I made it to my Dad's house yesterday early afternoon, and its been a bit of an emotional entry already.
The plan had originally been to drive Z back to his home in Chicago, but somewhat last minute, we decided to have him fly back from Omaha while I drive down from there to KC. This saved the two of us an entire day of driving and saved me a 9 hour drive by myself back to Kansas City. But deciding to cut the trip short felt a little like something else - it felt like a decision that Z and I aren't entering into a romantic relationship and so convenience is more important than a couple of extra days together. Of course, it logically makes a LOT of sense, especially considering that Kansas City is about to experience an ice storm.
Z and I had a little more conversation about us before trip ended, each time initiated by me. I tried to convey to him that I wasn't looking for what would happen in the future, but was trying to focus on how we approached the time together that we had. I don't know if he fully got that, but while he did open himself up a little more, I felt him still emotionally closed off to me.
At the airport in Omaha, I was surprised when he drove to the terminal instead of to park, so I just dropped him off. We did our goodbyes in the cold Nebraska weather. He was very casual and asked me to call him when I get in to Kansas City. He gave me a quick kiss on the mouth, and then I stopped him and told him this:
"Z, you are a unique man: strong but not aggressive, intelligent but open to other's ideas, independent enough to be able to partner without losing yourself. You make me feel empowered and weak at the knees. You make me smile and laugh. I think that we have a unique connection created over short, random, intense interactions we've had over the last 15 years. I think we have a lot in common and want the same kind of life. But I'm an independent woman just coming into her success and have no desire to chase after someone whose heart is not open to me. While I think that there might be something here between us, I don't know. If one day you decide that you want to explore what's there, give me a call."
Z said, "I'll give you a call anyway."
And then he gave me another short kiss on the mouth and left.
During the drive to Kansas City, I thought a lot about what all of this means. Through the help of my friend Tonya, I realize that just like Miranda was told in Sex & the City, he's just not that into me. And that may be for a number of reasons including issues he has about commitment and fear of being vulnerable with someone who lives in another part of the country. But in the end, I know that it doesn't matter; he's just not that into me. I know this in my head, but in my heart I still feel hurt, sad, disappointed, and a longing for more.
I do have one more brief story to share about this and then I'll leave the story of Z behind: So he and I had been sleeping together, and one night I approached him for sex, but he was too tired and went to sleep. So, I got up and started practicing yoga, trying to take my feelings of frustration and my lack of will power around my sex drive, and ground myself in my practice. Throughout the trip, I thought about practicing non-grasping and tried to think of the travel as meditiation, using an article that I found in Shamballa Sun by Thik Nan Hahn (am I spelling anything right here?) about staying in and enjoying the present moment.
Okay, so I arrived in Kansas City, and there's a car blocking my entrance to my dad's garage. I call my dad to see what's up - because its really cold and snowy out, and I want to unpack my car. He tells me that his assistant is there, and I should just park in a different part of the driveway (that by the way is covered in snow). I am SO happy to see my dog. And then I look on the wall and see that there's a picture of me and Larry (my last boyfriend) on the wall. I take down the picture and rip it up. Dad says, "that's your wall, so if you wanted a new picture there, you'll have to put it up yourself." His assistant notes that she told him to take that down. I feel hurt that my dad is so inconseridate of my feelings and feel emotional looking at this very special moment between me and Larry that I had forgotten about.
When I go to "my room" to unpack, I notice what I've left in the room and what I thought might be there but is missing. I notice that there's a novel, obviously previously read by my mother, on the bookshelf - the same novel that I'm reading right now. I find myself looking around thinking about what I want to take with me when I leave, what my dad will let me take of his and Mom's stuff, and remembering that I'm here to end this process of living here and taking care of my parents. This trip, I will take my things, and next time I come back will be when my mother dies. Then I won't come back much anymore. I am reclaiming my life, so that I can after all of this, start to focus on building a real life for myself and getting on with living it. Also, I want to shed all of this trauma of my family.
I'm thinking about this as my dad comes upstairs into my room. My dog jumps on the bed, and I lay down to pet her. Dad says, "you're belly's showing." I notice my shirt has moved up to uncover my stomach and move the shirt down. "You've got a buldge there. Not like me. See, I'm think." He then lifts his shirt to show me his stomach. I'm appaulled. First of all, I work out 5x/week these days and am in excellent shape. Second, I'm feeling bad already about being rejected by Z and now my dad is telling me that I'm fat. Third, I've driven for so long to get out here and that's what he wants to focus on.
I went to my sister's house to play with her kids, and that was fantastic. I hadn't told the kids of my change of plans, so I just came up and rang the door bell. When the answered the door, the kids yelled "Dodah!" (Aunt, in Hebrew), jumped up and down, and embraced me. We played and played until I was exhausted, and it was time for them to go to bed.
On the car ride home, I thought about the fact that I have a good life, and that while it would be nice to have a partner, I don't need one. I have an amazing niece and nephew, great friends, and if I want to take in a foster kid or adopt a kid next year or the year after once I get a job, that I can do that without a partner.
When I got home, I called Z, as he had asked, to let him know that I got in okay. He told me that his flight had been delayed in Omaha for an hour and that he got in later than me. I felt sad that we hadn't spent that time together. Z was very quick on the phone, and the conversation didn't last very long, despite the fact that I had waited to call him until I'd have time to really talk. When we hung up, I felt the sadness and disappointment all over again.
I called my friend Tonya, who was nice enough to let me kvetch about it for quite some time. I think that the process of letting go of Z AGAIN will be a long one, and that I have to remember that its just a process. Feelings will arise, I will let myself feel them, then I'll let them pass. I will try not to fight or judge the process.
Today, I am going to meet my sister and nephew at his school to hear some Hanukah songs. Then, we'll go out to lunch and then over to my mom's. I'm really grateful to get to go with them the first time that I see Mom this trip. I know that it will be emotional.
I also have a LOT of work to do -- I have to write an entire dissertation chapter, create my syllabus for next quarter, and if time, start creating lesson plans. I also have to connect with my friends here, go buy some food before the ice storm hits, start an exercise schedule.....
It feels good though to write this all and get it out of my mind and onto the internet. It feels good because I don't have to keep holding these thoughts, they're out there in the world. And it feels good because I know that there are some very supportive people out there who will read it. That reminds me that I'm cared about and that there's meaning in the process even in the fact that I'm learning, growing, and I'm able to give an honest portrayal of what this experience is like. [And by the way, Gail, I'm a little worried about you. Are you blogging somewhere about your experinece losing your Mom?]
Labels: Dad, family, JewBu Quest, traveling, Z