There was this one time I was dating a man who lied about everything. He lied about his profession, he lied about where he lived, he lied about his education, he lied about the people in his life and he even went as far as to lie about the lies. I remember when I found out, I wasn’t so mad about the lies as as I was angry about the time wasted. I was frustrated that I had given him so much of my goodness. My kindness in the way I would cook him meals, my brainpower in the long conversations we would share, my creativity in helping him to hash out situations that were supposedly going on in his life. It was bizarre. Especially because he had spent a lot of money flying me around the country to see him often. He had to have known I’d find out. Why waste energy (his or mine) on an inevitable outcome.
Once I found out I cried. I was hurt that he didn't find me worth the truth and I was sad that someone I had come to care about would no longer be a part of my life. That was about two years ago. After that implosion of a relationship I remember calling my girlfriends feeling deeply embarrassed that I have been tricked. But I cried the tears, deleted the text messages and moved on as best I could.
I was happy to be out of that outlandish situation and made the decision to not let it hinder me from pursuing deep connection again. Granted, I had to coach myself a bit and do a lot of self talk to get me from under the covers puffy eyed and breathless. It wasn't my fault that he had this skewed perception of the proper way to pursue a situation. I wasn't responsible for the way he manipulated everyone around him to create this dream life that never existed. I did what any person would do with the knowledge they had and once I knew more, I took the proper steps to eliminate that horribleness from my life.
I take pride in my own vulnerability. It has swirled me into some deeply satisfying situations, as well as some pretty peculiar ones as the previous story shines light on. I see the value in the way I choose to be open and free with the things I feel and the ways I’d like to express them. I try not to follow invisible rules such as how much time one should wait to text back as to not seem too eager or what the average number of dates must be before becoming intimate. If my phone is in my hand and Im available I will text you upon receipt. If our vibe is indulgent I will want to share that intimately with you whether it's our fifth or thirty fifth encounter.
I got a text from a friend who had a whirlwind weekend romance with a man only to learn on the final day that he had a girlfriend. In the situation my friend understandably felt tricked. She said to me “I feel so dumb, Rachel”. I squinted my eyes at hearing that. It made my heart hurt. How could my ridiculously intelligent, kind and unfathomably fun friend ever feel dumb? She was being human, being pulled toward something that made her feel happy, feel good. The entire time she was with him she was having a great time. It wasn't until the truth spilled out that she felt anything negative about the time she had spent. I encouraged her with this: “In all things in life — men, friends, jobs — we have to learn how to take the meat and throw out the bones.”
Take the meat and throw out the bones. In every potentially romantic encounter we have to make a decision. We subconsciously (or possibly with conscious intent) do a risk analysis to decide if being vulnerable is worth it. There is a chance that opening up and getting close will result in a deep and meaningful connection with another human. It also could be disastrous in which our faults are exacerbated and our wounds are re-opened in the hands of another. We have a chance at both and it is inevitable that we will experience being blissfully lucky at some point as well as be devastatingly disappointed at another. It up to us to decide if we will handle this dichotomy by beefing up our skills to recover from the bad or completely jade ourselves and possibly miss out on some of the good that is trying to get through to our scabbed egos and emotions.
In the situation of my friend, she was vulnerable. She opened herself to be spontaneous and available only to find out that she was blindsided to an entire aspect of that man. The meat: I reminded her that she did indeed have an undeniably great weekend. She indulged in great conversation, food, dancing and drinks with someone she found authentic interest in. The bones: the last few hours of togetherness were ruined, she felt a bit silly and she now has to let go of a pretty cool guy — which isn't so much of a sad thing now that we recognize his character.
My wish for her is that she picks herself up a pint of cookie dough ice cream, cries through a few Drake tracks for as long as she needs in order to get over the whole thing. Then, I want her to go for a run, have green smoothie and give me a call so that I can remind her how incredible she is and to remember that there is courage in being available to love, that there is strength in her ability to recover and at this very moment there is a man who is destined to meet her, to be authentic and genuine and reflect all of the goodness she emits right back to her.