Dream Girl

“Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream,…”  ~The Chordettes

Dear Dream Girl,

Acknowledging that you may well only exist in my imagination I thought I should at least write a formal invitation to make my intentions clear.  Best not to leave these things to chance, you know, or pretend I’d be happy with anyone like the parental platitudes of “we just want our baby to be healthy”, which sounded like a fabulous starting point, but I probably should have edited out some of the sassy attitude and funky smells.   Was that an option?  Anyway, I could start off by sending you a virtual wink, nod or smile, but historically my success rate with that approach has been less than dismal.  Subdismal perhaps?  Better if I just be open and honest with exactly what I’m looking for and how I can reciprocate.  It might be a random shot in the dark but there’s certainly no harm in trying, unlike randomly shooting in the dark which is never a good idea.

While my wish list might seem exhaustive or oddly specific I can promise a great deal of devotion and loyalty in return.  I would go to prison for you.  Well, not you, I hardly know you, but the idea of you and the future us that we could become.  As long as there are conjugal visits,… too soon? Probably.  Ok maybe the whole “going to prison” thing is over-stepping at this stage, but suffice to say I’d be dedicated to you; I may not help you hide the body, but at the very least I’d give you a solid head start before reporting said body to the authorities and I’d also make you a nice sack lunch so you don’t get hangry while on the lam,… and as I am enjoying some delicious lamb curry (since that totally got me thinking of lamb) and watching the live coverage of your high-speed chase I would absolutely root for you, while inwardly feeling validated that you do, in fact, drive worse than I do, even if you are better at parallel parking.  You know, now that I think about it I should probably just start off by asking that you’ve never been involved in a high-speed pursuit and you have no immediate plans to “end” someone by malicious or illegal means.   And if you have one of those “tear” prison tattoos, we can probably consider that a deal breaker as well.

Maybe I should start with the basics; I’m looking for someone who’s beautiful inside and out.  Not the inevitable sexy skeleton of Jenny Lawson, or the sexy underthings of Victoria’s Secret (though that never hurts) but a radiant soul filled with equal parts passion and compassion.  Your heart is wide open to love but has a discerning palette for kindness.  You have that solid sense of self to guide you; you know how you like your eggs.  You have strong opinions that you’re willing to fight for but listen to others regardless of perspective. You speak about others as if they were standing in the room. You can be a friend to my friends and an example to my kids.  You are a good person when no one else is watching. You love your job and embrace every day for its abundance of possibilities.  Even if one of those possibilities is finding a better job.  You push me to be a better person.  You encourage me to eat less carbs but will still stop for doughnuts.  Some days you will kick my ass to work out when I lack the motivation, and some days I’ll kick your ass to do the same.  Some days we’ll skip the ass kicking and just take a nap. You are consumed by your own interests but are present in the time we share together. I will support you with the things that matter most to you.  Try to do likewise even if my interests seem nerdy or frivolous.  At the very least, don’t piss in my corn flakes; the people and things that matter most to us are a package deal. Unconditional acceptance is the key.  If I can get behind the quality writing of “Sex in the City” then you should be able to sample the quality story telling of “Game of Thrones”, even if it has dragons. You are playful.  We will laugh together often, and sometimes playfully at each other, but never at the expense of another and certainly not each other.  You must enjoy warm hugs, but you don’t have to understand references to Frozen.    You should probably know who Inigo Montoya is though, and the tragic fate of his father.

What about me you ask?  Well, let’s just say, for the duration of this correspondence, that I have long flowing hair, if you’re into that, and large rippling muscles, if you’re into that.   Actually, if you’re into all that (or at least only that), then I’m probably not going to be into you. If you say that humor, honesty and humility are the most important attributes you look for in a man then I hope you mean it.  If all your past boyfriends have been brooding bad boys with a worn collection of Polish jokes or fart noises, then you might want to reconsider the reality of your “type”.   Who knows, maybe you dig “tear” tattoos, those just scream “comedy”.

In reality I can be loosely described as an introverted liberal dad.  I am a creative scatterbrain and a sucker for sap.  My inner voice rambles often but never stops me from listening.  I compensate for hair loss with muscle tone.  I like my eggs over-easy.   What more needs be said?

(cue background music – “Somebody to Love” by Queen as sung by Anne Hathaway in Ella Enchanted,… just because.)

