“Come on now, who do you,
who do you, who do you,
who do you think you are,
Ha, ha, ha, bless your soul…
You really think you’re
Well, I think you’re crazy
I think you’re crazy
I think you’re crazy
Just like me…”
“So…are you crazy? Just a little bit, maybe?” he asked, half-jokingly.
I simultaneously chuckled and cringed. I suppose it was a fair enough question, considering that I’d just disclosed my past experience with depression. Granted, my “Blue Period” isn’t customary first-date banter. But since this gent—let’s call him the “Harlem Knight”. (It goes with his Harley)—had been faithfully following my blog since meeting me a week ago, we were already well past small talk. So, I simply answered:
“Honestly? I think everybody’s ‘crazy’; it’s just about finding the crazy that’s compatible with yours. Lasting relationships—platonic or romantic—are generally about finding people who see your crazy, meet it with their own, and accept it—and you—unconditionally.”
So, yeah: I guess I’m crazy. I’ll just say it—and own it—right here. Glad we’ve got that out on the table. Hope you’re happy now.
Because, guess what? So are you.
Yes, YOU, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Even-Keeled, Well-Adjusted and Almost Always in Control. Perhaps you call yourself “bulletproof”; I call bullsh*t.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a firm supporter of maintaining one’s equilibrium, whenever possible. In fact, I work hard to maintain my own on a daily basis (some days, more successfully than others). But if I’ve learned anything from loving, losing, breaking down and living to tell the tale, it’s that choosing to be vulnerable enough to love someone can be a crazy-making business.
Because loving someone requires tilting on your own axis—frequently at precarious angles—simply because your poles are so magnetic, it’s the only way you can feel close enough to each other. There is no safe way to love because to love is to risk loss, and loss is the stuff that crazy is made of.
But the other potential in taking that risk is the reward of being loved in return.
To date, I have yet to experience entirely mutual romantic love. It’s still on my bucket list; but in my romances, someone has always loved at least a little bit more than the other. Many (mainly older, wiser women) say that’s inevitable, even aspirational—as long as you’re the one loving a bit less. Others say that, like a pendulum, the weight of the emotion often shifts from one partner to the other, back and forth over time. Either—or neither—may be true, but I still wonder what it’d be like to be met halfway on the emotional equator…
Dining with the Harlem Knight last night, sharing a succulent meal and brief synopses of our life stories, I wondered what chinks might be in his armor, undetectable to my unfamiliar eye. From across the table, he seemed a man well trained in the art of controlled emotion—an undoubtedly masculine quality, but a seemingly impervious one, as well.
To be fair, very few people are the open book that I seem to have become in recent years, especially not at first glance—or first date.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been advised not to reveal too much, too soon (if at all). Maybe it’s a function of having open options at the moment, but as I move ever-swiftly forward in this experiment—hopefully, toward something substantive (and yes, mutual)—I find myself wanting to clear the air early on, and whenever possible. I know that my vulnerabilities aren’t to be entrusted to just anyone. I also know that I won’t trust anyone who isn’t willing to be vulnerable in return.
Because as confident as someone seemingly in control can appear, as seductive as their stoicism may seem, experience has taught me that chaos can lurk beneath still surfaces—the denial of which can be far more destructive than my highly confessional nature will ever be.
And what good is control, if it simply masks its own particular brand of “crazy”?
I gave up on attempting that kind of control years ago. Or rather, it gave up on me. These days, I can only meet myself where I am, working with what I have in the moment, trusting that the difficult moments will pass, as they always have.
And, they always do.
I have no idea what further encounters with the Harlem Knight might reveal; perhaps a highly sensitive soul, or a psyche every bit as in control as his exterior suggests. As with all of this, all I can do is show up.
But ultimately, I’d like to believe my match will be found in a man who will calmly, clearly and humbly meet my crazy with his own. Should that happen, I hope we’ll simply smile in acknowledgement, shrug at our mutual vulnerabilities, hopefully diffuse them with unconditional acceptance, and move on…
That would be crazy good.