In an average tarot deck, there is always one card that is marked as Zero, also known in most decks as “The Fool.” Here’s the deal with the fool, he’s often pictured like he’s about ready to step off of a precipice.
Now, as we know, “Sophomore” in Greek means “wise fool.” Two years and almost 200 posts later, here I am, ever the fool, about to step off of the precipice.
You may ask, “Why do you think that Sheri?” Well, to be honest, change is coming whether I like it or not. Over the last four months, I’ve made an incredible journey discovering the sunlight that has enabled me to grow again. It’s been a long path, full of ups and downs, lots of Kleenex, lots of little meltdowns and lots of breaking through the barriers that have held me back for a long time.
Now we get to the point about the precipice. As most of you have been reading over the last two years, well, I’ve not wanted to date. I’ve not really wanted to be around a man for any reason and I guess the hard truth is that I’ve been really afraid. Like Doc Cat has told me so many times, the reason I get stuck on stuff is because I fear how I will react to things, therefore I don’t deal with them which leads to anxiety. I’m always afraid I’ll react badly to a situation and hurt someone, or worse, I’ll end up hurt. Given the number of years I’ve been hurting, to actually face it and make the critical step of trusting myself enough to take a risk is daunting at best.
Ok, hold onto yourself, here’s the step off of the precipice…
I think I’m finally ready to start dating.
And that’s followed by the sound a death wail from a person that just fell off a cliff and plummeted to their death.
Behind me on the DVD player, Eat Pray Love is playing. It just passed the part where the Balinese woman looks at Julia Robert’s character and says, “You’ve not had sex for a long time.” At hearing that I looked up and hollered out a crass variant of “no kidding.” But, that’s the thing, sex and sexuality have been my core issue that’s given me such trouble over the years. I won’t bother relating the horrible experiences of my past, it’s not worth it. I’ve taken it for a spin, I’ve looked at it, examined it and truth told, tried to just put all of the judgments of others behind me. I have to deal with what I’ve done, what I’ve not done and all of the things I’ve had a hand in because that’s mine to own. The rest? Well, that’s someone else’s baggage to carry and I’m definitely not an emotional baggage bellhop.
Now, you may ask, “So why did you talk about sex first?” Well, because you have to be secure in your mind, body and spirit to even begin to attempt to date and try to create a healthy relationship. You have to be secure in your sexuality and desirability before you can even begin to think about dating. Am I pretty enough? How do I look? Will someone else find me appealing? And the questions keep going round and round in your head and you can either go one of two directions…you either look in the mirror, accept what you see and decide to be daring and take a risk, or you can shut down, shut yourself off from the world and give up.
After I posted 723, where I asked myself if I was just lying to myself about wanting to be around a man, I realized that I had become afraid of love. Me? Afraid of love? The woman who spouts every two minutes that “love is the only truth that’s worth sharing every day” afraid of love? Well, yeah. Considering that my history of romantic relationships is aptly symbolized by a huge trail of emotional wreckage, I think I have a right to be terrified of it. Nothing is worse than the feeling of your heart breaking. Admit it, remember the last time you got stomped into oblivion by a relationship going south…were you really ready to jump into your next relationship with both feet without the slightest bit of hesitation? Probably not.
But, here I am, after 730 days of being alone and I’m thinking about dating again. I must be crazy. For those of you who are perplexed by my usage of the “730 days” consider this, I’m an addict, we mark the successful passage of time being clean in days and years. It’s our way of reminding ourselves how far we’ve come. Considering I’m 11 years into sobriety with only a few hiccups along the way, yeah, I’ll convert those 730 days into years eventually. However, what those 730 days tell me is that I’ve successfully lived on my own and flourished.
A few months ago, my pal Raj told me that I needed to get out and date for the simple reason that I needed to learn how to be around real people again. I told Raj that I had plenty of people around me, my friends, my family, my online family…well, he stopped me in the middle of my self-justification for fearing love, he just said, “Sheri, you need something to love that will love you back. What about getting a dog?” At that point I started laughing because well, I’m allergic to animal dander, my world tends to crumble at the slightest tremor and I’m in no mood to clean up dog messes. Besides, my apartment complex doesn’t allow dogs and I’m just not a dog person. Then Raj suggested a cat and I laughed saying, “Raj, cats don’t need anyone…it would just sit and look at me as if to ask, ‘What’s wrong with you?'” So a big ‘no’ to getting a pet. Besides, I really don’t want a pet, not even a goldfish. However, with that, I’ve also cut myself off from love again.
