off my game
backward glance navel gazing
One big writing deadline upcoming and I have to move to New York (just for June+July) on Sunday. After April and Josef's wedding, for which I am somehow the announcer/crowd-control gal. What to wear? It's been gangbusters since Miriam's memorial, too much going on and too much work to get done. Beautiful weather, a lot of jaw tension and pain. I have a lot of dreams of Miriam, night and daytimes both. I'm nervous that Greg is probably showing up here sometime to read this. Hi, Greg.
I was talking with a couple of folks today about ND, the aftermath of our relationship, the patterns and shapes that were in it from early on. That's not to say 'I should have known' or to bind up my regrets, but rather, to name the topology of what I want to have learned. I hope.
We had been together for about five weeks (so, we're talking late May 2006) when ND said to me, I'd like to marry you. This wasn't your typical bended knee/ring affair, but I wouldn't have liked that anyway. I told Alyssa and Ross the next day, feeling sick with pleasure and confusion on someone's stoop at 12th and Chestnut, and they were all, huh? And, happy. Sort of. Everyone was still trying to understand our weird whirlwind romance at that point. I was.
I had told him, yeah! I'd like to marry you! but maybe in a year! He agreed this was a good time frame, citing Pat Allen--one of his relationship-psychology gurus. We had already argued about Dr. Allen's conception of gender dynamics in straight relationships, etc etc: men want to be respected, women want to be cherished. I had event planning nightmares, and spent the next couple of weeks, no joke, crossing the street to avoid walking past fancy bridal shops. Also, drycleaners'--those hideous sequined lace gowns in the window.
This could be a simple story of ready vs. not-really, but I think not. ND has a vision of life in which dramatic risks and bold action have big payoffs, and love happens between wildly polarized people (masculine men and feminine women--how many arguments about gender did we have to have?) even though of course everyone's functionally equal when it comes to power. I simply don't experience life as a series of suspension bridges to be crossed, burned, or jumped off. I like things to feel right before I do them. Giant pansy.
The other thing is, and I don't want to be unkind, that I think ND wanted/wants a partner to be in the passenger seat in his life. Not sure if you're reading this, ND, and if so, I'm trying to be fair and clear here. As I said to you in Jerusalem, there are lots of smart, wonderful women who do want their male partner's leadership, who do want to give support behind the scenes and run a life primarily in their homes and for their families. Not me. I need to drive sometimes, or have my own car or whatever. This is a terrible metaphor given that I don't have a license, but there you have it.
It helps to rehash the breakup in these terms because I ache, now, over losing my future with ND. I don't regret it--it was looking like a hard future with a lot of irreconcilable arguing. If it was my fiance and not just boyfriend who left me, though, it's clearer to me what the loss is really about. I thought I had something figured out about the future. Were we engaged? I probably should have done a Nancy Reagan and just said, no.