When I was in college, I dated someone long distance. We spent many hours on the phone. He was committed to living in the south, and at the time, I was committed to living in Michigan. I wrote about it in a poem, my love the seasons here-- the softness of winter, the renewal of spring. It was the main sticking point (in college) between us. I wanted him to capitulate, to know how wonderful
I was, so I tried an old stupid trick: I thought I'd try to make him jealous. (He's probably reading the damn blog now, so I guess I'm laying it out there for him to see. ) Along with my college bff, we made up a boyfriend. She's a writer now in Hollywood and I have my predilection toward fiction myself, so I am sure we created a great character. We used all get online and chat, and we even had "Niles" online too. Little did I know about the great Internet then, so I was blithely unaware that the ex was probably never fooled. I don't know if he looked at IP addresses or what, but there we were: Me, the bff, and the made up boyfriend all chatting away from the same location. I don't suppose Jose was ever fooled. We're still friends to this day, and every now and then he'll ask me how "Niles" is doing and I'll sheepishly change the direction of our conversation.
When we are young, immature, or maybe just vulnerable there is an element of life that we are loathe to show the world. No one wants to admit to being lonely or hurt or longing. I didn't want to let Jose know just how much I liked him, so I made up a boyfriend. If he thought I was dating someone else, maybe he'd want me more.
For a long time I didn't want to admit how my life, once big and tall and seemingly successful in all realms, toppled a little. Or a lot in fact. But pretending that things are perfect and happy and better than ever when they are is a thin caper. It probably doesn't really delude anyone either. Just like I didn't delude my ex boyfriend-- and really what is to be gained? I haven't even openly blogged about the shit storm that we've endured over the past year because if I face the facts, I am still circling around that space that wants to be seen as perfect, happy, content, on my way up.
But how boring is that? Life is in the small moments,the slips and the interesting part is to see how people pick themselves up. I intend to be a happy and content person. But if I am not all the time, that's okay too. The sum of all my moments together comes out to an unequivocally positive number, and it just happens to be a more interesting and complex equation getting there than straightforward one. (Which is fitting for me: I like a challenge.)
I'm on the bed in the small house, looking out the window at a tree with branches, not perfect branches, but lovely in their scraggy glory, dark pink blossoms against deep bark, like a Japanese painting. I know who I am, and that has to be enough. It's not perfect and I can't help other people's perceptions about me. I can only learn from that past and go forward honestly, me.