Last week, I received a notice from WordPress to congratulate me on my seventh anniversary blogging. It was shocking to me. Has it really been seven years? Perhaps it was a lifetime ago when I began to pour out my heart on this blog.
It’s been awhile since I’ve felt ready to open my heart again. There are a few reasons. While working with my naturopathic doctor, I willingly embarked upon a detox/cleanse that lasted six weeks. It was very tough and I finished it last week. I’m slowly getting my energy back.
Devoting myself to getting healthy has been my focus – especially since my dry eye condition has improved. I’ve emptied myself of toxins and I believe in some ways, I’ve emptied myself of the stress and sadness, which ruled my life for almost two decades.
I’m peaceful, but to be honest – the word “blah” comes to mind. I think being blah is okay, especially after living through the many traumatic things I’ve experienced. But I expect more from life. And that leads me to a very different topic that I’m going to start writing about.
“As You Travel” is a line is from my song “Someone to Love You.” My musical life is deeply intertwined with everything I go through.
I wrote my song for my children. But the twist is that I hear my lyrics being spoken to me!
I’m actually willing to accept the possibility of falling in love again.
So instead of writing about grief, loss, healing or songwriting – get ready – I’m going to throw out some humorous experiences as I tiptoe into the online dating world!
I’ll start with what triggered my willingness to supplant terror and sign up on an online dating site.
“As you travel to places you’ve never been . . . “
I was in Costa Rica with an old friend whom I actually hadn’t seen in 26 years. My willingness to take an adventure to another country with someone I hadn’t spent time with in decades was courageous and possibly foolish.
I have already written stories about my trip. I shared details of my physical adventures, which were fun and exciting.
I struggled being with my friend. I was confused and unable to share any of it. Now that four months have gone by, I am ready to write about my feelings.
Triggers, triggers, triggers. For me, triggers are land mines – they are situations where feelings erupt far bigger than what is currently happening. Those emotions are rooted in familiar past experiences.
Halfway through my trip, I was triggered.
My friend’s mood abruptly changed and she was clearly upset about something. I didn’t want to think she was upset with me, but I wasn’t sure. I sweetly asked her if she was okay. Without making eye contact, she said she was fine. She would respond to any of my attempts at conversation with one-word answers. I began analyzing every past interaction over the past two days where I might have done something that irritated her.
After a few hours, I worked up my courage and asked, “Did I do something to upset you?”
She replied that she was preoccupied thinking about her job back home. I wanted to accept that, even though the warmth I felt from her at the beginning of our trip was gone. I decided to be a good friend and give her space.
Once her freeze-out started, the remainder of our trip became awkward. Mealtimes were very strange. She wouldn’t respond to anything I said so I stopped engaging her. I watched people talking at the other tables as we ate in silence. I ate my food, excused myself after and then walked back to our room. For the rest of the trip, we never really connected again.
On our excursions, she chatted with other travelers and I did, too. I enjoyed my conversations with a few lovely couples. I found myself thinking, “I deserve to be with someone who talks to me – someone whom I enjoy being with.” One man lavished a lot of attention upon his wife. They both enjoyed telling me anecdotes about exotic trips they had gone on.
All of this triggered me back to how I felt when I was married.
The lack of intimacy, of holding feelings inside, of feeling lonely while being in the same hotel room was all too familiar. Inside my head I was crying, while on the outside I continued to smile.
Even if I had done something that upset my friend – it was unintentional. I was more than willing to apologize, but what could I do if she wouldn’t talk to me?
I suppressed my simmering frustration and tried to make the best of it. My trip was still a wonderful experience and I didn’t want this to dampen it. I saw a beautiful country and had adventures I’d never forget.
After I came home, I wrote a few friendly messages to my friend. She did not reply. If I had any doubt that she was done with me that put it to rest.
I decided to write her a letter expressing how she had hurt me, but then I tore it up. There seemed to be no point in sending it. She wouldn’t reply and probably didn’t care about my feelings anyway.
A month after this trip, I surprised myself. Perhaps the best thing that came from my disappointment was new insight.
I deserved companionship. My willingness to be open to it was huge for me. It was time for me to find the courage to begin a new adventure.
I went to an online dating site and created a profile.
Was I really ready?
Below is a performance of one of my favorite original songs “How We Don’t Care.” It allowed me to sing my feelings in such a beautiful way not long after my trip.