A short poem about the fear of falling in love.
How to date when you cant relate. An open exploration of our current dating paradigm.
This is the second post in my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn about the challenge or explore the other posts in this series.
I’m not very good at love…
Actually, I’ve destroyed every relationship I’ve ever been in.
The biggest trophy in my case of fuck-ups came from a four year relationship that ended in divorce. But I’m over it, or at least that’s what I tell people.
The truth is, that when you truly love someone (at least in my jaded perspective) you give them a part of your soul. You give them a small piece of yourself that you will never get back. And the pain that comes from having that person rip it from you and run away with it forever is one that will never fully fade away. You can simply hope to get better at living with a little less of yourself inside.
I was heartbroken for a long time after my divorce. Unable to let others in. Unable to let anyone love me because I hated myself.
Over time, my heart grew cold. I slowly became jaded, callous and cynical. There seemed to be a process of petrification that was consuming my heart and soul from the inside out.
I have only had one relationship with any ounce of importance since then, a relationship that showed me that there might be a chance for me to love again. A relationship that probably never would have worked, but one that felt right in the moment. A fate I’ll never know because I walked away from it to chase my dreams. The same dream that leaves me here in front of you. Alone.
I have however, recently seen a few holes in the armor that protects my heart. There have been a few moments where I have allowed the thought of being that happy again to cross my mind. But only for a split second. Then I slam the shit out of that door and tell myself that “there is no time for a distraction right now!” I tell myself that I must get it right this time and that there is no more room for failure! Definitely no time for women! Only work, art and self hate.
But that’s not true. If there is one thing I should be making time for in my life right now, it’s love. Not necessarily with someone of the opposite sex, but for myself. And it’s that thought process that leads me to remember that at the beginning of this year I made a single resolution. It was not to lose weight, it was not to get into better shape, make more money, buy a nice car or anything like that. My resolution was simple. Learn how to love.
I wanted to learn how to love myself again so that others might have a chance at actually loving me. Because if I learned one thing from all of those failed relationships in the past, it’s that I must be true to myself in order to expect someone to be true to me.
But being true has been hard. Being true in the life of me can be quite scary. The thoughts on this website have cost me more than $150,000 dollars in consulting work over the last two years and being this open, especially about my personal life, makes it very hard for me to date.
Not to mention that I’m a tough person to get along with for any length of time. I am stubborn, sarcastic, prideful and I like to talk shit. Over time I wear people down, just like I wear myself down. Eventually they just get tired of it. Tired of me.
I’ve lived with myself and the harshness for a long time now so I know how to handle it when I get too aggressive. Something that is not as easy for others to do. Especially with any regularity.
— Raymmar Tirado (@RayTirado) March 6, 2015
They do not understand that it is the only way I know how to be. That those moments of loud assholery are me trying to communicate with them and not knowing how to do it any other way. It’s like some sick twisted joke I play on myself. “Let’s see how fast you can scare this one away Raymmar!”
But I’ve gotten tired of it. Tired of myself.
This was the year I wanted to change all that. I wanted to try and understand others better. I wanted to be more empathetic and emotionally available. But it has been a hard transition. And I have to admit that I have not been doing a very good job of living up to that resolution.
But then I met her.
She absolutely baffles me. She is more beautiful than I deserve and she makes me laugh. I can be honest with her and she has even seen some of my darkness and still came back for seconds. I think it might be the main reason we could work. Because our pains have connected.
I can feel an energy on her that is the same energy that I have lived with for so long. The hatred that comes from being betrayed by your closest friend. The energy that comes from holding it all in. From never letting anyone see you for who you really are. The pain that comes with hiding from yourself. Form your emotions. From pretending to be stronger than you are.
I know that pain. I don’t know the specifics of her pain, but I want to. I want to know everything about her. The good and the bad. Because if I am going to learn how to love again, I have to be willing to lose again. Because that is what I would want someone to want from me. Because I am only interested in someone who can see the darkness inside of me and still chose to stay. And what better way to get what you want in this world than to let someone know that you’re looking for it.
So yeah, she slept over last night, but we didn’t have sex. And honestly, I’m ok with that.
I’ll be ok with that for as long as it takes to find out whatever it is that we need to find out about each other before we are open to taking that next step. Before we find out where the next turn leads in the early stages of whatever this dance we are doing might be. Until we can communicate about what we want from each other and from ourselves. And until that moment comes and neither of us hesitates.
In this episode of RayDO uncensored:
Arturo Santos Jr., author of a the book “All Out For Love,” joins us in studio as we discuss going all out to keep the people that we love in our loves and the stories of falling flat on our faces along the way.
