I’ve never said anything of worth

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I’ve somehow arrived at a place where I know I must act.  I know how I got here too, and it’s been a long, long time coming.  I’ve bandied around with the concept of being more than friends with Him since the DAY that I met Him in March 1999.  Yes, 1999.  I’ve always said that He’s the perfect paper boyfriend – He’s smart, funny, gets me, cute, we have a good time, He’d be a good partner, a good father….on paper He was perfect.  But there was something holding me back.  I guess I never felt the za za zu, as Carrie says.  And the younger me was looking for some earth shattering revelation.

Instead, I wasted my time, effort and emotions on boys who were unworthy.  I’m telling myself that the timing was never right for us.  That I had to live through those experiences before I could realize that He is everything I’m looking for.

Oh my god, I didn’t realize that until I just wrote it.  Oh god.  This is bigger than I thought.

I think a part of me was looking for perfection.  Someone who had EXACTLY everything I was looking for, in the ways I was looking for it.  I now realize that just as I am not perfect, neither will be the one I choose.  And because I was looking for perfection, I’ve dismissed guys based on things that in the light of this new revelation, don’t matter.

After college He moved back home, and I stayed in Buffalo.  Then He moved south and I moved to Belfast.  We were never in the same place at the same time.  But now I live in NYC and He’s moved back to the place He grew up and we’re back to being in the same time zone and state. 

I’m not sure that the feelings I had for Him ever went away, in fact, I know they didn’t.  They simply laid dormant.  These past few months the feelings have grown, and after my Ireland experience, they’re front and center and I cannot ignore them anything longer [it’s been 8 years, I know, sometimes it takes me awhile].

Now that I know what I have to do, I feel like all the words I’ve ever spoken in my life have been white noise.  Nothing has ever been more important or held more weight than what I have to say to Him.  I know that I overanalyze everything; I’m a thinker, a planner.  But this can’t be thought through, this is action based and I’m in unfamiliar ground.

As a child my father told me, feet first, first time — never dive into the lake, first test the waters with your feet.  I’ve always lived my life that way.

All I know boils down to this — I’ve lived my life and taken many chances, but nothing I have ever done has held the weight of importance than this does.  So I’m going to eliminate the white noise and welcome the calm clarity of an open heart. This time I’m jumping headfirst.

End of 2007 Part 2 — Ireland

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This part of the story begins after Christmas, after flying from Buffalo to Boston, Boston to Dublin, and arriving at 2 am EST. 

I arrive in Dublin after a 15 hour journey that included a very small amount of sleep, but lucky for me the seat next to me on the plane was empty so I was able to ‘stretch’ out a little bit.  I boarded the AirCoach to Dublin, only knowing I was to get off at the “Merrion Road” stop across from the “RDS”.  After around 40 minutes the bus driver told me my stop arrived, although I was might suspicious.  Where’s the RDS? I asked.  Oh, around the corner, he said.  Hmm, I thought, not what I was told earlier.  So I get off the bus and stand there for a moment.  I walk to the AirCoach sign where I see he’s dropped me off at the the stop AFTER Merrion Road.  Great.  It’s 6 am Dublin time, 1 am NY time and I have no idea where I am. 

So I take a deep breath and start walking.  I’m smart and resourceful I tell myself.  Sure enough, after walking around the area I find the RDS and find the stop I should have been left at originally.  Moments later, Allison arrives! Yea!  I’m completely knackered and after we arrive at her flat and chat for a bit, I go right to sleep.  USAir had neglected to connect my luggage in Boston, so we had to wait around until around noon for Aer Lingus to deliver my luggage, which was fine by me because frankly I was exhausted. 

I shower, and we head into Dublin!  Dublin is just as I remember it, and yet smaller.  It’s raining [surprise!] and I somehow didn’t think it was necessary to bring an umbrella [dumb dumb].

