Monday, June 09, 2014

Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel

I had an existential moment this morning as I got ready for work. It was something simple, but it sent me over the edge.  Perhaps it’s from exhaustion having spent all day yesterday in the hot, humid Georgia heat with a few hundred young, hot soldiers, having only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before, and just waking after only a few hours of sleep on a second night. Needless to say – my thoughts ran on autopilot.  I was simply too tired to try and control them.

I was brushing my hair and putting my long bangs into a clip when I looked into my eyes.  I didn’t mean to.  I wasn’t thinking about anything other than getting my hair pinned, grabbing my lunch, and then leaving for work.  But there she was looking me – this woman I’ve come to know over the past few years, and suddenly I’m just weeping.  Not crying, not balling, but feeling this uncontrollable pressure clench the center of my stomach and push upward, squeezing my lungs, and then pushing even further, spilling tears down my cheeks.

I couldn’t understand why I was crying. It was beyond words.  I wanted to hug that image in the mirror crying back at me. I wrapped my arms tight around me and squeezed as hard as I could… and then anger bubbled up and shot out at me.  It’s like I heard her shouting in my heart, “THAT’s the problem right there.”

I didn’t understand what she meant.  What problem?

Flashes of bits of conversations, various scenes of my life, and the glimpses of real souls behind real eyes fluttered through my  mind.  I saw smiles of hope yesterday in three other sets of eyes – hope for what could be – hope for the possibilities that lay ahead.  Two from a young pair meeting for the first time, and one from a friend who seems to have met someone who can make him smile.  In those moments – those specific quiet moments where we find ourselves reaching out in darkness – that’s when we see the truth.  We see our hopes, fears, wants and needs – and the fullness or lack of their fulfillment.  We also see who stands beside us or if we walk alone.

I have wonderful friends, some of the best friends in the world who encourage me, teach me, listen to me, and put up with my craziness, but all these friends who are close to me are far from me too. They can’t hug me and tell me everything is going to be okay.  Often they are lines of black font floating through my life.  Though they are there, they’re not there.  I can’t see the excitement or pain in their eyes.  I can’t hold them, nor can they hold me.  I can’t SHARE my life with them, because they’re not here when I really need them. We don’t get to experience anything together – just my retelling of what I did on my own.  In essence, I am all alone.

Several times yesterday, SEVERAL, I wanted to nudge my best friend and tell him, “Look, did you see that?  Did you hear what they just said? Isn’t this the best? Did you see what I just did, can you believe it?”  On the other hand, I had another friend standing in front of me most of the day texting all their happy moments to someone else.  That used to be me on the other side of that phone, but I’ve somehow managed to push them away, and I’ve since put up my walls and closed the lid on yet another box.  More than likely when I get home today, I’ll Skype my best girlfriend and tell her all about my great adventure yesterday – because she too is someone that isn’t here, that I can’t see or touch.  She misses so many moments… because those moments have to wait for the ‘retelling’. I have to wait to hear what’s been going on in her life.  As a best friend – I should know and I should be there experiencing them with her.  I know this is my doing – surrounding myself with ‘unavailable’ people.

Severely sleep deprived, exhausted after a hot, yet exciting, day I had a long drive to face last night through a tempest storm.  At one point the lightning was so bad, the wind so strong, and the rain so hard, I lost complete visibility and had to pull over (in a dark, remote area where my cell reception was shoddy) and wait it out.  I could barely keep my eyes open already, so tired it hurt to breathe, and sitting and waiting only made me more tired.  I was scared – scared of the storm and falling asleep behind the wheel.  I needed someone to help calm those fears and to keep me awake.  I never felt so alone.  Ever.  They were not there for me. I believe that was the moment I realized how alone I truly was, but through the exhaustion, it took until the next morning as I was brushing my hair to feel it.

The sad part to this whole tale is this – my three best friends are all very comfortable being alone.  They mention it all the time about how they like being on their own, how they don’t need or want anyone else, how they like their lives just the way they have them – single, alone, content.  Perhaps that’s why they’re my friends. I’ve been alone my whole life – even when I was married, I was still alone.  But, I’m not like them.  I don’t want to be alone. I don’t think they do either, no matter what they say, it’s just not with me they want to share their life.   I want someone to love me and want to share their life with me just as much as I want to share my life with them.  I’m so tired of feeling like a burden to these introverts.  I’m an extrovert.  They all have had love, but chose to be alone because it’s what they wanted.  I’ve never had love and I didn’t choose to be alone, I chose to leave the circumstances that kept me alone.  I’m tired of feeling like what I want is ‘wrong’.

I want them in my life… IN MY LIFE… not just black font and an occasional video call.  But they have to want to be in my life too.   I can’t keep waiting and hiding myself away with people who don’t really want someone in their lives.  I’m not talking about not being their friend anymore – I love them dearly.  But, I may have to change the dynamic of our friendships. I can’t survive too many mornings like this one – because no matter how tight I wrap my arms around myself, I can’t hold together a million shattered pieces.  I’m a broken vessel that has been slowly putting myself together these last few years.  Sometimes, I need someone to help me hold them together.  I don’t like to be touched, and I don’t want to be hugged by an acquaintance.  I’m talking about a real friend that I love as much as they love me.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t have several men who would like to have a relationship with me, the kind of relationship I’m seeking.  But, the kind of relationship I want is the kind where both parties want each other.  I could love a nice guy – I did for 20 years.  But, I want to love one that sets my soul on fire.  I don’t need another ‘friend’.  I don’t want to be the woman they confide in, share their thoughts, dreams and problems with, while they share their smiles, love, and passion with someone else.  I’m foolish enough to want all of them – to share all of me.

The truly sad part – I don’t think it will ever happen.  I don’t believe anymore.  I’ve been told one too many times that I’m just too much, or I’m not enough, and especially… I just want to be friends.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

P.s. – Please don’t comment on this post.  I’m overflowing with relationship platitudes that may work on other people, but frankly I just don’t want to hear them anymore.  This blog is for me to vent the pain that’s inside me.  I’m TRULY not seeking inspiration or relationship advice. I also don’t want your sorrow or pity. I’ve received enough of those to last a lifetime.


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    1. Thank you, I appreciate it. I'm honored.