On the one hand, this is kind of amazing given his own personal situation. Then again, on the other hand, perhaps this is not surprising at all.
For the last year, he's been dealing with his separation-cum-divorce and that has forced our relationship into a very grown-up space I have never been able to manage before. So much of the histrionics and "where is this going" and fits and starts are simply not applicable. As long as I feel, and he confirms, that this -- that we -- could be going somewhere, that has to be enough. Beyond that, I can't push him into being serious with me; there is nowhere to push to.
He has a whole lifetime to figure out and a need to get his bearings and I cannot say this is what you need or this is what you should do or this is what is wrong. Because what do I know?
Actually, I'll tell you what I know.
I know that I feel good about myself when I’m with him. I am proud that he is my boyfriend. He is a good-on-paper guy who also happens to be great in person. I think the world of him. And mostly, usually, unquestioningly I think enough of me to think we’re well matched.
And then THWAP!
* * * * * *
My entire world shifted when my father died and then Ish’s work/live situation was thrown into chaos and I didn’t feel like I knew anything anymore. Slowly the ground has stopped shaking and a sense of routine and normalcy has returned. But you don’t just go back to how things were. You know that. You can never go back.
Death and family. Jobs and moving. Friends. Money. Life. Career. Inspiration. Love. These are the things you talk about when you are searching for meaning and for a roadmap and for the “off” button.
I will never forget David telling me he wasn’t willing to be with me through the crisis that was my mother’s sickness and death because, he said, “what if you just leave me after it’s all over?” And there I was, with a man I'd only been dating for a few months who has his own turmoil thankyouverymuch and who had never even met most of my family let alone all of it at one time on a different coast...
...and yet, he just went with me anyway. Stayed with me anyway. There was no talk of what happens when it’s all over.
Except now it is, a little. A little over, all that drama and sadness. But the emotional genie got out of her bottle. And it turns out she’s not very interested in going back in.
* * * * * *
All this talk of weight and weight loss and motivation and inspiration, it’s been taxing. Generally, shallowly, my biggest motivator has otherwise always been just getting the guy. But I, um, got him. Sort of. For now. But enough so that my motivation (as we know) is a little blurry.
Still, of course, I’ve caught myself thinking that thought:
Do I need to lose weight to keep him?
To which I think, of course not, don’t be ridiculous.
But would it help?
Sigh. The truth is, I’m scared that we won’t work out and I’m scared that I’m 31 and I’m scared that I’ll never be this excited about anyone ever again.
* * * * * *
Last Friday night, Ish took me out to dinner. He had an after-work engagement, so we agreed to meet a little later, at 8:30. This gave me time to go home and change and, I decided, get gussied up.
I even wore heels.
Now, as you well know, wearing heels is somewhat rare for me. Heels are hard on my body, because it puts all of my top-heavy weight on my knees and (rather small) feet. And right, also I fall. So I am particular about when I venture to wear heels. In this case, knew we would be taking a cab to the restaurant and back again, meaning no walking – so I thought I was safe and could ACTUALLY be breezily elegant and lovely and get away with being super feminine and feel like a million dollars and be fabulous and gorgeous and everything any guy (especially the one I’m with) would want.
Dinner was great. But.
After dinner we wanted to have a nightcap and discovered that all the bars in the area were packed full with loud, annoying crowds of beautiful-but-terribly-drunk people. So we tried to get a cab to take us somewhere nice, since we were both dressed up and it was still relatively early. We discussed our options, picked a spot, and tried to hail a cab. Except we soon discovered that cabs were scarce, and crowds of drunk people were vying for them at all corners.
This meant we had two options. We could stay and fight with the crowds for the few cabs, or simply walk a few blocks to a more cab-rich area. I suggested we simply wait it out where we were. Ish suggested we simply walk a couple blocks.
And then I made the cardinal sin of saying “it doesn’t matter to me” and also “we can do whatever you want” when I didn’t mean it and without explaining why I didn’t want to walk. So instead I took the always ill-fated, passive-aggressive route of tacking, “but I really don’t mind if we just wait here” on to my “we can do whatever you want.”
When it seemed evident that Ish really wanted to get away from the crazy crowds, I started to feel desperate. “I guess I could put my sneakers on,” I offered. Because I had them in my cute tote, and Ish knows that a lot of my shoes hurt my feet after a while, so this isn’t so surprising or out of character for me. In my head, though, that was precisely the problem. I wanted to bowl him over with my whimsical beauty and glamour. So I told myself, You know what? Nevermind. Let’s just walk! No more arguing, no more whining or complaining on my part. I’m just going to walk the few blocks in my slippery sling-backs and deal with it. No sneakers! Glamour!
And we got about a half a block before I started bawling.
My shoes were too uncomfortable and they were falling off. But more than that, I was suddenly terrified and defeated and felt all those insecurities I’ve been ignoring or brushing off or maybe not even feeling for the last year bubble up to the surface and come pouring out right there in front of Ish and God and the Bay Bridge and a few dozen gorgeous skinny bitches who did a lousy job trying not to stare.
Because in those few steps, with my shoe straps falling off my ankles, I started down that horrid path of doubt.
I am not a skinny bitch and I never will be. And even if I lose weight, even if I get down to a very small size, I will still hate wearing heels that hurt my feet and even if I find an adorable pair they will not fit well and I won’t know it until it’s too late. I will never have a wardrobe filled with nice clothes because I will spill something down my shirt the at the first opportunity. It’s not that I feel a need to be chic and glamorous all the time, I am not so unreasonable. It’s just sometimes I want to be the woman who you take to a quiet, romantic dinner and who doesn’t end up wearing her appetizer.
In the deepest, darkest recesses of my oft-steady but occasionally faltering ego, I fear that I am not good enough for him. That in the end, this will have been fun but that he will want someone – ha, ha – that The Comic will want someone more serious. Someone less likely to make a fool of herself wherever she goes. Someone who doesn’t wear sweats at home all the time and who does the dishes a whole lot more often. Someone with less cat hair and more functional groceries.
Because all this breezy elegance? Mostly I do just walk around with it. Mostly I do walk around with all my intangible baggage and my all-too-tangible ass and say this is just who I am and fine, really. But sometimes I wish I could just put it on a shelf. Just for a night. Just for a dinner.
* * * * * *
He would have none of it. He was a bit surprised but gentle and gave me the Oh, sweetie... you give to someone who has skinned her knee.
I love your green sneakers, he said. And I think he meant it.
(These are not green, but mine are.)