I am a lover without a lover. I am lovely and lonely, and belong deeply to myself. — Warsan Shire
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We are dragonflies suspended in the morning air
Moving quickly back and forth and back and forth again
Transformed from our youth we rise above the shallow lake
shimmering too much in the dappled sunshine
We zigzag across the mirrored surface
searching for a soulmate
Mile after lonely mile
until at last we fly in tandem
Full of grace and shine and light
we start the magical process again.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
I don’t feel resentment toward the Dude because I didn’t do a damned thing I didn’t want to do. I didn’t lose or leave myself. Everything was fully and freely given on my end. I feel pure of heart. I have no regrets.
In my pain and powerlessness, my disappointment and self-doubt, I realized that among the myriad of emotions I was experiencing, I did not feel resentment. And yet, I knew that had I slept with the Dude and had he pulled away in the same way he did, I most certainly would have felt resentment. That got me thinking about the nature of resentment.
I decided that there is a way in which resentment is what you feel when you give up a part of yourself to another (typically unsaid by you, unagreed by the other) that you really don’t want to give up. But you do so in a bid to get the other person to do something you want them to do (and you’re not sure they will). Then, if that person doesn’t do what you wanted them to do, your reaction to their not doing so is resentment. Resentment arises as the result of a one-sided, tacit, failed tactic.
I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like that I wasn’t ready. I wished I were ready. I hated myself for not being ready. But I knew I wasn’t ready. If I had had sex with him, I would have felt resentment.
I decided to be bold and name it. I told the Dude that I was “all in” if it were to sit on a couch, watch TV and cuddle. But knowing such situations as I know such situations and knowing myself as I know myself, it would probably lead to sex. He asked what would be wrong with that? (When he did, he had a sweet tone of sincerity that I appreciated and admired.) I replied there was nothing in principle. Honestly, there was a part of myself that would have liked nothing more than to have sex with him. But in my case, it would be too much, too quickly. I countered with the possibility that if we wanted to shift gears and go down the casual road, then let’s do it. But we had both been moving past that in our lives and hoped for something more. His response was that if we had sex, it wouldn’t be casual. Still, the prospect felt overwhelming to my emotional circuitry. I was proud of myself for knowing what I wanted, and what I needed to make that happen.
I asked of this man that we do something other than eat on our date. That was hard, excruciating even, for me to do. It was not only making a desire of mine known, it was also admitting weakness and, in doing so, allowing myself to be deeply, dangerously seen.
The Dude and I communicated a lot while I was away, getting to know each other quite well. Personal histories: both divorced, both like movies, both interested in world religions, both committed to social justice, both considering leaving casual relationships behind in the hope for something more. We were excited about the prospect of finally meeting. As soon as I arrived back, we were planning for our first date.