Monday, November 23, 2009

The Love of My Life

Society seems to impress upon us that there is that "one" person out there, waiting to be found--a soul mate. I knew early on in my marriage that my husband was no soul mate, and I doubt I hid this opinion from him very well.

Instead, I determined that I had another soul mate: a boy I dated briefly when I was young. He was a ANG pilot. It was bad timing. The loss of him caused me to hurt every moment that I was breathing, and for what seemed like years, I could not make my bed in the morning, for fear that the sheets would be so wet from crying myself to sleep that it would result in mildew.

Alas, since everyone in my life insisted that I was meant to be with him and that he was, indeed, my soul mate, I believed it, too. The cynic in me wanted to snicker, knowing that soul mates just don't fall from the sky (no pun intended--really!), especially when you are 19 years old. But deep down, I desperately wanted this boy to be my soul mate, and I have been guilty of passing my time thinking of scenarios in which we could re-unite and live happily ever after. Perhaps my favorite is that of the book signing: it involves me finding fame and fortune as an author, and him showing up at my book signing, where he would be forced to ask my agent for permission to approach me. Intense eye contact ensues, and usually the Jessica Simpson song "When You Told Me You Loved Me" is playing in the background. He realizes that I am his soul mate, too, and we can live happily ever after, even though, deep down, I know that his happily ever after includes a wife who is a good "homemaker", something I have been told that I am not.

One summer, my Soul Mate was on my mind considerably, thanks to an air show in my area. Thanks to my OCD, I can easily let something and someone dominate my every thought, and this was certainly the case. At the same time, I heard of some friends who a visited a local "psychic". I was told that they heard truths about themselves that the psychic could not possibly know about them, unless she actually was psychic.

I thought, a-ha! Brilliant! I will visit the psychic--for the low, low price of $40 for a 45-minute session--and the psychic will tell me that Soul Mate and I are meant to be together! This will be perfect! If the psychic tells me that Soul Mate is indeed my soul mate, I can live in peace, knowing that we will be together one day!

I eagerly made my appointment to visit the psychic's home for my reading. I discussed the situation with my boss, who was so amused by my enthusiasm for my psychic reading that he ponied up the $40, in exchange for me giving all details of the event. I happily agreed.

I arrived at the psychic's house, full of giddy anticipation. Upon entering her cluttered, stuffy house, I immediately tripped on an elevation that led to her living room. As a pyschic, shouldn't she be able to forsee these things and warn me of a possible injury?

After I gave her my $40, my psychic had to leave the room to "prepare". She returned, ready to give my reading. Her first insight was that she saw a baby following me closely, attached to my shoulder. She asked if I'd had a miscarriage. No, I had not. Had I had an abortion? No, not that either. Had my mother had a miscarriage? Nope. An abortion? Nuh uh. How about my grandmother? Any miscarriages or abortions there? Again, I answered no. Finally, she came to the conclusion that the mysterious baby was the stillborn brother of my husband. I began to question her abilities based on the fact that when she didn't crack one code about the mysterious baby, she kept going down the line. Had I not confessed to my mother-in-law's stillborn son, would the pyschic kept going? Would she have to made it to, "Has your second cousin's third wife's former sister-in-law ever had a miscarriage or abortion?"

I had to broach the subject of my Soul Mate. Her first question was, "Is in on Earth's Plane?" I thought, a-ha! I KNEW it! She said the word "plane"! "Plane" and "pilot" virtually mean the same thing! Alas, she dropped my hopes to the ground when she told me she did not believe in soul mates, thus Soul Mate was not--and could not--be my soul mate. This was not the answer I wanted to hear. I paid this "psychic" $40, and she couldn't at least entertain me by telling me what I wanted to hear?

I went home nearly devastated that night. It was like losing Soul Mate all over again. I spoke to my mom, and I sobbed about this, and demanded to know why, ten years before, she had told me that Soul Mate was the one for me when this really wasn't true? How could she lie to her flesh and blood like this? There was dead silence on the phone, followed by a motherly, "Oh honey...I don't know why I felt like that at the time, but you probably just still have strong feelings for him because it was the first time you ever had grown-up feelings in a relationship..."

I figured that if I could not get the psychic or my mother to relent to the fact that this was my soul mate, I'd best be moving on. A few weeks later, I was at the beach with my husband and my daughter, when a small metal fighter jet washed up on shore. Only moments before, I'd been watching a tourist helicopter, and thinking of Soul Mate, because after all, if it flies, it would make me think of Soul Mate. It could be a flying cockroach, and I would still think of Soul Mate, simply because of the flying parallels. I smiled to myself when the plane washed up at my feet, and tossed it back into the water, in a display of what I figured was letting go. A week later, I insisted on going to the beach, back to the same exact spot, so I could frantically dig through the sand and rocks, searching in vain for the plane that I was now certain was a sign that Soul Mate and I were meant to be. After all, why would something so random just happen to wash up to me?

Feeling certain that Soul Mate was the love of my life, and I'd let this opportunity slip through my hands ten years prior, I began demanding of each of my friends to reveal his or her Soul Mates, the loves of their lives. My boss--who has been married for all of three years of his adult life--is still involved in the day-to-day life of the woman he divorced nearly as many years ago as I have been alive. We all know that this is the love of his life. However, when asked this question--Tell me! Who is it?!? Who is the love of your life?!?--he smiled and said, "Me. I am the love of my life."

I was speechless, and after much thought, realized that he was probably right. After all, if you are your own love of your life, there is no one to let you down. It's taking that old self-help adage of "love yourself first".

After that, I decided that I would, indeed, be the love of my life. I will never let myself down. I don't ever have to worry about lack of trust in myself. Hell, if need be, I can even service my own physical needs, possibly event better than any real soul mate could.

Then, one day, I was stroking my daughter's fine hair, and smelling her sweet toddler scent, a combination of grape jelly, Play-Doh and Pull-Ups, and it dawned on me: SHE is the love of my life.

In re-entering the dating world, I realize this has taken a lot of the pressure off of me. I don't need to find a soul mate, or the love of my life. I've already got two--me and my daughter--and that's more than anyone could ever ask for in one lifetime.

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