My goal for this trip was to hang out with Allison in Dublin, visit Belfast and the old campus and meet up with some of the people I had gone to school with there — Joanne, Linda, Stephen and perchance a fella named Jody.  Joanne, Linda, and Stephen had lived with me and next door to me at the University of Ulster.  Jody also went to school there, but we had never met.  Long story short, he’d seen a youtube video I’d made about Uni of Ulster and we emailed back and forth for about 6 months, only to abruptly stop hearing from him in September.  Armed with his number and undecided as to whether or not to call, I decide to do just that.  Why not? I figured.  When will I ever be in this vacinity again? 

Friday, Allison and I went to go see some Irish theater by means of a musical called The Gruffalo, a childrens book turned theater piece.  While it was certainly entertaining, I felt far, far away from Broadway…. let’s just say the entertaining part came from observing things such as the sweat stain on the KNEE of one of the actors, then watching the sweat appear on his back, his stomach, his armpits.  Man! Could he sweat!  Now that’s entertainment!

Post theatre, I borrow Allison’s phone and call Jody.  I leave a voicemail detailing my plans to arrive in Belfast the next day and was he free for a drink? The surprising part to all this is how much of a non-deal it was.  It should have been strange, calling someone I’ve never met, someone I’ve only exchanged emails and texts with, someone whose voice I’ve only heard from voicemails left on my own phone…but it wasn’t.  Later that day he text back, great to hear from you! we definitely should get together for a wee drink tomorrow night, merry christmas, see you tomorrow.

Hmm, I thought.  I actually wasn’t expecting to hear from him.  Allison and get drinks in the city centre that evening and Sat morning catch the train to Belfast. About an hour out from Belfast Jody returns a call I made to him earlier and for the first time, we actually talk.  His family is in from England, so he has to have dinner with them, but he’s goign to be coming into Belfast tonight so we’ll meet up for drinks.  And even though I’m talking to someone I’ve never met, again, it’s not weird.  Maybe six months of daily/weekly emails allow you that, I dont know.  But either way, it was remarkable to me how easy it was.  We say goodbye and Allison and I go about our business.

Belfast is tiny!  How can it be called a city? My only thought is that I lived there before moving to New York City and frankly, everything is bound to feel small after living here.  You can walk the city centre in less than 20 minutes and there’s seriously nothing going on.  We hop the train out to Jordanstown and I can’t help but feel slightly haunted by my past.  The campus is still there, but I’m not.  My life has moved on and I can’t help but be satisfied with what I”ve done since I left it.  We watch the sunset from the across the Belfast Lough and somewhere inside I know that the sunset is mirroring apart of my life coming to a close.

We head back to Belfast, check in at our hostel and grab some dinner….

And here’s where the Jody story ends.  He stands me up.  I’ve never been stood up in my life.  Ever.  Because frankly, I don’t have people in my life that would treat another human that way.  After being more than slightly annoyed, Allison says something spot on.  It’s not that he’s an asshole, it’s merely that he’s just a guy.  There’s nothing special about him in the least.  Whatever his lame reasons are for not showing, it all boils down to the fact that he’s simply a mediocre human being.  And she’s right.  So with that, another sunset in my life.  

I couldn’t help but think as the train pulled away from Belfast to Dublin that I would never return.  I’ve lived there, I’ve visited post-graduation, and now there were no more ghosts to confront.  Belfast remains completely engrained in my past, a thread in the quilt of who I am and who I’ll be.

The same feeling washed over me as my plane left Dublin…..whenever would I return?  There’s little I haven’t seen on the island, and with so many other places in the world to vist — why would I come back?

It was great to be back in Dublin, to visit Belfast and Jordanstown but it really felt a bit like chasing the mist.  In the light of the whole being stood up thing, I couldn’t help but think of someone else in my life back home…..someone who would never do something like that.   I think that I’ve been missing what’s been right under my nose.

This realization coupled with 1) having the balls to give Josh my card  and 2) having the balls to actually call Jody hammered home the point, phase two of the transformation had taken place.  

Unfortunately, I haven’t completed phase 3.  Phase 3 involves having the balls to actually tell this guy I think of him as more than a friend.  And while I feel strengthened by my recent experiences, I’m waivering on this point.  Oh, the awkwardness of telling a friend that you want to be more than friends!

