Shaken Apart and Set in the Slingshot

How four months have passed in a flash I can’t say. Why there hasn’t been a single word worth putting up on this blog site, I don’t know.

The truth, though, is that I do.

I have been in a sort of “figuring things out” stage for a while now. With this blog and with all of my life.

Last year I was so ruling the world I lived in. I owned it. I knew exactly who I was and where I was going. I had a plan and I had somehow managed to slow time down to a crawl. I was living in every moment. It was amazing. I was full of advice and wisdom for anyone who asked.

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During this period, I wrote 80 pages of a memoir in less than two months. I hired a phenomenal life and business coach. I started a business. I took on clients. I began this blog site. I was happily single, and I was generally unavailable to potential love interests, although I still had a full and fulfilling social life. Every day was packed with “wins” or small achievements I relished in. Life was brilliant.

At this time, I decided with utter confidence that I needed to travel and write for a living. I needed to become an author. I’d go to Bali and Ireland — I know, a strange pairing — and Thailand and Greece and Costa Rica and Spain. I’d sell my house, try to squeeze as much as possible out of the major remodeling investment it had turned out to be.

And it did turn out to be a gorgeous house in the end — I absolutely love it — but its place in my life had expired, and so did this period of co-ownership with an ex-boyfriend. This was the relationship that had the deepest impact on my life, and our time together was beyond tumultuous. Although we’re friends now and I’ll continue to hold him dearly in my heart for all the growing up we did together and apart because of each other, I needed to break the financial and, thus, energetic ties we shared through this home.

Things were blindingly clear for me.

And then in the fall, my great-grandmother, my nana, got sick. First, she fell in the middle of the night, wedging herself between her bed and dresser until her ride to church found her there after who-knows-how-many hours. She was taken to the hospital. Then she had a couple of “spells,” including one in which she thought she was having a stroke. Hospital. Then her gallbladder failed, and she was again rushed to the hospital, only to find out they couldn’t perform the necessary procedure to help her, as she likely wouldn’t survive it.

As a side note, my nana is my world. She’s my mommy. She’s my best friend. She’s my home.

After one very minor procedure, there at the hospital I watched her writhe in a pain I could neither fully grasp nor bear to see. This wasn’t the woman I knew. She was so full of morphine or whatever other kind of medication would kill this pain even if it meant killing her simultaneously.

During the next few days, I watched her decline. She mostly didn’t know we were there. She talked to entities we couldn’t see, reached for angels and light, and generally fashioned a blank stare as if her soul had already left her eyes. A doctor told us she didn’t look well and that we should prepare ourselves to say good-bye.

At the same time, a man I had met two-and-a-half years before started up a conversation with me from afar. Amid this most tragic time in my life. He was a bit younger, but the conversation was exhilarating. And offered some fertile soil for me to burrow my head into during this otherwise devastating period.

Yes, my mind blossomed from it and through it. We exchanged amazing letters. Wrote stories together and worked on plays and other creative projects.

In the meantime, Nana came out OK. She had a successful procedure and they ultimately removed her gallbladder after realizing her age of 98 didn’t have much bearing on the outcome.

By then, although things were back in place, I was smitten with this younger, yonder man. Even though I had initially referred to the situation as playing with fire. From afar, our curiosity grew, our creativity flourished, a strong friendship developed, and a deep love interest arose. He would visit me in February — five months after we had begun our exchange.

I knew there was a good chance I’d idealized him. We always fill in the gaps of a love interest with how and who we want them to be, so I expected some amount of disappointment. And received none.

I fell in love with him immediately. Within four days, he expressed that he loved me and I could finally stop holding on to my own words. We got to know each other’s family a bit in those days together. We spent every moment together without feeling smothered by the other. We were wrapped up in each other, incredibly comfortable. We went out for dinners and drinks often, we played racquetball, we worked on music, we wrote, we read, we cried when it was time to cry, we laughed uncontrollably, and we stared dumbly at each other, in awe of each other, during the quiet moments in between it all. We talked of cutting out the distance between us, of getting an apartment together in the city. We extended his trip from 6 to 10 days so we could carry on with our inseparability for a little longer.

I began thinking, yes, this is what I want. I will travel alone sometimes; maybe he can join me here and there, but I’ll be primarily based with him. We will have this beautiful life together. I have finally met my long lost.

Fast-forward to my visit to him less than a month later. Something had drained from us. We had some lovely moments, but I felt more tolerated than received by him. His fear had set in. He wasn’t ready for this. And he may have developed an interest in someone more practical by then or shortly after, someone more local, maybe even someone more right.

There was a slow, awkward, and painful peeling away from one another over the next three weeks, and then that was it. It was done. As if it had never happened.

But it had. My life had expanded and made a large cavern to fill up with him. And then he was gone, and the cavern felt… well… cavernous.

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So, forgive me for the silence. I have been trying to find the silver lining in the gaping hole. Trying to fill up the overwhelming empty space with other activities and people and distractions, and finally and more appropriately, with my own sense of wonderment and exploration again.

Because I am still going. Everything is working out perfectly to support this endeavor. Escrow will close on the house in about a week. Exactly two weeks for proper two-week notice to work before my plane leaves for Indonesia. My boss already knows and even offered me work when I return, should I circle back to conventional living.

The lesson in it all (I should say the latest lesson) is that I can’t wait to figure things out before making this move. I may have known with every square inch of me one year ago that this was the right plan, but the free fall from the cliff off which I’m about to leap today feels much less mapped out.

We believe we can figure out the future in our heads, but as my brilliant coach, Lisa Wilder, has reminded me, time and time again: The only way to make the unknown known is by stepping (or, in my case, leaping) into it.

So, even if my confidence has lessened a bit, even if my sureness and my excitement have dissipated some and are only barely, slowly building up again, I am going. I am going without knowing. Readiness is a fairytale.

It’s just time.

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2 responses to “Shaken Apart and Set in the Slingshot

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