Thursday, October 1, 2009

The One Who Got Away

As I entered high school, I'd never been kissed. Well, not unless you count Dennis K. in the first grade, back in 1979. I think that was more of a scientific experiment than anything that was born out of feelings.

But, I digress...

After many years of teasing and taunting and a hard-core desire to get approval from others, I began my high school years with some serious self-esteem issues. I thought I was completely unattractive, unable to hold up my end of a conversation, and uncoordinated beyond all get-out. I would stand in a group of popular kids and think, "Why am I standing here? I don't have anything intelligent to contribute to this conversation. I better just keep my mouth shut and avoid embarrassment."

I'm amazed I ever got a single boyfriend. I was never the type who could shake it off if someone rejected me. I was always all, "What did I DOOOOOOOOO to make him want to leave?" or "How can I change myself so he'll want me back?" I know, so pathetic.

So, if I had to look back on my string of boyfriends, there were the good, the bad, and the ugly. Literally.

Mike P: First kiss. Sophomore (while I was a freshman). Kinda a wierdo, but kinda mysterious.
Dave F: Tall, dark, handsome. Soccer player (drool). Kinda quiet. Big nose that made some serious noise during make-out sessions.
Scott: College Freshman (while I was a HS Sophomore)! I always wondered if he was a loser. I mean, why wouldn't he date a college girl? I can't remember why we broke up but I think it had to do with him talking about me behind my back.
John K: Gave me his class ring. AWESOME sense of humor. Too bad he was skinnier than me.

blah blah blah blah... string of immature guys... blah blah blah

Then there was Mark. My HS sweetheart. My first real true love. We pined for each other all the way up until I got engaged. I sometimes wondered what would have happened if he'd shown up at my wedding the way Dustin Hoffman did in The Graduate.

And Matt. He just GOT ME. We were so in sync. Maybe I should have gotten the clue a little earlier that he was gay.

And Bryan. 11 years older than me, but he took care of me. And, in many ways, I took care of him too. That relationship was complicated and simple at the same time.

And then there's Texan Papa. We got engaged 2 months after we met and got married 6 months later. It never occurred to me (until later) that maybe I was rushing into marriage. It never occurred to me that I'd broken up with guys who I'd gone out with longer than I'd been engaged to THIS guy.

At the beginning of our relationship, I was in L-U-V. I totally bought into the whole "There's only ONE soul-mate for each person" thing. And, as shitty as it's going to sound, there were many times in that first year or two of marriage that I wondered, "Oh, crap, this one's not my soul-mate." or "I wonder what it would be like if I had married so-and-so."

So, I think the line about ONE soul-mate may or may not be true. But who cares? Can a marriage be good simply by chance? Does the success of a marriage fall entirely on the chance meeting of two people, rendering useless any amount of work that is actually put into a relationship? Is it possible for a person to be intentional about finding the exactly right person who is the yin to their yang? I have 3 very close friends (all bridesmaids of mine) who are still searching for their "Mr. Right".

After being married for 11 years (which, I know, only gives me limited experience) I have spun my own belief that each person does have a soul-mate. But a soul-mate is a person who you let into YOUR soul. It's a person who sees the beauty of your soul, despite all the flaws that are visible to everyone else who isn't your soul-mate. It's a person who has watched you grow and loves you more every day, but still loves the person you used to be too, because loving a person through the years means getting to experience everything together. A soul-mate is someone who changes you for the better, not by forcing that change but instead by forgiving us our imperfections and motivating us to grow and stretch ourselves.

Does every person have ONLY one soul-mate? Absolutely not. My husband is my soul-mate. So is my friend Angie. So is my friend Joni. So is my sister. And my mother. And my children. They each have been with me through my dark times and my triumphs. They have survived my rudeness and abrasiveness and forgiven me. They have picked me up when I have fallen. They have supported me from my caterpillar days as an all-knowing cocky kid up through my launch from the cocoon into maturity.

And yet, I still have so far to go. And to grow. And I pray that these soul-mates by whom I've been blessed will walk next to me along the way. And that I never count them among the ones who got away.


This post was inspired by Mama Kat's writing workshop.


classroom fundraiser said...

Stopping by from SITS to say hi! Im new to this blogging thing but I just loved your post! What a wonderful trip down your memory lane, thanks!

Shawna said...

I don't have anything to add or say right now about past soul-mates although I could probably start a blog on just that subject if I ever started down that path.

But, I LOVE the "Anonymous Doesn't Fly Here" Badge! That is so great. I hate losers too scared to leave their name but bold enough to leave behind ugly comments.

Foursons said...

Love the walk down your memory lane and all the boys who have passed through!

(And I too have dated a great guy that was skinnier then me. That relationship was never going anywhere- no way could I get over that!)

Wendy said...

"But a soul-mate is a person who you let into YOUR soul."

You rock, Texas Mama!

I thought I had a true soul mate once. THANK YOU GOD that I didn't marry him.

Jennifer said...

Lovely. And I think you're right. I met David in high school, fell in love and got married. Neither of us are the same person as we were then, not completely anyway. But we still love each other and we grew up together and the years have just brought us closer.

Stephanie said...

Really loved this, thank you. Needed it more than you know!