The Miserable Beginning
So there I was, staring down the barrel of a romance that meant more to me than anything in the world. More to me than my children, more to me than my marriage that had just officially died, more to me than my career.
Okay—maybe not totally—but truth is, it certainly risked all ofthose things. This love was the taste of passion, intimacy, and support that I had always wanted in my wildest dreams…that fulfillment of two beings coming together in ecstatic union, capable of heart pounding honesty, exciting sex, and inexplicably attached.
True, we were star crossed. We were Romeo and Juliet. He was still sort of with Rosaline and I just knew that fate would have us running across a field of daisies, collapsing into each other’s arms in happy success after we fought over insurmountable odds. The reward was being together, right? I must’ve forgotten every line of Shakespeare I EVER READ when I imagined all that.
And in my story…Romeo loved Juliet…but chose Rosaline.
She was, after all, the mother of his children.
Do you hear the record scratching?
So then…what now? Where’s my romance after that earth shattering conclusion? A redemptive hero will come, right? Isn’t that how this whole hodgepodge of romantic stories go? I’ve fought the good fight, I’ve been let down, I have had to let go of the only man I loved so much it scared me, the man that made me a better person. So next time, I win, right? That’s how the game goes. That means that there’ll be another guy to come along, sweep me off on his horse and be my King.
Or. Was that it for me? Was that all I would know of love?
Enter stage left: Romeo 2.0 He had a couple upgrades to Romeo 1, mostly in the fact that he wasn’t married (bonus!) and well…
…pretty much that one.
I needed a king–or so I thought–and he came riding in like a knight (that analogy is on purpose: THINK.) I had just lost everything coincidentally; hope that I would ever be with the love of my life, I lost my home, I lost my livelihood and most of my possessions (we’ll talk about that later, I’m sure) and then along comes Romeo 2.0 on his tour bus horse, wearing his shining armor of music equipment, a large bankroll, and Caribbean sunsets.
He painted beautiful pictures that never played out. He spoke of us moving in together and having a family. He’d point to engagement rings he said he wanted to buy for me (I don’t like engagement rings, but it was still romantic.) He was the first and only man that I had ever envisioned myself walking down the aisle toward. I could see us on a beach, me with my hair up and a strapless gown, the wind blowing over the water. It was gorgeous.
And utterly unreal.
For a long time, that dream overshadowed the fact that I was living in abject poverty with a beautiful veil that he would provide for me: the illusion that we would be happy together. I loved the way he pursued me. Ironically, the horse he rode in on, he often rode off on…and hid behind, hoping I wouldn’t see him or need him, or depend on him.
Which makes sense because he was probably overwhelmed, juggling all those women.
So there I was.
Alone. With myself. Wondering how I made this situation and how I could unmake it.
Wondering if I could ever have something better than a passionless marriage with a man that made me feel more alone than being alone. Or more than an enraptured love with a man who could never be there for me. Or a romantic dream that was just that: a dream.
Was I destined to be alone? Would two to three years of dating find me a glorified single mom or one of those women who said “Yeah, I always wanted to get married again, but you know, my kids needed me so I had to give up on romance.”
I always imagined that some of those women were making their situation worse than it really was, but what if they were telling the truth and not hiding behind their kids? The worse case scenario I could think of was ending up in another passionless, frozen marriage trapped in a shell of void.
I wanted to know the answers to those questions. I wanted to find that “one guy” (because I only need one.) And I wanted him to find me right back.
But I had to find the way and all my self help sessions and dating books, cry sessions with my girlfriends, and listening to every happy couple coo how happy they were, had only brought me this far.
I spent three and a half years with Romeo 2.0 but not a day of it was wasted. You see, I went on a journey inward.
“An Awakening Beyond Comparison”
As I struggled to hold on to the dream, to cope with the hardships of my reality, I found myself going further and further into myself. I went beyond my regular practice of journaling, prayer and self awareness, and I began to work on my thoughts, to become conscious of what I brought to situations. I began to meditate and to explore the Buddhist principles of detachment and applied them to my life (I didn’t know they were Buddhist, I only knew they worked.)
All of these instilled an awakening beyond comparison, and I’ve ALWAYS been a deeply spiritual person. This beat everything.
So there I stood, single. Staring down the barrel of more single. And wondering if there is a such thing as a very spiritual, happily married, ever after.
I wondered who else would show up on the stage of my life, if anyone. I wanted to experience a love that returns me to my center, I wanted that total package.
But I’ll be honest, returning to your center is a personal skill, not a love perk. I don’t know how this book will end, with me as a buddhist nun on a mountain wasting away in Spiritual Knowing Without Sex, or me in some other Romeo Experiment, or something else that I’ve never seen before… but I thought the art of Zen was the art of the journey.
Things have changed with lots of exciting developments, false starts, deep caverns, mind blowing happiness. It’s been cool. There were even dragons. Hey, you wanna keep me company?
I’m wondering if you’d like to join me as I go down that path called
…A Very Zen Romance.