Thunder

“Stay close to me, there might be thunder!”

It was a stormy afternoon in California, dark clouds covered the usually blue sky as rain pounded down. My sister and I had been playing outside when the downpour started. We rushed across the yard to safety, and my sister, being older and very protective, grabbed my hand and said to me, “Stay close to me, there might be thunder!” And, just as she said it, a huge thunderclap burst through the sounds of rainfall.

I was probably 3 or 4 when this happened, but I still remember it clearly. It was one of the few moments in my childhood when I felt completely loved and safe. My sister and I were very close when we were young. From the moment I was born, she loved me. She often showed it in weird ways like tricking me into eating a mud taco, pinning me down to spit on my face, and trying to throw me out the bathroom window of a hotel to save me from our parents, but despite the questionable moments, she was always there to protect and love me. The first line of defense against a dark and dangerous world.

Just two little girls.

As we got older, it became harder for her to protect me. Danger lurked in unexpected places in our household. Slaps that flew for no apparent reason, quiet whispers of things children should not know. We lived with the constant nagging feeling that something terrible was about to happen, and it was only a matter of time before someone really got hurt. Eventually, I learned to protect myself. But the nasty side effects of growing up knowing mostly fear and sadness showed themselves as I raged into my teenage years full of anger and pain. There was no way for her to reach me, so we drifted apart.

As teenagers, I worked through my internal turmoil with drugs, promiscuity and a fully immersive socio-economic study of the drifter culture, she sought her escape by channeling her intense fight for survival into academia. She graduated valedictorian and I narrowly escaped death on more than one occasion. But even worlds apart, she was always there. She did the things our parents should have done. She had the hard conversations, she offered support and she showed me love. She did the best that any slightly older child could do. And so, with time, we found our way back to each other.

Our reunion started when she left for college and invited me to join her for a skirt party and underage drinking. Next, I visited her one year for Thanksgiving. It was just me and her in a little apartment making chicken, peppered brownies, and rekindling the love and joy we had shared as children. We drank too much champagne, made incredibly stupid videos, and laughed until tears of joy rolled down our faces. After that, the visits became more frequent and the calls longer. The space between us disappeared, and there we were, as close and full of love as two children running from a rainstorm.

This year, thunder struck again. With my sister in Los Angles and me in France, we reach across the ocean to escape the storm. We both protect each other now. We share the hard conversations, the offers of support and show love to each other when it is needed. We call on each other to remember what is real and what is not. To remind each other not to get lost in hope. To accept our limitations and put our energy where it matters most. We help each other to make the tough calls, to face the hard truths and to prepare for the inevitable. In life, there will always be thunder. There will always be storms and scary things. What matters, are the people who will take your hand and pull you close. No matter how far away it may seem, love will always be there when the storm hits.

The face of love!

Commitment Issues 101

As a single girl in her 30s, I have to constantly battle the internal and external pressures to settle down and commit to a life of misery. Oops! I mean stability. My bad….

It’s not that I don’t want to get married. I do, someday, to the right person. But here’s the thing about me. The right person for me is not the person who wants a relationship. My dude, if he exists, is not going to send me a “Good morning beautiful” text every single day. He’s not going to dote on me. He’s not going to try to impress or please me. And, he’s certainly not the person who’s looking to settle down. No, no. My guy, wherever he is, if he even exists, he’s the guy who does his thing. He’s the guy who loves me passionately but not possessively. He’s the guy that doesn’t care if I leave for a month or two. He’s the guy who doesn’t want a wedding but will marry me on a cliff in the mist because it’s not about proving anything to the world, it’s about our little secret and the passion and love that we share. My guy knows that the number one thing he can do to make me leave, is to let me know he needs me to stay.

When I was a kid, my favorite moment of the day was when my dad would come home. Yes, I realize this is two for two posts that mention my dad. I will analyze my daddy issues later on…. Anyways, the story is, in the evenings I would hear his car and go run to the door to give him a big hug. When I gave him this hug, I would always put my feet up against his stomach so I maintained my ability to push away. This is the thing about me. I will love so hard and so completely, with all of my heart, as long as I know I can push away when I need to. But commitment has a tendency to kill that freedom. There’s this expectation that once committed, the feet go down. I can’t do that. I need my feet. I need them up and I need them strong. I need to leave sometimes and do me. It doesn’t mean I don’t love the person, it just means I love myself more. And the right person, is the one where we love and trust each other enough to be apart and still together.

I feel like people don’t understand this type of commitment. People think there’s something wrong when you’re in a couple and tell them about what “I” did over the weekend rather than what “we” did. Realistically, if someone was to be in a relationship with me, they would have to have a lot of “I” moments or they would just be bored. They’re going to need something to do while I’m jogging, or at my yoga class, or meeting a friend for lunch, or making earrings, or going to Trader Joe’s alone because I actually want to go grocery shop by myself, and sometimes they’re even going to have to sit out out on an all day hike because I just want to be by myself with my own thoughts in nature. I want to listen to music in the car with out talking to another person. I want to have private Industrial Dance parties in my underwear and I don’t want share that with anyone, because nobody needs to see that! I want to get wine drunk on Tuesdays and play Tekken (stay tuned for that story). And sometimes, I just want to sit at home on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and a book and not be bothered. So my Mr. Right better either like to sleep late or have his own things he likes spending time with more than he likes spending time with me.

The truth is I am already in a committed relationship. I’m committed to myself. Maybe you could say I’m in an open relationship with myself as the primary partner. I’m open to having another person enter the relationship as long as they understand that I come first for me, and I hope that they have same standard for themselves. I do not want to be a we, but a me and (if you’re lucky) a you. Together but autonomous. Each purposefully pursuing our own independent passions and bringing them home to a life filled with love and lust. That is something I might let my feet down for, because when I trust that I can run, I can also relax and I just might stay awhile.