The more challenges, the stronger you get.
Part 2: Six years later.
Before I bowl you over with this tumultuous wave of verbal emotion, let me start off with a brief synopsis of what lead me here. I had just gotten out of another almost 4 year relationship (sensing the pattern? I recently became aware of it’s significance and why it used to be one of my walls) with someone whom I told myself I loved, but looking back on it now I realize I only wanted to love him, yet never truly did and the same rang true for him. We were both just the right amounts of fucked up – we broke each other down disgustingly and daily. Luck was on my side in ways I wasn’t ready to accept at the time, but my eyes are wide open now. So before I completely tarnish the purity of this post, let’s just say I went from a hot mess to a steamy pile of “everything is complete shit”.
I had forced myself to become a perfected disappearing act during that relationship and when it pushed me directly into the deep end I swam immediately to shore. I called everyone and anyone to breathe me back to life. I wasn’t going to drown this time. At least not without humans by my side and a lot of liquor to coat my stomach lining. Referring back to Part 1 – the rock and I had a lot of mutual friends. For the sake of my ego back then, I wanted to pretend I had forgotten about him, but that would be the second biggest lie I would tell myself that year. The first one, well we’ll get into that. He spotted me instantly through a post on Facebook.
“Hey, I know you.”
That was all he needed to say before my heart and mind drove straight back home. The light had become so dim over those six years that I could barely see it flicker, but at that moment it lit my entire soul on fire.
And so it began all over again. Only this time I had more control over my pain or so I thought. It started with catch up conversation and a joint cruise – the perfect sales pitch. From then it continued to build, but too slowly for my impatience. Problem number one. He had recently stopped seeing someone – or maybe was in the process of ending it – I’m still not totally clear on the details and at the time I don’t think I cared enough about it or his broken heart. Problem number two. It was a Saturday night and I was utterly shitfaced. I had known him for years at this point, but hundreds if you count the comfort level we felt with each other. I boisterously invited him to join me at my place. He was hesitant, unsure of my motives. Rightfully so. I want to say this was problem number three, but only if you count what my conscious wanted – my subconscious had other plans that I was blissfully unaware of at the time, but they were pure.
The next morning he invited me to watch him play hockey. At the time, it was endearing, I felt my girly side get excited. As the day progressed I filled my head with doubts and ego-driven attitude. My ex best friend was celebrating her birthday that night and you don’t choose a man over your soul family – especially when you have a negative reflection of your history (this was before I saw how I too played a role in that). I completely blew him off. He called me out and I did my best to explain, but truthfully I didn’t feel guilty. Problem number three. He was disappointed, naturally. Looking back on it now, he had a right to be. I should have been honest. This made him pull back. Problem number four.
I started to meet the girls for hockey nights where their husbands and boyfriends would play. Blissfully unaware that he would be at this particular league. Synchronicity, my friends. Don’t be naive to it, it’s everywhere. We all hung out after the game was over. We were like magnets – drawn together and everyone could see it. I remained blind to all the positives. Problem number five. He was still annoyed enough to decline quite a few of my future invitations, until his birthday.
After that, it continued for months. We connected all throughout the day like an addict searching for that very first high – about everything and anything. He would spend the night, we’d both get ready for work and repeat. It was like we were 18 all over again – no hidden motives, but I was hiding behind this unwritten “rule book” I made up in my own mind to avoid feeling anything and he had no idea what he wanted. Messages became more than your basic conversation. I did my best to brush it off. Broken still and terrified of his anticipated disappearance and my anticipated expectations, I did things that were unspeakable and unreasonable to protect myself. Problem number six.
At what point do you draw the line? I refused to ask myself that question until it was too late. I was in deeper than I was ready for and though he wouldn’t admit it at the time, so was he. Fear creeped in. I started to resent my lack of control in how I was feeling for him, which made me question everything that was natural about it. Problem number seven. I wanted to know what it was, where it was going and how he felt about me. It’s like I needed that confirmation before I would let my heart surrender to it. On most days he explained it off as strictly chemistry, convenience and history. I couldn’t stop though. I knew it was more. Things became way too grey. We were spending nights together on a regular basis and talking on a regular basis.
