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10 April 2012 @ 11:42 am
The Real LJ Idol: "'Til There Was You"  
'Til There Was You
real lj idol | week 22 | 1010 words
The straw that stirs the drink: an Idol Intersection with everywordiwrite (her entry is here).

x-x-x-x-x

As a child, I didn't start out believing in a fairytale future with my one true love. Perhaps it was the absence of Disney movies and typical childhood books, or even the presence of a TV diet that featured Captain Kirk falling in love on a weekly basis and group of castaways on a deserted island where the barely-sociable professor was the only man remotely resembling "a catch."

In those years, I had trees to climb and corners of the property to explore, and those were far richer pursuits than empty fantasies. My mother was a doctor at a time when most women stayed at home to raise children, so rather than expecting a handsome prince to come carry me off to my happily-ever-after, I grew up with the idea that I would choose my path myself. This didn’t stop me from eventually believing in the possibility of true love, or that I might someday find that perfect 'someone.' My parents had found it, and as a child of the Western world my conversion was late but inevitable.

At school, I had a crush on the occasional boy. The number of boys I found interesting seemed to expand in direct correlation to my increasing hormones. Love early, love often, my body seemed to say. It was a fickle time of ever-changing fixations, and I was at its mercy.

Those fairytales rarely mentioned one-sided attraction, or its tendency to persist despite all attempts to make things mutual. I found again and again that the boys I liked had no real interest in me. Meanwhile, other boys had crushes on me that I did not share, and I couldn't deter them without being horribly unkind.

If someone had told me I'd be stuck in that Mobius-strip of misdirected passions clear into adulthood, I'd have given up on love in Junior High.

From fourth to eighth grade, there was the nice Jewish boy who was smart, good-looking and kind. He went on to become a prize-winning journalist, and for ages seemed like "the one that got away" (never mind that he wasn't mine to keep). Only moving to another city saved me from being in love with for another four fruitless years. There was the tall, sardonic boy in high school who wrote satire for the student paper and fell in love with my best friend, and the sly, soft-spoken pianist my freshman year at college who was a pre-missionary Mormon and probably never gave me and my feminist, agnostic ways so much as a romantic second thought.

There were others in college: the impossibly charming program director at the campus radio station (who flirted with everyone as if he meant it, and left heartbreak in his wake), and the married violinist with the wicked sense of humor. I was dateless in high school, nearly so in college, and more of the same waited after graduation.

I was a failure at romantic relationships before any of them had even left the solitary confines of my heart.

Why was it so hard to find someone I liked who was also attracted to me? I examined myself for answers and hidden motives. Was I only attracted to men who were "unavailable" (including those who just weren't interested)? Was I afraid of intimacy? Was I inherently unlovable?

Was the problem that I was just too damned picky?

By the time I reached my early twenties, I started wondering if I was destined to be alone. My few romantic relationships had been short-lived, and more amiable than passionate. The three years I lived in Illinois, I was as misplaced and undesirable as I'd been during my freshman and only year at BYU.

Then I moved back to the West Coast, and the unimaginable happened: I met a man who was completely different from anyone I'd ever known.

We had both signed up for a one-night extension course on things for singles to do in Sacramento. He was tall, dark, and handsome in his European-fitted charcoal suit, and said he liked poetry. I wrote poetry, and we both liked music and movies. He was completely my type, though I wasn't sure I'd caught his attention since he was already comfortably conversing with someone else. Later, I would find out that he found the other woman easy to talk to because he had no interest in her at all. The curse of shyness! I knew it all too well.

He called that weekend, and we chatted on the phone about nothing and everything for over an hour. By the end of the conversation, we'd made a restaurant date for Thursday night.

He'd mentioned he was a lawyer, so I was relieved when he came to pick me up driving a subcompact instead of a status car. Our Thursday date was followed by bicycling on Saturday. A morning ride along the parkway turned into spending the entire day together, and everything was easy and unhurried in a way I'd never dreamed possible.

On Monday, a coworker asked how the date had gone, and I blurted out something I didn't even know I was thinking:

"I have the strangest feeling I've met the man I'm going to marry."

By our third date, I believed it. By the fourth, he did too.

This would have seemed like lunacy for anyone, and we were both more cautious than most. But for the two of us, it made its own mysterious sense.

How, after a solid record of relationship misfires and unmatched attractions, was it possible for everything to be so easy? Weren't you supposed to build toward that from past experience, instead of having the whole thing suddenly fall into place?

There was a reason it turned out that way, and it wasn't timing or conversational skills, or anything as learnable or practical as that.

Instead, it was something so rare and unexpected that you'd never believe it without seeing it, and you couldn't plan your life around it if you tried:

Finding the right person makes all the difference in the world.



 
 
 
cindy: cm - otp! (by notimetothink)tsuki_no_bara on April 10th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
i love your love story. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 10th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

How it all turned out was so unbelievable to both of us, with the awkward dating (or, NON-dating) for so long beforehand. Meeting that one right person, where the attraction was mutual and we were so emotionally well-suited to one another, was nothing short of a miracle. :)
Kristenpixiebelle on April 10th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
Your story is amazing and made me do happy to read. So much of this I could relate to (about how I couldn't have planned it out this way if I tried and how easy it really is compared to my past relationships). Great entry, I really enjoyed this.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 10th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm especially happy to see how it's hitting other people who have had similarly unlucky dating pasts, but who have found that someone special now where it's just a completely different world.

