Friday, March 10, 2006

How I got here

If life had worked out the way I had planned, I'd be married right now. We'd have a cute apartment in the hip part of Austin and would host intimate dinner parties on the weekend. We would do it every night and sometimes in the morning, too. I always loved having you be the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes. Instead, I have trouble committing to men. You cemented what my father started. Opening myself up to hurt is often not worth the effort, and the fact that you still haunt some of my fantasies doesn't help matters. I'm different without you. Even though you're no longer a part of my life, people would be able to see your shadow flitting across this site if they knew about you. I want them to know about you because to know about you is to know me. The baggage I've packed away is a part of me.

NotSteve was the one. I know so many of us don't believe in the one, but I'm sure he was the bees knees. I was young and impressionable, but NotSteve was the one I grew up with. Friends for years, the transition to significant other was subtle. There were so many stolen days spent skipping class and exploring each other on his parent's couch. (My heart wants to escape my chest even as I type this.) I remember the post-graduation trip with NotBlondie and thinking how I was most excited about seeing him again when I got back. That first night that he and I were an official 'us' was the night I got back. Sitting beside my car on that back country road and looking up at the stars . I knew I'd finally let him kiss me that night. That kiss was far from perfect, but I love how I knew he was someone I wanted to work with. I love how that became our phrase for 'wanna makeout' after that night.

We were probably doomed from the start, two emotional people who burn the candle at both ends. Those kisses did get better. Oh God, how they got better. We were each other's first nearly everything, and we spent so much time laughing and learning each other that we forgot other people existed. I chose him over school that first year, losing all my scholarships. It didn't matter at the time. He was more important than sleep or studying. I was all wrapped up in his goodness. Roadtrips and weekends away were just more of us in our own little world. I still remember the night he "kind of" proposed and the night I "kind of" said yes.

Somehow it slowly unraveled. These things always do, though for the life of me I don't know how. I was jealous of his time away from me, and he was still harboring resentment for the fact that I had strung him along for so long before admitting I liked him. We were working through some of our issues or so I thought. I haven't really ever been more wrong. No one wants to walk out to their car on a beautiful morning and see the note. I got dumped via note (good thing email wasn't as prevalent in those days). I remember operating in a fog over the next few days. My survival instinct kicked in, and I didn't cry and didn't call him. The part of me that doesn't trust told the part of me that had learned to love I told you so. I think I may have handled it wrong...letting my instinct to cut my losses and run take over. Maybe he wanted me to fight for him. Every now and then I wish I had.

I don't blame him for all the baggage I haul around with me when trying to meet men. I don't blame him for the fact that, up until I learned of his marriage a couple of years ago, I carried around the hope that we'd wind up as each other's emergency contacts. I don't blame him because my life is good. I think that us being apart has helped me become the woman I'm meant to be. I don't blame him. It's just how I got here.


NotCarrie said...

It's crazy how much the past can influence the future. I think the important thing is to realize how it has.


NotCharlotte said...

Just think though, if you were still in Austin, how would you have met us wonderful Nots?

It's amazing how much our first loves can fuck us up.

Larissa said...

notcarrie is right on with this one. you'll grow from this right? i think you already are!

Tommy the Cork said...

I'm sorry about the wrinkle in the blueprint for your life. But remember what Jimmy Buffett said...wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.

NML said...

Wow, this was an excellent read and I felt like I was there with you. It's amazing how experiences like this, change our a whole attitude to dating and relationships, with most of them in subtle, unnoticed ways. The beauty is that you're aware of the impact which means that you can grow from it like the others said.

CoatMan said...

That's quite poignant...

trueborn said...

I may have to do a similar post.

Thank you for sharing, opening up even to the cold and sterile digital world, is stll opening up.

Laurie (aka buggy) said...

God but don't we learn SO MUCH from that first long relationship? I had something sort of similar, but I'm sure different too.
It's helped me so much become who I wanna be in my relationship now though. And, just as important - WHO I DON'T want to be.

Wasn't it so fun though, to blow everything else off and just be into him? I did the same stuff!! I mean of course it wasn't the most responsible thing - but when you're young and infatuated with someone you think you just have all the time in the world later and you are allowed to screw up at the time.

I've never been to Austin but I watched the Real World Austin! Does that count?


My ideal would be NYC!

NotSamantha said...

There's a saying that if we don't learn from our pasts we are bound to repeat them. Its hard to bear sometimes when such a lesson has to be taught, but there is triumph in knowing that you will survive it and move on.

TheBarmaid said...

It's funny how you can hold on to a moment in time -- and no matter where you are or what you've been through since -- you can escape into it and the feelings still feel so real and fresh and new.

I was just thinking the other day, it's weird that as we get older people really stop being available. When you're younger, you think that's never going to happen and then when former flames start getting married you realize that some roads are kind of a dead end.

But I think knowing that you wouldn't do any of it differently is kind of the best way to remember it.

Vanessa said...

I've never believed that there's such thing as "the one". I think that you become each others "one". Therefore, there can be several one's. Some just fit better than others. I know, maybe I'm cynical for a

jo said...

sometimes there's just some men who make such an impact in your life that you're changed 'coz of him. but you'll move on... at least that's what i like to think...

NotMiranda said...

NotCarrie, NotCharlotte, Larissa, Tommy, NML, NotSamantha, Jo - Thanks, guys. Growing has definitely occurred and will continue to occur. I just keep thinking what amazing things are around the next bend.

Trueborn, Coatman - Thanks, boos : )

Laurie - Thanks : ) Austin isn't my ideal, but it is my Texas ideal (home state) and probably where I would have ended up if I'd settled down so early.

Barmaid - You just spoke my mantra. No regrets. Everything in life we experience can give us something beautiful, even the pain. I accept the choices I make and learn how to use them in life.

Lindsey said...

Oh god. it's like I just read a page out of my journal. Mine was NotChris.

After 10 years, I ran into NotChris at the bookstore last weekend...with his wife...and his daughter. At 28 years old...his has a family that he should have had with me...instead, it's with her.

gayla said...

Wow reading your post about the long lost love gave me chills. It sounds SO familiar!

"The One" I loved in high school - I kept an eye on from a distance for many years. I lost touch with him altogether 4 years after graduation BUT he found me, showed up on my doorstep (completely out of the blue) 20 years later.

We've been married for nearly three years now.

Can't say that it will happen to you too, but in the end - something wonderful always happens and reveals to us just why we went through all we did.

The lack of loving your NotSteve is developing just the right person who will be able to love your SoTheOne when he comes along.

Beautiful post, thanks for stirring the reflection in my mind.