One of my guiltiest pleasures is my addiction to the CBS series The Mentalist. I’ve had a girlie crush on Simon Baker for 20 years, and there’s something about a smart, cynical, fun-loving, light-hearted genius crimesolver that taps into my childhood passion for Encyclopedia Brown and the Hardy Boys. (We’ll get you yet, Bugs Meany.)
And you thought you knew me.
Somewhere deep in the caverns of my dust-ridden closet sits a box of past-life mementos that may, in fact, hold the “Police Kid” ID cards and badges my brother and I made when we were 7 & 9, in an effort to keep the order in our very boring white little verge-of-’80s suburban ‘hood.
Ahh, me in my seven-year-old lisp: “Thtop, sthpeeding car!”
If I was a detective, I’d totally be a chill, happy, funny brainiac like Patrick Jane, not a coke-addled-and-moody one like Sherlock Holmes.
So, this morning I found myself wrapped in thought as my TiVoed episode closed out. Backstory? Baker’s character “Jane” turned to crime-solving after his wife and daughter were killed. This week is the first time they’ve opened the possibility of him moving on after his wife, when he finally feels the nebulous sparks of chemistry for a mysterious smart chick involved in the crime-solving.
Oh, how dramatic! That’d make an excellent TV show, huh? I know, it’s cliché. But I can’t be smart all the time, dude.
Naturally, the episode got me thinking about the idea of “moving on” in general.
Me, I’ve had me a little of that this month. In fact, my entire last 6 weeks has been nothing but movin’ on.
I’m never going to be able to make you or anyone understand how 2006 affected me, and on so many levels. God knows I’ll try.
To go from just being some chick trying to figure shit out to being a loudly lauded new sex-blogging voice and getting so much attention was the most surreal thing ever. And I was not my own woman. I was not strong enough to have the sense of self one needs when people start latching onto you for guru-like input into their lives.
It was fucking weird. I can’t possibly tell you. I’m totally fucked up, and you’re turning to me for insight? Yo, WTF?
Walking away when the shit got weird was the only thing I could do. The landscape of my life was more explosive than a wartime minefield. A girl makes her choices, a girl keeps on keepin’ on. That’s what to do when the going gets weird.
When the beginnings of success come so easily to you the first time, though, there SHOULD be this little seed of confidence that grows deep down inside. I did that. Me. I worked. I got results. Me.
I had the confidence but I also knew my life was a fucking mess.
When they tell you life doesn’t give second chances, they’re right. It doesn’t. We create them.
Sooner or later, I knew I’d have to take that second chance. But I had to have my shit together and feel comfortable with life before I got there… because, well, third chances? Good luck with that, chump. This ain’t baseball, there’s no three strikes.
Moral of that story? Don’t fuck up again, bub.
So, I spent the last year just treading water and enjoying a delightfully boring life after I finally got on a somewhat even keel again.
Then I lost my job.
And it made me happy. Worried, but happy.
And I figured, “Hey, well, if ever there was a time to get in the game…”
But getting in the game would require one major thing:
Finally owning that this meek little Mom-approved chick — raised uberCatholic, with Dad & family following on the wide web — had to come out and be public with sex-blogging identity, and use my real name. And, worse, my face. And, like, speak publicly. And stuff.
Moving on, for me, means swallowing whatever I once defined as “pride” and coming up with a whole new brand of it. For me, it means shutting up that meekness and stop my apologies for being blunt, honest, and irrepressible.
It’s all about putting my money where my mouth has long been.
It’s been a really tough and soul-searching move. Scary as all get-out, man.
Oh, I’ve been terrified. It’s the “real, whole life” version of jumping off that zip-line or standing in front of 150 people and saying, “Yeah, so, I’m a sex blogger and, like, I kinda nailed writing one of the best oral sex guides you’ll read online… and…”
But I did it. And I did the zip-line. And the speaking.
However hard it’s been… I’m real goddamned glad.
Open, honest, in-your-face living is easier once you get the hang of it. It means fewer apologies, more shared grins, and it instantly repels all the twats and asshats you used to secretly wish would fuck off.
Moving on from anything is hard.
The fear of the unknown and the infinite chance to fuck up is what daunts us all before taking on new phases, projects, or relationships in our life.
By moving on, we’re officially closing the door on that past, accepting it’s done, and embracing the future.
“The devil you know,” though, right?
Whatever the hurts and failings and stupidities of the past, at least you know it and know you’ve faced/survived it. The future? Whew. Do ya got that in ya, punk? Well, do ya?
I remember my great friend Jon writing to say he was getting married, the big question got popped, she said yes, and, dagnabbit, they was gonna wed. I wrote him back, “Geez, Jon… that’s awfully optimistic of you.”
Because it is.
Moving on, stepping forward, it’s all about optimism. Or at least the dream of it. The hope of possibility. It’s what we all want, right? The unscripted to get written with a side of awesomesauce?
But it needs that proverbial leap of faith, the big chance, the trip into the great unknown.
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll fail.
At least you’ll keep yourself warm with the smug satisfaction of being the one with the guts to make the play in the first place, while the pussies who won’t make that leap sit on the sidelines and jealously watch.
Do it. Move on.