It changes everything when it's the right person, doesn't it? This makes me all the happier for you and Kevin. :D
similiesslipsimiliesslip on April 10th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
Aw, this was so sweet. I'm so glad you have a marriage like this!!

This part described me very well, it was uncanny:

"I was a failure at romantic relationships before any of them had even left the solitary confines of my heart.

Why was it so hard to find someone I liked who was also attracted to me? I examined myself for answers and hidden motives. Was I only attracted to men who were "unavailable" (including those who just weren't interested)? Was I afraid of intimacy? Was I inherently unlovable?"

I'm so glad you found someone who is right for you:)



The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 10th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
It's so nice to find that my husband and I are not the only ones who've been through this.

It was all so hopelessly one-sided and wrong before I met him, that I never imagined it could be anything else. To have it suddenly be so simple was just utterly unexpected.

It's been just over 24 years since we first met, and we're still going strong. :)
lawchickylawchicky on April 11th, 2012 01:54 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwww :) I had the same kind of feeling when I met my husband. I'd dated a lot before I met him, but something about being with him felt entirely right from the start!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 11th, 2012 05:36 am (UTC)
It's amazing to wonder for so long how people could actually "know" that they're meant to be with someone, and then to actually have it happen.

If you're lucky enough that it does, It's a miracle that can't be explained!
Myrnamyrna_bird on April 11th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing your sweet love story. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 11th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

It's nice to know it make someone besides me happy. :)
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on April 13th, 2012 06:48 am (UTC)
Awwww! I'm glad you found him. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 13th, 2012 07:11 am (UTC)
Me too! It's been 24 years now-- exactly 1/2 of my lifetime. :)
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on April 15th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!
whipchickwhipchick on April 16th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
I love how beautiful and simple this is - the style and structure totally serve the plot. Nice how you go through so many detours, and then poof! right there where you least expect it! And what a terrific story, too :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 16th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it!

The actual experience of it all seemed so frustratingly difficult at the time, and to have everything suddenly "click" was so different and so unexpected that it was hard to believe it was really happening!
whirlgig on April 16th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
Beautiful! Makes my heart happy :) I love that you're never afraid to share something so personal, but you do it in such a beautiful style that it doesn't feel as though we are trespassing - reading your stories make me feel as though I'm having a conversation with an old friend who has invited me in for tea and toast. Just lovely.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 16th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
Aw, what a lovely comment!

Unless the story calls for it, I don't like to make the reader uncomfortable, and since this one ultimately leads to such a happy occasion, this seemed the right approach.

Meeting my husband was the most amazing stroke of luck I've ever had, and it's still hard sometimes to believe that it's true!
the_day_setupthe_day_setup on April 16th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
Your story parallels mine pretty darned closely until the age of, like, 18. I would develop brutal crushes that lasted years and were horrible torturous things that were never reciprocated.

At 18, in college, we diverge. I was so tired of never being in a romantic relationship; away from the dumb little corn town where I'd known the same 40 girls for almost 15 years, I went hogwild and tried basically everything that came my way. (I was even sort of your campus program director for a time, except that I only left one radio-station-related heartbreak in my wake.)

That continued for a long time. I figured it was better to be in some kind of relationship just for the experience at any given time. Women didn't dig guys who were single anyway...

Now I'm getting older... and I wish there had been a period in my life when I'd just let things happen... when I'd been comfortable not dating someone for a while... when I'd just let the right person drop in whenever she would, instead of always hunting for her somewhere, extinguishing one database possibility after another.

Lots of reasons for that... among them, being my age yet not being totally sure if I've *ever* really experienced love the way it's supposed to be experienced (if there is such a thing). That's a pretty nasty doubt to have.

So count your blessings.

Beautiful cross-section of your life and I'm glad to hear things have worked out.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 16th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
I would develop brutal crushes that lasted years and were horrible torturous things that were never reciprocated.
They're awful, aren't they? I always think of this situation when people talk about gay people "choosing" whom they love.

Believe me, you don't choose. Ever. Anyone who has ever loved someone they desperately wished they didn't knows how true that is. And something that's always been one-sided, well... there's always a point where you realize nothing will ever come of it, and you wish you could stop feeling what you do, and yet we don't have the power to "throw the switch." We wish we did, but emotions don't work that way! Pesky things...

I was so tired of never being in a romantic relationship; away from the dumb little corn town where I'd known the same 40 girls for almost 15 years, I went hogwild and tried basically everything that came my way.
It's interesting how ours pasts influence our choices. After such a limited (and nonreciprocal) dating pool, I think most people would go the route you did. It could have resulted in finding someone special-- there's no way of knowing that when you start in. I know that it did result in a long-term relationship with at least one woman who didn't seem to like you particularly well, and that's unfortunate.

We never get a rulebook for life, not one that would really help who we are as individuals. We have to find out every last thing on our own.

Given how things had gone for me AND my husband before we met each other, the luck of our meeting is doubly unexpected. But it's been 24 years, and we're both very glad for that chance meeting!

Thanks for reading and commenting. I do appreciate it!