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You don’t know me.

And I don’t know you. I mean, not really.

You may know the things that I choose to reveal about myself. It’s usually the best parts of me (though I’ve been known to be quite transparent with the not-so-best parts of me as well) that I share. But if someone were to ask you to tell them about me, you really wouldn’t be able to rattle off much more than what I’ve listed in my profile. Sure, you could browse my blog or stalk my Facebook account, and maybe make a few guesses about what my taste in music or movies must say about me. But they would only be guesses. And more often than not, you’d be wrong.

For the longest time I’ve been rather careful about getting to know people and allowing them to get to know me. See, I have a history that includes a pretty severe wounding of the heart. So I’m not very keen on putting myself out there in a way that might reopen that wound. Unfortunately, my passions run deep and I tend to be, what one friend calls “emotionally progressive”. Rare in men, so I’m told. Among other things, this means that my heart can become vulnerable to the inconsiderate actions of others if I make an effort to get to know them. I’ve done that with very few people over the years. It amazes me how the pursuit of friendship can be liberating on one end, and weaponized on the other.

Interpersonal relationships should come with a standard label that states, “WARNING: Result may vary.”

Some of these people have become like siblings. Some of them are like my kids. And some of them are… well, something altogether different. But all of them have had an impact on me to varying degrees. My affections are at times painfully genuine. Sometimes to my own detriment. So I’ve learned to protect my heart a little bit more fiercely than I did before. It’s not that I don’t want people to know me, but sometimes I’m not entirely convinced I can afford to allow them.

I’m not a fan of heartache, confusion or misunderstandings. To avoid such calamity, it would make more sense to just keep everyone at arm’s length. It’s sad to me because many people I’ve met are deeply intriguing and I’d love to discover more about them. But this has brought me to the dispirited conclusion that the further away from them I stay, the less likely I am to get hurt if/when they implode.

I don’t know what bevy of circumstances has made them the way they are. They could’ve grown up in abject poverty, or could be the spoiled product of wealthy hands-off parents, raised by a bilingual nanny. They could be a recent parolee from a botched extortion attempt, or an as-yet-to-be-captured professional con artist. They could literally live across the street, or across the ocean. My point is that I won’t know them all that well, and they won’t know me. Unfortunately, past experiences have a tendency to make people gun shy. So I may never know them the way that I wish I could.

Hmm… I don’t even know what the point was of this post. Venting? Purging? Meh. That’s all I’ve got for today.

Categories: opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

KNOWING LOVE


This is a picture of my wife at 4 years old.

andrea-at-4

Every time I look at this picture, I smile and think to myself, “I wish I’d known her then. I would’ve been her friend!” Seriously, I would’ve friended her so hard. lol I would’ve rode bikes, made mud pies, endured protracted doll activites, discovered bugs in the yard, and listened to every fantastic tale her young mind could conjure. I would’ve done all of it. Gladly.

I used to lament the fact that I didn’t know her when she was younger. That is, until I understood something very important…

She is still that little girl.

That 4-year-old little girl lives inside of her. And every time she shares with me stories of her childhood, or introduces me to cousins she used to visit in the summer, or I sit and watch while she reminisces over faded, old photos of Canadian farmland, I learn more about her 4-year-old self… and her 13-year-old self… and any other year-old versions of her that I may not have witnessed firsthand. And I fall in love with each and every one of them.

Because they are all still there.

As I picture this beautifully blonde, rambunctiously creative, spirited little girl, I realize that I love and have loved… all of her, throughout time. It is impossible to separate the woman she is, from the girl she was. They are one and the same.

So I no longer wish I’d known her at 4-years-old, because… I do. I know her as a preteen in the school performance at Play Mountain Place. I know her as the high school graduate who set off on her first year at UC Santa Cruz. I know her as the coed who took a summer trip to a lake house with friends. And I know her as the woman who bought her first house in Pasadena. I know… HER.

Instead, I now wish that I will continue to know her until she’s 104-years-old. Because I can’t imagine a more amazing gift than over a century of knowing and loving someone like her.

Happy Valentines Day, my love. ❤

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

LIFE LESSON #223 – Letting Go


When it comes to any type of relationship – be it friend, family or potential spouse – it is a complete waste of your valuable time to chase after people who are actively running away from you. Let them go.

Instead of lamenting those who don’t return your calls, keep cancelling on you, won’t respond to your emails and text messages, devalue your feelings and constantly imply that other things, places and people are more important, recognize those who are running toward you, those who acknowledge with appreciation, your value in their lives. These are the people on to which we hold.