In his new book Arturo takes on his quest to win back a lost lover after almost a year of being apart. We dissect the motives behind the book, real-life romantic strategy and I prod Arturo to try and get him to spoil the ending of his book.
I didn’t just want to have him on the show to sell his book, so we dive deep in to our personal philosophies on love and relationships in general. We expose some of our personal experiences and I talk about my painful divorce and where it has left me in the world of women.
We dive into both of our romantic pasts as we dissect what it takes to fall in love, be in love and stay in love. Something I am not sure I actually have a grasp on so honestly, proceed with caution. We’re just a couple of deep thinkers breaking down our own relationships and talking about what we think it means to go all out for love.
Resources mentioned in this podcast
- Arturo’s Book: All Out For Love
- What Is Love? The first poem I read in the podcast
- The Breakup – Poem I read at the end of podcast
You Never Know Where A Friendly Gesture Might Lead You
“This is my favorite part” I said sarcastically to the redhead in front of me as we grabbed our belts, shoes and other miscellaneous belongings from the trays that run through the x-ray scanners at the airport security check point.
It was something I might have said to anyone in front of me in the same situation, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t noticed her seconds earlier as she went through the body scanner before me. I guess you could say that this was my comedic attempt at pre-flight flirting.
She was stunningly beautiful. She was wearing a tight white shirt that left little of her figure to the imagination, had a brilliantly red head of hair, and a smile that snatched my gaze as if there was nothing else in the entire airport worth looking at.
“Oh yeah, I wish I could do this every day…” I continued, flirting casually while collecting my belongings.
The encounter was brief, nothing out of the ordinary. We were at an airport after all. The Reagan International Airport in Washington DC. I was headed back to Florida and as far as I knew, she was heading to some far off land, never to be seen again.
After the brief exchange I walked towards the gate, not even paying attention to which way she went.
I didn’t think much of it at the time. Just a little playful banter with a random stranger. A little airport humor to lighten up the all too intrusive process of the pre-flight screening.
We Meet Again
As I waited to board the plane, I noticed that she was standing right behind me.
Pleasantly surprised to see her again I said hi and introduced myself formally.
As we walked down the aisle of the airplane I noticed that she was still right behind me. I know because I kept looking back and checking to see when she would peel off and find her seat.
“You following me?,” I asked as I looked back a third time to see if she was still there. It was the perfect continuation of the playful flirting that had started at the airport security checkpoint.
As we walked further down the aisle and got closer to the back of the airplane I started thinking to myself that I might actually win the airline lottery for once.
The Airplane Lottery?
You know what I am talking about. You get on an airplane, sit in your seat and watch all of the people coming down the aisle; trying to determine which of them will fill the empty seat next to you.
You mentally will someone normal to sit down next to you (maybe that hot girl you were flirting with earlier) but they always end up walking past you. More often than not, you end up with some overweight mouth breather that wants to talk to you about online video games for the entire flight.
I Happened to be traveling with a friend this time, so I knew at least one of the people I’d be sharing the row with but there was a wild card third seat, and the cute redhead from the security line was still behind me. There was still a chance.
Ben and I sat down and she kept walking. It was over. She would be rows away and I would have no chance to get to know her further.
Not A Total Loss
“21 F” said some guy behind me. Apparently someone was sitting in his seat. I look back briefly and when I did, I realized that all was not lost. There she was in the row directly behind me. Between some old man and an teenager who must have thought he was the airline lottery jackpot winner when he saw who he would be sitting next to for the entire flight.
Our eyes met again and by this point I was starting to get the feeling that there might actually be a little chemistry between us.
Over the next few minutes I looked back at her at least three or four times. I finally said, “Quit looking at me.”
I Was Obviously Kidding
I had been joking with some of the other people around me on the plane and while a number of us were laughing and talking back and forth, I found myself looking back in her direction way too often. I just couldn’t seem to help myself. Her smile was addicting.
When the pilot turned the cabin lights off I looked back at her again and said “Well… This is not exactly how I pictured our first date…” which not only got a laugh out of her but from a few other passengers sitting around us that heard the witty one liner.
As the airplane took off, I leaned over and asked Ben if he would switch her seats when the pilot turned off the fasten seat belts light. I felt like I said it too loudly and hoped she hadn’t heard me. At that point I wasn’t sure how I was going to ask her to make the switch and I wasn’t even all that confident that she would actually agree to do it.
I sat and thought about it for a while before turning to ask her “Hey, want to switch my buddy seats so we can make this first date official?” It took her a second to register what I was asking and I actually thought she might say no for a second, but she didn’t.
