Last night I swam in a sea of stars. Ok, as romantically twisted as that sounds, it’s true.
For weeks now, my blue-eyed friend has been begging me to go over to his house to take a swim. Now, what I’ve not disclosed thus far is that he lives in a beautiful house that’s sort of in the boonies…well, it’s in the city, but where it’s located almost feels like it’s in its own little bubble, carefully separated from the rest of the world. In the back yard of this almost hidden sanctuary there is a beautiful swimming pool that he maintains very carefully.
After weeks of begging, he picked me up last night in his new truck, grabbed my bathing suit for me and informed me that I would be swimming. Ok, I had to dig my bathing suit out of mothballs (remember, the last time I used it was around this time last year), but amazingly as I tried desperately to forget my swimsuit (body image issues on my part), he grabbed it up and proceeded to make sure I didn’t forget it. After a visit with his dad (who is very cool by the way), I got told to throw on my swimsuit because we were swimming.
Ok, first, let’s talk about me and water. We know the story of me at 6-years-old and my mother teaching me to swim by pointing me at the wall and saying, “Sink or swim”, my fish stories, sharks stuck to the top of my head, me in 26 feet of water surrounded by really big fish (sharks in the 10-12 foot long range), my checkout dives in Crystal River with the manatees and my myriad of other aquatic feats. But, watching this beautiful beyond description man beckon me and say, “Come on, it’s not going to bite you,” was rather poignant. Truth told, that was the first swim I had taken in a very long time without it being for the purpose of sitting in a whirlpool, swimming laps or scuba diving. That he was encouraging me to have fun was rather unbalancing because, put bluntly, I forget to have fun. I’m all reason and purpose. When I do things, there is always a reason and a purpose to them, and there he is asking me to throw those things out and just have fun with no purpose other than to just relax and enjoy the experience. Am I wound up or what? If I forget what it’s like to have fun, you know there is something seriously wrong.
Let’s stay on how badly I’m wound up for a moment. Last night, I was having issues with my long hair and I put in a set of low pigtails just to feel young (ok, you know me, reason and purpose…the reason for the pigtails is because I wanted to give an image of being fun and a tad cutesy for the purpose of just making him happy). Come on, I turn 40 in less than a month and there I am sporting pigtails, a cute top and faded out denim because I was working out pulling myself out of the doldrums of my illnesses.
Long story short, I had a bad run-in with my disorders this week, my PTSD decided to rear its very ugly head and send me into a really hard crash. Oh hell, it’s one of the worst I’ve had in forever, and there he was, just mopping me up and doing what he knows how to do to make me feel better. If I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again without hesitation, being with someone who shares your illness makes life so much better and easier because they come naturally equipped to handle the situation. A halo and wings are just not enough for him, he’s earned them 1000 times over with me. Me, with all of my nightmare programming and horrible past, he takes and says, “No, you don’t get to spiral, we’re going to be replacing bad memories with good ones.” A-freaking-mazing. Talk about someone who can handle my best and my worst…it leaves me wanting to scream really loud, “Where the hell have you been?” But truth told, getting to this point was vital so I could recognize and enjoy the fact he’s here now.
So, now back to the swimming pool… He left the pool dark, no lights at all and I have to say, it was a little scary. When I got in, I had my hair pulled into a bun on my head, but you could tell he wasn’t having it. He looked at me after I waded in and got shoulder deep in water and said, “That’s why I’ve always hung out with tomboyish girls, they’re not afraid to get their hair wet…” After being taunted like that, I said to hell with my MAC makeup and carefully crafted coif, removed the elastic band that was holding my hair together, placed it next to my glasses and proceeded to dive into the water. The smile I got from doing that was so devastatingly gorgeous it was to the point of knee-weakening. That was the point that I started having fun. After getting comfortable in the water which was at a perfect temperature, I floated on my back. With only the sound of my own breathing (which is why I love diving so much, it’s so relaxing), I looked up and felt myself wrapped in the fluid medium looking up at the stars. I could see constellations, and all around me was dark, so it truly felt like I was swimming in a sea of stars. It was INCREDIBLE. The Myst Universe inhabitant inside of me whispered, “like a leap into the fissure…” My fellow Myst-inspired folks will get that, if you’re not into Myst, here, have a visual…
We played in the water for a good solid hour, if not more, talking, laughing, telling stories, and I realized that I was having this tremendous experience just doing something as simple as swimming. While we were flitting around in the water, we talked about my inability to ride a bicycle. Ok yes, I am going to be 40 years old and I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. Judge me if you must, but it’s just something I have never done. I have a story about why I never learned, but sufficed to say, my parents tried to get me to learn, but at that time, I just wasn’t having it. While the other kids rode their bikes, I ran everywhere. When it came time to learn how to drive a car, that’s when I rode places. LOL. However, last night after recounting the tale, I think my blue-eyed friend has made it his mission to teach me how to ride a bike. Oy veh.