Know your worth… ❤

know your worth

Categories: opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Broken Walls


I read a quote once that went something like, “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” That was ringing in my thoughts after a conversation I had with my brilliantly insightful wife about friends a while back. See, for a long time I couldn’t say that I had very many close friends. That’s not to say that I didn’t have people that I cared deeply about. But aside from my wife and parents, there were maybe 2 other people on this earth that I felt I could trust implicitly.

The more I thought about it, the more it made me wonder if perhaps I had created walls that I was silently hoping people would care enough to break down. Was I baiting people? Were my friendships going to be based on some arbitrary display of perseverance? Would I take the fact that people hadn’t yet attempted to circumvent my relationship walls to mean they don’t really care about me? And then, in the absurdity of it all, turn around and feel as if this would allow me to not care either and so cast them aside? fist-break-through-wall

Heaven forbid…

It’s not that I thought people were disposable. But I could very well have pushed them away unintentionally with these walls of my own invention. The design of which is really not very fair. I mean, what kind of deep relationship could I really expect to gain if I made someone jump through hoops that THEY may or may not even realize exist?

I had to do some soul searching to figure out what this was really about.

It became clear that it was partly/mostly my own fault. There were people with whom I believed I could have a really close relationship. Some of them had actually pursued me. But I hadn’t reciprocated much if at all. Was it because I was a horrible person? I don’t think so. Instead, I’d convinced myself that it’s an issue of time. With all of the chaos that I’d been dealing with at any given moment, I told myself that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to the cultivation of a deep friendship with someone else. At one point I actually said to someone, “I really enjoy hanging out and talking with you, but I can’t give you the kind of things you want from this relationship and I don’t want you to constantly be disappointed when I don’t come through.” Unfortunately, this went against my own belief that you will make time for those things (and people) that are important to you. My wife called that a cop out.

So where did I go off track?

I think it was simply a defense mechanism. After being wounded in past relationships, I hadn’t really allowed an opportunity for anyone get close to me. I mean, not REALLY close. Yeah, I could share interests and show compassion and provide encouragement to others. But that was all about giving and nothing about receiving. Few people knew the details of the things that I struggled against on a daily basis. Heck, my blog audience probably knew (and still knows) more about the intimate details of my life than people offline. I believe it was an underlying fear of rejection. The less I put myself out there, the less chance I had of getting hurt. But I couldn’t live my life in fear of potential pain inflicted by others.

After that talk with my wife, I found myself lamenting the lack of deep friendships. It was then that I decided that I needed to pursue people.

Slowly. Just 1 or 2 in the beginning. But it was a start.

I’m curious if I am alone in this…

Does anyone else struggle with developing close friendships? I mean, the real friendships. Not superficial, mere acquaintances or people who want to be more but you’ve friend zoned them. I’m talking Best Friends. People you’d protect with your very life if necessary. Is that a challenge for anyone else?

Because in spite of the obstacles I’ve created in the past, I genuinely want those kind of people in my future.

Broken walls and all.

break-wall

Categories: personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pull Of The Cape


Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to be a HEROcool Not the kind of super hero who foiled the plans of criminal masterminds with my single bound tall building leaps, locomotive power and bullet speed. Not necessarily the kind of hero who safely retrieved POW’s from deep in enemy territory.

No.

I wanted to be a kind of machismo-infused hero, rescuing contemporary “damsels in distress” who, in my limited experience at the age of 16, were so often the victims of relationships gone horribly wrong. The tales I’d hear of betrayal, degradation and distress from some of my female friends angered me, but also filled me with compassion and an overwhelming desire to comfort them in some way.

So it was that I wanted to be that stand-up guy who came along and mended their broken hearts by being to them what other men could or would not. Fulfilling their unrealized expectations. I wanted to fix the traumatized emotions of all the disappointed and disillusioned women I knew.

Ha! As if that were even possible.

As you can probably surmise, this was not at ALL practical or realistic. Still, it took me a long time to realize that, though I had the best of intentions, I simply couldn’t save everyone.

Correction…

I couldn’t save anyone. bummed

Except one.

To that one, I endeavored to define a man who successfully balanced his testosterone-influenced emotions with chivalry, romance and an understanding of authority. I made a silent promise to show her what it meant to be a modern-day hero upon whom she could always rely, trust and rest her confidence. I made a similar promise to my only daughter so that winning her heart would require the power and determination that only a hero possessed.

And yet, even now I will occasionally feel the “pull of the cape” begging to be worn when I talk to my female friends who are miserable and misunderstood. I refrain because I understood a long time ago that trying to be that for more than one woman would actually mean being that for no one. What I mean is that every woman deserves the undivided attention of the man who holds their heart. My divided attention would be both hypocritical and ineffective.

So for those, I simply listen with a sympathetic ear and an encouraging smile. And hope that one day THEIR hero will appear.

Categories: personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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