Friday, February 17, 2006

Through The Fire, To The Limit, To The Wall…


Life is about limits. Speed limits, credit limits, term limits…without question, life is about limits. I woke up this morning thinking about the limits in my life; the ones I pay attention to, but more importantly, the ones I seem to consciously ignore. Since I started this blog, I have spent a lot of time talking about my family, my own personal training ground on how to love and be loved in return. Coming from such a demonstrative family, I never felt anything less than loved, and I always knew it. How does this type of familial interaction impact me as a woman moving through life hoping to find my own “Perfect Match”? How does a women who has grown up having her love reciprocated deal in the cold, harsh reality of the dating world?

Those of you who know me personally know that I have a tendency to analyze (some would say over-analyze) situations and experiences I have had. Good, bad, or indifferent, that’s just how I’m built. At a week shy of 41 years, and still single, I find myself wondering why it is that I am still looking for “the one”. A self-inventory [that some might say is biased at best], illustrates a woman who has her shit together. Physically, I’m not hard on the eyes, and certainly no one has ever kicked me out of bed. Intellectually, I can hold my own in a conversation about pretty much anything. I read books by choice to the tune of at least 3 to 4 a month, and have been able to obtain a pharmacy degree and am beginning work on two Masters programs. Emotionally, I’m fit…I cry when it is appropriate, and laugh whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself. I have no issues with being taken care of by the strong one when it’s warranted, or being the strong one when my rock needs a rock. Though not a religious zealot, my spirituality runs deep, and the foundation of my faith which is in God and the appearance always of the sun following any storm, usually leads to me being the chosen “go-to person” everyone I know seems to want around when storms show up on their horizon. Though some of us say it shouldn’t matter, I CAN and DO bring home the bacon [thick slab at that], though frying it up in a pan in the most consistent and spectacular ways is a developmental project in motion. So, self-assessment complete, I appear to be a good catch, and the question remains…why am I still single?

My romantic history is pretty simple and believe it or not, in my opinion, not very traumatic. Basically it boils down to a good deal of dating in my college years, and four significant relationships. Each brought new learnings to my life, and though they did not result in the life I imagined I would lead, they are not experiences I would eliminate given the chance. These experiences have not left me bitter or determined to make the next guy pay for the sins of his predecessor. On the contrary, each has made me a bit more determined than ever to find the one for me.

My first love was my first love (if you get my drift); we started dating when I was just 16 and we got engaged during my freshman year of college. We broke it off during the summer before my junior year, and the scripture, [Be ye not unevenly yoked] echoes in my brain whenever I think of this relationship. That notwithstanding, he was then and remains the nicest boy I ever met and he treated me at all times like a queen. His lesson was essential to my long-term development: "Accept only the best treatment". Though I did not always follow this lesson, it has stayed with me and at this stage of my life, it has become a guiding light in relationships of all kinds.

Big deal number two was the one instance ever of “love at first sight” that I have personally experienced. Met him through a high-school pal, fell in love and knew within the first week that he was “the one”. He knew too, so we got engaged at two months in and planned a wedding for the following spring of my senior year in college. Long story short, he died of leukemia. Hurt like hell without question, but even in our short time together, I took away a lesson: "Time is limited and not always on your side". Being an analyst of sorts, it is not my style to rush into things; however, this relationship was the one in my life of which I was the most sure even though it was the one that moved the fastest. The bottom line is that time is specific to the situation and the situation should not be dictated by the amount of time that has or has not passed. In other words, one should not necessarily hesitate to make a commitment because "it hasn't been long enough yet", nor should one stay because "we've been together so long"...

Next big thing was my son’s father. To be frank, though I loved him, I was never “in love” with him. He was my best friend then, and if he could be the man he should be in terms of being a good father to my son, I truly believe he would still be my best friend. His lesson: "Obligation changes some things". We were friends and he would have done anything for me under that circumstance but when we became parents, our friendship evaporated and we became nothing...not even enemies.

This brings me to the last "big thing" in my romantic history, the one who got away as they say. He was my fiance' three times believe it or not, and from him I learned many lessons I never knew I needed. The most important thing I learned from this relationship: "In life there are limits." Though I have been involved in some pretty intense, long-term relationships over the years, this is the one that took me through the fire, to the limit, to the wall...to quote Chaka Khan. For this relationship, I was willing to sacrifice just about everything. I wanted this more than anything I ever wanted for myself my entire life, and it took me almost fifteen years to reach my own limit in terms of what I wouldn't do to have it.