So here’s to 2008 and the possibilities she presents!

End of 2007 Part 1 — Heading to Buffalo

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This story begins at the beginning.  I left my place of employment at 2:30 on Friday, the 21st of December and embarked upon a 12 day adventure that, as cheesy as it sounds, changed me.

Back in September I had decided it was a good idea to take the train to Buffalo for Christmas.  I’d save money and avoid the airport.  Flying takes 6 hours, 8 hours on the train couldn’t be that bad, could it?  Oh yes, it can.  At one point in the journey, I text The Boy (see previous entries) to say, taking the train had been a bad idea, and please wouldn’t he remind of me that next year when I thought about making travel plans?

Right from the gate, the train was delayed by 45 minutes.  There were so many people in Penn Station that I didn’t go 5 minutes without someone crashing into me.

I boarded and even though I thought I might be able to travel at least a little while with no one next to me, I was mistaken.  An old lady that smelled of moth balls and licorice sat besides me, and fortunately didn’t care to converse.  I watched Starter for 10 on my laptop and admired James McAvoy and all his Scottish boy next door charm.

Old Lady got up at one point and disappeared for hours; I thought perhaps she had gotten off the train.  Around Utica, a bunch of new passengers got on, and out of the corner of my eye, I looked at the people that had the possibility of sitting next to me.  First, old lady #2, and behind her, Cute Boy #1.  Please, I thought, let him be the one to sit next to me!  The gods were on my side. 

Clue #1 Cute Boy was also a Nice Boy — “Is it alright if I sit with you?”  Not, is this seat taken? or is anyone sitting here?  But was it alright if he sat with me?  “Sure!”, I replied.  By this point we were 2 hours behind schedule and the railway car was approximately 95 to 100 degrees.  It was tropical and I wanted to take my shirt off.  Not the perfect environment to start flirting.

He started chatting with me, and I discovered his name was Josh, he went to Yale and studied music – the performance kind, not the teaching kind.  It was after 10 pm at that point and he soon fell asleep watching Elf.  Gone was the smell of moth balls and licorice, replaced with the smell of fresh laundry.  I couldn’t believe my luck. 

Josh was tall, and his body type was Vince Vaughn-esque.  With blond hair, blue eyes and lips that would make LL Cool J jealous, I really wanted to strike up a conversation with him.  At one point I was leaning forward to stretch and noticed what looked like a Bible in the pocket in the chair in front of him.  You may think that something like that would either go unnoticed or be strange to many a person.  But I am not many a person, I am the type of girl who actually has their interest piqued when seeing something like that.  A Christian!  Trust me; a good Christian boy in his late 20s is NOT easy to come by.  Add in the fact that he smelled wonderful?  I was hooked.

It wasn’t until before Rochester, NY (about 1 hour away from Buffalo) that I took a brief moment of him waking to strike up a conversation.  He was in his masters program, he had a few auditions in symphonies across the country in the spring.  He grew up in a small town in Missouri and really missed his family; he had a ‘gal’.  I talked about getting my masters abroad, he had never been.  Couldn’t take a break from playing his horn, he said – it would take him weeks to get back to the point he was at.

I asked about his undergraduate studies, and here’s the clincher – he went to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester…..he felt the Lord had led him there.  I know it sounds strange to those who may not have grown up with the religion I have…but like I said before, meeting a good Christian boy in his late 20s is hard to do.  Most get married right out of the gate.  I’m guessing it’s the whole sex thing.  He had sealed the deal with that comment.  And the whole time we’re talking, Buffalo is getting closer and closer and I really wasn’t ready to leave him.  At Buffalo I get up, start gathering my things and plunge my hand into my purse, fumbling around.

I pull out my business card and say, “if you’re ever in New York, let me know.  Maybe we can grab a drink.”  I hand it to him; a look of surprise on his face.  I don’t ever expect to hear or see Josh from Missouri ever again, but the simple act of giving him my card was a milestone for me.  I’m not normally 1) that decisive and 2) that forward. 

I disembarked the train feeling good about the situation.  Even though I didnt know it, phase one of my transformation had just taken place.