Yesterday was one of those days that forces you to be grateful. I think we all forget to be grateful usually up until something bad happens. Yesterday afternoon we were driving and pulled up next to a woman asking for money. Her sign read “Pregnant, Need Medicine”. The woman was young. I doubt we’re more than a couple years apart in age. She was smiling, polite and thankful when we handed her $3 through the window. She didn’t seem messed up on drugs or mentally ill. She was exactly the kind of person you want to give money to, someone down on their luck. But what was she doing there? How did she get there and is she going to be okay? What will happen to that child?
Later I talked to my dad on the phone. He’s someone who almost always makes me feel immediately sad and grateful. Grateful not to be in debt, grateful to have a job and glad to learn these lessons from him and not by myself.
I talked to one of my other favorite people on the phone and learned of his relationship trouble. He put it to me like this, “It’s like we were on a road trip. I was driving for a while and everything seemed fine. We pulled over and changed seats so I could take a nap. When I woke up, I didn’t know where we were anymore. The driver pulled over and told me to get out of the car. I didn’t understand why and where I was or how to get back but it didn’t matter because the car left me and now I’m on the side of the road by myself.”
I’ve been in a relationship for over three years. There was a point where I could have been left on the side of the road and found my way home. Now, there’s nothing more terrifying to me than having my partner in all things tell me to get out of the car. And so I am grateful. Grateful for my family and good friends and a good man by my side.
You might not feel grateful today. Maybe you feel terrible because you have something terrible going on. Please let me know if I can help you.
My friend and blogger, Yepindeed, does blog posts called “Why Aren’t You Real?!?” and I have found a fictional character I truly wish was real: Crash Davis. If this name is unfamiliar to you, it’s because you’ve missed out on the classic baseball film, Bull Durham.
I love this movie for several reasons.
- As much as I don’t really enjoy watching sports, I love watching sports movies. It’s so much easier to get into a game when you care about the players. I cared in The Blind Side, Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights and I cared in Bull Durham.
- It’s set in North Carolina. I love seeing sights and signs that are familiar to me. The mention of Winston-Salem (minor league team used to be called the Warthogs but is now the Dash-very disappointing) makes my heart skip a beat. When the shoot a short scene at the Asheville Tourists field, I recognize the area and the sign for Fuddruckers on Charlotte street makes me sentimental.
- Susan Sarandon is magnificent. Her high cheekbones, curly red hair and long legs are just the start. Her character, Annie, is vulnerable, strong and hilarious. You just want to befriend her.
- Crash Davis. I think I would gladly marry Crash Davis, if he’s the marrying kind of man. He is genuine and kind and always says what he thinks. He is sexy and funny. He isn’t closed off. If you don’t love Crash Davis already, watch this video. If you tell me you still don’t love him, I just won’t believe you.
I can’t stop listening to this song!
It’s hard for most people to imagine a lifetime without romantic love. But it happens. It’s more common than you might think. It’s not reserved for the hugely obese, the hideously ugly, the mentally ill or even just the overwhelmingly socially awkward. We Americans or perhaps the Western World would like to think if we play by the rules, participate in society and don’t make too much trouble then we’ll get what we ask for. We’ll get what is considered certain basic desires (after all we deserve them): financial security, a warm house, friendship, family and of course, love. As we grow up it becomes apparent that at least some of us are going to have work for these things. They won’t just come because we asked for it. Then some people must discover that sometimes even working for it is not enough. There’s the father who works hard for his family but never seems to get ahead of his bills, always struggling. There’s the daughter who tries to mediate her family’s problems, remind them of the love that binds them to no avail. And there is the sad soul who puts his or herself out there time and time again, yearning for love and winding up with one night stands or drunk alone at the end of the bar.
These examples all exist and yet they do not represent any category of people. After a lifetime of being single I personally have become accustomed to taking a rather defensive stance on the topic. In a time and place where often being single is considered a contagious disease rather than a just a Face Book status, I stiffen my spine and pretend to look down on people who question my romantic past. I have never considered or let my single status be a weakness. I do not cry into a tall glass of red wine surrounded by cats. If anything I’m more available for girls night out. I can take off on grand and lengthy adventures around the world. I flirt with whoever I choose.
And then last night a guy I’ve been seeing very casually expressed to me that he would like something more, that this arrangement should be brought to the next level. The very idea of calling someone my boyfriend, of emotions getting involved, of promises and compromises, left me panic stricken and questioning everything I’ve believed in. Paralyzed with fear and this idea of romantic involvement I stressed my need for casual involvement. Now I am struck with seems to me two possibilities: Am I messing up future happiness because of a fear of relationships and commitment? But if I really liked him wouldn’t I have jumped at being involved with him? On the other hand I feel myself being pressured into starting something with said fellow simply to prove that I can, to prove that it’s only my fear holding me back, which is incredibly wrong and unfair.
Well, shit. And all in time for Valentine’s Day too.