I remember as I lived through this situation many times that my family and friends seemed to be disappointed in me and uncertain as to why I remained in the relationship. Being the realist I am about all things, I never made excuses for my situation, it was what it was. However, it was very difficult for those who love me to accept my assertion that until I was emotionally and mentally able to move on, I had no other option than to stay. Having "my girls" to have my back is one of the most precious gifts I have in my life. So imagine the pain of not being able to make them understand my point of view. It's funny how when you are going through a situation like this, there seems to always be a song with lyrics that speak to you...for me during this period there were two: What You Won't Do For Love and Luther Vandross' "I'd Rather Have Hard Times With You". Now y'all know that's some serious shit there!

Finally, I reached my limit or hit the wall so to speak.

The crazy thing about it was that there was no final straw...even after fifteen years, three engagements, two planned and cancelled weddings, and my having moved out of the home we purchased together not once but twice. I simply reached my limit one day. I finally realized that you can truly love a person with everything you are and they can love you back in their own way, but it may not be enough. What I needed to be happy he could not provide and what he was willing to give was insufficient to sustain me. At the time, I didn't even realize that I was depressed by the whole situation. I believed I was living a full life. I believed I was happy. And then one day, I noticed I was a long, long way from happy. The thing that kept going through my head was the title of Patty Labelle's book, "Don't Block The Blessings". I knew it was time to clear the space around me so that whatever it is that is meant for me might have a chance of actually getting close enough to be seen and embraced.

I'm happy to say, there was no fanfare, no drama; just swift and decisive actions taken to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Moving back into my own space has released the Sharon I was always meant to be, the optimistic, self-loving Sharon that Ladylee spoke of in her comment on one of my recent posts (Thanks for noticing Lady!). I am moving on with my life, and in stark contrast to the Sharon of a year ago, I now know I am happy and living a full and exciting life.

Even so, I still wonder why not me when it comes to happy coupledom. I still feel some envy when I encounter people who are with their special someone and their happiness is obviously apparent. I still want to slap some folk over the moon when they have all the ingredients available to them to have what I want, and for whatever asinine reason, they seem to be blind to the fact and letting it all go to waste. In short, with all the gifts that have been granted me, I still see true romantic love as the ultimate gift one can receive. I am continuously appalled when I hear people talk about having met that someone special but because of their job, finances, this or that, they can't focus on that someone right now as if this is something that happens all the time. I see finding that someone special like being given the winning Powerball numbers the day before the drawing. This is not something you sit on...either you place your bet today, or you forfeit your payout...come now people, this is not the kinda shit that comes your way everyday!

Somewhere out there, is a guy who is perfect for me, [not perfect, just perfect for me!]. He is generous and kind and like me, understands the importance of communication. He knows that though grammatically speaking fidelity is a noun, in the context of our lives, the word is a verb that both he and I must make a commitment to actually DOING! He reads for pleasure and without hesitation would discuss what he reads with me over breakfast and vice versa. He loves family and holidays and big boisterous celebrations, but at the same time can be content without leaving the house for an entire week if the mood to vegetate comes along. He is industrious and ethical, and simultaneously understands that the desire to spend a weekend in PJ's reading and watching movies is not a sign of a morally corrupt soul. He's trusting and trustworthy, and does not hesitate to be comforting when comfort is required. He understands that tears flow for many reasons and realizes that individuals who perceive them to be tools of manipulation are simply attempting to justify their own insensitivity. He is comfortable in his own skin, and wears it with authority. He is strong and happy and smart and emotionally in touch with himself. He is secure enough to be himself at all times and to disagree even with his best friend, mother, or me if we are speaking bullshit. He will work with me to build something durable, honest, hopeful, and enduring because that's the whole point. He is able to be happy for those who seem to have all the things he still hopes to have and celebrates their good fortune. If he comes with children, Thank You God for the bonus! Hopefully he is taller than me and black like me and has a big smile like me and a sense of style like me and is grown up enough to know like me that none of the things in this sentence truly matter if he loves me and I he!

