Friending

I think I might be getting stood up, or ghosted, or dismissed — all at once. It hurts. It feels like someone used me for his benefit, took what I was willing to give, and left when something new came along, or when he got tired, or when his phone died.

His behavior is so mercurial it’s hard to tell what is going on — a true Gemini. Too often I revert back to thinking there must be something wrong with me — something I said, something I did — to make him drift away. But I’m learning to catch myself. I am catching myself more often.

Less than 6 hours ago he asked if we can meet at 7:30 after I asked if we could meet for a drink. My goal for this meeting was to make it the last, to tell him I don’t feel like we are on the same page and that I would rather be friends, but now it is 10 minutes away from 7:30 and I have not heard back from him about where to meet.

Oh. He just texted. To tell me he’s running late. I guess I will have the opportunity to have this conversation after all. I guess we will see how it goes.

I don’t like feeling like this. I don’t want to be with a man who makes me feel like this. I want someone who makes me feel loved, protected, like I’m special to him, like he thinks about me, like he cares about my feelings and my wellbeing — including as it relates to his treatment of me.

***LATER***

I feel proud of myself. I feel free.

I listened to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on the way over. Specifically, the combo of “Ex-Factor” (inspiration via Drake’s “Nice For What”) and “Doo Wop” made everything very clear. Not easy, but clear.

The first lyrics that struck me:

Tell me, who I have to be

To get some reciprocity

-and-

Is this just a silly game

That forces you to act this way?

Forces you to scream my name

Then pretend that you can’t stay

Lauryn’s genius, never to leave an emotional truth uncovered, even had some wisdom in relation to my ex, because he’s been sneaking into my mind lately (yesterday, I was convinced that I saw him on my street helping a woman with her bike; something told me to look at Instagram, where I saw that he made his account private, and purged me from his followers). Thankfully, Lauryn had some words to remind me of that relationship:

And when I try to walk away

You’d hurt yourself to make me stay

This is crazy, this is crazy

Those lines will always remind me of him.

Anyway, back to the meet-up at hand. Lauryn wasn’t done telling me the truth about where I knew this ‘relationship’ was headed, and it was clear where I did not want to end up:

I keep letting you back in

How can I explain myself?

I don’t want to keep explaining myself to myself. I know how I have been feeling – insecure, not considered, one of many options. But that is not who I am.

Then “Doo Wop” came on:

Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem

Baby girl, respect is only a minimum

And the realest of it all:

It’s been three weeks since you were looking for your friend

The one you let hit it and never called you again

‘Member when he told you he was ’bout the Benjamins?

You act like you aint hear him, then give him a little trim

To begin, how you think you’re really gonna pretend

Like you wasn’t down and you called him again?

So, Lauryn helped get my mind right before the meet-up. She spoke to what I was feeling, and instead of ignoring my intuition and her wisdom, I listened.

I sat at the bar where he was sitting; he hugged me, smiling his dimpley smile. I calmly ordered my go-to bourbon cocktail, and I told him what I needed to say, with an eloquence that surprised me. I said I didn’t feel like the interest and effort I was putting out was being reciprocated, and I thought we should continue as friends if we are going to be on different wavelengths as we proceed in the relationship. I told him I like him, and I didn’t want to end up too deep without him there with me.

I said all of this in a soft, vulnerable voice, because that’s how I felt. He thought for a second, quietly, contemplating. He said I was right about him not being in an emotional place to proceed, to which I nodded and said I could sense that, to which he smiled that dimpley smile and said, “You can?” He grinned a while longer, amused, seemingly unsurprised that I had picked up on his energy.

He said it was very adult, what I was saying – I said I just want to protect my heart.

He asked if we could still be friends, to which I said yes. He joked later when I paid my part of the tab, “Is this how it’s going to be as friends now?” I grinned, and paid.

We bumbled on drinking our drinks, partially awkward, partially like nothing had happened. We brainstormed about his co-op idea, which I love, and we still managed to smile a lot, as we do around each other.

Although it was a downer, the whole interaction was surprisingly sweet. He walked me home, and on the way I was looking for Venus, which is in conjunction with the moon tonight. He told me his friend did an astrology reading for him earlier; she told him he would encounter an unexpected Venus.

I looked away and pointed near the moon, saying, “Well, there she is,” with a smile. We laughed.

We know I am Venus.

As we walked, a woman stopped to ask me where I got my hair done, “because it looks so good.” We chatted for a bit, about how I do my own hair because I don’t really know where to get natural hair done around here.

His barber was inside the shop we were stopped in front of. He went in to say hi, and by the time I said goodbye to the woman and turned toward him, he was standing, leaning on the wall, listening and smiling.

We walked the rest of the way home, smiling, talking. We hugged goodbye, like friends do.

Now I’m home, writing this, and I feel proud of myself. Even though I feel a little low, the way I protected myself, stood up for myself, and valued myself makes me proud.

And now I’m listening to “The Boys of Summer.” It feels right. Comforting.  

 

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