Today I realised that I’ve been feeling like Charlotte in the Sex & the City movie.
It was at the end of a walk in the early autumn-leaved woods with my honey. We got there early after dropping his daughter off at school. Rock Creek Park in DC is en route between her school and home and we’ve driven through it many times over the two 1/2 months I’ve been here with him. It’s a beautiful windy drive through trees I’m not yet familiar with, but love all the same, and yes a rocky creek accompanying the length of it.
The creek has been really low over much of the time I’ve been here…it’s been a hot, mostly dry summer. Over the past 2-3 weeks some of the leaves have changed to yellow, and a smattering to orange and red. It was a hazy warm morning and we parked near a small arched walking bridge. As I stepped onto it I remembered a video he sent me a year ago, showing me this sacred place to him, where he walked most mornings after dropping his daughter off at school. And here we were a year later, together in the same place.
Ours has been such a magical love story. We met over a year ago at an unexpected time in an unexpected place. He was visiting Australia from the USA for work, flown out there to give a presentation on storytelling in community building. I was invited along by my manager as an optional thing and wasn’t entirely sure I would go. In great Aussie tradition, there were drinks planned afterwards, which he was unaware of and tried to get out of when he found out about them. I had planned on going to the drinks because it filled in time between the presentation and my date that night (ahem!).
The two-hour workshop he gave had me completely rapt. Here he was in the work world speaking of things like unity, community, stories, symbology, spirituality and humanity. He was talking my kind of language.
Now the next part of the story varies according to which of us you speak to and our respective moods at the time, but the gist of it is that I went up to him afterwards and told him how much I enjoyed his presentation, he did come to the drinks, we spoke to each other almost exclusively, he gave me a big hug when I left, while I resisted the urge to give him my business card. His version is more elaborate and involves a beautiful necklace I was wearing, my magical, seductive powers and grand plans of making him my love slave (!).
A few days later I got an email from him…he’d tracked me down through a string of people connected to the event, finally finding me. I was both delighted and unsurprised – somehow I knew I’d hear from him. From there we exchanged the occasional email, then started to send photos and short videos via iPhones. Phone calls turned to Skype video calls and the relationship intensified. Bless technology – it kept us going for six months.
He had thought he may be back in Australia for work but when that didn’t pan out we started to talk about meeting up halfway. I already had a holiday booked in Thailand and after spending a week with my dear friend who lives there was going to have a week on my own. Instead I suggested he come and join me. The longer ago that is, the more I find it incredible that I invited a man I’d spoken to for about half an hour in real life, to spend a week with me in Thailand! Quite a full-on first date! And the even crazier thing is, he said yes! And without mentioning that my sense of geography sucks and that in fact Thailand was not at all half way and would involve 24 hours on a plane for him to my 9 hours.
But he came and we had an absurdly romantic, magical time together. That was last November and since then it’s been all on. Twice daily Skypes, numerous photos and videos. He visited me in Australia for my birthday in February, met my friends and pussycats. Then I visited the USA over Easter, meeting all his family and discovering DC. Then he visited me again in late May/June and met my family, gained approval from my 6 & 8 year old nieces and visited my sacred place, Byron Bay, and most importantly, understood fully what I see in it.
Finally I came here to the USA for this long time, nearly three months, parking my life in Australia to explore the possibility of a future with my man. This time has been about giving ourselves day-to-day time together to confirm what we already knew, that we are meant to be together, that we already are, that we already were, that it really was set in our first connection in the pub after that workshop. There is no choice here.
We walked through the woods by the creek, watched the water flowing over and around the rocks as my man brought me back time and time again to the present, to the magical beauty of nature, to how good life is. I love his positivity and wisdom in moments such as those. I needed it as my mind was turning ahead, to places other than now.
We talked about our future steps and plans as we face the reality of my heading back to Australia. I’ve always had the return ticket, and my visitor status means 90 days here at a time is my limit. We’re working on the visa that will allow me to stay, but until that’s all sorted, I have to be anywhere but here. It’s going to be hard. I feel like I’m starting to get into a groove here, to truly be able to imagine a life here, and I certainly am not looking forward to being without my man.
Now I’m an Aquarian with Libra rising. I look at things from many angles, consider every side, wander off on intellectual ponderings and its touch and go sometimes whether and how I’ll find my way back. My man is an Aries. He’s sees things much more simply, goes into the feeling of it and acts on it before too much thought. We could drive each other crazy, and I suppose sometimes we do a little, especially in a supermarket when he just wants to grab a few things and I need to read the labels and make sure everything is healthy, eco friendly, animal friendly and socially conscious too, because now I KNOW.
But for me today, standing on that bridge, all I saw was his wisdom. He listened to my mental wanderings, my anxious whinings, the stress I was managing to make in my body and mind as I stood in an idyllic scene on a bridge with the man I love. He didn’t jump into the mental torture with me, try to figure it out for me. Instead he started talking about how he deals with his mind when it takes him all over the place. About being in his body. Awareness of his breath. Focussing on gratefulness for what already is. Very yogi to a yogi.
Wisdom comes from many places. Certainly yoga philosophy and related spiritual concepts are guiding lights and teachers to me. And so is Sex & the City.
