I was thinking about being brave. I'm always bragging about how brave I am. But in reality, I'm a bit of a chicken. I gave up (sorry dear readers, I know it was amusing) on online dating because I couldn't stomach it. As I was telling my friend Lisa, who is a journalist and much better than I am at seeing the big picture, I was just too darn sensitive to weather all those people coming at you with their lascivious comments and their bad spelling. (And yes, I did go on very sweet and pleasant dates with some very nice men I met on those sites, but for the most part, it was one hell of a drag). I'm not brave. I'm a delicate little English flower that sticks to my comfort zones and misses the chalk and flint and clay of the Chiltern Hills. I am brave when it comes to horses but that's hardly bravery, it's more habit, and I'm brave in that I'll take on a fight for the underdog, but my fragile little ego is a tiny bit of a coward.
You see, I'm an evangelist: Love everyone. Love is the answer. #onlylove. Love not Fear...but can I tell you a secret? I am scared stiff of rejection. Love is easy when it's the universal kind, the Universe kind. The kind universe. My dogs are my solace. There is no stopping their unconditional outpouring of love.
As you all know, because it was well documented here, I was in love for a long time with a man who turned out to be incapable of it (at least with me; I do hope that he will find someone who is a better match) and my little heart was all torn apart and ragged.
And I'm selfish too. My friend, a very good friend, who has become somewhat estranged of late, is going through something, not a very nice thing, a divorce, and I realized that I was upset that she wouldn't talk to me about it. Do you know how many people I alienated when I was in the throes of the break-up with my children's father? I found myself spending all my time picking up my own pieces and trying desperately to put them back together before anyone noticed. And I dared judge my friend. I'm so ashamed of myself. She said "I'm barely hanging on." And it took me a whole day to process. Finally I called and left her a long, long message, apologizing for my selfishness. This is not for the faint of heart, this love stuff. Not at all.
We walk the precarious line between embracing our vulnerability, of opening up our hearts to possibility, and guarding our fragile little souls so carefully, so that we don't get hurt too much. We all want to feel that abandon, that glorious, warm glow of being in sync with someone else, of feeling something suddenly and knowing we're not alone it.
I said to the ex, the man in London, when we first started seeing each other, please be in this with me. If you're not, tell me. Of course, he said. Of course I'll tell you. But he wasn't, not in the same way. And so there you are, holding on to this big, fat feeling, and wandering what on earth to do with it. Where do you park it? How do you feed it?
You wake up every morning and take stock. How am I feeling? What good can I do today? Is the glass half full? Is the sun going to shine? Will today be the day?
The woman I had lunch with (and it was the first time we'd met) said, we're so lucky. Do you know how lucky we are. And her eyes filled with tears. And just for a moment I thought (and please, I know this is just a tiny bit ridiculous) this is an angel. I am sitting with an angel who is here to remind me to be grateful. And so, as you do, when dining with an angel, I wolfed down my salade nicoise and a whole half bowl of french fries.
Tonight it got dark early. Autumn/fall crept in when I wasn't looking. It's cooler. The owls are hooting even though it's only just eight o'clock. The spotted are asleep under my feet. It was a good day, filled with good work. Work is what keeps the gloom away. Work is the answer said the man in London, when we were an item. Work is the way to deal with melancholy and thinking too much. Work is what saves us. And I am very grateful for that. Now all I need are two strong, kind arms. But for the time being, twelve furry little legs are rather nice.