He may or may not be a college graduate bringing home the big bucks. As long as he handles his business, this is not important to me.

He does not need to be able to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, just the weight of us which will be heavier or lighter at various times based on which of us has more strength available at a given time.

He will be my partner in all things, and never my wind-up toy.

I wish with all my heart to meet him soon if I haven't already. For him, I would go again Through the fire, To the limit, To the wall...but this time, I would come out better, stronger, happier with him on the other side.

11 comments:

Tayari said...

Sharon,
you should have emailed me when you couldn't enter the contest to win Pearl'l book! We could have worked something out! I will be having another give-away soon, so let's figure out how to get your registered to comment!

YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Woooow! I didn't even finish reading this to know that I'm about to add you to my link. This is right on time.

You hit the nail on the head with "obligation brings changes". That would best describe my ex and myself.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

LadyLee said...

oh... this post has left me without air...

"I knew it was time to clear the space around me so that whatever it is that is meant for me might have a chance of actually getting close enough to be seen and embraced"

That has to be the most profound piece of science I've heard all year... Just to be at the point where you knew it was time...

Okay, I will not blog in your comment section... But i must say, this, to me, has to have been your BEST, most personally insightful post... Oh my!!!!

Now if I am correct, um, your birthday is Thursday... you know me, girl... be sure to check my blog that morning :)

Sharon said...

@ Taryari
All's well that ends well, as the Great and Powerful Ladylee schooled a sista on what needed to be done to access your comments correctly...I'm back and commenting away! Thanks for stopping by Ooooooh Elusive Queen ;)

@ youtoldharpotabeatme
Had a ball at your blog, and I appreciate your stopping by here! Sounds like your ex and my baby daddy might be related...hey, maybe we're cousins! Please come by again.

@ Ladylee
"oh...this post has left me without air..."
- The opening line of maybe the best compliment I have received since starting this blog, and considering the source, and the caliber of your blog, I think hardly deserved. Nevertheless, my friend of both the world of blog and the real world, as we have actually met, I'LL TAKE IT!!!!

Yes, you are correct and Thursday is the big day...I will read your blog that morning as I do every morning with anxious anticipation of the fun that is always sure to come.

Re: you blogging in my comments, please be my guest and blog away...I love to read your writing, and it can only improve the quality of my site!

Thanks so much for taking this "Oldgirl" under your wing "Oldgirl"!

GeckoGirl said...

Wow, awesome post! You are definitely added to my list of faves.

Serenity23 said...

Sharon,
I can't even imagine how someone recovers from losing a finace to death. It seems as though you have taken each major love experience and did what we should all do. Learn from them. Sometimes it is hard not to think of the failed relationships as a waste of time, failure, etc. But in actuality, everything happens for a purpose and well we just have to step back and see the lesson we were supposed to get. I've wondered how I will feel if I remain single for years to come. But I do know that for everything in life, there is a season. With that said, great post! And Happy Birthday!

YouToldHarpoTaBeatMe said...

Happy Birthday Sharon! My Bestest Best Friend's b'day was yesterday. See? I knew there was a reason I felt connected.

DJ Diva said...

Happy B day Girlfriend!

Hey I just wanted to say that I appreciated this post...although I am 33...I have had thoughts of remaining single until my twins leave for college when I'm 43...I know you will find your special someone...and we might just have to fly in to be there....

But you know what I really want to say...Pray on it !!!!

but as we are all of one accord...I will defer to S23...everything has its season...you are sowing now...just wait til your harvest!!! Whoowee...what a day that will be!

lord I'm just as bad as LadyLee with the blogging in the comments...again gr8 minds think alike;)

Anonymous said...

Tete, I LOVE this entry. I don't have anything else to say except that. It's classic.

Your posts always make me think about myself beyond the surface and what I REALLY want out of myself and the people in my life. You're awesome.

Sharon said...

Carmz if you are the only person this post gives cause to stop, think, and check themselves out, I will be satisfied. You are so young, beautiful, and talented and hopefully you will not have to be singed even by some of the fires that I have been burned by. In the event you do however feel a bit of heat from time to time, hopefully you'll remember this post and know in your heart and head that you too will come through the fire better, stronger, and happier on the other side!

Thanks for stopping by and I love you!

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