Monday, June 11, 2007

Road Trip Part 2

There was a lot of hustle and bustle here in the last few days. A beloved niece and her toddler were here and that kept me engaged and busy. She is twenty-eight and her mother, my sister-in-law, died when she was thirteen. At the age of forty-two.

We are very close, this wonderful young woman and I, she is closer to me than my own daughters, we have no emotional baggage, we just love each other to pieces. And share our lives with openness and honesty. We also recognise that this is a rare gift in this world, this special relationship we have.

I told her of this road-trip and my thoughts and longings. And the wide open spaces in my soul. And how all the relationships in my life had brought me to this point of not really knowing how to be in a successful relationship.

She is in the same boat. For such a young woman she's had a series of rocky heartbreaking liaisons. And we tossed all that around for hours, our difficulties in:

(A) Being attracted to men who treat us badly
(B) Wanting the 'nice' guys who don't seem to want us.

Why not? we pondered. Conclusion: we give off these independent woman not needing a man kind of aura. We are not honest when we like someone, we back off. Our signals are extremely mixed. For instance, I've had a few compliments from R, my widower friend, which I've dismissed, as I always do. Examples:

R: I really like the way you're wearing your hair at the moment.
Me: Oh I only do this with it when it needs a haircut, I call it my emergency upsweep.
R: I could get your car road-worthy for your trip if you like.
Me: No worries. Jack the mechanic takes care of all that.

I'm beginning to get it. Slow learner this strong independent woman.
The more I'm immersed in the beauty all around me here, the wider my heart is becoming and I'm finding that I may have to untangle all the ropes of past relationships and start over from scratch. And just risk, risk saying what I mean, flirt again, allow men to do things for me. Cease this endless solitary plodding.

I invited R here to spend some time alone with me.
He has accepted. Sometime in August as July was conflicted for each of us.
No matter what happens in August, I am prepared to risk now. To permeate this tough old exterior I've spent so many years growing. To sand off all the battle-wounds and scar tissues of past relationships and feel renewed and maybe hopeful again. To allow someone in. To be gracious. To not worry about outcomes or expectations. To be in the moments that R and I can give each other and to be honest about all the tumbling feelings I've had on this trip.

And my niece? She's gone back to her home today, ready to invite this rather nice client of hers home for a cup of tea on their next appointment at her office.


  1. Isn't it amazing that we're still dealing with the same relationship issues we had when we were younger? But now we have experience, we know ourselves better -- dont' we? And maybe we are more willing to take risks. You sound willing, and I wish you well: go for it! The older I get, the more I understand how little I have to lose by taking risks and how much I have to gain.

    Loved this post!

  2. Not really knowing you, www, I hesitate to make any suggestions re finding the right man, but yes I guess letting him get close and not seeming stolidly self-sufficient is important. Funnily enough I have a similar problem with friends, namely I drive away likely prospects with some sort of signal they interpret as a brush-off. Probably the same air of stolid self-sufficiency.

  3. Laurie: Yes, I think so, more to be revealed !
    Verna: Oh I so agree, and yes, I figure what can I lose? Classified under "batty old biddy" for a while and that's OK these days!
    Nick: yes never share the vulnerability under any circumstances, my mantra exactly!! It has to change, for me anyway...

  4. i'm with verna.

    i remember one time going to a week-long writing conference in the mountains of north carolina. at the very end of the conference, we had a dance and a party. one of the other writers came up to me late in the evening and told me that he had wanted to talk to me all week, and that evening he had wanted to ask me to dance, but he could tell that i was one of those women who didn't need men.

    it was the strangest, most out-of-left-field comments anyone had ever made to me. and it made me wonder what kind of image i portray. i certainly am independent, but i'm not hostile....


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