Years ago, in the middle of an argument about nothing, a partner put it best “You make it impossible to feel anything but success, happiness, sadness, and anger. That’s it, nothing more.” And while I’m sure they hoped their comment would make me pause to reflect on the full range of emotion I’d cut myself off from feeling – you know, the wallowing with your friend when something goes sideways, the sense of recurring abandonment after a break up, the embarrassment when you’ve said something slightly off-color – it made me redouble my efforts to wall myself off.
I’m complicated. I’m special and unique and no one knows my ‘real’ struggle because I am strong and elusive and smart.
That’s the story I write for myself every single day and it has worked for me pretty damn well. I grew up in a single parent household three times, worked three jobs in high school, moved out when my friends were going to parties but none of that matters now. Right? I mean, look at me – I’m a successful professional with the best friends and community anyone could ever wish for so nothing else could possibly matter.
I’ve drawn my strength from separating myself from the people around me, driven by a need to feel better than, to assert myself as the best and brightest, the guy who could get anything done.
I built myself an island.
Back in April I was a nominee for Sacramento’s Most Eligible Bachelor and my friend Kelly asked me honestly;
“what are you about? what’s your story? what do you do?”
Well…(and I’ll spare you all here but it was a lot.)
“That’s why you’re single!”
I was FLOORED.
Why? What? Please tell me. She started…dude, you’ve got a lot of stuff happening. You don’t have time for a person. I said so many (not nice) words but she stood there and said, once you make time, something different will happen.
Ummm. Do your thing girl but it’s probably not what I’m trying.
After a few weeks I started to feel Kelly’s realness as reality. How could I actually create an existence where someone and I could be a thing? Together. What would more space look like? I didn’t have an answer.
I made a list because I’m really good at tasking the crap out of everything. But this wasn’t a list of things to do – it was a list of qualities I was seeking in a partner and on the other side, what would I need to give up? How could I realistically make space? I got real with myself and followed through.
This authentic, real, grounded, HILARIOUS manifestation of a person made her way to me. Our time together is a force to be reckoned with. We’re both smart, witty, intensely focused on making shit happen, and just…yes. We can spend a whole day together and never run out of things to say.
Because we talk a lot.
Last night I came into a larger realization of how ‘all in’ I am. Her birthday is in a couple weeks and she’s going to New York City for the first time on what undoubtedly will be a whirlwind tour. Fourteen hours to experience the city.
I have no witty or funny way to say this – I bought a ticket to join this wild ride. Fourteen hours. I’m not generally an impulsive person but this just feels right – to gallivant around an amazing city with the person who just seems to get you – I choose yes.
So consider this your Public Service Announcement – look out. No one knows what happens when you put two “Type A” people with enormous energy, heart, and ability to get shit done together. Approach with caution. (Well not really, we’re both really friendly and love people.)
So I’m complicated, unique, and all those other things I’ve told myself but here’s the thing – people will understand when you let them in. If you commit to living with your whole heart, to being authentic, and to cutting the bullshit to get to the real shit.