I find myself in a series of situations where I have to sit through a lot of complex feelings — quickly — to restore the status quo. Not just restore order — I must Get Excited.
Would that the heart and head could be so cooperative. I am finding this whole thing…Difficult.
Paul and I are buying an apartment, and while this should be an occasion for champagne and celebration, I am Freaking The F*CK OUT. Having now lived by myself for five years, I know I should be excited about How Great This Is, and I am. Also, I am Terrified. I am scared of the quotidian struggles that destroy relationships. I fear the burden and expectations of others looking in and saying, WHAT DOES THIS NEXT STEP MEAN?!?! (Ans: It means we are buying an apartment.) I am even afraid of picking the wrong paint colours and window treatments.
My problem, really, is that I am terrified of being tied down; stuck. Like tonsils, or an appendix, the only purpose this fear serves is to become infected and engorged — becoming bigger, heavier, and harder to bear than it needs to be.
I have always been light on my feet. Because what if I suck at whatever comes next? Better to make a quick and graceful exit than be caught flat-footed like a fool.
Because what if I have to be a Real Girl, Living a Real Life? My entire life for the past few years has been a 1990s romantic comedy. You may get that impression from some of my writing, but in reality it has been more like a Nora Ephron written-and-directed-film-starring-America’s-Former-Sweetheart-Meg-Ryan than you may actually believe.
I have been taking Adventure Travel Towards Self Realisation, and have swooned over the Wrong Men in the lobbies of the World’s Finest Hotels. I have had the kind of romances that most women only dream of, but these men — they’ve always left me at the doorstep. And now, now I’m going All The Way, with someone who might actually be The Right Guy. Now we’re opening the door; we’re buying the house, we’re going through the threshold and building the future and doing it together…
And I’m scared.
About paint, and walls, and curtains. And, for that matter, what if I’m no longer Interesting if I am suddenly so tied down and boring and solid and staid and … I am making all of the silly excuses that serve to prevent the real thing from happening. I am stalling. I am buying time.
I’ve always been good about being good. I’ve always been a know it all; I’ve long been obsessed with being right, and preventing myself from getting hurt. I’ve protected myself from some of the More Bad decisions I might’ve made.
But this has kept me from some of the More Good.
Tonsils and an appendix can easily be removed by a surgeon. My own fearful ego is not so easily excised. At this stage of my life, I just need to get out of my own way.