When I was a little girl, I liked the “nice” rides at amusement parks. The Tilt-a-Whirl was a favourite. There’d be those moments when you’d spin wildly and you’d verge on nausea, and then it’d slow on down, and you’d settle back into an easy pace. It was unpredictable, but never dangerous, and never scary. The perfect combination, I always thought.
When I was eight, I went to Ontario to visit family, and my Evil Vixen cousin decided I needed to try a scarier experience. I was just tall enough to ride, and this was one of those big wheel-type thingies where everyone walks in, gets strapped against the wall, and the thing spins madly at wild speeds, first on a horizontal plane, but then it starts angling and elevating, until you hit absolute vertical – with every rotation, you go from facing skyward to staring at the ground from a height of a hundred feet or more. For an eight-year-old Steff, it was hellishly frightening. Throw in the blasting music and the screams and taunts of others, and there I was, out of control.
I was screaming, crying, and absolutely horrified. Tears poured down my face and I couldn’t stop wailing. They had to stop the ride and let me off. I was heaving and sobbing and needed my mommy, who was thousands of kilometers away.
To this day, there are times when I wish I could do the same with life. Stop the ride, man, let me off. Give me a blankie and a quiet night with reruns, I’m done like dinner.
The beginning of relationships, for me, are one of the most terrifying things I can experience. I’d like to jump in head-first, absolute abandon, and know it’s okay, it’s all right, I can do it. But I can’t. I start to, I throw my pennies in the wishing well and pray it’s all going to be all right, but then the evil What If? Monster starts whispering in my head.
What if I’m wrong? What if he comes to his senses? What if there’s some external factor I can’t control? What if I’m missing out on something better? What if the timing’s wrong?
And I fucking hate the What If? Monster. I hate the ambivalence and apprehension that finds me when the only thing I should be finding is trust. I’m in that rare situation with a guy who’s opening all the trust doors first, so the fear’s a little less than it might normally be, but it’s still there, and I really, fucking hate that it is. I wish it wasn’t. This time, I really wish it wasn’t.
But it’s strange and weird because he has this, this massive decoder ring of mine. Not only do I have this blog, with more than 200 postings, but I have my other blog, with more than 500. I don’t know if I’m your standard blogger, because I try to really peel back my layers. Not for you, not for him, not for anyone but for myself.
Unfortunately, though, he gets to peel back my layers on his own time, by himself, without me seeing his reaction, and I’m left wondering, “What’s he really thinking?” Fortunately, he’s good enough at expressing himself that he often clues me in without my needing to ask. Still, I’m over-analytical, timid, worried, and scared. That’s just me, and it works better when I’m flying solo, because then I can sit around and ask all these grand questions that my readers can relate to. Now, though, I’m not flying solo, so I go and I air these fears, and he’s gonna know. Maybe a good thing, maybe not.
In my life, fear is the great component that I can never, ever shake. All this self-examination and illumination is generally done in the attempt to get past the fear of hurt and pain that has greatly coloured my life over these years. I’ve had, unquestionably, a hard life. I’ve been hurt six ways to Sunday in every arena of my life, no matter what walls I’ve put up or taken down. I’ve had adversity piled upon adversity, and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to learn is a) to love myself in the face of it all, and b) to allow others to love me.
And I’m nowhere near ready on the front of B. I’m having a hard, hard time getting past this fear and apprehension that comes with the beginning of a new relationship, but specifically, this one. There’s the reality that this relationship has begun with more abandon and less restraint than any I’ve ever had. It’s freaking the shit out of me, honestly. That was hard enough at the beginning, but then my bone-breaker had the misfortune of badly breaking his leg and needing surgery for the insertion of a metal plate and several screws. I feel so horribly for him, and because I’ve already come to care a good deal for the man, I really want to be there to be of assistance and comfort for him.
So I have. And today, oh, my GOD. I’ve woken up with The Fear. I hate The Fear. On the one hand, I’m screaming “Stop the ride, lemme off!” On the other, I’m thinking I like this feeling. I love how I feel when I’m around him, but when I’m not… all the niggling doubts squirm to the surface of my psyche and the Questioning begins anew, and quite needlessly, I suspect, given the time we’ve shared and the openness we seem to already have.
During one of our first nights together, we were lying on the bed, comparing notes about what we thought the other would be like versus what they had turned out to really be. He commented that he thought I’d be “more cerebral… no, more pensive.” I told him that I am, but that moods like pensiveness have no place in front of another person. (It’s rude, methinks.) I’m very, very pensive – always, really – but moreso when I’m alone. I do get very quiet, though, in those makeout sessions, lying there, occasionally holding each other’s gaze, and in those moments, it’s true, I’m not really thinking about anything in particular. But the wheel’s turning, and soon, the thoughts strike. Like now, the next morning.
And my question today is, am I my own worst enemy? Is my fear my great undoing? It probably is. But at least I confront it, I give it a voice, and maybe that’s the first step in moving past it. I know I feel this way, and I’ve tried to explain to The Guy that, for now, my actions need to speak much louder than my words, ‘cos baby, I ain’t got the words. Not yet. I try. But I can’t do.
I’m a good woman, a good lover, and a great friend. I know it, and I try to be each of those, but deep down inside, I’m also a scared little girl that wants the safety of the Tilt-a-Whirl. Too bad I’ve met the height requirement for the big fucking roller-coaster, and it’s the only ride operating.