Friday, April 4, 2014

Her Heart Was A Secret Garden

Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high...
~William Goldman, The Princess Bride

I've been told recently that I'm not as independent as I appear to be in this blog.
This wasn't said in a shitty way, or to be mean... it was just an observation from a friend. And that, even though I'm 44, I sometimes behave in relationships like someone in their late teens or early twenties that is still learning what it means to be in a relationship.

And it got me thinking. And we know that's always dangerous. wink
So here is my confession. I really don't know how to be in a relationship. I'm going to be brutally honest here... I am such a failure at RL man/woman relationships that I have no clue what I'm doing.

My last long term relationship was when I was in my mid-twenties and it was... ugh. He was a complete user and I gave and gave and gave and it ended, as all relationships should, very dramatically, standing in a parking lot in Las Vegas, rain streaming from the dark clouds (it does occasionally rain in Vegas) and Nothing Compares 2 U on the radio in my car as he was driving off into the desert with a trailer filled with all his belongings hitched to the back of his Jeep.
Looking back now, I'm very glad that relationship ended. It was nearly two years of giving my all and it never quite being enough for him. And, holy crap, he was boring as fuck!

And after that ended? My walls went up big time when it comes to men. It wasn't really planned- it just happened. Getting over him took a long time, a move out of state, and being utterly alone for a while.
And I got used to being alone. I learned a lot when I moved to Los Angeles. I did have roommates while I lived there... one was a very good friend that ended up not being able to hack LA and took off after a year (everybody leaves) and the other two were women I absolutely couldn't stand. No more roommates for me after that!

It became me and the two cats against the world. My own place, paying the bills all by myself, being responsible only to me.
This was my early thirties. For a few years, it was Beth vs. Everybody. This was before I got my depression under control so I quite literally hated almost everyone.

Living alone in Los Angeles, with no family or close friends nearby took its toll, though. And, fuck, it's expensive. I finally had to call it quits and move back to Vegas where I could be close to some of my family, but I still maintained my independence.

This was when I finally had to get help for my depression. It all just got to be too much and my parents finally threw me in the car one sunny Saturday morning and found a doctor to see me right then. I am grateful to my folks for a million things, but this act is definitely way at the top of the list. They gave me life, and they saved my life.
So I was able to get rid of that darkness and come out of the shell I'd found myself in, but I still maintained that independence. I learned to really like myself, and like being alone. Not lonely, but alone. I was learning to like myself... love myself... and bringing in a man was out of the question. I had to learn to live with me.

And Las Vegas is a shitastic place to meet men. Or, at least men who aren't douchebags.
Life takes its twists and turns and I found myself back in Kentucky eight years ago. I can't believe I've been back home that long. I settled into life here. Started bringing men back into my world, but only for sex.

I accepted that I'm now just too old and too selfish and too set in my ways to make room for another human being in my little bubble.

I'm comfortable, happy... and independent as fuck.
So when I was told I wasn't really all that independent when it comes to my second life, it took me back a bit.

Pissed me off at first because, christ, I'm completely independent. But I'd forgotten that RL Beth is the independent one. And I assumed that, without taking a good hard look, I was just as independent in my SL.

I'm not, though.
It's not easy being completely on your own all the time. Not having a partner to worry with about those bills piling up, or having someone to run to the drug store when you have a cold, or damn, not having someone to hug when you just need a hug.

So... yeah... that's where SL comes in for me. It's an escape where I can sort of shrug off the burdens of carrying everything alone in RL. And I'm  unapologetic about that. It's what we all do, isn't it?

But I've found that most men I encounter in SL are using it as their escape from something completely different. They're trying to reclaim their independence where I'm trying to toss mine aside for a while.
The men I find myself most attracted to are typically married and have been for many, many years. They often have kids, and a whole host of responsibilities they have to share with their wives. So... they look to SL to be that swinging single bachelor again.

And, lord, this can cause some clashes! I don't want to spend my time in SL alone. I can entertain myself just fine in RL when I want alone time. People in long term relationships... marriages that have lasted for decades... forget how hard it can be to be all alone in this world, I think.

Just like I don't really know what it's like to have to consider someone else in all decisions, they don't know what it's like to never have someone to help shoulder that burden.
But still... that doesn't mean I have to be all clingy and needy and desperate. That's not sexy.

So I've spent the last few days (and that's like an eternity in SL!) learning to find things in SL that don't necessarily involve me being attached at the hip to someone.

Do I like it? Well, I've been having fun, yes. Second Life has an amazing live music scene I'm getting into and loving it. Oh, and I have this photography hobby I should really be devoting more time to.
Where does sex fit into all this? I've got some pretty serious flirtations going on with a couple yummy men.

And, yes, I still have my two loves, though I haven't seen much of either of them lately. But they're my... rocks. My partners. The men I love. And I miss them.

I've got a couple of new guys charming my pants off... literally... and I love it. And they seem to be fabulous guys. But at the end of the day, I just want my two loves. I want my hugs.

So balance.

I'm finding it.

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