across the street. Curious how late they were open, his question to the attendant was “can she get her car out in the morning?” Um, excuse me? That’s very presumptuous! I asked for 10p. So knowing where he thought this was going, my guard was immediately up. We have built NO intimacy, we barely chat between dates, I’m sorry I’m not going there til I know you better. We share some similar interests & I always learn things when I’m with him, so I keep trying, hoping he’ll grow on me. We settled in for our classic movie & I’ll admit he has one damn comfy couch! And while it was a perfectly okay date, I realized he & I are just surface, fresh from the emotion-delving date the previous night, he didn’t stand a chance…
Fueled by ‘spring’-ing ahead & feeling excited about a man again, I was feeling playful, so when date #2 activity ideas came up, he was game for miniature golf – so fun! Naturally my competitive streak came out, playfully of course…thankfully he dished back all the ‘big game’ smack talk I was throwing his way! While I may have killed it on the greens, he showed me who was boss at Skeeball! That hurt! All is fair in love & arcade play!
For as much as I was looking forward to this date & seeing him again, the energy was different. I think it was me. I’m trying my best not to put my guard up, pull away or shut down but I can’t shake the past. I cannot be another divorcee’s training wheels.
I’m trying to quiet the voice that keeps telling me ”I’m not enough”, that he’ll leave me in the search to find a better, funnier, smarter, prettier woman. I know this voice is wrong but somedays she can be loud.
I’m wondering if I’m strong enough to do this again…