Wednesday, December 26
My mom woke me up just before nine to say good-bye to my sister, who was up to get an early start back to Chattanooga. I literally dragged myself out of bed, put on a sweater, and met her at the bottom of the stairs with a hug that soon brought on tears. It’s weird, it seemed like my sister had just arrived and she was now no sooner leaving. There’s never enough time, all the things we set out to do, we never did – going to see the National and state Christmas trees downtown; driving around neighborhoods to check out holiday lights; and going to a movie with our brother (our tradition included the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter movies that came out over Christmases past).
In any case, I watched her drive off and felt sad. I went back upstairs and put on my warmer fleece pajamas and then headed to the kitchen to make myself breakfast. After watching the Today Show, my mom and I decided to go to an afternoon matinee. We went to see the movie P.S., I Love You . I hate that movies that involve feeling are regarded as chick flicks, but there you go. This film was adapted from the novel with the same name by Cecilia Ahern .
It was a bit melodramatic and long, but had some very touching moments. The theme that resonated with me was the idea of allowing yourself to move on after a lover (or, in this case a young spouse) is gone. While this story focused on the death of a loved one, and I related to a sad break-up, I still connected with this character on many levels. I feel obligated to be honest about my feelings in this blog – it is about love, after all, in all its forms. But, my main objective has been to conduct a kind of experiment to see if I can, in fact, love again. It has been more than two years, now, since that very disappointing and painful break-up. And I haven’t fully recovered. I don’t love easily and I have only romantically loved two men my entire life – a high school sweet heart and then the man who broke my heart – not once, but twice. He broke my heart in the DC area in our twenties and he broke it again in the northwest in our thirties. I really liked this ex as a person, as a friend, as a love. I accepted all the good with the bad and still wanted to be with him. And I felt great pain when it all came to a very sudden and abrupt end. I wasn’t ready for the break-up, I didn’t even see it coming. In my own foolish love-blind euphoria, I thought we were in good shape, I was even convinced that he was “the one” for me. And I couldn’t wait for the relationship to evolve. So, how could I have been so off, so wrong about this one?
It’s funny. If I were to be fully honest with myself, and I really want to be, I think it’s sufficient to say that I have since prevented my own recovery. I mean, I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this guy. It’s a sad story, for sure. But, irrespective of that factor, I also haven’t exactly been open to falling in love again. And, certainly, I am terrified. For one, I had lost my confidence in really knowing whether or not I was being loved back. I knew how I felt about my ex, but I assumed and believed he felt the same way about me. I still feel insecure about trusting someone with my heart. When you really love someone, and then lose that person, I wonder how you ever recover? Is it possible – I’m still waiting to find out.
Part of me doesn’t even really believe I could ever love someone like that again. I really haven’t met anyone who I could remotely fall for. Again, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I have to admit this. I tend to be attracted to the ones who I don’t really invest a whole lot of heart and soul into – hence my Salmon and Eel parable. I suppose it’s fair to say I’m avoiding love and that I’m fearful of it and of getting hurt again. So, this movie, P.S. I Love You provided me with many opportunities to expressively experience multiple cathartic moments. And, in many ways, I recognized myself in the main character, Holly, portrayed by Hilary Swank. It’s fair to say that my desire to write would parallel her desire to design and create things – in her case, artful shoes. But, more, I shared the intensity of loss, of disappointment, of hurt and anger. Of asking myself over and over again…why?
Two years later, the challenge for me, the work I must now do, is to get to a place where I am totally content with my life, a life that is not defined by giving or receiving romantic love by a man. And, I am truly on a steady path toward achieving that. I think. Then, and only when I recognize my life as happy and full, will I be able to consider allowing my heart to open up again. I need to be in a safe, secure, happy place that is totally indifferent about romantic love. I’m not looking for it nor do I believe I need it. The experiment will be interesting to evaluate after the 365 days of considering love in all its forms and whether or not I am open and able to find true love for myself again.
One last thought. Just as the movie started, I whispered to my mom, “I can’t wait to watch my first novel adapted for the silver screen”. She nodded in agreement. Hell yeah it’s gonna happen!