What is a Blog? The definition that makes most sense to me is an online journal. While most people hide their deep inner thoughts and feelings, I write them down and post them for all to see on the web. My blogs are very personal. Most include humor, but all posts come from my life’s journey. Experiences, goals, failures, successes, pain, fear, realizations, happiness, irony, beliefs and sadness shape what I write about each week. I have been debating writing about this topic, because it’s a struggle that I have been facing for almost a year. But understanding the power of sharing your story, I feel a strong pull to put it out in the universe, because I know that I am not the only one faced with this battle.
Since I started dating in high school, I have always been in a relationship… a couple, a pair, a set, double-act, two-some, plus one, or a two of a kind. I understand that we as humans are very social creatures and in fact, need others to survive, but why? I grew up in the romantic comedy 80’s and believed that falling in love with your soul mate was the ultimate challenge. Once you found this person to love, you would be complete and the two of you would live happily ever after in a beautiful dollhouse, white picket fence, 2.5 children and a golden retriever to boot (please don’t take that phrase literal… there’s no need to boot your family pet).
But now that I am all grown-up, I have learned one of life’s hard lessons…. Sometimes love isn’t enough. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, without communication, appreciation, acceptance, compromise, respect, empathy and patience, the dollhouse will fall apart, your 2.5 children will rebel and the dog will run away. Then it will just be you alone, trying to pick up the pieces and wonder where it all went wrong.
Without going into too much detail, this was my life last August. I thought that if I could show someone love, they would in return give me what I felt that I needed. But what is love? Each of us, have our own views on what the word means, but the definition is fleeting and in a constant state of flux. Although I had been hurt and neglected by someone I truly adored, I know deep down inside that I still love him. But that isn’t enough.
Faced with the fear of being alone and living with Parkinson’s, was super scary. My first mistake was to put my toe in the dating pool. I wanted to know how I would tell people that I had a degenerative disease, so trying to find the most efficient use of my time…. I tried speed dating. As I met 13 men in 90 minutes, I spouted out my best sales pitch of how I‘m an amazing specimen, with freakishly beautiful hair and a mild, but controlled addiction to Fro Yo. Oh, and then I would quietly slip in that I have a neurological disease that has no cure, which will impact my life and all the people in it.
I got two responses that evening, one being, “You are so brave and inspiring” and the second being a long drawn out “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, ok”. Needless to say, no one requested my presence on a follow-up date. So then I tried a dating application on my iphone that a friend recommended to me. I played around with it for a few days and met a funny, sweet man who lived an hour away from me. Not wanting anything serious, because of my fear, we agreed to be friends and just enjoy each other’s company. He made me laugh and smile, which felt good because I started feeling like myself again.
But as time went by, I started deconstructing him and his so-called flaws. The things that used to make me laugh, were now old, tiring and predictable. The time we spend together lost its magic and I found myself feeling like I deserved more than he could give. But how do I tell him? He wasn’t doing anything wrong…. It just didn’t feel like a right fit. So I decided to have“the talk”. You know the one where you say, “it’s not you… it’s me.” I thought I had this all worked out when he says, “You’re not a walk in the park either.”
Uhhhhhh, excusez-moi? He continued to detail that I was, “bitchy, cold, moody, a roller coaster of emotions, and sometimes aloof”. I am thinking in my head, “This guy is way off…. I am pretty close to perfect”. Then I have my “A-HA” moment. When I get smacked upside the face by reality. I’M NOT PERFECT!
Every hour during the day, due to my Parkinson’s, my mood and physical state vary dramatically. I can be bitchy and aloof. Sometimes I am vulnerable, other times mildly narcissistic. I can be hot one minute and freezing the next. At times I can talk so fast, I am hardly audible, but then I can also be so slow that words don’t come to mind with ease. Holy crap! I am not as splendid as I believed, in fact, I sound absolutely draining!
I was so focused on what I don’t like about another person that I didn’t stop for a moment and hold myself accountable for what I am bringing to the table of life. I have never been alone. I used my relationships and marriages as a way to distract myself from how my health was impacting those I love. Maybe time alone is what I need to discover who I am as an individual and only then can I truly be healthy partner to someone’s plus one.