I love Sex & the City and still watch re-runs when I can. When it was first showing I was a happily married woman in my late 20s and frankly I just didn’t get it. Then in my 30s I became a single woman dating in the city and suddenly I got it. Even though it’s set in New York and has implausibility issues to do with a writer’s budget and how many shoes one woman could possibly have, the writing and observations made through four different characters are so real and clear, that it isn’t all that unusual for me to say to myself, or a girlfriend, ‘it’s like when Miranda and Steve get the puppy…’, ‘it’s like when Big brought Carrie’s stuff back’, ‘it’s like when Samantha gets it on with…’ etc.
So today I said to my man, it’s like how Charlotte feels in the Sex & the City movie. You know, Carrie is going through her big heartbreak with Big, Miranda and Steve break up after an affair, even Samantha is unhappy with Smith and her lack of sexual freedom. Carrie speaks to Charlotte about her running. Charlotte’s husband had called Carrie to say he was concerned she had stopped her usual daily running since she got pregnant. Now Charlotte hadn’t expected to get pregnant. They’d spent years trying to make a baby before finally adopting. Then suddenly she’s pregnant and over the moon about it. Carrie asks Charlotte if the doctor has told her not to run. “No, Charlotte says, he said since I am a runner I can keep it up.” Carrie asks, “Ok then, so why have you stopped?”
Charlotte says something like, “how could I possibly have it so good? How can this possibly last? Look at you and Miranda, going through such tough times, and you’re good people. I’ve got everything I ever wanted. How can I be so lucky? Something bad has to happen, I don’t want to take any risks.”
So today, after my gorgeous man calmed my crazy mind and brought me gently into the present with the rocks and the trees and the flowing water, I heard Charlotte’s voice. Things since I met my man have been so magical, so wonderful, so much of what I have always wanted, that I have been waiting for the bubble to burst, for the delusion of initial love to crumble, for the practicalities and realities of everyday relationship and life to dent me all out of shape, as per usual. Somewhere in the background a little voice has been saying, we’re going to run out of money or time or passion for this. He’s going to lose interest sometime, surely, I mean its just me here. Now I have absolutely no evidence for that. He is so demonstrative, affectionate, expressive in both touch and words, there is no room for doubt about how he feels about me. Just like I always wanted.
It’s that feeling of having what you always wanted and not knowing exactly how to receive it. My dream had been of a man to share an adventurous, creative, nurturing life with, someone with whom I could feel both special and free. Someone who makes me laugh and lets me cry. Someone who could comfort my inner child and drive my grown-up self wild…in a good way! Someone who sees the whole of me, complete with the contradictions, and loves it all. Someone equally curious and positive and adventurous about life, the universe and everything. Guess what? I got all that!
Before meeting him there were years of getting some of these things and the ache of the absence of the rest that took my energy way down and I just couldn’t imagine that what I wanted was possible.
And then I met him. And there really was that hazy-edged moment where everything else faded away and all there was in the world was him and our connection, where I went whoa, something big is happening here.
Through it all we have both remained so crystal clear about our choice of each other. Nothing that we have found out about each other in the time I’ve been here has changed that. It just adds depth and layers and embroidery to our love story. That in itself is something to be so grateful for. Trust me, I’ve been through a few relationships where that hasn’t been the case. Where the misery and angst has been from the not-knowing, the lack of clear commitment to each other in whatever way that comes out. This is why I can watch Sex & the City and nod sagely. I know the roller coaster that was Carrie and Big before Paris. I’ve known Aidans, imagined Steves, experienced dating life in the city. I’ve related to all four of the girls at different times.
But t0day in the park it was Charlotte I was channelling. I felt the wonder of the realisation that I’ve got all I wanted, yet still not fully trusting it. Why is it so hard to trust something so good, when there is in fact no evidence to the contrary? What part of me was holding back from fully reveling in this? The part that doesn’t feel worthy, doesn’t feel I’m allowed?
There have been so many things that could have been difficult, that just haven’t been. He is African American and I’m a European New Zealander, but none in either of our families are any more racist than we are, no eyebrow raising here. He has a huge family. Surely one of them might have disliked me or vice versa, but no, we’ve all got on like a house on fire. He has a nearly-13 year old daughter. She could have done the stereotypical only-child-in-divorce thing and resented my entry into her father’s world, but no, she’s grateful that her father has finally ‘got a life’ so she can be left to do her own thing with her friends.
All in all it’s been a breeze…little things come up and we deal with them quickly. We’re grown-ups after all…both at a place where we know ourselves pretty well and know when its our stuff, not the others.
Could it be that the truth is, love can be easy rather than hard? I have dared to imagine that, while entrenched in drama in past relationships, but wondered if without the drama there would be no passion. But no, there’s plenty of passion here, fact is we have more energy for it because there is no drama.
There’s that phrase ‘shit happens’, and indeed it does. Shit has happened in my life for sure, as it does in everyone’s. Yes, and, another equal yet opposite reality in the world, is that wonderful things happen too. We never know when the next shit or wonderful thing is going to happen, so while the wonderful thing is happening I’m going to be present to it, revel in it, appreciate it, be grateful for it, and not worry about what happens next.
There are lots of logistics that me and my love need to go through to finally live in the same country together, but I’m not going to let that or doubts that are based on past experiences get to me.
Right here, right now, we have love. We both know it, we both feel it, we both want it and we both value it.
Today on that bridge, I couldn’t help but wonder, that maybe I’m allowed this after all.