Ninth in a series [gs *]
So, I spend the morning after that lunch aimlessly poking around in the goo in my heart, trying to figure out what happened. What, exactly, felt yucky? What did I do to prompt that bugling-eyed ook to start slithering my way? I’m not thrashing yet – I don’t feel that stuck at this point – but I am sensing it’s a distinct possibility, and I don’t want that to happen. I seem to thrash a lot and it embarrasses me.
Later in the afternoon, this first day after our lunch, I get an email from lunch-guy – which is much too soon. The timing itself alarms me. And then there’s the subject line: ‘I see Christ in Christine’ – and the instant I see that, my gut turns over. I hate that christ/christine thing. It has history. What it means to me is never what it consciously means to the speaker. To me, it means, ‘I’m gonna suck you dry!’. It means ‘I don’t know the slightest thing about you, but I’m assuming you like being compared to christ, and I’m projecting a whole lot of martyr-y shit onto you, and you’re going to like it’. It resonates, spiritually, to me, with ‘I’m gonna to ride you hard and put you away wet. And you’re gonna like it.’
I can almost feel his giggly throbbing as I read it.
Not a good subject line to see in my email box – which of course he can’t have known (at least not consciously). But this means either I have to: explain to him that it’s not the compliment he meant it to be, and why – which even I don’t entirely get; leave myself open to the potential for a repeat of that minor accidental (but pukey) psychic violation; or just shut the exchange down altogether right now. Tell him to stay out of my life, without a shred of explanation – which seems rather immature and unfair.
Another complicated decision he’s innocently dumped in my lap, and even though I still can’t rationally articulate exactly why, I’m starting to feel seriously encroached on.
Inside he says:
Thank you again for yesterday.
Thank you for the warm touch, the loving glance and the soulful intimacy. It made my heart soar (and another body part very stiff, but we won’t talk about that right now! : ))
Seriously, I was deeply moved by the Divine Light in your eyes, your open and loving Heart and your complete willingness to be present and vulnerable. Looking forward to reconnecting again soon.
The Divinity in me wants to merge with the Divinity in you (in a spiritual way). If you have any other ideas on how to make that happen, please let me know – the [xxx] store was an awesome start! : )
[suggestion for a time to meet again]
Now that’s just too much! I can’t go there. I sense thrashing looming on the horizon, and I’d still rather avoid it. I shut the email quickly and decide that I never have to respond if I don’t feel like it. I can even tell him to go to hell if I want to.
I tend to expect myself to be nice. To be compassionate and respectful and non-judgemental, to take care not to say things so bluntly that feelings get hurt. I pride myself especially on my diplomatic writing skills, and when I’m accused of being hurtful I feel ashamed and I spend way more time than it’s worth, explaining to myself why I was so rude and figuring out what triggered my rudeness and how to not do that again, and so on.
For a woman whose mother raised her with a proper 60’s feminist scorn for niceness, I’m pretty damn pathetic. Especially considering how far I tend to fall from my target.
So to give myself permission to tell him to go to hell, and know I’d be fine with it if that’s what I actually did was kind of a big deal. But there was no need to rush. I wasn’t certain what I wanted to say yet, and it felt good to decide not to take his urgency-cue and to allow myself to respond in my own time. The whole thing was becoming a distraction to my normally-disciplined writerly self, and it clearly wasn’t settled in my heart yet.
I tried to let the whole thing slip back into my unconscious, trusting that after letting it gestate in the dark, it would return to me clear and complete, and I’d know exactly what to do next – as I find happening more and more lately with everything.
In other words, I ignored his email.
I find that when I react too quickly, by the time I pause, the ground is strewn with bodies – and the only fallen body connected to me is my sense of myself as a decent rational person – a sense I’m finding myself less and less attached to lately, but there’s no need to be rash.
In the following days, things kept bubbling up. I realized at one point that I was angry. I also realized that lunch-guy had ignorantly stumbled into an arsenal of triggers for old rages that had nothing to do with him, and I was having trouble sorting out which part of my anger belonged to him, and which part he had simply stepped into the path of.
Still, the whole tone of his email, like that of an inexperienced young man falling in love, assuming all feelings were mutual and not taking care in how he used his words, was irksome. Talking to me as though I were remotely as breathless and blown-away and thrilled with our new friendship as he was! Whether he deserved my anger over old triggers or not, his presumptions were annoying.
But perhaps the thing that offended me most was his ignorant assumption that I was harmless – his innocent expectation that I was no more than a cuddly, sexy mommy. On one hand he was throwing himself at me, and on the other, he was not taking me seriously at all. Who did he think he was dealing with? Only an idiot would hear even half of what I told him about myself and fail to recognize the intensity, complexity and power in who he was looking at. No-one ever takes me that lightly. He didn’t even have the sense to be scared.
I was pissed that he left it to me to be the only adult and make sure things turned out ok in spite of his wanton childishness.
Vulnerability is one thing, but you still don’t throw yourself in front of a full speed train and expect to come out intact. People could get killed. You still have to exercise some judgment. I never asked to be responsible for his tender heart, but here he was slopping it all over my lap.