Friday, February 16, 2007


It's the simple, truthful things I find hardest to express. I do glib well. This is what's underneath all the Internet hilarity and...

I have to get this down. I want to make sure that I never forget it.

He says, "I come from a family of controlling, emotionally abusive men. And if you break a pattern like that, you do it over and over. You have to pay attention for the rest of your life."

I cried so hard the day after we said goodbye that it took a good long spell the next morning with teabags on my eyelids to return them to something passing for normal. I cried for my own sadness and because I thought he was sad too.

He pauses and then, "So yes, I felt those things, but if you have something good and then it ends, if you focus on sorrow, your sorrow turns to bitterness and then to bitterness against the other person for what you miss. So, I told myself it was not a bad goodbye and I would always be your friend. We've been good for each other all this time. That was what I focused on. I had to because otherwise, I'd fall into that family pattern - ownership, control, jealousy - and I'm not going to do that. And it might look uncaring but it doesn't mean I don't care about you." It's quiet, even, matter-of-fact, his tone. He doesn't trust words much and I know he is choosing these carefully, so that I don't get it wrong.

I am sitting with my head resting against his shoulder. I'm astonished to think it is an effort for him, that it requires attention. In all this time, I've been perplexed by the absolute absence of controlling behavior or possessiveness. I confess, at the beginning, I even tried once or twice to pique a little jealousy. He laughed at me. Called me on it, immediately, cheerfully.

I knew about the male side of his family. I knew he'd broken the pattern, but it never occurred to me that it required constant vigilance.

Why didn't that occur to me? Why would I ever think that an emotional demon is suddenly vanquished once and for all - an event instead of a process. A lifelong process of attending, noticing, altering the tumble of thoughts and emotions that push us into unhappy shapes.

Why didn't I ever think about how sadness can turn to bitterness, if you let yourself wander there? That you turn it outward and against someone? That, bit by bit, you can forget all the good parts. If you don't attend. If you aren't vigilant.

"I have holes inside myself," I tell him, "they have been there all my life. My family pattern is for women to throw themselves on their swords for people they love. To think that the needs of men are more important than our own. I was criticized constantly as a kid." I am thinking, with hope, that I have begun to fill those holes with something that is beginning to feel like self-worth. And knowing this man has helped that process greatly. And if I sometimes fail to heed my instincts, fail to protect my own boundaries adequately, it's less often and less serious now. The good part and the hard part is realizing that is one of my lifelong tasks. I just have to keep practicing.

"I had holes like that, too" he says, "I filled them with good things."

Would you date this woman?

My new profile:

"A friend of mine claims that nothing is a waste of time if you get a good story out of it and I'm inclined to agree. I'm collecting some great stories here although my original intention was to actually meet people. Now, I'm a novice here but I'd like to hand out a few small tips to the gentlemen.

1. You can pay people for phone sex. There are 1-900 numbers. Get your wallet out. Don't call me.
2. If you say you are going to call at a particular time, please do it - otherwise I believe that you are, well...being disrespectful of my time. If something comes up and you can't call, send a note to explain.
3. Don't suggest Tim Horton's. If I want to have a date in a place with the ambience of a public washroom, I'll let you know.
4. If you are from out of town and in Halifax for two days, don't ask if I'd like to meet you. Dinner is not what is on your agenda and I am not brain dead.
5. If you are looking for a "real" woman, figure out what that means first.
6. Most women have a past. If you want a woman with no past, they make life-size rubber dolls for that.
7. Use spell check.
8. "Successful" is a matter of opinion. Employed is fine - as long as you are passionate about something and engaged with life, curious, and aware of something beyond your golf clubs.
9. Overnight stays are not a go for the first meeting.
10. Please, please. Have a sense of humour."

**Note - Since posting this, the email has slowed to a crawl. I can't imagine why.