[Written in January of ’08]
Relationships are hard work. I don’t think I ever realized that before now and I have been single all of four months during the last 26 years. I have lived in a world that revolved around me. I am the sun and everyone near me circles around just far enough away not to get too burned. Sadly, pretty much every time I send off a solar flare, someone gets hurt. Sometimes severely.
Sometimes you wonder why you ever get into relationships at all. I have had two great loves in my life. One, I let pass out of my life because I was young, selfish, and stupid. I endured intense heartache but couldn’t get him back. Over the years we would bounce off each other. Keep in touch and then back off. He got a wife and kids, I continued in a relationship that was never meant to be in the first place. Eventually, we became friends and confidantes. He is, finally, happy. Truly happy. And I am ever so grateful because it turns out that the true love of my life was waiting for me waaaaaay down the long and winding road.
I have entered into relationships on a whim. Lived with women that I should only have had a passing affair with. Had a child with a woman that I should have left years before. But she made me laugh and at the time that was enough. Then there was our son. And the laughter was replaced by unspeakable acts. The burden for which I may never forgive myself. I should have taken my son and begun life as a strong single mother years ago. But, then again, destiny has a way of taking over.
The past week or so have dealt us some heavy blows. As is my way, I become tender to the touch. I become the femme equivalent of Superman turning into Clark Kent (to paraphrase my friend Barbara’s favorite line). The wry, witty, self-assured, and yes, beautiful me becomes this pitiful excuse for a woman in need of constant affirmation of love. As soon as the storm starts to blow over I expect to be back in his arms and everything to be “perfect” again. It’s not perfect. We have perfect moments – perfect days – perfect weekends. But until I met this man – who drew me first to him with this intensely magnetic attraction and then continued to nurture my love by balancing out my whirlwind personality – I never “worked” on making it work.
I went to therapy the other day and had one of those rare and amazing “aha” moments. I was talking about the fact that everyone I have ever been with accuses me while we are arguing of making every situation “all about me”. I never understood that until I said to her “I feel like I am a giant raw nerve and everything that touches me sets off sparks”. My sweet little Indian therapist, sitting with one leg tucked underneath the folds of her long floral dress and clutching her pashmina tightly to her said “Diana…you do make it all about you.” I had just compared myself to a “giant nerve” (translate that to the center of the universe) and that everything that touches me sets off sparks. Dr. Goodheart, (yes, that actually IS her name) told me that if I am that much trouble and that overly sensitive, then everyone that has anything to do with me has to tiptoe around me. It is a great stress and a heavy load to have to worry about someone’s feelings at all times.
My tears immediately cleared up. I GOT it. I don’t GET a lot and I say that with a sad smile because I’ve been asked to GET IT over and over recently. So, yes, it’s hard work. But I do believe that true love conquers all and that if I am patient and maintain a thick skin then we shall persevere and spend the rest of our lives together. Preferably, without my overblown expectations and delirious dreams of a perfect world that spins around me as the center of all creation.