Sunday, July 25, 2010


February 1991, Queens, New York

Jen, Sue, and I are sitting in Sue's room playing three handed euchre on her bed and drinking beer. The Indigo Girls are keeping us company. Sue's boyfriend wanders around, but goes largely unnoticed. He is in the middle of one his sculpture projects. He is constantly bringing stuff he finds tossed out on the sidewalk back to the apartment to incorporate into his art. His current piece involves three old television sets and a lot of stuff I can't identify. I have no idea what he is making. I don't ask. I am on my second beer and pretty happy. It took four years of intense college study to figure out that three beers is the ideal amount of drinking for me. Any more than four involve puking in the bathroom. It took a lot of puking to figure this out. I hung with a crowd that could pound a 12 pack and still shoot pool successfully. It was a tough room back then.

This is nice. My two favorite girls. Playing cards. And drinking beer at my own speed (sloooow). And The Indigo Girls. We listen to them so much that we all knew all of the words to every song. We are toasted enough that we sing along to all of the songs. We can sing and play at the same time. We are multi-taskers. The song "Land of Canaan" just finished. That one always makes me think of MFL. Lots of emotions going on there. He is over fighting Desert Storm and I see a therapist in Brooklyn once a week. Next up is "Love's Recovery." This song is so sad. I look at the two people beside me and feel this enormous relief that this will never be my fate. Thank God.

There I am in younger days, star gazing,
Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be
Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection
My compass, faith in love's perfection
I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen
Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
Left each other one by one in search of fairer weather
And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
To the slim chance of love's recovery.

~Indigo Girls, Love's Recovery

October 1991, Manhattan, New York

Jen and I are walking to work. We now live in the city. Sue and her boyfriend have their own place. MFL is still in Desert Storm and I am still making my weekly trip to Queens for therapy. Jen's job and mine are fairly close together.

Me: Do you think about the future?

Her: Sure.

Me: I can't imagine you, me, and Sue not living close. I know that she is still in Queens right now and that is kinda far and a pain. But, ultimately, when we get our lives all put together, there has to be some way to work it out that we live in the same apartment building or on the same street. No further than a few blocks, right?

Her: Definitely.

Me: That's what I think, too. I want our kids to play together and be the best of friends like we all are. I just can't imagine it any other way.

Her: The same building would be best.

Me: (I smile) Definitely.

If you didn't read the post, My First Love, you probably should. The only reason to write a post like yesterday's is to figure it out. Chris calls it cleaning out your chicken coop. If you stop when it first starts to smell, then you don't learn anything. You have to keep going. Even when it smells so bad that it stings your nose hairs. In other words, you have to get down and dirty if you want to get anywhere. So, let's go....

The common denominator in all of those relationships was ME.

I am going to assume that you read the My First Love blog.

Now take what you learned from that blog and put it up against yesterday's blog.

I did not want to leave New York. I did not want to leave my friends. I did not want to leave my career. I spent all of my time worrying about being left by MFL. Here is where my unhealthy pattern began of subverting what I know is best for me in a relationship and doing something else out of fear. In this case, it was the fear of being left. I'd already been left so many times it was the pattern (in that relationship). He wasn't going to leave (unless he got killed) in Desert Storm. However, at Fort Stewart he had a year and half to move on. If I had stayed in New York, I would have kept my career, my friends, and if that relationship was meant to be it would have been. Either way, I would have been a stronger person, capable of standing up for what I needed in a relationship with another person.

That one choice to move to Georgia, and leave New York, changed EVERYTHING.

In terms of my friends: I wasn't around for my friend when she started seeing someone who was not good for her. If I had stayed, we wouldn't have moved. They probably wouldn't have met. However, if she'd met someone else who was the same kind of bad, I would have been there. She wouldn't have been alone. It is harder to corner someone into a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship if they have friends. I was the glue that held our little trio together (Jen, Sue, and I).

In terms of myself: Once you know your own strength you build on that pattern. You build on a pattern of good. You stop being that girl who is scared to death that anytime she really cares about someone they emotionally and/or physically leave. You get to stop being her. You start being that woman who is strong, walks away from abusive situations and/or emotional "suckers," and fulfills her potential.

The pain of every single one of those relationships has to do with leaving. Someone picks up their bags and emotionally leaves. I say someone. What I mean is someone who isn't me. Jen started doing it when she was lying to me on the phone about her life. It was a slow emotional withdrawal from our relationship. She eventually quit calling me. She left me for her abusive boyfriend. I was tired of chasing her. Sue couldn't deal with me after the death of her sister. She emotionally left. She emails now occasionally about her kid. However, our friendship is not the same. I chased her for a while (as in calling to try and reconnect), but I got tired of getting shut down. Jennifer and I actually do exchange heartfelt emails and if I asked for a phone number she would give it. It is easier for me to email her. Emotionally, she is the only instant connect who is still right here in it with me. Right Guy... he emotionally left a long time ago I think.

Now that I have it figured out, I can make a conscious choice not to chase someone down and beg him to stay. Furthermore, my attitude will reflect that of a person who is not willing to chase someone down. Something tells me that simply by adopting this change of attitude my next relationship is going to be someone who is solid, sure of himself, and doesn't feel the need to emotionally bolt at the first sign of thunder. (I bet my future friendships will be better, too:-)

all images found at


  1. Hey Robin,
    You know, even if you'd been there you're friends would still have made their own choices. We would like to think we could make all the difference, but I can tell you. People have their own lessons to learn, and their own mistakes to make. Big hugs, sometimes we can look back and think of where we would be had we not gone in certain directions. The great thing is, is you can move forward from where you are standing now.
    a whole lot wiser had you not take the roads you took.

  2. I love your flash back in time...You took me to another place...a place where we have all been.

    Do not ponder about what might have'll never know.

    Sometimes recognising a pattern is the first step to change. Here is a poem that I often turn to when I look at my own patterns (we all have them):


    Chapter 1.
    I walk down a street and there's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. It takes forever to get out. It's my fault.

    Chapter 2.
    I walk down the same street. I fall in the hole again. It still takes a long time to get out. It's not my fault.

    Chapter 3.
    I walk down the same street. I fall in the hole again. It's becoming a habit. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

    Chapter 4.
    I walk down the same street and see the deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

    Chapter 5.
    I walk down a different street.


  3. I hate how this happens to friends. I, on several occasions, got sick of chasing my friends down. I was always the one to make the phone call. I got sick of chasing them. So I stopped calling. And then we drifted...

    Sad, sad.


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