The time between asking her and making the actual seat swap felt like forever, but it was probably closer to 15 minutes. There was quite a bit of turbulence and I remembered the captain telling us to keep our seat belts on so I prodded Ben to just get up and make the swap.
We spent the rest of the flight chatting away. Not an awkward moment between us for almost two hours. At one point I remember wishing that the flight was a little longer so that we could keep the conversation going. Mostly I just wanted to know more about her. I wasn’t ready for it to end.
“Do you have a boyfriend?,” I asked as we began our descent.
“No” she replied. I followed up by asking her to go on a real date with me sometime soon.
I handed her my phone with a new contact entry screen open to exchange information during the descent. After her name she typed Airplane Date. It was her turn to be funny and I appreciated the humor.
Walking from the plane towards the baggage claim, we said a few final words as we prepared to go our separate ways. There was a little awkwardness at this point, at least in my mind, as I decided if this interaction had been hug-worthy. I decided not to push my luck. Her car was parked in a different lot than ours and she had not checked a bag. This would be goodbye for now.
I’m not sure where this road leads or if we will ever even see each other again, but it’s too good a story to not think about how we might tell it at some party five years from now.
Maybe we are married and someone asks, “How did you two meet?”
We might look at each other and say, “Funny you should ask actually.”
Maybe she starts to tell the story of our security line encounter and then turns to me and says, “No you tell it honey, you tell the story so much better!”
Maybe I’ll never see her again. Maybe this is just a fun little story about a chance encounter.
I kind of hope that’s not the case because I would love to see that smile again, but this is life after all, and whom among us knows how any of our stories will actually end.
P.s. I am well aware that there are dozens of other outcomes to this situation, but none of them would have made as good a story. However, I would like to hear your thoughts on this experience, so leave them in the comments below.
Have you ever met someone who just gets you… understands you… completes you?
Someone who, although you were in your darkest hour, made you feel like you were doing exactly what you were meant to do and being everything you were meant to be.
A person who free’d your heart from the shackles of shame and allowed you to begin living your life again. Someone who made you feel like you were in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and in that moment, nothing else mattered.
I can’t imagine it happens more than a few times through the course of our lives.
If we are lucky, we recognize the importance of this person before it is too late. But unfortunately, I feel like all-too-often, we are left looking back, wishing we had done more, wishing we had fought harder, plead stronger and held on longer.
“What do you do when this person leaves your life? How do you move forward?”
What if you were the one who walked away, knowing the pain you would cause and conversely have to endure?
What if you understood that the only way to move forward was to move on?
What if you were wrong?
I need you to know this.
In my darkest hour we met, and shortly thereafter, I left.
You might never know how much it hurt me, how many tears I spilled, wondering if I had made the right decision; the sleep I lost thinking about you.
The sleep I still lose thinking about you.
I don’t know if I will ever publish this but if I do and you happen to read it then I need you to know these things.
I will always love you!
I was so lost, wandering through life. Unwilling or unable to move past all that had happened before. Stuck, as if frozen in time, clinging to pain and darkness as if it was all I had left.
But, you knew the way. You taught me to forget. You replaced those memories.
You stood next to me when everyone else ran away. How will I ever express the debt I can never repay?
You fixed me. You rescued me from myself.
You didn’t reach down and try to pull me from the hole I was in, you climbed down and sat right next to me until I was ready to leave.
You showed me that no matter how hard it rained, we could always move past the pain.
You restored my hope in the world, pulled me back from the edge of a cliff and made me smile like I had never smiled before.
From the first time I saw you I loved you and you unlocked my heart with that first kiss.
You were exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.
I wish circumstances would have been different. Oh, what I would give to have things turn out differently but we both know that can never happen.
There is a part of my soul that will never heal from having let you into my life. I wonder if I will ever be able to feel completely whole again without that piece of me, but I would never ask for it back.
I would live in pain forever before risking an existence without the memory of you.
I am scared for the one who comes next.
I tell myself I am over you but part of me will always wait.
Like some sick romantic comedy I will move on, because that’s life, and eventually, time heals all pain, but you could come steal my heart at any time.
With one touch you could make me melt. I would be completely defenseless against your advance, and on that day, I would stand in the rubble and smile at having had one more moment with you.
I truly hope you are happy.
I hope you think of me on occasion.
Maybe one day our paths will cross again but for now I am going to try to forget you.
I am going to try to remember the worst of you so that I might have some chance at knowing happiness again.
But it will never work, I will never forget you.