As the music plays me off like one of those audio birthday cards in Target that you open by accident, I want to thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.  I can just imagine you sitting there, silhouetted against the crescent moon absorbing the significance of each request and taking to heart the sincerity of my impassioned plea which, to summarize, is you should have everything I want and nothing I don’t.   That’s not too much to ask the personification of a fantasy dream girl, is it?

Of course it is.

I mean I get the idea of putting out clear intentions into the Universe, visualizing your goals, making a dream board.  Those are all great exercises to help me explore what I’m looking for, but it all needs to be tempered with the reality of an actual person with actual flaws and unique characteristics that evolved from the amalgamation of that individual’s life experiences.  You may be completely different then how I imagined you.  You may have something to offer that I didn’t even think to ask for and that’s pretty awesome.  So really it doesn’t matter if you like Pina Coladas or getting caught in the rain, as long as there are no dead bodies in the trunk we should be good to go.

(music swells…)

“Can anybody find meeeee,…… somebody to love.”

(roll credits)

Sincerely,

Me

 

BONUS TRIVIA: From what movie does the reference to knowing how you like your eggs come from?

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Fault Lines

We’re all at fault for something.  It might be something huge and deliberate or something small and unavoidable.  No matter how pure our intentions as we navigate through this world we cannot help but disrupt people we care about with collateral damage.  Through the heartache of my messy break-up part of me wanted desperately to remain blameless.  I wanted everyone to know how much I loved her, how much I tried, how much I wanted to make things work.  I wanted my friends and family to know.  I wanted her friends and family to know.  I wanted her to know. Maybe I thought the more people I could convince the more I might make it true.  I wanted to cry out ‘it wasn’t my fault’.  But that’s not true.  Not entirely.

For the most part, accepting no blame in a failed relationship isn’t realistic.  At the very least we make a choice to initiate the relationship and have some part in its conclusion.  I made the hard choice to move out regardless of my feelings for her or for us.  In moving out I put her in a difficult position and no amount of love or good intentions helped to ease her burden.  Her loved ones only saw the suffering she was left with and the bad guy that abandoned her.

In my mind I would rail against her for the blame she piled on me.  I would pour out in print arguments to every point; for how I tried to help and support her and how much of her current situation was based on choices made long before me.  And then I would blame her, for forcing me out and not being more accepting.  I don’t regret the choice I had to make, but I resent having to make it.  I remember telling the therapist that she was my ideal woman except she didn’t accept me, or my kids.  It sounded so right in my head, but so wrong when spoken aloud.  I realized that part of the sadness that overwhelmed me was simply anger.  I was so stuck on whether I quit the relationship prematurely that I dismissed all the times I didn’t.  All the times I tried to make it work.  All the times we fought over the same issues.  All the times we split, knowing there was no resolution.  When she turned around and found someone new I was pissed.  I was pissed that she would never change for me; she would never fully accept me or my kids for who we are.  Never.  There was no more hope that things would turn around.  No more chance at a future together.  There was no more path forward.

I understand there’s a strong case for both sides, I mean how much change is it fair to expect from someone?  Wanting to be accepted for who you are is just the other side of the coin to accepting that some people can’t change.  In the end, she just wouldn’t or couldn’t change for me, so she found someone else, someone who, at least from the start, seems less likely to present with the same limitations we ran in to.  I may not be able to fault her for that, just because we couldn’t find a way doesn’t mean we stop looking, but it breaks my heart that someone else should benefit from all my efforts and enjoy the woman I wanted because I couldn’t make her change.  No amount of love can force someone to be who they are not.  I tried to the point of sacrificing my own sense of self just to hold on to her.  To us.  But it wasn’t enough, just as she must have felt when she tried to plead for me to move back in regardless of whether things had changed between us or not.

I struggle over the memory of love shared.  I convince myself of the purity of that love.  I’m not sure if this is just another defense mechanism, to feel that I loved her more and that this somehow lessens my fault, or if I just want the love itself to be meaningful and significant even if only in memory. I thought again about the Proust quote “It is our imagination that is responsible for love, not the other person” and wonder if this is even more prevalent after the relationship has ended.

In the end none of it matters.  Regardless of fault or blame the fact remains that the relationship is over.  There is no path forward.  Beautiful or flawed as it may be distilled in my heart I cannot affect her narrative of the events that brought us to where we are today. Nor can I alter the opinions of others or their perception for how I left it. I am not blameless.  I can take responsibility for the choices I made and the hurt I caused through my actions while rejecting the minutia I had no control over.  Life is messy.  We make bad choices.  We make mistakes.  And we try to move on, navigating the inevitable fault lines that block our path to happiness.

 

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