Love me, tender...

So a couple of months ago, for the very first time, because of a writing challenge (that I’m still not finished with…thanks, life!), I broached the subject of dating. It was uncomfortable, and I was vague (because I was uncomfortable). While I can’t promise a ton more details (ya know, considering I haven’t been on a date since I wrote that), I did want to elaborate (carpeing the diem and all that). Some well meaning friends and acquaintances inquired (privately, thank goodness) with questions, or reached out and said really sweet things like “you’re just not ready,” or “you’ll meet him when you’re ready.” Those platitudes are kind, but not entirely true. 

It’s so unfuckingbelievably hard to explain. Yes, I’m a “words” girl, but some things don’t come easily, even to the most linguistically talented of people. I’ve been reading the works of Brene Brown and Nora McInerny- my vulnerability, courage and widow role models, respectively. Listening to their stories have really helped me to look in the mirror and face some realities that were incredibly hard to admit…even to myself.

The first of all realities, and the biggest, is that I’m scared.

Yup. I just said it. 

I’m not just scared…I’m fucking terrified (yes, “fucking” is necessary, to emphasize I am).

I’m scared of loving, and losing…again.

Odds are 50/50 that if I ever fell in love again, I could be a widow two times. Sound awful? Yeah, it is. It’s one of those things people probably don’t think about when they think of my dating. They might think of it being tough to date with kids, or finding someone who’ll even want to date me with kids (or because I’m a widow). They probably don’t know the overwhelming terror of loving someone and going through what I already have. Because it sucked. There isn’t even a word for how much it sucked. 

I’m scared of loving someone who doesn’t understand

I’m fiercely protective of Kenny’s memory, of Kenny’s family (who I consider my family), of my kids remembering their Dad, of my involvement with the BT society. I refuse (and I mean refuse) to give up on those relationships, for anyone (not even YOU Chris Evans…so if you want to marry me, you’ll just have to accept my terms, but I digress…). I am scared of someone not “getting” that I could love them wholly, for who they are, where I am in my life, and love Kenny, and his family. My heart is big enough. 

I’m scared of liking/loving someone who won’t love me. 

I know that probably sounds a little funny, but I’ve learned that, despite the incredible pain of losing Kenny, I’m not actually impervious to other kinds of pain. Who knew? Rejection is awful. 

Even weirder, there is this awkward “thing” that seems to happen anytime someone has seemed interested… I am going to admit something that probably won’t garner sympathy, or fans, but here’s the thing; I think I’m pretty cute. I like myself. I’d even say that I think I’m a catch. I’m smart, and driven; I know I’m pretty dorky, but whatever, I am who I am, and I can laugh at myself. But there are people whose interest in me are not totally…genuine. I realized, the hard way, that being a widow makes me different. It makes me “interesting” in theory….”Oooo the mysterious widow.” I think it probably takes all of ten minutes of conversing to realize I’m really not that esoteric. I’m a mom. I’m a writer, a health and wellness coach, and I really do laugh at potty humor, like a twelve year old. I’m not the enigma some seem to fantasize I am. It makes it hard for me to sift through who thinks I’M a catch, versus whatever image they have in their heads (that is quickly ripped to shreds). It makes me not want to put myself out there.

I’m scared of making a wrong choice, or worse, the right one

Reminder: I’m a mom. Whoever I date, if I/they are lucky, would inevitably end up in my kids’ lives, whether it was in a couple of months or a couple of years. I make every decision in life knowing it will impact my children, and sometimes, I worry that I won’t make a good one. Kenny was easy, ya’ll. He was handed to me on a silver platter by Camp Arrowhead in 1998, before I felt any weight of any decision (in short, I turned out to be lucky as all get-out that he turned out to be a good one). There are a lot of good men out there, I know, but what if I somehow don’t end up with one of them? What if I miss something? 

What’s scarier than letting someone in who might love us, and leave us? Letting someone in who might love us, and stay.

There was a scene in The Holiday, where Jude Law’s widower-ed character says (and I’m paraphrasing here, since I can’t find the actual quote), something to the effect of “I’m scared of what someone might do to how we get from day to day.” We have spent two years alone. Two years of me learning to be totally independent. I pay the bills, handle all the logistics, the childrearing, the chores. I don’t even know if I remember how to let anyone help me, anymore. It’s not ACTUAL fear of being loved, or helped, but simply the unknown. I’ve only known two ways in life…with Kenny…and without. I just don’t know what life looks like with Leonardo, or Zac, or Bob.

Being a widow is bananas, ya’ll. 

I’m sure there are a dozen more fears creeping up in there that I haven’t self-realized yet, but I think you get the gist.  So, to better (hopefully) explain, I don’t want to be alone, it’s not that I enjoy being solo, that I don’t want a partner… because despite all the fears above…

I’m beyond petrified that I’ll never find love again.

I don’t want to be alone forever. I endlessly daydream what it’d be like to have someone to hug me, or hold my hand. To have someone for ME to bring coffee TO in the morning, someone to cook a nice meal for, to share eye contact with and “get” each other. Whether or not that actually happens, I don’t know. But Chris Evans, if you’re reading…I’m WAITING!!! ;) 

(yes, I’m joking ya’ll…I’m not THAT crazy!).