Alright, you know, after talking about him, I realize, he needs a moniker. Shit. I, um, oh hell, I have no idea how to put this…ok, well, you know the stories of my Ex, right? You know how horrible it was, right? Well, how do I put this? The man I’ve spent almost the last two months with is eloquent, gentle, kind, understanding, busting-his-ass-putting-in-all-the-work-that-they-always-tell-you-that-has-to-go-into-a-successful-relationship-but-I’ve-never-experienced-firsthand, romantic, funny, (along with the rest of his endless list of adorable qualities) and has basically taken all of my preconceptions, assumptions, and normal working order of things and basically turned it on it’s head and said, “No…that way is broken, don’t do that. This way is more healing, try this…” and it makes me feel kind of like a cat on shaky ground, arms and legs splayed trying to get steady. Oh and what a pain in the ass I’ve been! Every bad habit and nightmare quality have reared their head for him and he just will NOT give up on me! WTF! Where did this come from? So, as you can see, he needs a moniker because he’s going to be around for a while and I don’t want to rip his shorts down around his ankles by disclosing his real name.
I’m tempted to ask all of my readers to give him a moniker. He’s my version of Liz Gilbert’s “Filipe.” He’s my champion and he’s single-handedly teaching me how to beat my illness into submission…he’s giving so much and putting so much into being with me that, well, it’s like he’s come riding up on a white horse to save the day. Now as melodramatic as that may sound, it really does feel like that sometimes. So, he needs a name.
The things he teaches me everyday about myself, himself, and the rest of the world is always amazing. He’s got this incredible viewpoint and he’s always telling me, “Just relax and enjoy things.” He’s a bit of a farmer with the ability to grow tomatoes that are so floral that to bite into one is like tasting heaven, he’s a bit of the tinkerer and shares my “have to take it apart and put it back together to understand how it works” gene, he looks at the world with an experienced, wise pair of stormy blue eyes that, when I look through them, no obstacle seems insurmountable or so bad to work through. He gives me hope. But I guess the biggest thing I can say is that he’s got this incredible amount nutritional value that goes beyond anything I ever imagined the phrase “nutritional value” could mean. His smile is infectious, his voice is like a distant rolling thunder that gives you comfort in the fact that a healing rain is never too far away. The biggest thing is that he has taught me what all of those little expressions I heard growing up really mean. My father has always spoken about my mother that she’s his “partner.” I never really understood what that really meant and felt like until he talked about how a relationship is a “right hand, left hand” kind of thing.
The “right hand, left hand” thing is the moment where when you’re doing something together, one half knows exactly how to respond to the other half, when and how to hand them things, knowing instinctively how things work as a couple. When he spoke about it, I finally learned what Daddy meant when he said Mom was his partner. When I spoke to my dad on the phone this afternoon, he told me that those things take time, but when you get it just right, it’s wonderful. So, I guess that all of the relationship things I’ve ever heard about such as the work you put in to it, the partner aspect, your pal and best friend now really make sense. I never really got what people were talking about when they said things like that until now. It’s different, I’ll tell ya that, but it makes me wonder a couple of things…why am I just learning about this now? How much have I missed out on? OR is it that we live our lives and take in our experiences to make us ready to appreciate it and recognize it when it happens?
At times like this, I think about Doc Cat and how she loves the Sternberg Triangle…and I remember when she spoke about it, she was all hearts about it, as in Doc Cat <3's the Sternberg Triangle, kind of thing…I remember when she taught about it, I thought about my parents, how it seemed as they had it all sewn up, they have the passion, the commitment and the intimacy that make it all work right. I am just now starting to experience the pieces of the triangle in a palpable form for myself and it's peculiar, I am learning all about the "intimacy" portion of it. Intimacy isn't about sex or sexuality at all sometimes. Intimacy is what I'm fighting to overcome, it's where you basically pants yourself, drop them down around your ankles and have all of your weaknesses exposed. It's showing the chinks in your emotional armor and figure out that the person you're with isn't going to use them against you. Intimacy is a trust thing I think. It's trusting the other person enough that you're able to let them be close to you. That, my friends, is what my stormy blue-eyed knight is fighting against, all of my trust issues…but the thing is, amazing as it sounds, I think he's winning. Doc Cat says that love is all about risk, what you're willing to put out there and pray that it doesn't get stomped on. It's scary stuff, but I think it's like that dark swimming pool, with the right person, the scary parts can turn into swimming in a sea of stars.
So, while we figure out a moniker for my walking, talking, dreamy guy, who Sherrilyn Kenyon would term as “sex on a stick,” here’s a tune that seems to fit his ice cream and daisy style…”Ice Cream” by Sarah McLachlan.