August has been an interesting month. While there’s still nearly two weeks left before September’s autumn breezes whisper the change of seasons, this month has brought forth many transitions. And while an exciting Q4 awaits, propelling me into some familiar and some new territory, the past 18 days have also tested just how much I want to put the past behind me.
On a personal level, two different men, one from the near past and one from a very distant past, have used social media to get in contact with me. One I did connect with. One I blocked. I’ll let you figure out which one’s which. A third, who has known me for a decade and who has never really stopped communicating with me, has simply hid behind his social media account. For five years he’s flirted, insinuated, led and promised. But, really, all he’s done is talk. Cumulatively, these three men represent three very different stages of my life. Of my development. Of who I once was, from a scared young woman whose world came crashing to an adult who, 16 years later, shattered her own familiar universe in order to reinvent.
It’s all been part of getting to what’s real right now.
So when these men from the past, when they suddenly reach out, when they lead with one foot in, one foot out, when they perhaps think that maybe who I am today is the same insecure person I once was when they knew me, it hits me in all the wrong places. It’s as though the Universe is trying to ask, “How much of you has moved on? And what part of you is still the same you, because you will always be you?”
What I consciously know is that none of them, or any other man from my past, (excluding my dear guy friends, of course), has any room in my personal present. Not one. Not because they were bad guys. Well, some weren’t the best. But because it’s safe to say that the direction where I moved to today, a simpler, clearer and more honest life, with far less people in it, has only room for truth. And the people who live honestly. With no secrets to hide. No tall stories to impress me with. No double lives, where their loyalties and priories lie elsewhere.
Over the travels of 2014, if there’s one thing I did learn it’s that I had to be my first priority. To the judgmental people no longer in my life, they’re probably thinking, “You mean she already wasn’t?” No, I wasn’t. When you’ve dated as much and as long as I have, it’s so easy to get lost in the shuffle of everyone’s else needs, demands and schedules. How many times did I move my own things around just so that some guy could fit me in between his intentionally compartmentalized life? And why I did it all stemmed from this place of broken.
Being whole and learning what that means hasn’t been without its challenges. And, in some ways, I’m back to living the life I was living before I left. I’m back in Lakewood. This fall, I’ll be teaching, again. And I’m continuing with my Career Coaching business and, of course, the writing. What’s different is what or who I allow in.
I recently shared with a new and kind friend I made that when it comes to my apartment or my life, the only things and people that can get in are the ones I love. That’s it. And if that means that it’ll take a year to furnish this empty apartment, then so be it. And if it means a lot more evenings and weekends alone, then so be it, too. There’s no longer room for the cacophonous noise of distraction tricking me into extreme experiences that would make for yet another book about yet another failed relationship.
Back in April, when I was still in Austin, Texas, and still trying to make it work there, I had a critical phone call with a man in Cleveland. It’s someone I met last summer and after 6 months, we reconnected while I was in Dublin. He challenged to me to something. “Alex, I want you to write a love story.” My reply? “To write it, I have to live it.”
And live it and write it I will. But right now there’s too many characters. Too may plotlines. Too many twists and turns and flashbacks and cities and decades. This past month has been like a typical summer season of General Hospital. Except the men in my life never really died. They just hide in plain view on social media. Trying to pull me back in via the lingua franca they know that I know so well.
I do hope they all get on with their lives. I hope they leave me out of their plans. I hope they find whatever they’re looking for. And if they’re still looking for the woman who they knew then, they’ll be greatly disappointed.She’s gone.