Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ideal Distraction


In the months before everything went down the big toilet of badness and sadness I made an online connection with a guy, or actually he made it with me.  I had permission from T.E. and yet I still felt guilty even just sending the occasional email back and forth.  It could often take me a week, or even a month, to reply to his missives because it felt even a tiny bit like the disrespect I felt when T.E. spent nights with other women.  At the same time it was sometimes the only tonic for my beat-up pride, and so email I did.

The emails were tame, benign even.  Tiny bits of flirtations tucked in around “do you have any pets?”  “What’s your favorite movie?”  “Boxers or briefs?”  Then my world went “BOOM” and I asked Mr. Man to excuse me for a few weeks.  I needed to grieve; to show respect for the relationship that I’d had with T.E. and to have any interactions with some other guy, even of the benign type, was wrong.  Just wrong.  He was very nice about it, wished me the best and also big luck and left me alone.  And I figured that was probably the last I’d hear from him, having thrown cold water all over our tiny, little ember of heat. 

So it was a nice surprise a few weeks later when Mr. Man emailed again just to check how I was doing and let me know he was thinking of me.  (say it with me, everybody – Awwwww…)  We went back to emailing, but with the understanding that I was still all shapes and sizes of broken, still on the razors edge of sad all the time, still nobody’s flirt.  But the emails lead quickly to online chatting.

I had no expectations.  Wasn’t looking for a new guy or a new anybody.  Wasn’t looking for love or lust.  I wasn’t looking.  So the chatting was really… nice.

It was really very nice.

It took me a few days to figure out what it was I liked about the connection:  distraction.  I’d been drowning in thoughts and feelings, overwhelmed by introspection and now I had something completely NOT my dead-and-broken relationship to think about.   I could focus on learning the mundane details of this new person’s life instead of wallowing in my own. 

I also really enjoyed having someone pay attention to me.  For the last few months of my time with T.E. that was the thing I craved and got less and less of from him:  attention.  It gradually shaved away all my shiny surfaces and bright colors.  I got smaller and quieter.  I got dismal.  I got dull.  But all of the sudden someone was paying me even a fraction of the attention that I missed from T.E. and it polished me back up!  I got shiny again!  Like Dorothy and Toto I went from sad shades of grey back to Technicolor!  My life had a soundtrack and dancing midgets (munchkins, Oompa-Loompas, Ewoks – pick your perky poison) and special effects.  All from just a little attention.

Sadly this story of Mr. Man has a sort of lame ending – the cool guy ended up disappearing without even a puff of smoke or a "Sheboof!" noise.  At this point I have no idea where he is or what the hell he was looking for.  I also let the positive mojo of the interactions walk me into a stupid mistake, but nobody got hurt (most importantly me!) and I needed the lesson to complete the transition.  But even though Mr. Man was really Mr. Poof I still owed him thanks.  Thanks for attaching his towline to my bumper and using his winch to pull me out of the wallow mud that was my life.  Thanks for being a living example of the very wise rule “don’t get caught up in the drama” – a lesson I’ve always known but never proved was true.  (It is true, by the way.  Totally true.)  And thanks for giving me that little boost to my ego that I needed to think about moving forward to the next chance.  Because I think I will get another chance. 

(hope, hope, hope...)

Taking the lesson of "distraction" to heart that has been my watchword ever since.  Working out and reading and photography and hobbies and... and... and...  The most important thing has been rule number one:  DON'T THINK ABOUT T.E.  Don't think about the relationship or the end or the good times or the bad times or anything else.  Just don't think about it.  I know I'm not over things, but I'm not smothered in those things either and that's a huge step forward.  Distraction ho!

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