This post was inspired by: Hercules by Sarah Bareilles
I encourage you to listen to the song and then read.
“What if I don’t find him? What if I never truly experience love?” She paused to break eye contact and released a heavy, painful breath. She tightly closed her eyes to shut out the rest of the world, simultaneously releasing mascara-clogged tears onto her cheeks as she whispered, “What if I never have a partner… a family… a baby?” I felt her pain as if it were my own. The air of desperation in her voice rang far too close for comfort. We spent the session exploring these desires and fears around finding love and even more importantly the woman’s identity apart from being in a relationship. Who is she? What are her passions? Aside from longing to love and be loved what makes her happy?
My fourth client of the week who was searching for love, her words triggered a tightness in my chest. A strong yet delicate woman with so much heart to give; for a brief moment I saw myself sitting on the couch across the room. I blinked to erase the image but the feeling lingered for days. Her words poured over me again and again, “What if I don’t find him? What if I never truly experience love again?” It wasn’t until this past weekend that I added my own questions: Do I even want to find love right now? Am I capable of love right now?
My days are often filled with an ebb and flow of knowing and pondering. Knowing that I need to be alone. Pondering if I will always be alone. Knowing that I can be alone and yet I don’t want to always be alone. My anxiety has been replaced with a sense of wondering curiosity as I look at the world through peaceful, questioning doe eyes. After spending a decade with my exhusband and a year and a half in another deeply committed relationship I have started to wonder who I am when I’m not someone’s other half.
Soon enough I’ll stop hovering between the lands of knowing and pondering. I’ll find my way, I’m sure of it. In the meantime I just keep running.
Well…. And dating…
“I just don’t know if there’s a future with this guy. He’s super nice and I could talk to him for hours, but there’s just not enough chemistry. No spark.”
“Play the field, Kass!! There’s nothing wrong with that. HAVE A LITTLE FUN. You’re just dating around….”
Wait, what?! No way in hades did I see that pearl of wisdom being chucked in my direction. My Newport-summering, paddle-playing, J.McLaughlin-wearing mother just told me to ‘play the field.’ Are we in the upside-down? What on Earth is going on here?
A few months ago my mama said I should play the field, so play the field I have. I met my husband when I was 19 years old so this dating business is brand new to me. Over the past few months I’ve been on all sorts of dates with several gentleman. I’ve drank a lot of coffee, gone ice skating on Frog Pond, hiking in World’s End, been serenaded, gone running along the Charles and even tried out a Core Power yoga class. One dude even baked me a turkey pot pie on the second date. I’ll admit that fellow was a little left of center. As I held the pie in my hands, I met his excited boyish gaze with my own concerned puzzled expression. My furrowed brow and pursed lips could have spoken for themselves, but my mouth opened and words fell out to fill the awkward silence between us. “Is. It. Safe?”
Ahh, the wide world of dating. Fun times had by all most.
Over the past few months I’ve actually had a ton of fun. Simply put, it feels really good to laugh again. Even though I haven’t found a partner I have met some really great men. Oh snap, maybe my Mama was right. Well, half right. I’m a lady and I assure you this is not a foray into a Sex in the City crossover blog containing my exploits.
Just this past weekend I went on a date with a wonderful fellow I’ve known for quite some time. He serenaded me with a guitar and his rendition of Bon Jovi’s Jersey Girl (swoon), cooked me dinner and made me laugh throughout the night. It was good fun. We sat there on his couch chitter-chatting and before I knew it he threw out the R- word. “I’ve never been in a relationship with a woman with a daughter.” I nearly spit out my wine as I threw my palm in the air and sarcastically erupted, “Easy there sailor, you haven’t even held my hand yet. Let’s just focus on getting through dinner.” Relationship? Am I ready for a relationship? I feel like I should be jumping for joy. A kind man who loves running and plays the guitar and used the R-word in my general direction. But instead I feel like a freshman girl who just got asked to senior prom. Of course I want to go. It’s every freshman girl’s dream to be asked, but everyone knows what happens at prom!! I may be a girl who wants to dance, but I don’t think I’m ready for this. No, I know it in my heart- I’m not ready for prom or the R-word right now.
When did I become the stereotypical man who is afraid of commitment?
Dating. I can handle dating.
Damn it. Mama was right again.
It started at the 5k I ran a few weeks ago: the quiet. My soul, traditionally plagued with the full-bodied uncertainty of a stormy sea, was uncharacteristically at peace at the starting line. The race started and I lept forward with fury. For the first time in a long time my thoughts weren’t saturated in desperate emotions. No mantras. No race plan. A beautiful tranquility filled my soul where a storm once raged.
My eyes rested the road ahead. My jaw was stiff and frozen. My lungs burned.
The simplicity of my thoughts were empowering, but I didn’t need to be empowered. I just needed to run. I felt strong, determined and free. Running has always been the easy part of my day, and this day was no different. A local Quincy race on a bitterly cold day of -15 degrees I nabbed second place overall, first place for woman and a shiny new 5k personal record of 19:48.
Maybe it really is that simple.
Somewhere in the midst of repaving my life running 10 miles has become effortless. Deciding to hit the trails for 2.5 hours on Sunday morning is as easy as taking a breath of fresh air. There’s no real decision to be made. The run will happen no matter what; it’s deciding what route to take on the rest of life’s windy roads that leaves me puzzles.. Like I said, running is the easy part of my day. With each passing day, date, R-word and turkey pot pie thrown my way things becomes a little clearer. I move farther away from pondering and closer towards knowing that my heart is still healing. I can’t ask someone else to fix my broken heart. It needs time to heal on its own.
I don’t want to be alone, but I need to know that I can survive alone.
I may want to love and be loved. I want to be in a deeply committed relationship one day, but not today.
This is not the end. From on my knees make me a Hercules.
I’ve lost a grip on where I started from
I wish I’d thought ahead and left a few crumbs
I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become
But I’d settle for little equilibrium
There is a war inside my heart gone silent
Both sides dissatisfied and somewhat violent
The issue I have now begun to see
I am the only lonely casualty
This is not the end though
‘Cause I have sent for a warrior
From on my knees, make me a Hercules
I was meant to be a warrior
Lyrics from Hercules by Sarah Bareilles.
Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Dating? Nahhhhhh… RUNNING.