Flight Risk and RomComs

Did you watch The Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere? Typical cute rom-com, typical Julia role and film. In it, she’s in love with love. Gets engaged several times. Then bails when she’s walking down the aisle. Finally, she meets the guy who understands (Richard Gere). They plan a wedding, and sure enough she starts to bail. He’s prepared. He knows it doesn’t mean she isn’t in love. He knows it’s her thing. Her fears. Her past, her roadblocks. Her speed bumps, her baggage, her heart, her mind. And he loves her through it. He gets it even though he doesn’t get it at all. He chases her and loses her in the chase. And then, eventually, she comes to him. Ready to settle down with him. And he’s waiting. And they get married and live happily…well you know the rest.

I’m here to tell you, life ain’t this movie.

In today’s edition of “how to screw up a new relationship”, let’s talk about coping mechanisms!

So, looking back, I realize that I’ve never really been able to stay put in my entire adult life. I grew up in a relatively stable environment home-wise (don’t get me started on the dynamics, I’m JUST talking about the building itself…the HOUSE). I lived in 2 homes before I moved out at 18. My entire childhood was spent in two homes. Pretty stable, right?

I moved out at 18 and since that time, I have pretty much moved houses every 3 years with the exception of the house I had with Michael, which was 5 years and counting. Sometimes I’d just change neighborhoods. Sometimes, states. One time, a country. But I’ve always been on the move.

Because I never felt I belonged anywhere.

Take this information and fast forward to now. New relationship. Unchartered territory as a widow. A relationship that I quite frankly never expected, never looked for, sure as hell never thought I’d allow into my life or heart again, but here we are.

And as with any new relationship, there are quirks, kinks to work through, growing pains, debates, and yes some arguments. It’s going to happen, folks. We are both in our 50’s with our own very unique baggage and shit comes up.

And it turns out that I’m a flight risk. Me. A flight risk. Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me either.

When things get tense, I “offer” to leave. I don’t threaten. I don’t do ultimatums. I just say I can leave.

And this is super fucked up.

Why?

Why do I do it? Why is it so fucked up? Well, I do it because I feel like I’m a burden. To everyone and everything. Ever since Michael died, I’ve been floating. Nomading. Looking for “home”. Looking to belong. Hoping to find someone that loved me and that I could love along the way.

And then I found it. I met a wonderful guy who loves me and the dogs and wants to share a life with us. So I jumped. I don’t mean a little hop to a lily pad, I mean a full force jump off the cliff into the lagoon. I. MOVED. IN. OMG. This is not something I ever expected. Never. It was fast, but it felt right. This was/ is a HUGE step for me. I don’t live with guys unless I’m married to them. I don’t just “move in” with a dude just because. This meant and means something BIG to me. BIG.

And now, I “offer” to leave when things aren’t perfect.

Why is this so fucked up?  Because it breaks trust and makes your partner feel like they’re in a revolving door. It’s cruel and quite honestly, a little bit abusive. So why do I do it?

A lot of it comes from a lack of a sense of belonging. This isn’t about anyone but me, but I feel like a guest who has overstayed her welcome. I feel like I’ve damaged the relationship with my insecurities, self-loathing, and issues.

Another part of it is feeling like HE wants me to leave but he’s afraid to say so. So it’s essentially an easy “get out of Lisa” card.  Which is really stupid because I can’t assume to know his feelings.

In those key fight or flight moments, I always choose flight. It’s not because I’m afraid of conflict I don’t think. I have plenty of conflicts in my life.  I have no issues speaking my truth even if it causes conflict. So it’s not that.

I think it’s just about my damaged brain choosing that I don’t want to be anywhere or do anything unpleasant. I don’t want to feel like I don’t belong. I don’t want to spend my time stressed about relationships. I don’t want I don’t want I don’t want. I can’t. I can’t manage. I can’t process. I can’t I CAN’T I can’t. And of course, the LAST thing I’ll allow myself to do is cause any stress on others. So when I see something going off the rails, I want to just bail. Put THEM out of their misery.

