I had a dream last night that my ex was in. Not just any ex. You know, the ex. I think most of us have (usually) one of these. Whether it was the one who broke your heart the most, the one who made you the craziest, the one who got away, etc., (or perhaps some combination of all of the above). When I was talking to my wife about my dream and my ex’s resurfacing in my subconscious this morning (he has a habit of doing that every once in a while, and I have yet to concretely figure out why), our fourteen year old came and sat down with us. As we were trying to explain why this particular ex was a bigger deal than any of my other exes, my wife seemed to sum it up perfectly.
“He’s like her heroine,” she told our daughter. I’ve talked about this ex -we’ll just call him J here – with my wife in great detail, so she knew exactly what the dream had stirred up for me and a good idea of where my thoughts were wandering.
I sat with that idea for a few minutes and decided it was probably pretty accurate. While it’s true that my “relationship” with J ended almost a decade ago and I like to think I’ve gotten smarter since then, I got stupid around him, just like people do on heroine. Heroine is not one of those drugs that you can try once and only do occasionally. Smart people check themselves into rehab after doing heroine once. I was not smart then. It took me a long time to get smart. One look from him, and I would be gone. I had melted into a puddle on the floor. I paid for witnessing and sharing in the infrequent bursts of brilliance when his true self emerged by letting him play me and treat me poorly. He broke my heart more times than I remember, and I willingly submitted to it until I decided not to anymore. I used to say that he would be amazing if not for that small personality flaw of being an arrogant asshole. Those moments of brilliance were pretty incredible. It took me a little while to realize I was completely in love with him and then it took me even longer to quit him cold turkey. Even after I had, I would know when he was near or in town. I would know shortly before he tried to contact me (which he did several times, despite my having said I never wanted to hear from him again). The connection I had with him was one for which I have few words. And I knew him. I realized years later after I began studying Witchcraft and Paganism that I have known him life times upon life times before. I’m not sure what lessons we were meant to teach each other and help each other learn this time around, but it feels like we still have unfinished business. I will forever be grateful to him for helping me to find my Fire – because it took a shit ton of it for me to be able to leave him and cut myself off.
So when I woke this morning from the dream with visions of his dark, shoulder length wavy hair, turquoise and hazel eyes, broad shoulders, chiseled cheek bones, and heart-shaped lips in my mind, I just shook my head and chuckled. This was an atypical reaction for me. When I’ve dreamt about him in the past, I’ve woken up angry or frustrated or sad (and, of course, horny). But this morning was different. As I sat with the difference, I realized that, Oh, despite all of the shit he’d piled on top of who he truly was and how much he had hurt me, I was still in love with him. And not the “in love with him to the point where I would allow myself to get stupid again” kind because that is not love. It can get tangled up with love, but it’s not the same thing. And I certainly was not, nor am I now, in love with the shit piled on top of his essence. It’s his essence that I will probably always be in love with. And the packaging for that essence this time around just flat does it for me. I’m a total sucker for dark hair and light eyes to begin with but add in the broad shoulders, put some wave in the hair, and toss in some sculpted cheekbones, and I’m done. And in that moment of realization, probably for the first time, I did not try to fight being in love with him. I just accepted it. Accepting didn’t mean I had to contact him, to try to rebuild or recreate some kind of relationship with him on any level. I just sat with it and acknowledged that it was.
After I’d gotten myself coffee, I looked him up on facebook for the first time without feeling guilty or like I was betraying myself. He doesn’t look very different. I did not message him or friend request him, much to the disappointment of our 14 yr old. I don’t remember what I told her when she asked why – that might have been when my wife pointed out he was my heroine. As I drove to work, though, I thought about it. The only reason at the moment I would have for contacting him would be an ambiguous curiosity, and while flirting with the idea of doing so in my head is one thing (and mildly entertaining), I’ve decided without clearer intention than that, the only possible thing I could create from doing so would be a hot mess. I certainly don’t need any of those right now. So instead, I will enjoy this knowing that I am still in love and that I can simply accept it. And I will marvel that I can indeed be in love with two people at once (I hadn’t been sure this was entirely possible for me). And I will enjoy this reignited spark of my sexuality that visions of J stirred up. 😉