One gorgeous night over the summer my friends and I went out with of course the intention of enjoying ourselves. I spent most of it trying to convince him to meet me afterward, but he was too wasted to drive anywhere – I should have heeded my own intoxication. I don’t take no as an answer very often and I also don’t do well with directions, but to no avail I got in my car and told him I was coming to him instead. He suggested it was a bad idea, to turn around. We talked on the phone the whole ride there – something we never did – it was nice and yet didn’t distract me from managing to find my way to his place in the city. I made it, but my bumper left with a super cute souvenir. Turns out fire hydrants don’t budge just because you can’t parallel park for shit.
From there the details got a little bit blurry. Problem number eight. Writing about it now, I regret the way a lot of things played out, but bigger picture: it had such a large influence on who I am today as a person and in my relationships. Though for about two years after this I wouldn’t see it that way at all.
He tested my fears and my defense mechanisms on a constant basis. He made me question the things I was doing, the things I wasn’t doing and the reasons why – just like six years ago. My heart knew, but I could never get my head on the same page.
I remember talking for hours. He started a movie – still not sure what it was – but I couldn’t bring myself to accept the purity behind it. When my fear kicked in I would find myself detaching from things I actually wanted to feel. Problem number nine. I never told him that. It was the cage I was stuck in.
It turned hot and heavy faster than a tornado tears down everything in its path. I remember every intimate detail from the taste of his skin as I kissed his neck to the fervent touch of his hands on my hips. He told me he loved me and my head immediately took over. My response was only that he didn’t mean it. Who the fuck was I to tell someone that? To leave someone stranded in a moment of pure vulnerability? Reflecting back to my post “Raw Like an Open Flesh Wound”, nobody could ever love me – I was tainted. How could he love me if I still didn’t love myself? My mind went crazy. I rejected him because I feared my own rejection. I knew that I loved him, but it was too late to take back what I had done. Problem number ten-thousand.
I’m sure you can guess how things progressed after that. For some reason I thought I had time to fix it – to explain why I reacted the way that I did. Hopeful we could talk about it and work through it together. Relationships don’t always go in the direction we hope they will. Feelings are complex, uncontrollable and real. Pain doesn’t go away just because you apologize.
He woke up angrier than a bull in a China shop. I was hungover and confused, until pieces of the night came back to me as the day went on. This is where I started to say goodbye to Part 2. I didn’t want to let him go.
I begged to meet after hockey to talk. He obliged, but had no intention of giving a fuck about anything I had to say. He didn’t want to hear how my feelings were more important than his. I had hurt him. I explained that I felt the same way about him as he felt about me, but I wasn’t ready to say it out loud yet. It took me over 20 minutes before I could even speak the words to him in that conversation – which made it apparent that I still wasn’t ready.
I hated myself for my walls. I wanted so badly to rip them apart all at once. That isn’t how growth works. Lessons are required and learning from them is mandatory. Boy, did I learn from that one.
He moved back in with his ex, just a few short weeks after everything that happened. Which lead me to believe they were in contact the entire time and maybe my fear had some validity. Then I became the one who was hurt and angry. I wanted to hate him. Truly, I only hated how things ended. I had such a hard time letting go. We spoke briefly after that, but it never went well so eventually we went our separate ways until a mutual friends wedding. By then I was dating Yin from “Heart Construction” who treated me well, was willing to work through my baggage and at the time openly wanted to love me. I wish I could say that was enough, but once again that isn’t my truth.
I didn’t hide the fact that the rock would be there. We had a great night, but I couldn’t fully invest myself. I knew it wouldn’t benefit our relationship to make an appearance at the after party, so I suggested we leave.
I could tell the rock was unhappy. He carried regret all over his face and within his body language. I felt validated. That is until I heard his voice…”Loretta. Loretta!” I waited for the third time before turning around to address him. Instantly my heart sank and I realized we both caused each other this pain and for what? Because of our fears, our egos, our baggage and our bullshit. It made me sad. I wasn’t ready to hear what he had to say.
For the second time we went our separate ways – until Part 3: two and a half years later.