rites of passage

This was the school year during which my daughter first told me she had a boyfriend. In fact, it was the first year she even expressed interest in any boy.

Her boyfriend, who I met on more than one occasion, was painfully shy. He came to dinner and giggled across the table at my son, eyes and body averted from my daughter to his side.

I suspect the whole of this fifth grade “dating” experience had more to do with status than anything else. “Going with” a boy meant being liked, being chosen. It meant being part of a special group, along with her best friends who had also been chosen.

I suppose it should have come as no surprise that, in the last several weeks of school, my girl told me she had broken up with her boyfriend… My daughter called her guy over during recess and told him, “This isn’t working out.” As it turned out, many of the fifth-grade couples had split — all at the girls’ initiation — within days of each other.

The mothers and I sat around after a school event one evening and discussed this phenomenon, suddenly realizing it wasn’t all that different from what we would have done as we reached the end of middle school or high school or, in many cases, college. After all, who wants to be tied down when something new and exciting is around the corner? And, I hate to say it, but especially when that new and exciting thing includes a whole new group of boys, older boys.

Single is the new status symbol…at least until middle school starts.


then again, let’s not

I still get upset when I think about the let down of a couple few weeks ago (I’ve lost track of time). And I have a confession about that:  the explosive vehemence of my emotions around this whole thing is waaay out of proportion to what it ought to have been, given the circumstances (in this case, a couple of casual hookups with a casual acquaintance). I normally don’t “should” on myself like that but, in this case, my awareness of this over-reaction goes something like this:

Into that moment of him saying “I’m out,” flooded every snub, slight, injury, rejection, betrayal that has ever happened in my life… Not only could I feel this, it was as though I could see it — an open portal with all of this emotional baggage flowing in. And it very clearly was not all about him…at least not all about him or us in this lifetime, in this incarnation.

I may have mentioned before that I’ve felt something karmic with more-like-it. It wasn’t exactly as Paulo Coelho writes about in Aleph, but not entirely dissimilar, either. His energy was a catalyst for me and, to be honest, it filled me with sheer terror on more than one occasion. I never felt unsafe — rather, I felt a fear that I knew I needed to face head-on in order to be healed in some way. A part of me wonders whether that journey wasn’t somehow cut short by our abbreviated “relationship.” I may never know.

So, as I said, I reacted strongly — and swiftly:  I immediately removed him and another person I knew only through him from among my Facebook friends, and I deleted every message we’d ever exchanged from email, text or messaging. I had to kill this idiotic belief inside me that somehow we were supposed to be connected; I needed a complete break.

On a more personal, practical level, there are still aspects of this man’s behavior that baffle me. I don’t understand how someone can have manners one moment — opening doors, behaving respectfully, etc. — and then behave in a way that is so completely lacking in common courtesy and respect the next. There’s an incongruity to it around which I cannot wrap my feeble brain. It simply does not compute.

And my own knowing rose up inside me:  I don’t treat my friends that way, and they don’t behave that way toward me. So that complete break was my way of shouting it to the universe:  I will not accept being treated this way or welcome into my fold those who think they can get away with it.

I know he’s on his own journey, and rather than judge others or call names, I prefer to address behaviors. Still, this time, I won’t make my usual allowances for bad behavior or give in to the “let’s be friends” bullshit because, frankly, I’ve never wanted to be friends with this man; I’ve always felt and desired something more.

I can’t say what I’ll feel somewhere down the road, but that’s how I feel now. And it still hurts.