The Consistency of Emotional Tenses

It happens the same way every time.

I meet a new woman. The one-in-a-million type. I project all my hopes and dreams onto her. I see my future with her. I genuinely feel that I am able to commit myself to her love. That she is the last woman I am going to be with. I let myself love her. I tell my friends that “This time is different” and “I’ve never felt this way”. We spend moments together talking about light and love and potential and other beautiful moments we’ve experienced. “I love your sneeze.” “Your smile is adorable.” We text each other emoticon laden messages with hearts popping out of eyes and tongues sticking out of mouths. We stare into each other’s eyes like little kids seeing Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. “What are you thinking?” With a smile…“Nothing. What are you thinking?” We slip into each other’s skin like perfect suits of emotional bliss and strip down to our imperfect selves in discussions of insecurity and intimacy. She asks, “Is this too good to be true?” I say, “Not a chance. I love you.” I tell her how much I want her and want to know her. I disarm her inhibitions with my words and fortify her trust with my actions. We enjoy this blissful feeling…for a while.

Then something clicks – or maybe comes loose – inside of me. And I forget that blissful feeling. It disappears into the cavities of fear within my brain. Then I see the struggle of relational growth. I finally see her faults, her imperfections. I don’t see her as I had envisioned. Her baggage is too much to handle. Her friends aren’t true to her; my friends are better. She doesn’t love me, she looks up to me. I see her as a child looking up to Daddy. Am I supposed to fix her? Am I responsible for cleaning up her emotional messes? Do I even know her? My stomach hurts. My mood shifts. I lose perspective on the truth. I hesitate. I hold back. I stop living and start thinking. Fun dissipates like helium from a balloon. I issue a death sentence with the distance that grows in my heart. I quit. She cries. I take responsibility. She disappears. I chalk it up to “She’s not the one”, or “We’re just not compatible”, or “She has more growing up to do”. I hate myself at the core, yet I feel an exaggerated sense of relief at the same time.

Then I’m back within the solitary salvation of singledom. And at first, I enjoy it. I go on a million first dates. Sometimes we kiss. Sometimes we learn about each other’s curves and varying skin tones. Mostly I talk about myself. My successes in life, in music, in growth, in emotional liberation. The flare of an ego humbled by life is certainly a sight to see. I share my story of a child of divorced parents, of past relationships and the lessons they’ve imparted upon me, of my two strokes which shook my life to the point of writing my final good-byes to family and close friends. I open up my heart and reveal the truth within myself. And she inevitably says what I’ve heard 999,999 times before, “I’ve never met anyone like you.” She is inspired by me. By the way I approach life with vigor and openness. By the way I love my friends and family. By the way I pursue creative expression on a regular basis. And 999,999 times, the inspiration lasts for a few dates, perhaps a handful.

Then it fades. And my nights and mornings are coupled with loneliness until my next first date. Then I get to sing the song and dance the dance and kiss the girl. But ultimately, I wake up alone. Or perhaps she’s the one-in-a-million type. And I project all my hopes and dreams onto her. I see my future with her. I disarm her inhibitions with my words and fortify her trust with my actions. We enjoy this blissful feeling…

This cycle cannot continue. I must realize that I am here in this moment. And this moment is all that matters. The future is non-existent. The past is gone. The long walk towards self-realization is constant and unending. And this is my time to act upon the truth that revitalizes my heart and extinguishes the fear that corrupts it. Enough with expectation. Enough with hesitation. Enough with the childish belief of independence in emotional isolation. This is my life. I must live it, take part in it, and enjoy the process, easy or tough, because this is the only moment I have.

How I could be only five months removed from laying in a hospital bed messily scribbling my last words to family and friends through blurry, brain damaged vision and free flowing tears, and think that any moment other than this one matters, I have no idea.

Let’s try again. I meet a new woman. The one-in-a-million type. Then something clicks – or comes loose – inside of me. But this time, I remember that feeling. And I remember that this is the only moment that matters. And I let myself love her. I let myself be loved by her.

I live in the only moment I have.

This one.