Right?

“It just takes time, right?”

G and I caught up this week for the first time in forever. Our love lives parallel in such interesting ways it’s almost uncanny, and when we do catch up, the conversations can be tough. We can’t pretend with each other; yeah, we’re both moving onwards and upwards with our lives, but there’s a rawness to everything, a tinge of regret for someone else’s choices and for thinking maybe this is the time it’s for Real. Last night we joked for a while about her queen petty skills and my latest crazy workout, but after a few minutes the conversation quieted somewhat. “Even if I did want to date him,” she told me about (a guy), “it wouldn’t be fair to him. I’m still not over (the ex), and I can’t really be with anyone till that happens.” I echoed her sentiments with half of my brain, because on a logical level I totally agree with her. The other half though? It’s a little more complicated.

What do you really do with love that’s gone from your life? Do you ever really get over an ex? Is it okay to move on at 75 percent instead of 100? There are always a lot of things on my mind but those occupy a bit more space lately. If I look back on the people I loved that way, mostly I appreciate them for their part in my story; I love the original two of them like you love a character from a novel but nothing more. I can’t remember the early days after our stories ended well enough to know how I was doing two months on, but I think I was doing better and worse than I’m doing now. Worse, because I never tried to reach out to the others to extend one more chance to be definitive, tell me to fuck off or tell me you miss me but stop pretending everything’s fine. And better, because I definitely know I’m exactly where I should be, and if that means moving on then so be it.

I suppose this is the part where I mention that there’s someone waiting for me. Someone kind and funny, and he understands my job and lifestyle and doesn’t push. He’s someone who is eager to support me and makes me feel sexy and wanted, and he’s waiting for me to say “okay.” Every time I see him my heart skips, he makes me laugh like I haven’t in a long time, but I can’t tell if that’s enough. Sometimes I want to say that word to him and other times I want to run, and I can’t find a balance between the two extremes, and he doesn’t seem to mind either one of my moods. And yet, other times I catch him staring at me when we’re on the subway or out to dinner like he’s studying me. “I am studying you,” he told me one day over takeout Thai on his couch, and he pushed a strand of purple hair from my forehead. “I want to know everything you’re hiding behind those big blue eyes.”

So here I am, literally living a dream, and there’s someone who wants to be there with me while I do it. And much as I’m not really wishing for things to go back to the way they were, I also don’t think I’m ready for them to change from where they are now. Right now I’m still okay being alone because part of me still hurts, and I’m also okay having someone that I can text and call after a long day knowing he’ll make me smile. I’m still navigating the early waters of this dream and I love all the changes but I need a break. Will I ever be at 100 percent? Do I even want to be at 100 percent? Will I ever get a definitive answer? Will I ever tell him “okay”? There are always a lot of things on my mind but those occupy a bit more space lately. It just takes time to figure them out.

Right?

The In-Between

“Breathe, L.”

My boss was quite literally holding me up as I couldn’t catch my breath, suspended upside down on a pull-up bar, trying to focus on keeping shoulders protracted, extended and engaged as hell and freaking out about this new maneuver. Skin the Cat, it’s called, and it looks cool but it’s scary as hell. I hadn’t done it before and I was super excited when my boss pushed me into trying it with his help. I’d wanted to try it for a while, and it was fun, the second and third time around. The first one though? I had to bail early and he had to give me a minute to take a deep breath, the aftershock of pure adrenaline and anxiety still coursing through me like a drug. I’d never been so terrified in a single moment. I’d never wanted to figure something out more.

Things are moving forward and the part of me that’s holding onto what’s missing is changing. It’s not necessarily going away or getting bigger, it’s just… evolving. I’m in limbo, the in-between, where I’m longing for what was but I wouldn’t change what is. I miss my old life, where I had weekends and someone to come home to, aside from the cat. I love my life exactly how it is, where I’m happiest working and home is the perfect, quiet sanctuary from everyone else’s energy, if only for a little while.

No part of me wonders what life would be like if I’d stayed in PR. The purpose I have in my life and myself now is so clear and straightforward it amazes me it took so long to find it. But when I think about what needed to change for this life to manifest, I find myself searching for the happy medium between where my life was and where it is. There is no happy medium though, because the happy part in the medium is the one thing I can’t change. And yet? I don’t know if I want it to change either. I want to move forward and move on, and in a lot of ways I’m doing exactly that. I also don’t want to move forward at all, because moving forward means letting go, and I’m not ready for that yet. Back to purgatory; back to the in-between.

Breathe, L. I gave Skin the Cat another go this week, and I took more time to focus on the breath, inhaling into the exhilaration and exhaling out anxiety, finding a moment of stillness to enjoy in between the two. Something I tell people who ask about meditating is to picture the inhale as the future, and the exhale as the past, and focus on finding that small pause between exhaling and inhaling – find the present, and stay there. Find the moment where you breathe into exhilaration and exhale anxiety. It’s the present, the in-between. It’s the middle ground between things that can’t coexist. That’s where I’m existing these days. I can’t change the past and I can’t predict the future. I’d make every decision exactly the same. I’m fucking terrified for what that means. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to make a choice to move forward or go back. So at least for now I’m going to exist in between.