But…I have to reprogram my brain as much as I’m able. I need to get to a mental place where I feel I truly am wanted and loved and accepted, and where I can shed the fears about driving people away. It really becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m so afraid of being hurt or losing someone, that I’m putting walls up that don’t need to be there.

And maybe I need to lock up my passport.

Peace,

~ Lisa

Connections Here and There

As an ever-increasing recluse, I had convinced myself that I didn’t need people. I had “lost” everyone in my life whom I depended upon. Taken for granted that they would always be in my life.

After I lost him, many friendships followed. Lost my home. My rescue. My life as I knew it.

I felt so incredibly alone, living in a country far from my friends and having no human interactions. I believed that I would be alone for the rest of my life, and that the people I love end up leaving so it wasn’t worth investing any more of my heart.

Quite often, I think about “people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. Sometimes, we can’t really determine which purpose they serve. I always thought Michael was my lifetime, but it turned out that he was a season and a reason. I learned so much from him in the far too short time we were together. And now I truly do understand that he was a season. A season I needed, a season I loved, but a season nonetheless.

Others have been in my life for a reason. To teach me about pain, loss, rejection…to teach me about love, happiness, living in the moment. I believe some have been in my life because I had something to teach them, or they needed me for any number of reasons.

Lifetime relationships aren’t common. Two of those relationships in my life are people I thought I had lost. Relatives who formed opinions about me based on the lies of another jealous relative. Those two relationships are coming full circle as I’m about to see these two people for the first time in over 10 years. I can’t discuss much more about it until I’m sure the family shame secrets no longer exist, and I’m respecting their decision to prevent chaos in their lives by keeping things quiet for them.

Connection. Connections are all life really comes down to. My connections and friends helped bring me home from a dangerous place. Friends are the ones who provided me with housing options. Listened to my breakdowns. Connected me with resources and other people who are in my life for a reason as well.

My hard time in the DR was definitely for a reason. I have made lifelong friends from that experience. Lifetime relationships. I think.

Most recently, a friend connected me with a really special woman…the woman who now lives in my former home in Minnesota. After hearing her story and talking with her, a wonderful friendship is developing and I couldn’t feel better about who is living in “my” house and knowing that it will be a loving, loved, safe place for a family who needs it.

My session with a medium a few weeks ago was all about connections from those I’ve lost. I was assured that those connections continue, and that I have an amazing army of guardians on my side.

As I write this today, I’ve come to believe that EVERY single interpersonal relationship I have, is a relationship I need. I believe that any person who is a regular part of my life, belongs there. I have come to cherish connection and love so much more than I ever did. I guess that’s what loss has taught me.

I’m having some challenges re-integrating into real society. This is much more difficult than I imagined it would be. Establishing new connections after loss is really difficult. But it’s happening. New connections will be made, and they’ll be in my life for a reason, season, or lifetime. Every single one of them is meant to be.

Peace,

Lisa

Camper Living, One Month Report Card

Yesterday marked one month since I arrived in Pasadena. I have the van for little side trips and adventures, but we are living in a rented Airbnb camper so that I can decide if camper living is something I can do long term.

It’s been a fun, unpredictable, challenging, educational month. Lots of people are “jealous” of the life I’m living, and yes there are some really, really cool aspects to it. But there are also realities that people don’t understand.

It’s SMALL. Yes, tiny living is an adjustment. The shower is about 18” wide so there aren’t luxurious showers, but I’m used to that from the Dominican Republic. The ceilings are short (I’m 5’3” and can touch the ceilings). So the result of this is multiple times cracking my head open on cabinets 🙄. The bedroom is just that. A room that fits a bed and nothing else. And then there’s the stress. I’m in the Airbnb for one more month and then it’s anyone’s guess.

The good? I LOVE IT here. I love being in California again. I love the little camper and where we are.

The dogs are good. Walter has been “off” for a week or so. Not sure what’s up with him.

I’ve been meeting some guys via online dating. That’s a whole other blog 😳.

Three year ago right now, my dad was dying. It’s a tough time because looking back, this was the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it. His death was the beginning of a whole downhill spiral in my life.

So for now, I’m still in the camper. Still trying to figure out next moves. And randomly falling into complete denial and avoidance of my reality.

Life goes on…

Peace.

~ Lisa