A couple of nights ago, I was laying in bed with my books and my 34-year-old Teddy Bear and I turned and looked at Teddy and said, “I wish you were a real guy. You’ve seen how I’ve hurt, you’ve seen everything that’s happened to me, why can’t you be real so I could have a chance to live happily ever after with someone who I want to be with.” But that’s the thing, I want to make sure that dating is a choice I consciously make, not one arbitrarily decided upon out of loneliness or desperation.
I’m often teased by people who read my writing and later tell me that they’ve had to break out a dictionary to get the definition of some of the words I use. Well, the other day, I was reading an e-mail from someone I met a few weeks ago, and well, I had to look up one of the words that he wrote (which that e-mail included an invitation to go for coffee). I looked at it and said, “It’s a sign.” Then, I sat back for a while and pondered the reasons why I’ve not been dating, asked myself why I was waiting for KP, a guy who it seems has so much life in the way that well, I’m not even a speck on the map. He’s a great friend and all, and I do love him dearly, but there comes a point where you have to ask yourself how long you’re going to sit on the bench instead of putting yourself in the game. I think there was a good reason I hid behind KP for so long. He was there at ground zero and he picked me up when I was down, he taught me how to build a bridge and get over things when I didn’t think it was possible. Some days he’s literally had to give me a verbal kick in the pants to get that one foot put in front of me so I could follow it with the other and keep moving forward. To be frank, he’s the reason I’ve gotten as far as I have in the last two years. But, at 2500 miles away, what are the odds he was ever going to pick me up to go see a movie? What’s the worst he could have done to me? Aggravate me? Make me laugh? Have me in a perpetual state of pining? Again, I think the distance was my way of hiding from the fact that I was really afraid of love, that I wasn’t ready to go out on a date with a real person. I’m grateful for KP. He was there when the world fell down and has been a constant source of support, but when it comes down to it, the odds that I’ll ever meet the guy in the flesh are about a million to one. I can’t blame him. He’s not a millionaire, and it’s not like I can jump on a plane for Hawaii either, so it’s an impasse, a stalemate. It’s one of those things you wish you could have taken out for a spin, but life just didn’t want to cooperate. Then again, you never know if he’ll someday have the impetus to actually get here just to give me a hug and say “hi.” Meanwhile instead of guessing and leaving my fate to someone else, I’ve decided to take a risk.
But then again, I’ve not even been asked out yet except for an obscure non-committal invitation for a cup of coffee. The risk I’m taking is considering saying yes if I ever do get asked out on an actual date, not just for a cup of coffee.
You’ll have to admit, that’s a pretty big risk for me to take. It’s a part (thank you Doc Cat) of being self-authored, having a life plan and executing it. Let’s cut to the chase. I know I’ll be okay if I’m alone. I have no issue with it. What I’d like is someone to see a movie with, to sit and have dinner filled with wonderful conversation, who wants to be around me because they find me pretty and charming, not because of some other ulterior motive.
I’ve definitely decided if I do start dating, I want to make sure it’s a slow and steady process. No big moves, just the natural evolution of a relationship over time without pressure or expectation. When I was young and dumb (wait, when did I grow up?) I was under this screwed up notion that you HAD to get married, that it was the whole point of entering a relationship. OMG, how wrong is that? The point of a relationship is not to reach an end goal. Dating and entering into a relationship is about the time you spend sharing real life experiences with another human being. It’s the memories you make (not all of them will be good, we have to accept that sometimes there will be bad ones) with a person who you find as an equal, as a friend and as a trusted confidant. It wouldn’t hurt at all if he were taller than me (not by much though) and gave me a run for my vocabulary’s money. Someone who respected being well-written and my need to keep posting my adventures in my blog, who accepted me as the technophile who loves video games but wants someone nearby to play video games with or against. Personally, I would really go for someone who would lay his head on the pillow on my lap and just relax as I read to him and played with his hair. I’d like to be around someone that loved to savor and enjoy meals, not just wolf them down; someone who lives life at a steady pace that finds no reason to rush anywhere, especially down the aisle. But that’s my perfect world, I have to temper that with the caveat of ‘when is life ever perfect?’
However, I can’t help but think about the guy who made me use a dictionary just because he uses bigger words than I do in an e-mail. I enjoyed that. You know me, I always love to learn new words, new things and be the ever-constant fool who accepts the changes I inevitably symbolize.
For the song of the day, I’m going to go with one that makes me (as Katut would say in Eat Pray Love) smile with my liver as I wait for a guy to tell me that I don’t need a man, I need a champion. It was featured in the film “Point of No Return” as Bridget Fonda’s character of “Maggie” decides she wants to start dating. Like Anne Bancroft’s character “Amanda” teaches Maggie in the film, “All you need is balance. We have to find your feminine strength. Some moon to go with your sun. A bit of the poet to balance the warrior. ” To my Amanda…the amazing and wise Doc Cat, I thank you.