February 15, 2013

Transition into Singledom

I haven't been single since 1999, and then only for a couple months.  I basically haven't been single in my adult life until now.  I was a teenager when I was single last, and a pretty oblivious one at that.  I have never been taken in by flirtation, but I also wasn't always aware of it.
I am struck and disappointed by how much more vulnerable I feel without the shield of the excuse, "I have a boyfriend."  I am annoyed to realize how much I depended on another human for a sense of ease navigating new friendships and relationships.  I have always been friendly, and I hope I remain so, but I now see how being friendly--especially without the caveat that I'm already otherwise engaged with another--might be misconstrued as romantic encouragement.  Ew.  And sad.
It's been one week that I've been single.  A busy week.  A really emotionally intense week.  I feel like I'm doing pretty well moving on on the surface, but my body is not letting me get away with it so quickly.  I want it all to be okay, I want to just be productive at work, and in dance, and making pendants, and seeing friends...but my body feels completely discombobulated still.  Still exhausted, still weak-muscled and sorrowful (though not quite as acutely so), but also very confused and outside myself.
I had a great show last night, for instance, but I felt like I wasn't connected or present.  I was distracted but not by anything in particular, not from anything particular.  As people came up to introduce themselves and thank me after the show, in hindsight I feel like I didn't offer any of them the decency of real presence.  I smiled, and shook their hands and asked their names, and tried to listen to them...but I didn't feel like I was really able to absorb or offer a real exchange of energy.
I keep coming back to the mental image of two parts of me:  my logical self, and my heart self.  My logical self is the one I know well.  It is disciplined and experienced and mature.  It is often right, but isn't threatened by that which it does not know, because it knows how to methodically find a reasonable answer or solution. It is patient and relaxed because it's confident.  I grew up in a quasi-Buddhist home, and have thus absorbed the teachings and practice of mindfulness.  My heart self, though, is recently born, and it is wild, untamed, young, like a toddler with unrefined black and white wishes, demands, cares.  It is impatient, and has a ton of energy, which can be brilliant if focused, but if exhausted is like an albatross around the neck.  My heart has always been subservient to my mind, especially in the realm of relationships.  Now that it has been loosed, I don't recognize myself.  I am unable reign it in.  I'm not sure I would want to curb it even if I could--my heart is probably a very important part of me, and likely should be allowed the same freedom to grow, learn, and mature as I have proffered my mind.  Still, part of what felt safe letting my heart explore in the first place was that I was doing so in the confines of a relationship (familiar and comfortable in and of itself, even though the partner was new and different).  To have been shaken out of that situation throws me altogether into an abrupt state of transition.  I'm not just in a new city, newly not a student for the first time ever, allowing my heart to explore for the first time ever, but also single.  It makes me feel like a loose cannon.  I feel unpredictable and unreliable.  I always thought of myself as someone who had their sh*t together, and part of that was the stability I gained from being in a long-term, committed relationship.  Without that, I feel a little bit like a pinball.  All over the place, for no reason, most of the time.  My heart is leading this zig-zag non-path, and I feel like I'm embroiled in a child's tantrum--my mind-self is only able to sit back and be patient while the turmoil continues.

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