I am starting to wonder. The other day I was talking to a colleague about dating and she said, “Why would someone want to date you?”. She wasn’t referring directly to me. She was citing a radio personality who was telling a story about a young lady in the dating world. The young woman was complaining about the shortage of men or the quality of men, and her mother questioned her. Her mother asked, “Well, why would any guy want to date you?”.
This question has haunted me since the asking. Why would any guy want to date me? I divorced my husband because I was unhappy. I have tentatively entered the dating world only to find it tumultuous and sad, and my self-esteem has been struggling ever since, and now I am pondering this question.
Part of me is angry. I have spent a large portion of the last three years trying to pick myself up. I have struggled with my self-esteem. I have constantly questioned my self-worth, and now I ignorantly believed that finding the right guy rested solely on there being a “good, right guy.” Here I have an entirely different ball of wax to consider. Perhaps I won’t be good enough for this right guy. It feels too good to my ego. It feels to good to that little voice inside my head. “Yes, that’s right,” it says. “Who do you think you are?” This makes me question its validity. This makes me want to fight against it, but…
I am struggling not to get any lower. I felt for just a few minutes like I was rising up. Now I am just not so sure.
“Why would anyone want to date me?”
In this world there are an amazing and never ending supply of circumstances that leave me confident that there is more. What do I mean by this? More is such a general term and can be used so wrongly. Here is exactly what I mean. More than what I can see with my eyes, hear with my ears, feel with my hands, with my heart. The intangible guts of life that tangle all around us every day. This electrifying murmuring, the undercurrent that flows beneath the surface of all of these pictures and emotions. I feel the path now under my feet in a way that I never have before. Can you feel it? Have you ever?
Have you ever made a choice that created an inaudible click in your mind, and you knew you had just altered something? I have. I have felt the snap of a right decision. It is not always immediate. I think it is often better when it isn’t. The choice then stays suspended in life, waiting to see how it plays out. This is why life is so much more than what it seems. If I listen, placing my ear to my heartbeat, I can feel it. The excitement and the charge of life as it careens through this time and our existence. I can feel it in you. The Empath part of me allows this strange connection that repeatedly allows me to know that the beat that runs through me runs through you. The same anger, the same love, the same multitudes. So if you suspend any disbelief and allow the truth to take hold for just a moment, ask yourself, “Is it here? Can I feel it?” And see what answers you get…
My meditation class meets every Sunday. It is a really beautiful mix of women. We are so different, but when they speak about their supposed failings and short comings, I see myself in their stories and their words.
One woman suffered a miscarriage last year and is now newly pregnant, but she can’t help but criticize her body’s appearance now that she is starting to show. Another woman’s husband left her and she is dealing with trying to tell her son and moving into her own apartment. There are ten of us, and we sit in the cream colored room of our instructor. The large window overlooks a park, and when the windows are cracked, you can hear the traffic noises and laughter of children. Our teacher talks to us about some salient topic that needs to be discussed. We listen, ask questions, take notes. When this is finished, we meditate and then discuss.
This week our topic was desire. At this point, I just want you to know I do not take any credit for the following ideas. They are a mishmash of pertinent points that I can recall. First, desire is apparently part of your ego. It causes us to want and grasp at things. This wanting and grasping becomes a thing in itself, and we are fueled by desire and believe that it can be satiated. Our egos would have us believe that this is possible. The Buddhists as well as other enlightened beings say otherwise. Desire is used by the ego to keep our minds busy and create suffering. We become unhappy when we do not get what we desire. When we do get what we desire, we create a never ending cycle. The desire fulfilled, we move on to the next object and the next and the next. This happens because it is not truly the object we want. We want the emotional high that is derived from getting that which we desire. For that emotion to continue, it must be fed. Desire creates the hunger that feeds the ego again and again.
I went home that night thinking about this concept. My own desires are many. They are powerful. That night I am on the couch dreaming about buying a new pair of boots. I need a pair of black boots, I think. I start to search through websites for affordable boots when I pause. This is it. This is desire. At this moment I made a choice. I was going to sit with this emotion. I would not judge it or myself for feeling it. I would allow myself the choice to still purchase the boots if I wanted to when all was said and done. So I sat and I allowed the desire to flood over me. I did not give it a story. I merely sat with the feeling. After a few minutes, I felt like I was stepping back. My desire seemed to me a large hamster wheel twirling in front of me. What a powerful feeling this is over something that is not even tangibly in front of me, I thought. What is that about? So I sat with those questions and no answer for a bit. Then I saw the hamster wheel begin to slow, and suddenly I realized that the whirling wheel appeared solid when it was moving, but now I could see the spaces between the bars. Yes, there was space. Glorious space all around the desire and I felt it all slowly dissipate. The desire was not about the boots at all. I knew suddenly that what was creating that feeling would not be dissuaded by a tall, black pair of boots.
