Apparently, I heal well and I’m resilient. At ten years old I put up with an angry infected appendix for months on end. When my mom finally sent the doctor to hell and took me to the emergency room, they found it hidden behind an intestine. When they operated, it burst. I was in the hospital for a week, maybe more, but I came out fine and with a huge appetite which has never really disappeared. I recovered quickly from childbirth. I don’t get knocked around physically too badly and when I do, it doesn’t keep me out too long. I don’t get sick too badly or frequently. And apparently I heal from a broken heart better than I should.
I had a dream the other night I came face to face with the ExMutant and his harlot and was completely fine with her. I told her she was good to my kids so she was good with me. This, after months of dreams where I’d physically demolish ExMutant into pulpy strangled messes because of the anger I felt. Here I am, a year and a half later wondering if maybe one day I could try marriage again. I find myself wanting a serious relationship where the other person actually, you know, loves me for me not because he knocked me up (oops). The line from the Jane’s Addiction song “Jane Says” keeps swirling in my head on loop: “Jane says she’s never been in love, she only knows when she’s wanted.” And that’s pretty much what I have felt in every relationship I’ve had. I never crossed over to the “in love” threshold. Well, not after the required ridiculous high school mockery of it. Sometimes, I wanted to but just couldn’t. Most times, I just didn’t want to.
With ExMutant, I wanted to very badly. We had children together for the love of god. And despite the fact I devoted everything to the family, I never experienced the true love factor with him. He didn’t want it. I didn’t want it. Not really. I am the perfect example of when “the right thing” is the wrong thing. I am the living debunking of the idea if you fake it long enough, you’ll feel it. Oh I faked it. Never felt it. Seven years and all I got from the other half was strip clubs, blackout drinking binges, wrecked credit, a foreclosure, and crappy sex. Seven. Years. That’s how he showed me how he felt about me. “Actions speak louder than words” I’d tell him. It never sunk in. It never will.
And now, I want to experience it. Sort of. I’m still scared to death. I just don’t seem to grow sufficient scar tissue to avoid wanting this sort of thing. I’m envious of the cold ones. The ones who remain detached forever and ever, blissfully unaware their whole lives. The ones who recover from serious damage by inflicting some of their own—sleeping with whatever they fancy, never looking, much less calling, back. Boom, bye, bye. Instead, I find I’m a lot more romantic and mushy than I’d ever feel comfortable admitting (although I guess that’s what I’m doing). I’m starting to admit to myself that it’s not so much I’m not cut out for partnerships—it’s that I’m not cut out for crappy partnerships or for faking successful partnerships. Apparently, I seem to only be cut out for the real thing and that eludes me. Another song lyric plays—Shirley Bassey’s “Never, Never, Never” comes on, “Although you always laugh at love nothing else would be good enough for you.”
When it comes to soul mates and true love, I’ve been nothing short of a flip-flopper. Younger I believed it. After my heart got screwed with in high school (typical, I know), I sent the theory to hell and locked my emotions up. This was the longest I was able to sustain the coldness—just a couple of years in my late teens and 20. Then I started to warm up again and that eventually found me with ExMutant. Now, after emerging from seven years of false promises, feelings, words, and actions in the name of true love, dedication, and commitment, I have to strongly consider if those things didn’t pan out because we just weren’t right for each other essentially- which brings me back around to soul mates and true love and their place in the world and my life. Maybe there is something there that I’ve been overlooking. And that gets everything else going. How do you know what you’re getting is the real thing? How do you know you’re not dating a love lemon? How on earth do I decide if it’s even worth it to try again? How do I not let myself get in the way of my own happiness—alone or coupled? Seriously though, is it worth it?
Healing, it turns out, is only part of the process. Just like that nasty spill from your bicycle, recovery comes in stages. First you are completely unable to get back on the bike, physically and emotionally. Then you physically heal but emotionally you’ve sent your bike to the junkyard. And then before you know it, you start to crave the wind in your hair, the handlebars in your grasp, and the pedals beneath your feet and yet you can’t quite forget how much that nasty spill hurt and not only that huge one but you start to replay the little ones too. So you think about it a lot, you might even toy with it a bit but to actually kick off full-speed ahead is something you don’t trust yourself or the bike to do. Like just about everything important and meaningful, it’s simply something you have to make a decision on—yes or no.