General, love, Personal

Seven Feet Deep

An excerpt from a journal entry written on August 13, 2006 at 8:19 pm, while I was on vacation with Marvs and my sister:

“On Swimming

You wake up sore the next day, wondering what you’d done to be in such pain. It’s sort of like sex that way. Right now my shoulders hurt after showing off my skills in the water. The butterfly stroke is not as easy as it used to be.

I like deep water. It’s more of a test– of my strength, of my commitment. Sadly, I always forget:  the deeper the water, the more difficult it is to come up for air.

[Redacted] was probably only seven feet deep. Deep enough to completely cover my head. Deep enough to drown in. Deep enough that I can’t just pop out of the water and gasp for air. So I shouldn’t beat myself up for wishing that things could be the way they used to be. That I could be here, on St. Maarten, missing him and his grin, while he’s back at home, missing me, too.”

I take great pains to avoid the subjects of dating and relationships entirely. If you’re not my sister, Michelle,  or Johara, you basically have no idea what’s going on in my romantic life. Most of this is just due to my secretive Scorpio nature (“But,” you protest, “you write a personal blog!” I know, I know. Perhaps that’s why I don’t post very often?).  The other part of it is… the more I discuss dating and relationships, the more I have to examine the reasons why I am the perpetually single friend.

I find myself reading A Belle in Brooklyn‘s Ask.FM page nearly every day for two reasons: 1)  because people ask some outlandish questions and 2) her answers are straightforward and often HILARIOUS. A few months ago, a girl wrote in asking her what to do because the dude she’d been dating and wanted a relationship with was flying to another city to visit some woman. She was understandably hurt and asked how to get past it. Demetria told her:

You get through hurt. You don’t pass it by. Sit with it. It’s okay to hurt. Just don’t sink in it.

I read that, and something clicked.  I found my journal from that summer and read the whole thing. And I realized– I allowed myself to sink.

It wasn’t that deep. But I let the crushing weight of my hurt force me to the soft, sandy ocean floor, just yards away from the shore. And I’ve been floating here, for years. I learned how to breathe. It’s nice and warm and peaceful. I am alone and I prefer it that way.

After him, I chose a long string of unavailable men. That worked just fine for me. There was the startlingly handsome guy whose last girlfriend had cheated on him (and humiliated him, apparently. I don’t remember all the details) and so he became an avowed bachelor. There was the artistic guy whose girlfriend had also cheated on him; this one took her back and cheated sporadically with me for revenge.  Then there was the dude who’d been in a relationship for over five years, was newly single, and just wanted have some fun. He was the one who pointed out to me how utterly unavailable I was. He was really into the law of attraction and told me, “My dear, I don’t believe in coincidences. You keep meeting unavailable men because that is who you are. You’re not available at all. You’ve got a fucking fortress around your heart and you don’t even know it.” I’m pretty sure I just laughed at him and brushed it off.

It’s been eight years since that trip to St. Maarten, and a little over six years since I sat in E’s car, and he turned up the volume when Omarion’s “Ice Box” came on the radio and he pointed at me, laughing, saying, “This is so you.” The last guy I dated told me he’d never met anyone as cold as me. I have to admit, it kinda hurt my feelings at first. But I dismissed him, telling myself that he was just mad I no longer wanted to date him, that he was just desperate to push my buttons, to elicit one last reaction out of me before I walked away.

But what if he’s right?

What if I can’t be anything else from beneath this sea?

love, Personal

The Moment

We were in his car, a brand new Mercedes Benz SUV. He changed lanes, and someone honked wildly at us.  He seemed bewildered; he didn’t know why this person was so angry. I said, “You cut him off.” He said, “Oops.” He hadn’t looked. And in that moment, I saw my future.

I saw more Saturdays like this. Brunch dates and hand-holding and awkward kisses and clumsy sex that was never rough in the right way. Me, realizing that he refused to acknowledge when he was wrong. Me, planning our every outing because he never seemed to notice what I liked to do. Him, inviting me to Sunday dinners at his mother’s house. Me, driving us everywhere because I didn’t trust him not to get us killed. Him, telling our mutual friends that I was his perfect girl. A  year, then two, of this routine. A diamond ring, pretty, but nothing like the kind of ring I’d ever wear. Me, saying yes, because he was a good guy. A lavish wedding, because he could afford it. And me, frustrated and bored, finding my way back to my old friend. An affair, brief and painful and illuminating. Me, realizing I’d been lying to myself. Me, hurting him when I walked away.

I saw this all play out like a movie montage, scene after scene, quick flashes of what my life would be like if I didn’t end this now. I looked down at the angry driver, then over at him, as he fiddled with his side mirrors. My stomach dropped.  When we finally reached our destination, he helped me out of the car and grasped at my hand. I let it slip past his outstretched fingers.

“We have to go,” I said. “We’re going to be late.”