Of Fries and How To Be In The Relationship of Your Dreams (3 of 3)

Lesson #1 here. Lesson #2 here.

Lesson #3 Embracing the ‘V’ Word

Get your mind out of the gutter, guys. The ‘V’ word I’m talking about here is Vulnerability. Did anyone have some kind of physical reaction just from seeing this word? For me, this word makes my stomach churn. After so many failed relationships, it was way easier to put up a guard.

In the last couple of years, I only allowed myself to be in casual relationships, or relationships that I knew had no future. This way, I could still keep my guard. I didn’t have to be exposed to potentially being heartbroken, since I knew the relationships weren’t going to work out anyway.

But you know what happens when you keep your guard up? Sure, I managed to block out the ‘hurt’, but it also meant that the positive stuff got blocked out. My guard prevented me from melting when the men I dated showered me with compliments. It stopped me from spending the night cuddled up in their arms. And the biggest thing – it stopped me from opening up my heart and letting love in.

When a friend suggested that perhaps I should try being “vulnerable”, I almost threw up. Really – it felt like she had just punched me in the gut. No – actually, it felt worse. It was like she reached down to my guts and pulled the whole damn thing out! Being vulnerable? This word was never ever in my dictionary. How the hell does a person be vulnerable? I decided to ask the internet, and that was pretty much the question I typed into google. A TED talk by Brene Brown came up. By the way if you guys haven’t seen it, you totally should.

She describes vulnerability as the willingness to say, “I love you” first… the willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.

Yikes. Another punch in the gut. I hated the sound of all of it.

But the truth is…  here I was, wanting to be in love.. and so I thought to myself: if this V word is the key, then I’ll freakin’ try it out.

And I did.

The first thing I did was sign up to an online dating site. It was one of those real deal we-help-you-find-true-love dating sites where you had to pay and answer like a hundred questions.

Now, to some of you that might not seem like a big deal. But for me – someone who takes pride in showing the world that she’s tough and doesn’t need love – this was equivalent to admitting defeat. Hello, vulnerability!

I didn’t find love via an online dating site. (You can read about how I found love here if you haven’t already). But it played a huge part in helping me embrace the V word, and that’s what led me to finding love.

When I tell people the story of how I asked my boyfriend out, the common response is “Wow, you’re so brave!”

I can assure you that it wasn’t bravery. It was vulnerability – the willingness to put myself out there, despite knowing that there’s a chance I might get rejected.  And boy am I glad I took that risk!

So what about you guys – where are you at with embracing the V word?

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We Are Meant To Be, For the Weekend

I found this piece of writing about a past lover while digging through old files. Surprisingly, I’ve never shared it, so I’m sharing it now. I love the sentiment in which it’s written. Let me know what you think.

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I don’t ask who you were talking to on the phone. I don’t ask about the unopened gift box on the table – who is it for, or who is it from. I don’t ask you anything, except for the occasional ‘Are you hungry’ There’s really no point in asking, no point in knowing. What does it matter to me how you spend your time or who you spend it with? I am only here to keep you company, and I do exactly that – not more.

I lay in your arms, all curled up like a ball. You smile at me and say I look like a tiny kitten. You kiss my forehead and begin to tell me a story. This one is about a boy who goes out in search of his dreams. He has to go through many obstacles and follow the signs to get to his dreams. You tell me about ‘maktub’ and how it’s an Arabic saying for ‘it is written’. You explain that everything has been written and is meant to happen as it is. I wonder if you know what’s written for you and me, but I don’t ask, of course.

I love the sound of your voice, the way your accent makes everything sound sensual. How you casually drop French words into your conversation. You must know the effect it has on me. I especially love how your eyes light up when you tell stories. And how you paint such vivid pictures when you describe the people you knew and the places you visited. Even when you talk about your past lovers. You refer to them with immense affection and adoration. I can’t help but wonder if you would ever talk about me in such a way – even if we were never lovers.

You notice that I’m deep in thought, and ask if I’m tired of listening to your stories. I flash my best smile at you and reassure you I never get tired of your stories and that I love listening to you. You smile again and I suddenly have this urge to kiss you. I act on it, but only halfway, leaning towards you and planting a quick peck on your left cheeks.  You don’t ask me what I’m thinking about. Just like I never ask you.

I close my eyes and allow myself to relax, resting my head on your shoulders. Something builds up inside me and I am forced to blurt it out. ‘Will you miss me?, I ask. I know I shouldn’t ask, but sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me. ‘Of course’, you say, planting a reassuring kiss on my forehead. I don’t know if it’s true, and it doesn’t matter. It’s what I want to hear, and I’m happy to hear it.

That’s how it is. You say things I want to hear, and I do the same to you. We don’t talk about feelings or unresolved matters. We don’t even acknowledge them. We live in our own bubble world where there’s no need for questions or answers. No plans, no promises, no expectations. No rules, no ifs, no buts. We just are. We exist only in this moment, and we don’t go anywhere near the ‘next’ moment. The future doesn’t exist as far as we’re concerned.

We spend most of the time cracking jokes and laughing at ourselves. We make fun of movies.  We make funny sounds and imitate people’s accents. We watch funny cat videos and South park re-runs. We talk about Greek mythology and Spanish bullfighting and World War Two. We go out to bars and try all the drinks on the menu. We sing out loud on the streets. We go for dinners, too, but never anywhere that has a dress code. We enjoy the mere pleasure of each other’s company, without giving a thought as to where it will lead to.

Sometimes I see loneliness in your eyes, and I’m sure you see sadness in mine. But we never talk about it. I cannot make you less lonely, and you cannot make me less sad. I never aspire to be what you want, and you can never be what I need. I will not give you my heart, nor will I take yours. So we just be. Without thinking. Without trying. Without discussion. Tomorrow the sun will come up and we both will go our separate ways.

woman

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