Hot BF (as I'm walking to the bathroom): Where are you going?
Me: To brush my teeth.
Hot BF: Right now?
Me: Yeah, well, I ate all those onions.
Hot BF: Eh, that's OK. I don't mind.
Me: Really?!? And you'll still kiss me?
Hot BF: Yeah...as long as I can fart.
Hot BF (as he leans in for a yummy kiss): Mmmm, aren't we romantic.
My, oh my, how things have changed. I mean, really. Seven months ago I was doing what everyone told me was necessary after my divorce: Date. Date a lot. Get to know what's out there...what I want....what I don't want.
I had no idea how fun being in the dating scene could be. For most, it's a scary thing to face. For others, too difficult to break into. Me? I *loved* it!! I had so much fun meeting new people, learning new ways to flirt, er, I mean communicate, and most of all learning about myself. My confidence soared, my smiles widened, and most days I felt like I was floating on cloud 9.
Something happened, however, during that time that I didn't foresee. Honestly, it took me until now, six months out of the dating game, to realize it happened. For a couple of weeks, I've been feeling different. I haven't been able to put my finger on what exactly felt different; I just knew that something, fundamental, was changing at the center of my being. The crazy thing is, it took watching a silly movie to make me see it.
The dialogue between Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) in the movie "Friends With Benefits" is what caused the light bulb to flicker on:
Jamie: Look, I know that I act all tough and I talk all tough, but really...
Dylan: It's just a front to protect yourself from your own vulnerability.
Jamie: What are you, my f****** therapist now?As I pondered the conversation for a few days, I also heard a reporter comment--in reference to Demi Moore's confession of being scared of "ultimately finding out at the end of [her] life that [she's] really not lovable, that [she's] not worthy of being loved. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with [her]"--a woman "going through a divorce often asks herself 'if this one man doesn't love me, will any man be able to?'"
While immersed in the dating scene, I was fun, carefree, aloof, and emotionally unattached/unavailable...somewhat robotic-like. As a matter of fact I used to tell my guy friends/guys I dated that I loved them in a robot-kind-of-way. It surprised even me at how unemotional I was when it came to men. Hearing Timberlakes character tell his counterpart that it was "a front to protect [herself] from her own vulnerability" was a jaw dropper for me. That was it!!! I finally knew what was changing within me!!
I met--and established a deep, strong friendship--with the Hot BF right smack dab in the middle of my emotional unavailability. We joked, made fun of each other, laughed, hugged, cried (me, not him), laughed, texted till 4:00 a.m., told funny stories...all the while my heart and spirit were (unknowingly) growing tougher and tougher. I was (again, unknowingly) determined to protect myself from becoming vulnerable to a man. So when the Hot BF and I decided to "hang out," I was confused and perplexed at the physiological response I was having to him. He gave me butterflies just with a touch of his hand...I couldn't stop thinking about him...I felt so cozy and comfortable in his presence..."WTH IS HAPPENING?!?!" is all that ran through my mind for a good few months.
So this change, this process of coming out of my chrysalis, my protective shell, started much longer than a few weeks ago. It's only been lately that the changes have surfaced into my thoughts and behavior. I have been worried that the girl the Hot BF fell in love with--the one who "acted all tough and talked all tough"--wasn't the "real" me; it was the protected me, the sheltered me, the "I refuse to get f***** by a man again" me.
I can't tell you how many times I've asked myself: Will he still love me...the real me? The emotional, incredibly sensitive, visionary me? Because the last guy? The ex-husband? Not only did he not love the "real" me, but he belittled the real me; ridiculed my vision for all things possible in life; took liberty in crushing my spirit and dismissed the tears welling up in my eyes when I asked him to just love me for me.
As the shell around my heart and emotions have been chipped away, piece by piece by the love, kindness, and generosity of the best man I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, I've been fearful that when he sees the "real me," he won't want me as much as he wanted me when I was fun, carefree, aloof, and emotionally unattached/unavailable. Turns out, the deeper into my heart and emotions he gets, the deeper in love we fall with each other.
I will take the romance of onion kisses and farts any day over...well...anything. All's fair, right?
Sometimes, being strong means not holding back the tears but letting them fall.