My imagination has always been vivid. It’s why I like to write. It’s why I’m so good at it. Colors and characters are so alive to me I feel like they’re real. And they stick with me. Like good friends. I would miss them if they were gone. Especially him. He has taken on many shapes and forms over the years I have been fancifully active. Ever since I was a child really. He’s looked like Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, and he’s looked like ex-lovers that I was actually involved with at one point. But he is always with me. Strong in my heart. Helping me. Saving me from utter loneliness. And he’s lovely. Really the most lovely man. He is strong and smart and sarcastic as hell. We fight with each other and love each other more because of it. We move each other. He’s unexpected to me. I’m unexpected to him. We don’t start out as two people who would have wanted to be together. But for some reason we’re stuck together. And we find out all about each other because of that.
Silly really. These fantasy relationships. I’ve had WAY too many. They very well may be what gets in my way of healthy real life dating. But I spend so much time alone I don’t know where I’d be without my make believe world. I’m not schizophrenic. I don’t hear voices or see hallucinations. But I dream. Maybe too often. Because I become so comfortable with these made up men, that the real ones are always disappointments; they can’t be controlled, or altered on a whim. They have to be contended with. And they’re so hard to be brave around. I’ve always had trouble talking to men I’m attracted to. It used to be that I had trouble talking to ANY man. I’ve come a long way, with the help of some really great guy friends. But talking to a man that I like. Like, LIKE like, that’s rough. I tend to shut down. Then run off and make him into a fantasy that looks like him and makes me feel happy without ever making me uncomfortable or scared. I get to retreat further into my shell, instead of coming out of it. And here I am, 33 years old, still single and VERY lonely. I don’t want just fantasies anymore. But I can hardly speak to men that I’m feeling something for. I want to disappear around them so they don’t see me. I’ve had so many males call me ugly over the course of my life. So few have told me how beautiful I was. In fact, I can only remember one. It was a really beautiful compliment. In the almost perfect moment. Only he wasn’t a love interest, just a co-worker, and over all perfect guy. He was married with children. All boys. What lucky folks they were to have him. He was just great. A great dad, a great husband. And a great person for making me feel so lovely one night. He was closing up the bar where we worked. The lights were dim throughout the restaurant; only the bar was spot lighted. I was sitting at the bar, waiting for him. I was 19 and didn’t have a car yet, so he or another adult I worked with would drive me home on cold winter nights. He happened to walk back into the bar and from about 15 feet behind me said “I wish I could take a photo of you, just like that”. It was really the first time any man had acknowledged me. The first I was aware that any had taken notice. And it was such a placid and kind statement. That gave so very much to me. It made me smile. I hadn’t realized anyone could look at me and not want to immediately turn away. I’d always felt so ugly my whole life. I didn’t wear make up. I’d fix may hair but not style it. I was simple. Plain. And I didn’t want to be noticed. But for the first time, it didn’t seem so bad. If felt really nice actually. And he made me smile so big! I am so happy he said something to me. He could have let the moment go and said nothing. But because he did say something, I experienced one of the few positive lessons I’ve learned from a man.
I can be admired. And not offensive to someone’s person. I can be nice to look at. I can make people happy. A real life person. Not just the guy in my head. I am glad for the innocence of that moment. It was so long ago. But the feeling sticks with me. I’ve learned to compliment people like that. Because it’s a nice thing to do, to make someone feel good about themselves. And the more I do it, the easier it has become for me to accept compliments from others. I used to argue with people when they complimented me. Then, a friend of mine pointed out how insulting that was. “Just say thank you” she told me. Just say thank you. And I did. Whether or not I agreed with the compliment, I said “thank you” to whomever had given it. And the difference it made in them was profound. They felt complimented by my acceptance of their compliment. It’s awesome how positivity can be contagious. But this man inside my head. He’s still there. When I have no one else around. When I’m alone in the house, like tonight, and I really don’t want to be. My fantasy turns on and this fantasy man comes calling at the door. And I welcome him into my life.
Now I want more. I want the real thing. I welcome the real thing into my life. And he will be disappointing at first because I can’t control his every word. I won’t be able to perfectly design him to who I am. I’ll have to bend and react to his unpredictable choices. I will have to live in the moment and not in my head. And that scares me. It’s scary as hell. So I must be onto something.