Stage Three

Today we have a problem that is not really a problem.

It’s too sunny to write about anything even remotely unhappy. Look at the sky!

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Maybe I really ought to consider moving to the Pacific Northwest. I’m not so afraid of living under near constant cloud cover, now. All things considered, it might actually work out rather well. Don’t you think I’d stand a better chance of being able to blast right through my book proposal, out there? Out there, sitting under a stubbornly sad sky.

I purposely avoided using the word gray, just now. Because it’s probably grey – I never know.Whichever it is, I bet it can be pretty sometimes. Almost as if someone had spilled some ink — only across the whole sky? I have no idea. I’ll have a better idea, soon.

But I’m not quite there yet. Right now, I’m here, and needless to say, the words have stopped pouring out. That’s because this Portland looks like a postcard, and I’m having a hard time feeling sufficiently moody. I mean, look:

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How much would it take, for you to let me continue to blame the weather? I’d be more than willing to buy you the flavor of the day, at the best scoop shop you’d ever drive right by.

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I’m stalling — I know. If you were my editor you would cut out everything you’ve read so far. You’d tell me to start here:

I don’t want to fall back in love with my memories.

If you’ve been here all along, you know that I didn’t start out writing to you (the way I often do now). I didn’t write the way I’d speak to a friend.

I was writing, not unlike your average teenage girl, to a boy I loved. And then to another one, when that was over. And then back to the first one. And then to both of them (in a rare display of maturity?). I went on and on and on, back and forth, until you probably wanted to bash me over the head. Thank you for being so gentle with me, by the way. Can I offer you some cherries?

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Finally — finally – I stopped. I stopped writing to them. Stopped alluding to them, too. It took eons, but eventually it became very clear that I wasn’t all that heartbroken anymore.

You cheered. We ate a mostly goat cheese salad, and it was glorious.

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Then you stuck around for another eternity, while I kept inching my way around. Until I decided that it might actually be kind of exciting, to put myself first (and not feel bad about it). I decided to work on becoming someone I’d like to meet. Someone I’d want to spend some time with, someday. And in the meantime, I decided to give trying to become someone else’s a real rest.

I also decided to be pretty quiet about it, just in case I failed.

It’s been over a year now. I’ve been single for over a year! This is a personal record. This calls for Pad Thai — don’t you think?

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We don’t have complete cause for celebration, though. Because somewhere along the way, staying single turned into the cowardly thing. I don’t need a therapist to tell me the major reason I’m not with someone new, now: I’m still scared silly of intimacy. Intimacy. It’s a capital letter word, for me.

Manhattan made it astoundingly easy to avoid, although I did date sporadically while I was there. Mostly in the beginning. It only took a few weeks for me to realize I wasn’t interested in anyone. All I was really interested in doing was making more girl friends. This was more than a little disconcerting, if you want to know the truth. (Also: incredibly fun! I wholeheartedly endorse friend-dating.)

Of course, there was a week or two, also pretty early on, in which all of my old boyfriends looked really good. Annoyingly good, all of a sudden. Are you familiar with this phenomenon?

As it turns out, this is not at all unlike coming across an old sweatshirt and popping it on, before realizing, yet again,that this one definitely does not still have the fuzziness of a new fleece. And you’re never going to be able to get it back again, no matter what you do. Because it’s an old sweatshirt.

I think somewhere along the way you might have encouraged me to donate the one I’d been hoarding to Goodwill. Thank you, again. I’m clear out of cherries now, but I do have some hot fudge. How’s that?

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Ugh, that post. Don’t read that one — the one I just linked to.

Now can you understand why I’m reluctant to dredge up all those memories again, for the book? Because it took me forever to get to where I am now. I don’t want to go through all those stages again. The short one, where everyone/anyone looks appealing, and then the long one, where absolutely no one does.

I like the stage I’m in now. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still lonely, and sunny days aren’t always enough to stop me from feeling sad, but it’s the first one to make me feel like I might want to pull out a pretty dress. Just in case.

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{Quote drawn by my friend who “doodles” — who I happened to meet while friend-dating in NYC. Hug to you, Charlotte!}

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2 thoughts on “Stage Three

  1. Hannah, Intimacy should be a capital letter word, it is a very special and scary thing, listen to your heart, and come to the Pacific Northwest the cherries here are fabulous!

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