So, I have been avoiding the reason I started this blog. I meant this to be a process of opening my heart to you, and I have instead been offering you lessons. Circumstances inspired me to share a few insights here. Honestly tho, I suspect these will not be nearly as helpful as it would be if I were to simply open my heart.
So, falling in love: yes, I have a habit of falling in love with men who are not suitable for me. The last one was a therapist; the current one, well, I won’t mention him. It’s not important who, but they are generally therapists, professors, mentors – people with brilliant minds. I used to go for more attainable targets – brilliant men who were peers, but I always managed to wind up infatuated with men who disdained me or took me for granted. So, eventually I stopped falling in love. I made a conscious decision to stop. I was frightened and hurt, so I withdrew into myself to avoid being in further pain, and because I felt I was causing discomfort to others.
Then I found myself in therapy with the beautiful Isaac – a blonde-haired angel with a cupid-bow mouth, a phenomenal intellect, and a wicked sense of humor. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but God laughed and there Isaac was. He was a bit of a bad boy, willing to curse in session and unflinching in the face of my own vulgar sense of humor. He truly admired my intellect, opening to my mind in a way that most people don’t. Or perhaps it was that I opened to him in a way that I don’t normally do. When I found myself falling in love with Isaac, I allowed that love to blossom, telling myself that it was in service of the therapy. I opened myself to the experience, hoping that I would somehow learn what it was that I was looking for in my infatuations.
Falling in love opened me up to my life in a way that hadn’t happened in years. I suddenly found a capacity for tolerance with the irritations of life that I hadn’t had. I found a strength, and spontaneity. And my creativity opened up, as well as my drive to learn. In other words, I started to live again. The problem was that even though I had found a source of strength and joy, being in love was also a source of truly painful frustration. I could not bear the limitations of the therapeutic relationship. There were not enough minutes in the session to share what I wanted to share with him: everything. There was so much of me and so much of him, and only a tiny window through which to communicate. I wanted to give him all of me or else find a way to consume him whole. I could do neither. That he was a separate being who existed outside of me was intolerable. Clearly there was something going on here that was bigger than the usual attraction one might have for a potential mate. Anyway, Isaac withstood my attraction and provided me a place to vent the frustration associated with it, but my desire for all of him stood like a wall between us. If I couldn’t have all of him, or give him all of me, I didn’t want to communicate with him in any way.
In the wake of that relationship I found myself in a quandry. How could I have that feeling of being alive? How could I be that open again, but this time without being so painfully attached to someone who I could never have? What was wrong with me?
The relationship with that therapist was frustrating and painful, but being in love opened me to a range of experiences that I could not otherwise have investigated. Without that relationship, without that person willing to allow my attachment, I don’t think I would have discovered the mindfulness practices that have been so helpful to me lately.
But that’s a story for another time. I feel as if I have somehow missed the boat in this posting, as if I haven’t quite said anything useful. But I will keep trying.