Over the past weekend, Linda and I went mountain climbing in Little Rock, AR, you know, like it was a regular day of shopping. For me, it felt that way. Fairly easy. It felt good to be in my natural element (earth sign represent!). It reminded me of the first time I climbed Mount Pinnacle.
It was the peak of summer and the sun was harsher than the day before. My ex had woken me early in the morning (aka 9am) to go climb. As with anything new and requires effort, I was stubborn but needed some motivation. Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding that turned into an argument that had a resolution involving Krispy Kreme donuts.
By the time we reached Pinnacle Mtn. State Park, I was more ready than I was at 9am. I stood at the head of the trail, psyching myself up: I can do this, I can do this. He’s going to make sure I don’t fall off reeling backwards like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. So, to the 2nd mile-mark I was fine. But there are 10 mile-marks. By mile 3 I was huffing and puffing like crazy and drenched, so I took off my shirt and wrapped it around my head, like an Arabman in the desert … without a camel to ride on. By the grace of periodic breaks, we continued to climb. Him in front and me struggling behind.
At some point the bounding over rocks started to wear on my body. My determination was strong, however. I laid on the rocks, heaving and gasping for air. Even in that moment, I knew I could do it. I knew I could get to the top of that d*mn mountain. But I needed him.
“I need you … to just … hold my hand. I know I can do it, but I need you to be here.”
He came to my side and instructed me to breathe and try to relax. He took the shirt off my head and informed me that I was overheating myself. He poured water on my neck. And I felt better. My breathing was steady, and he helped me up.
We journeyed on and made it to the top.
Floored, I exclaimed, “We’ve conquered a mountain together. We can make it through anything.” He agreed.
Making two people get along and work together is arguably the hardest thing in life. One of the most astonishing things I’ve realized in being part of a relationship is that usually when there is an argument, it’s not (just) because the other person is an idiot and is refusing to see your point of view. It is because they have their own point of view, their own needs that they want you to acknowledge and understand as well. I believe arguments happen when two people are being selfish at exactly the same time: I want you to understand and acknowledge my needs.
What I needed from him that morning was encouraging words while ignoring my moaning and groaning. He needed me to be gung ho about climbing a mountain. At some point I became gung ho about it, but I needed a graceful push to get me going first.
When Linda and I came to the spot of pointy rocks I mentioned before, where he and I met each other figuratively in the middle and climbed the mountain *together*, I sent him a picture of that spot from my cell phone with the words “Do you remember?”
“Of course,” he said, followed by a smiley face. I issued gratitude to him for being a great lover and friend.
When we reached the peak of the mountain, other mountain-conquerers were resting and encouraging newcomers, taking photos of their triumph. I settled on a rock apart from the chatter and looked at the lakes and the tiny islands within them. I usually feel empowered when the wind is blowing. It’s like a gentle push in the direction I know I need to go. In that moment, it was blowing hard, nearly pushing me off the mountain, but I knew what it meant — to keep going, to keep climbing.
Am I ready to love, a question I asked myself recently. There’s no doubt that love is flowing through a bit more freely than it used to, but am I ready to be in a relationship.
I feel that Love and Relationships are two separate things. In terms of cell structure, Love would be the nucleus and the relationship is the cell membrane, what Love lives in. And it is up to you and your partner to keep that membrane strong, impenetrable, and healthy so that the nucleus can live and flourish in a safe place.
I started asking myself if I was ready to love again after my ex and I decided to compare notes on what we wanted for the future and if we wanted to continue that pursuit together or not. It was preceded by a fun evening in Uptown, juicy burgers, a visit to the remodeled Apple store by SMU, and jetting through the streets in his fast car just like all (and old) times. It felt great. In those moments our true selves were allowed to just be. No pushing or shoving, just playful and free.
But we eventually came to the purpose of the evening. He’s ready to settle down. And I am not. That’s the black-and-white. The grey of the matter is that I will be ready to settle down, but I still have a bit of foundation repair within myself to secure before I can jump back into the romanticsphere.