This moment of clarity left me feeling tired and a bit stripped away. I felt like a piece of the illusion had been lifted. If all of this is true, then all must be connected and none of this is real.
Love seems like such an elusive thing to so many. I counted myself among those who chased love for most of my life. As an Empath, I can feel love in everyone around me. It radiates through people at different times, and if I focus on them long enough, I can feel it coursing through them in some capacity. Perhaps it is a love for a child or love for a spouse or even love for a drug or possession. But if I search and focus long enough, I can feel this distinguished bit. It is like a warm light that is in the center of us. It is what keeps me from being angry and negative with those around me. It keeps me from repeating the words of one of my coworkers who repeatedly says, “I hate people.” I am emotionally unable to truly hate people. I’ve read that so many Empaths become recluses. They stow away from others because they cannot deal with their emotions, but it does not have to be that way. You can search below the conditioned emotions and feel the true source of life and know why you are so blessed to be able to do this. It is an incredible gift. My conditioned self, and by this I mean the myriad of immediate emotional responses I have to any given situation, will react and will often want to hide, but with a bit of quiet self-reflection, I can pull into myself and find grounding.
I advise this for everyone. Look at others and see the light and love. If you are an Empath and struggle with the ability to see and feel the emotions of others, have strength and know that there is so much more. I, too, struggle and have struggled, but the light from others is bright and warm, you just need to open up to receive it.
What is forgiveness? It is a question I ask my tenth graders as we read through our most recent novels. In its most simplistic form it is an act of bestowing a pardon upon another for a wrong doing. Something that sounds so easy translates into an action that feels neither natural nor inclined. This brings me to today.
My sons and I are finally moving out of the house. My ex-husband is staying. We are going. I watch as my son’s eyes fill with tears as I once again explain that we are leaving but Daddy is staying here. He knows the word divorce; he understands the concept, but now he has to live it. My heart breaks for him. My mind begins to spin and wonder. Can I undo all of this? Can I forgive and go back and stay? My gut cries out and begs me to understand that I had to divorce him. To live, it seems to say. You needed to divorce him so you could live. I hope that someday my sons are able to see it that way.
As I push the dirty clothes into the washing machine, an action I have done over and over again, I wonder why I can’t forgive him. His past actions were deceitful, careless, thoughtless, and wrong. He never beat me or said a cruel word just to hurt me. He did not cheat on me or stay out all night and make me wonder if he were still alive. He did not steal away and spend all of our money on drugs or gambling. If these are not the transgression, are they terrible enough for there to be a divorce? For better or for worse, I think. I couldn’t do it. I said those words in the presence of a pastor, of our families. I clutched my hands in his and smiled into his eyes and said those words, believing at the time that they were true. Now I find that I can’t forgive. Two years of marriage counseling, countless begging for him to change and grow up, losing my hair from the stress of supporting our family in every way, and I cannot forgive him. I search my insides for where a feeling of forgiveness could hide. Which chakra contains the spider-web thin strand that will allow me to ravel back my life that I have tossed aside? I come up empty handed. If forgiveness is a choice, I cannot step on that path. I can continue to try and perhaps one day I will be ready.
As an empathy can I feel his pain. I understand why he did what he did, and I know that he can only be what is in his sphere to be. I can sit next to him on our couch, soon to be only his couch, and know that his need for me is almost palpable, but I cannot forgive, not yet, maybe never. Forgiveness in this case is even too much for me. It seems to me that it will erase I board that I find all to comforting to read. This are the reasons I had to do this. I peruse the list over and over again to remind myself of why I needed to leave. This is the only thing that eases the guilt. It is the only thing that allows me to brush away my son’s tears and promise him that it will be ok and that we will get through this together. He smiles and hugs his small stuffed puppy close to his body. I silently pray that the older man he becomes will forgive me for my choices.