I woke up missing someone today.
That hasn't happened to me in a long time -- and it's a double-edged sword I wasn't quite prepared for. I've quickly been reminded how much it hurts to be opened up to the possibility of love, after so long without it, only to then be left suddenly alone with that opening. And nothing, not even an explanation, to fill it.
Being alone for too long isn't good -- we humans are social beings. Studies actually show that we need interaction in order to thrive. And apparently you don't have to FEEL lonely to be negatively affected by being alone.
"A 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science found social isolation increased people's likelihood of death by 26 percent, even when people didn't consider themselves lonely. Social isolation and living alone were found to be even more devastating to a person's health than feeling lonely."
~ Being Alone vs. Being Lonely: The Psychological Effects Of Social Isolation On The Human Species
No pressure, right?
I've been alone for far longer than I'd like. And after six years of virtually no legitimate prospects, I guess I'd gotten used to it.
"When you're single, the desire for someone to come into your life is like a long, constant, dull, ache," my friend Sarah so eloquently explained. "Which sucks, but is very different from the punch in the gut feeling that takes the wind out of you when someone you've just started to care for suddenly disappears."
I'd forgotten how much that punch hurts.
But as crazy as it may sound, I am grateful. For all of it.
Meeting "Montana" was unexpected and definitely not something I thought would go anywhere. First off, I'm in Austin and he lives in, yes, Montana. But the attention was a nice distraction to my usual quiet and way too work-focused life.
"If nothing else, it's nice to have someone to flirt with," said Jen as we drove home from a so-so New Years Eve party. Montana and I had been texting daily for over a week, and as the clock struck midnight, it was almost like he was there with me. And that was enough.
As things started to progress, the flirtation grew to intrigue, then desire and then his booked flight to Austin to meet me -- and I was grateful for each step of the process.
It was enough to enjoy a conversation with someone.
It was enough to feel desired.
It was enough to have something to look forward to...
I believe that anything that comes into our lives is for a positive purpose. As the Kabbalists teach, if it's in your "movie," there's a reason. And long before I met Montana face to face, or even knew that I would, I was grateful to have known him. For several reasons:
He gave good text.
Never before did I realize how very alluring good communication can be. Especially given how painstakingly HARD it had been with my last boyfriend. Talking and texting with Montana was so easy, it was a turn on. And it felt like a reward -- the antidote to years of puling unwilling words out of my ex's mouth. I loved it, and so did he. We "got" each other, even over text.
"Goddamn, I like the way your mind thinks," he wrote one night.
The playful banter, suggestive innuendo, made me blush from the inside out. And made me feel like I was 16 again.
He reminded me what a connection feels like.
Distance doesn't matter. When it's there, it's electric. Our conversations were effortless, whether by text or phone. I was amazed how our calls could last an hour and a half and it STILL be hard to hang up.
"I love talking to you," he texted one night as I was finally getting ready for bed. We'd just peeled ourselves off another marathon call that lasted 1 hour 46 minutes.
But the best part was the connection I felt, even with him 1,200 miles away. One night I was working late again, and was exhausted. As I sat alone in the dark, empty office, contemplating my evening -- Montana checked in.
"How was your day?" the words lit up on my phone.
"Long -- trying to decide whether to call it a day and go home, or push myself and go to yoga," I typed.
His next four words took my breath away:
"Come home to me."
Electricity ran the length of my body, several times. I actually gasped out loud, grateful that no one was around to hear. Just the thought of that option... I'd been on my own for so long -- I'd completely forgotten how good those words even sounded.
The sentiment moved me deeply, and opened me up in ways I hadn't felt in a long while.
He made me feel beautiful, desirable and sexy.
There is no yoga class, kickboxing workout, designer dress or bra that can make you feel as hot as man who wants you. And isn't afraid to tell you.
He helped me move on.
I'm still ashamed to admit how hard it was to let go of my last relationship. Long after I'd left him, my heart still held a space open for my ex, "Thom," whenever he showed up. Usually via long, descriptive texts about what he'd like to do to me. My head hated it, and even my heart knew he was a waste of energy.
But we really do see what we want to see in people. And I all I was able to see was his good.
All that changed when I started to feel something for Montana -- it was like the blinders came off.
One morning, I had a strange dream about Thom. I was on a college campus, watching him go from girl to girl, using all of his charm saying whatever he needed to get this one or that one for a night. I woke up saddened, disgusted and transformed.
For years, I had only allowed myself to see Thom as the deep, big-hearted man who was tortured and trying. I had ignored the hard cold fact that he was now using me (and every other woman) like toilet paper.
The dream gave me clarity. I suddenly realized that I had needed to see him that way. I needed to believe that he still cared and was capable of all he had promised me all those years ago -- because I didn't believe anyone else could fill that void.
The connection I felt with Montana was reassurance that I could be wanted again by someone that I wanted. He made it safe for me to see the truth about my ex, and let go.
I knew right there and then that even if Montana never ended up being more than a nice story, he gave me an amazing gift. He freed my heart to love again. And I would forever be grateful.
He reminded me of how brave I am.
I don't know why Montana was brought into my life, or why he left just as suddenly. As much as I really wish I did. But I now know that I am open to all that I was starting to feel for him. The highs as well as the lows. Which is something too few people are able to do. Including, I believe, Montana himself.
Relationships are scary, require courage, communication, and compromise. Something I am more than ready for with the right man who is brave enough to risk getting hurt. Because I know that risk is more than worth the amazing payoff.