I'm not a religious person but I am a faithful one and I put a lot of my hopes and dreams into things I can't see or touch. I have faith that I am doing the right thing, that I will be led in the right direction, that people are inherently good and seek to do good. I had faith in my pursuit of an acting career, in starting over in a new city, in saving trees, in telling stories through film, in my friends which I consider my family. Before last year, I'd lost faith in various causes, organization, processes (the government, for example) but never had a loss of faith cut so deep to the core of who I am. What was this crisis or crises? What is the story that led to the Singlution? There is no way in heck that I am able to recount that hell in a mere blog post. But what I can say is this:
I am a different person than I was a year and a half ago. I am a different woman than I EVER was. People keep growing and changing in tiny ways all the time but if you've ever experienced an avalanche in your life you'll know what it is to wake up one day and not know who you are.
For many days I woke up and I couldn't recognize myself. Who was I without my sister? Who was I without my best friend? And what had happened to the man that I truly truly thought I was going to marry and had already sacrificed many aspects of myself for? And worst of all, what was I going to do with my life if I wasn't going to be an actor anymore? What was my calling and why did the calling that I had placed so much faith in seem to leave me high and dry? Why was I exhausted? Where was my enthusiasm and joy? What had happened to my youth?
These days I wake up and I've gotten used to the new me. I still feel heavier than I used to (both in my body and in my soul) but I know that in time that heaviness will transform into groundedness and I'll be back to my sprite-like ways.
Tonight, I socialized for the first time since I became the Singlutionary and started writing this blog (at which time I finally began to understand the post-crisis me). I didn't think of this evening as a test in any way: I just knew that I had things on my calendar which I had committed to doing despite feeling rather ambiguous about them (as I do with most public interactions these days). If this evening were a test, however, I passed with flying colors which means is that I am getting confident in my own skin again, that I have gotten to know myself well enough to stand on my own two feet and not shake in my boots.
I attended two functions tonight. The first one you can read about below. The second one will have to wait for another post.
Function 1: A friend's birthday party. This friend actually lives in my neighborhood but we rarely see each other. We met through a group I led when I was still a realtor and our main common ground is environmentalism, mainly personal sustainability (not using throw away stuff, composting, recycling, etc). Little was I to know that there were three tests waiting for me at this event:
Test 1: Being surrounded by enviro people and not feeling alienated.
I used to be a pretty hard core environmentalist. And then I lost faith in environmentalism. I still am an environmentalist except I no longer wear my green on my sleeve. I ignore a lot of bad things that go on in the world and try and do my best but I accept that I am a human being and that other people breathing and eating and farting on this earth are human beings as well. But the super-earth-conscious-crunchy-granola-activist community used to be MY community. I used to be one of them. And I'm not anymore. I always looked a little mainstream so sometimes I would see real hippies quietly passing judgement on me because I wasn't patchouli smelling enough to really understand. Oftentimes recently I've passed judgement on liberal enviro folks for what I consider to be uber-negative/never-good-enough thinking.
There were plenty of moments tonight when I could have felt frustrated or where I could have passed judgement and thought "that kind of alienating attitude is what is holding us back". But instead I just thought: "Gosh, its good to be back with my people, hearing them talk about these things. Its good to remember those times and to know that this community still exists and that I am still here on the periphery of it. I enjoy the periphery."
Test Two: Sizing up Skinny Enviro Landscaper and then Letting Him Go
When I was more at the center of the environmentalist community, I was always trying to find a fellow treehugger for a mate. I thought we could get together and hug a tree so hard that we would conceive and give birth to our own tree offspring and be a true forest family. I was desperate to find someone who loved the earth as much as I did. And I acted crazy because of it. I let lots of hippie artist types freeload off my spirit, my money, my time all because I so desperately needed to be loved and acknowledged by the activist world. Anytime I met a guy who was single and who was an activist I fell in love with him. And they never liked me, never were interested in committing to me. The thing about activism is that it has its own culture of stars and status and since my job put me close to these heroes at the center, other people wanted to be close to me because through me, they could get access to these treehugging stars. Once, I thought this giant peace dove making artist was going to confess his love to me but instead he confessed his love of my boss to me. Lets just say that I never need to have that experience again.
Tonight, when I found myself talking to a young-ish/seemingly unattached/possibly straight eco landscaper my old habits came back to me. I started sizing him up, trying to figure out if he might/possibly/maybe be interested in me, etc. And then I took a step back, looked at myself and laughed. What did I want with this skinny landscaper with bad posture who drinks smoothies every day and waxes on about the detriments of compostable disposable cups. Nothing. Nothing aside from pleasant conversation which for me was entirely nostalgic and enjoyable in-so-far that it never happen again.
Test Three: Seeing the guy-I-though-was-bi (and was just plain ole gay).
I had an uber crush on this man when I first moved to this town. He looked like Jeff Goldblum. He was the interior designer for a restaurant I was working at and although years my senior, he was an artist (ahem. dysfunctional freeloader) and he could relate to me (ahem. immature). Anyways, I saw this guy come in and recognized him but at first I couldn't really put my finger on it. I thought he had skipped town or got sent to jail for a longer stint so I needed to be convinced that it was really him. He'd also aged in three years from looking 45ish to looking 50ish. And he is still hot and still charming and still throws off my gaydar completely.
In the past, I would have felt so humiliated by my previous attraction to this man and equally so angry at him for being such a self-centered dysfunctional in my life. But instead I was entertained. I doubted that he would recognize me and if he did I wasn't afraid to interact with him. But I did enjoy observing him and trying to see what clues I missed, not to his sexual orientation, but to his level of sanity/functioning. I decided to size him up and see what I saw in him now that I'm older and wiser. Conclusion: I can't blame myself for being attracted to him. But the red flag was in his posture. He is very tall, so its hard to notice but he betrays his confidence outward charm by a certain crookedness in the way he walks. Note to self: Start noticing posture when sizing up sanity levels in strangers.
So an event that could have beaten the stuffing out of me merely sent me home with several light observations which, although based on where I've been, should serve me well wherever I am going.