Fear. And A Date. Or Something Like It.
That first phone call with Andrew lasted two and a half hours. And I HATE talking on the phone. Here’s the thing about trying to connect with other humans after you have walked in the wilderness, to quote the wise Brene Brown…you are changed. You are never the same. Your pain walks with you, and day by day, hopefully, you learn to hold on to it less tightly, and to allow it to rise its head when something new needs to be healed. But here’s the thing about connection after the pain. You don’t have any time for bullshit.
So that night on the phone, We got straight to what really mattered. The good stuff. The hard stuff. The real stuff. And the next night we face timed for three or four hours. And talked about more hard stuff. More real stuff. By the time we were on face time number 4 we’d covered enough for twenty five dates, and it was clear to me that this connection, this human, had been put in my way for a reason. This was not by chance or coincidence, and it was certainly not an accident. This human would matter to me.
I remember him saying it. I remember him saying, “You know, we’ve been doing this for a week and I can barely wake up in the mornings from talking until 2 or 3 a.m., so maybe we should how this feels in person?”
To which I smiled, and replied, “Why not?”
I left work a little early, but not too early. I could barely eat all day. I felt like I needed to run to the toilet every ten minutes, and something told me my insides were slowly creeping their way outside. I couldn’t focus on client work or my own words. I. was. losing. my. mind. Andrew face timed me at lunch, as he’d done every day since we first spoke, and I settled. Immediately. When we hung up, my insides became tumultuous again.
I’m not going. I can’t do this. He’s gotta be too weird. This is too much. I. Am. losing. My. mind. That’s it. I’m out.
I all but yelled the last sentence from my desk.
To which my beloved friend, business partner and a generally like-minded woman, politely told me to shut up, go home to her house, get dressed, and go meet the man for crying out loud.
Ash arrived home to see me in an absolute frenzy.
Let us preface some things I am not. I am not a nervous person. I do not fret often and when I do, it is mostly short lived. I am a bit of a bull, charging in to life with only path in mind: onward. I do not quit the team, or bail on the friend.
But this was new.
I had quit a team. Or that is what my fear liked to tell me. I had walked away from a marriage. I was soft now. This was the first new since not quitting looked nothing like sticking with the team and everything like sticking with myself.
I was soft now.
In a glorious human way.
So when she walked in and saw me pacing in the bathroom, trying to decide how to BREATHE, she did the one thing a real friend does in moments like these.
She laughed. And laughed and laughed.
And then she brought me a fan because I was sweating through my date night shirt.
“I told you I’m not going. I feel sick. This can’t be right. I should just call and tell him I can’t do it. Should I curl my hair or leave it straight? Is this too much eye makeup? I’m not going. What shoes are supposed to look good with this anyway?? I know he’s not super tall so I hate to wear my mammoth heels.”
As an aside, I will tell you that we are going to have a full chapter dedicated to the things we tell ourselves about our appearance, our bodies, and what we look for in a partner. Ahem.
“Okay, I’m not going.”
Ash- Yes, sweetie. You are.
Me- why the hell would I do that?
Ash- Because you are ready.
Me- Ready for what? Of course I’m ready, but this isn’t right.
Ash- And what would be? Something that you felt almost nothing about? I thought that is what you wanted. To feel something. Something big.
Me- Oh. Well. I, I…
Ash- Go. Text me if you need me to rescue you. But leave your hair and your damn eye shadow like it is. Put on those shoes, and get in the car. You’re going to be late.
When I made it to the traffic light to turn into the restaurant, I almost bailed again.
Why, you ask?
Because my darling. Your mind is a powerful, powerful being. And its job is to protect you. But the problem with the mind is this. It can only go where it has gone before. It can only give you predicted outcomes based on your own experience. It has a very difficult time allowing you to hope, to reach, to be laid bare after the pain. “See? We were right. This is going to end in sadness. This can’t be trusted. This could hurt too much. You’ll lose yourself. You’ve worked too hard to lose yourself again.”
This is why the mind needs a soul. The knowing within you is bigger than the mind. Because it encompasses all. Your soul knows where to go, and what it desires and what is right. And with the soul, comes balance. Comes knowing.
Deep breaths. Stop sweating from the armpits, already. Breathe…
I pulled into a parking spot, fanned myself for the four hundredth time, took a deep breath and looked up.
There he was.