I feel that returning to me little by little, the want to sprout roots with someone. It’s glimpses of the same feelings I had even at 19 years old. I’ve always known what I wanted in a relationship and from life. I didn’t realize on the way to those wants it would be extremely difficult. I’ve always known that my wants are embellishments of what I need, so while I could spare the flourishes, the strike of the stroke is what matters. My needs are an open-hearted family that respects each part of the unit and we have fun in learning and experiencing, we have each other’s back in the darkest of times.
There’s no doubt I want that. But right now my heart is in repair from braving the ruthless seas and surviving the strenuous wars that have gotten me to this point, which is somewhat of a hibernating period, I guess. In my cocoon, a safe harbor, restoring my energy and heart for the next Big One.
Honoring your truth and realizing that how YOU feel must be your top priority will lead you to the right place and perhaps back to your lover but know that the introspective work you are doing will pay off. — Terri Cole, from Welcome Words of Encouragement
He is ready and he is anxious to start. He’s met someone new and while I was distraught about it, I realized that apart from my own happiness, I want him to be happy. While, yes, in my selfish heart I would like me to be the one to share his happiness, my heart-of-hearts knows that I cannot. And that’s okay because I have tried my best for years, even at times when I shouldn’t have; at times when my people said “leave him alone, you deserve better.” I went after and fought for what I believed in — our nucleus and even our membrane.
In the twisted reality, I still am fighting for what I believe in. I still have hope because I still have love. I have to admit that I struggled with closing my heart immediately after that night together. It hurt so bad. I spent an entire day in bed until I just decided to get away, flock to Austin even for just a day — just to see something beyond myself and problems. It reminded me that there’s beauty everywhere, especially inside of me and even within him; the part of me that I shared with him.
Yes, I am still building the foundation for my future home. I get excited when I think of it. ((((( A home. ))))) Ah, that elongated echo is awesome. Whether it’s with him or someone else, the foundation process must be done. Poor timing and judgment have already delayed what I should have been doing all along. I would be doing myself and future life an injustice if I weren’t responsible now. And it’s never too late, whether you’re 25 or 28.
I would like to thank some veryimportantpeople for their support (and even those I can’t link to). I am a strong person and my friends keep me that way. Thank you. Thank you.
And last and utmost, thank you to my ex and best friend. Every crazy turn on this ride had helped me learn a lot about life, love, relationships, and even myself. I don’t have all the answers to how yet. But I do have an answer for why. Thank you.
I’m sitting in Jaco on a beach at night. The stars are bright yet covered by clouds. I wish I had such — I dont know — fight as them. I’m still conflicted on where I stand with love. I’m trying to embrace freedom but I feel trapped by loneliness and despair — I miss him and maybe that’s part of freedom.
“I do wish you were here next to me.”
I wish to be back in those old days of infatuation, and racing to see offline messages after school from online boyfriends. It was easier, fun, and faux-dramatic. It was how a lot of lonely American teenagers in the early 2000s spent their days, nights, midnights, weekends…. Well, maybe just me. Now, in the age of real love and tangible affection, the drama flare-ups actually hurt.
Your eyes have a certain sadness and softness that’s not sadness but really concern or intent to know. I love that about you.
People talk about true love and love at first sight. The first time I saw you you were on the balcony of my apartment looking out at the Denton skyline. You were wearing your dark blue and yellow baseball cap you wore until you lost it, a grey hoodie and jeans that you gave away to charity, and blue and yellow Skechers that lost their sole.
I had prepared for you: cleaned, showered. But you came sooner than expected. I hadn’t put on shoes when I opened the door — to find you there looking past the adjacent apartment buildings from the 3rd floor balcony. There was a pause to acknowledge a familiarity — a kindred spirit; when my soul and heart said hello to your soul and heart.
A bond we try to break every year to no avail.
You have changed across many years and I have changed, too. But your eyes are still the same.
If they should leave you one day, there will be your laugh, your crooked fingers, and gnome kisses.
Our friendship was built. Our love created the first word you sent and the first word I read.