Radiogurl a la Carte

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2005
The Gracias Factor

This entry is starting ridiculously early in the morning. I pretty much was dead to the world when I got home last night, so the second I finished my post here I hit the sheets. Which meant I woke bright and surly this morning, hehehe.

For those who asked: yes, I fed 00, and while she didn't eat much at least she ate something. I also got her a bottle of Tylenol PM to help her sleep. She was with my daughter-in-law when I left last night, and since the two of them are best friends and my daughter-in-law is a gem, I don't worry. As long as 00 isn't left alone she will be fine. She's not thrilled with the outcome of things, but neither is she on the suicidal bent she hit a couple of years ago. She'd known for a while that her relationship with Pipeboy was not what it should be. She'd already accepted it and we'd discussed it before. This was just sealing the deal, so to speak, and she rightly pointed out that she's no longer a kid.

Both of us expressed relief at the thought that she miscarried a few months back, though. Pipeboy's affair with the underage kid started at that point in time, incidentally - the same time when my daughter lost their baby. Real class act there. 00 was understandably bitter over that detail but also philosophical. She's gotten that bent from me, too, I guess. Even I don't know if it's good or bad.

After I left 00 with her sister-in-law to enjoy their girls' day out, my sister and I went to the movies, saw the Wedding Crashers. (I had my cell phone set on vibrate so had 00 needed anything I would've gotten the call.)

Not a perfect movie, okay. Still worth seeing. Sis was seeing it for a second time, me for the first time. Truthfully, though, there were more laughs AFTER the movie than during.

As I mentioned once before, my sister and I have an "please ask, I'll tell" policy with one another, with the only line (and a blurry one at that) about not telling specifics from the bedroom. Let's just say that line got significantly fuzzier last night, albeit mostly in reference to exes. The punch lines sent us into waves of laughter that should probably have made her pull over on the freeway to keep from crashing.

Needless to say, we didn't crash and we survived the laugh attack. We also discussed some very real and very positive things about where we both now stand in life. Sis is crazy about D, the guy she's with now. And I admitted that while I still experience moments of panic and doubt, T doesn't fall into the same category as my past mistakes. I am always hesitant to express more than a passing interest in anyone, given some of the catastrophic things that have happened in my past; but in this case it would be a lie to pretend that I have only a casual interest in T. Sis knows me well enough to realize and comment on the fact that if I've gotten involved to the degree I am now, he must be someone pretty spectacular. And she's right, he is.

Driving home in the silence of the desert night, I was left to ponder more truths about the situation with T. Left to my own devices for the week, I'd been beset by insecurities and doubts.

It's not an exaggeration that T doesn't have space for me in his life. I barely heard from him at all this week because he was out of town. I virtually never hear from him at all on the weekends, in any capacity, and only rarely at night. I found myself questioning everything, challenging things in my mind, and berating myself for allowing myself to care. (Incidentally, the weekends are devoted to his children. I do not begrudge that; in fact, it's one of the things I respect about him, that he is crazy about his kids. I only wish that there were a little more time for me. But I digress.)

Just the same, I am not dealing well with the distance and don't know that I can continue this way indefinitely.

Last night, though, as the I drove through a nocturnal landscape frosted silver by a nearly-full moon, I was forced into honest retrospection. In spite of my legitimate questions and concerns, there are some tangible and intangible reasons that I can't arbitrarily dismiss this man from my life. I care for him precisely because of those things, including little details that would be pretty damned hard to fabricate. My past can only assail the ghosts of what has come before. This is the now and the experiences are new and very different than anything that's come before. To call them positive differences is an understatement.

Am I wary? Yes. I can't help that. I wish I didn't approach life with a jaded eye, certainly not this jaded. It conspires to wring every drop of joy from my soul, and all too often it succeeds. I am making a conscious effort to set the pain of the past aside. I am trying to retain the lessons that experience has taught me, without clinging to the irrational panic that blocks out everything good while exaggerating the bad.

There's an article that keeps popping up on MSN and Netscape, stating in bald terms that men in love are men in lust. The implication was that the best sexual partner was the person men said they loved, and that men don't possess the same emotional capacity to love that women do.

Bullshit.

Mark it on your calendars. I almost never use that term. In this case, it's the closest approximation of what I think of that article, and anything closer would have to use even stronger expletives. I just can't think of any strong enough.

I have talked to countless young men over the past few years: my own sons, young men online and in face-to-face conversations. They were too young (or too closely related or both!) for any interests in me and vice versa. Come to think of it, I've also talked to some older ones who said the same things, men a generation removed in the opposite direction. They had no reason whatsoever to lie to me about what they thought and felt. They weren't flirting with me or hitting on me. These are people who confided in me, seeking validation and confirmation of what they felt.

Without a single exception, every man said while sex and physical intimacy are enormously important, they want far, far more. They want emotional intimacy, friendship, companionship, stability, children and/or family... in short, men want the same things that women do. And they want it from a single partner. They were fine with sexual fantasies and experiences with multiple partners, but these twenty-something (and younger and older) men ultimately want one person to share the whole of their lives. Not a harem: just one.

I've never known the men of my generation to say those things (at least not until recently,) but I cannot believe that Mother Nature flipped a switch and suddenly only men born after 1970 and before 1940 were bestowed with these yearnings.

So for the handful of men reading this diary and to those who don't, you are responsible for rewriting my thought patterns. Some of you may have believed that I was doing you a favor by listening and bestowing solicited advice and cheering you on. Truth be told, you did ever so much more for me than anything I could possibly have done for you. You collectively undid years of horrible conditioning, softening and erasing the deep, emotionally disfiguring scars I accumulated through a lifetime. You made it possible for me to venture outside of my coccoon; to dream that I would emerge into a bright world of the living; and to hope that after years of self-enforced imprisonment, I might find someone my age who is very much like you. You allowed me the perspective to understand that Pipeboy and my ex and my father their ilk are not necessarily representative of men in general.

While the words are grossly inadequate, I can only say... thank you.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )