you know that ain’t gonna work

This morning as I was driving to work, I was suddenly struck by a memory…and I laughed aloud for blocks.

My (main) college boyfriend was very into New Age spirituality…and, admittedly, so was I. But he was older, hipper, grungier and bearded. And his family more open-minded. For years (or maybe only months) at a time, I was sure he was the love of my life.

His mother knew astrology and read tarot. He was so far ahead of me on the spiritual front that I allowed him to lead me, to recommend reading, to open my mind:

  • He introduced me to Seth, Shakti Gawain and Ram Dass.
  • He told me about a woman somewhere who has learned to photosynthesize, like plants. Apparently, she drank a small amount of water and ate a Triscuit every so often.
  • We meditated together, even when he’d moved on to graduate school.
  • And, once, he told me that he aspired to such heights of spiritual enlightenment that he would engage in sex only as a means of procreation.

I treasure the memories, but you can understand why this all went awry…

run screaming

It’s been awhile since I last posted and, for that, I apologize. For a while, I was in the midst of a crisis, which overlapped with a several-day internet outage that may have, in part, triggered said crisis.

When I say “crisis,” I mean I was completely stressed out, exhausted and wanted only to turn around and run screaming from each and every commitment in my life:  my job, my home, my boyfriend. Not my children, of course…well, maybe for a couple of weeks.

Suddenly, the pressure seemed overwhelming at just about the same time as my body began under-performing (which is to say that my elimination system can’t keep up with my hormones and I was terrifically exhausted) and I began panicking about whether I want to be in a relationship or am ready to be in a relationship or if I want to be in one with him, all of which was minor compared to my work-related pyscho-drama. Goodness! I’m finally earning pretty well, feeling as though I’m managing, and a few hours of work not achieved on my connected-less weekend threw me into a fit of panic.

What I witnessed in my own mind during those several hours was not pretty. It was if a box deeply hidden in my psyche had released all my secret irrational fears and out-moded mental scripts at once:

  • “You’re not worth it.”
  • “You’re a fraud.”
  • “You’re not doing this very well — everyone else is better.”
  • And more.

I recently read a quote by Demi Moore (or was it some other recently-single celebrity) and I will do my best to re-create it here (without actually trying to look it up):  She basically said that our (her?) greatest fear was to get to the end of her life (or the day?) and feel alone and unloved and unworthy and find out that she is fundamentally flawed. And it was nice to read that someone who’s made movies and lived glamorously and been married to Ashton Kutcher felt that way, because I sure have at times.

Through all of these recent extreme feelings, I knew that they weren’t the truth. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who felt those very same things. And I sensed somehow that, by facing this fog and moving through it, these old scripts, old beliefs and feelings of fear were being released on some deeper level and that, if I could just get past them, they would never again have such power as they did in those few intense hours. Or — it must be said — maybe I’m just getting my period.

At any rate, my eyes are no longer bugging out, I’m hanging in there just fine, thank you, and I haven’t run screaming from any of it. Perhaps I’ll get further if I slink quietly…


Something subtle shifted inside me recently.

This subtle shift manifested in an external change that caught more than just me off guard. Evidently I’ve become comfortable enough in my young relationship to use a sort of shorthand. Among friends, I’ve begun referring to “the man I’ve been seeing” as simply “my boyfriend.”

A sharp girlfriend was quick to point out this slip over a glass of wine recently. I shrugged and admitted that I’m comfortable and enjoying it.

And then I had to think about it for awhile. Perhaps I hadn’t really wrapped my head around what two people in an exclusive relationship might call each other.

After I’d thought about it for awhile, I realized that this is what I’d wanted. All those first dates — meeting complete strangers through a computer screen — were about getting to where I am at this moment:  I have a boyfriend. I am in a relationship. I don’t know where this is going, but I’m enjoying getting and giving attention, being romantic, holding hands, kissing. I am happy.

Perhaps it sounds strange that I’d agreed to be exclusive awhile back and hadn’t yet thought of “the man I’ve been seeing” as “my boyfriend.” Perhaps it’s because I don’t particularly like to be called a “girlfriend” (except by my girlfriends), or perhaps it’s just taken me awhile to wrap my head around the concept of a new, positive relationship that may have some potential, or perhaps I’ve just had a lagging mental indicator based on my absolute conviction to take things slowly. At any rate, my brain finally appears to be catching up.

I have a boyfriend. And there is a smile on my face.

(And there is a part of me that is terrified to hit “publish” on the off-chance that saying so just might jinx it…)