Welcome back to the second installment of The One That Got Away, A Lesson in Loving. The plot thickens in this blog. It is so very hard to own your destructive behavior especially when it is so cruel to another person. In every moment we show up the best that we have the capacity for in that moment. That is what I believe. It is not always the easiest to put in practice because we have expectations, hopes, dreams, but on the spiritual path and in yoga we practice non attachment. It is challenging to look at the shadows, but I encourage you to do so. I have ,and it has been the most powerful experience in my life. Thank you for your time and your contribution to the collective consciousness.
It was a grey, cold, snowy day in Ohio. A day that seemed like every other so far that Winter, expect today was the day I would meet the man in the picture. My friend Kim that lived across the hall, who was hooking up with Red asked me if I wanted to go to the picture man’s parents house tonight for a movie. Umm… let me think…ah yes!
There were certain important subtleties to take into consideration in my mind when I was meeting someone for the first time. I always wanted to make a lasting impression. I always thought to myself, you want him to feel sexually attracted to you but also think you are cute. To me then that is how truly get a memorable meet. It had nothing to do with how I felt or what I could contribute as a person, just surface. The outfit I planned was effortless for me to put together. I wore a boat neck hand knitted sweater that showed just the top of my shoulder and a fantastic angle of my collarbone. Underneath the sweater is a delicate tank top that perfectly silhouetted my frame, jeans, and natural make-up. Keep in mind, this was freshman year in college, going to watch a movie at his parents house, keeping it low key was a good idea for comfort and for getting parental approval, but also invoking a sexual interest from him. Little did I know that it wouldn’t have mattered what I was wearing. The soul knows what the soul wants with or without a perfectly planned outfit. A magnetic force is just that magnetic. It doesn't need anything else to be memorable.
I was the only one with a car so Kim, Red, and I piled into my honda and got on the highway. I was driving to finally get to meet the man in the picture. My stomach had butterflies and knots all at the same time. I tried to play it off that I wasn't excited, but something inside of me just knew my life was about to change.
I wish I could recount the exact moment I saw him, but I don’t remember anything until about half way through “A Requiem for a Dream”. Yes, the most romantic movie you could ever watch. Graphic yes, but isn’t life as well? I only remember this moment in time because I could feel him staring at the shoulder I planned so carefully to reveal.
“I like your sweater,” said my date in a soft, yet strong voice that seemed to resonate in my ears.
I looked forward to the t.v. and gathered my thoughts and hid my cheshire cat smile and slowly turned.
My eyes followed the floor over towards his feet and started to glance up his body and landed on his eyes and I replied, “Thank you.”
It may sound like a simple answer, but my eyes burned with intensity it felt as if I had known him for years, lifetimes even, there was just so much familiarity. I knew I loved him from the moment I saw his picture., and now finally meeting him confirmed it. What made me know it was twin flame type love was the energy behind it all. It was a force stronger than I had ever felt and I was powerless to stop, and did not want to stop. All the games and bullshit I had always played with boys I wasn’t able to access. For the first time in my young adult life I knew I met someone that saw me. Not just with their eyes, but their soul saw my soul and I didn’t want to run away. We ended up having an amazing kiss before I left. I remember the way his beautiful pouty, pillow lips felt against mine. It was magic. He asked me if he could see me the next day. Of course I answered with a shy, blushing, cheesing out smile of yes.
I had never been more excited for tomorrow then on the drive home. I couldn’t wait to see James again. I thanked Red repeatedly for introducing me to him. The next day he drove down to my dorm and we ended up driving around for god knows how long. We talked about everything. We listened to 311, incubus, Radiohead, and my favorite Led Zeppelin. We told each other we loved each on our second date. I fell hard and fast. I didn't even remember that James didn’t go to my school and was just home visiting his parents for Christmas break. Two weeks later it was my turn to leave to go back to Pittsburgh for break.
I didn’t want to leave him. I wanted to spend every moment with him. I felt that everything about my eating disorder, lack of self love, horrible choices, Ted and Nick, doing poorly in school it all faded away when I was him. When I went home for Christmas I ended up getting strep throat. I had plans to drive up and see James, but being sick I had to postpone my travel. I had to see him. I didn't care if I was sick. I had gone to the doctor and got some drugs and took one day of rest. I figured, that was good enough. I lied to my mom and told her I was staying over at girlfriends house down the road and really drove to Ohio to see him for one night. It was a 4 hour drive there and 4 hour drive back but I didn’t care.
When school started again for both of us, that was when the trouble started for me. James did not live in the same city as me, so my partying schedule was back in action. On a deeper level I was freaking out that he and I weren't able to be together. James was absolutely perfect. He was the most caring, creative, funny, thoughtful, fun, sensitive, genuine person. He would come up to surprise me and make these homemade Italian dinners. The meat, pasta, salad, a million candles that made the place look like the church in the movie Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t have the capacity to explain that his love was scaring me because I was not in love with myself and I just couldn't believe that the way he acted towards me was true. It all seemed like a dream. I needed to create my nightmare. I felt more comfortable there. I could predict the nightmare, the dream was limitless.
I started to self sabotage the relationship. I would nit pick at him. I would blow him off in the most blatant ways. One time ,I told him I was coming to visit him at his school and drove past his exit on the highway and proceeded to drive to Penn State to attend a friend of mine’s frat party and didn’t call to let him know. He was worried about me. I yelled at him for being up tight and controlling. Yet, he stayed. He didn’t wavier. It only made him more attentive and loving and understanding. He was trying to hold me accountable to my actions. This frustrated me. So I went bigger.
One of the times when he had come up to visit me I left him sleeping in my dorm room bed. I then went over to go smoke pot and make out with another lacrosse dude. It is hard to even reflect back on that. I never told him, but I knew he knew. He was sensitive to energy especially mine. I remember coming back and laying next to him and looking at his beautiful everything and thinking, "What the fuck is wrong with me? How can I be doing these horrible things to someone I truly love? ". The guilt of the lies and my horrible treatment to him was starting to break me down even more.
It finally escalated when he tried to intervene with my cocaine usage. He wanted to lovingly let me know I had a problem and that I should focus on school. I was almost failing everything at that point and the recovery looked grim. In that moment I knew he was right and just couldn't accept that. I could not swallow the pill that something was wrong with me and not him. I wanted to erase what he told me and the self realization I had in that moment, but I couldn't, so I lost my shit instead.
I shamed and blamed him. I told him I had a dad and I didn’t need another one. I told him I couldn’t do a long distance relationship anymore. I told him to fuck off. As soon as I hung up the phone I lost my mind. I cried and cried and cried. I didn’t know what was motivating me to do these horrible things to the man I love. I know now that it was because I did not love myself. You cannot love anyone else more than you love yourself. A week or two later I reached out.
"James, it's Liz. Can we talk? I want to apologize." I said with tears in my eyes.
He responds with, " I always want to talk to you."
This whole mythology of you complete me, I was lost until I found you, nothing was great till there was you, can be a total trap. If that were true, then the way that James loved me should have been able to fill that void, but it wasn't. I was loved, honored, trusted, worshiped, adored, and still I could not receive that love. If you truly want to receive love from someone, you need to love yourself fully, and so do they. It is an unprecedented amount of pressure to be the person that is responsible for the other person's happiness. Someone once told me, "Happiness is an inside job. No one else can do it for you," it still rings true today. The story continues still because as most challenging times of life, the one that got away ended up being a major teacher, healer and catalyst in my life. Stay tuned for part 3.