In a pep talk, someone once said that everyone who is single and looking for love is a failure, if we weren’t, we’d be with “our person.”
While this might seem harsh, it makes total sense. If you were successful in dating, you’d be in a relationship. It’s finding that person who matches you and what you want that is the difficult part. You can find someone who has a sense of humor, outlook on life that you want but there’s no spark. Or the opposite, there’s way to much spark and not enough substance. Then lastly, there is the “I’ve settling because I don’t want to be alone” part of dating which eventually turns you into a miserably unhappy person because your not being given to in the way that you need.
I’ve been in all three of these circumstances. I always thought I’d end up with someone who loves me for me and while it might not always be easy, we’d work our way through life, together, like my parents did. I thought that true love existed for everyone. I think that the world of online dating has killed how we interact with people in social settings. People are afraid to commit because they know they can just swap right for a date or find their perfect “match” for the moment on match.com. I no longer believe that everyone gets a happily ever after.
It’s this which lead me to a “50 first dates and then I’m giving up” challenge.
My friends told me that I didn’t trying hard enough to date. I wasn’t giving guys enough time. I was intimidating them. I was too guarded from my experiences in the past. So I said fine, I’ll try 50 dates.
So December 27, 2015 I started on this journey and on February 27, 2018, I gave up after 39 dates. It took two years and two months to go on 39 dates before I said I’ve had enough.
Enough of the scrolling, the trolling, the profiles, the trying to talk to someone face to face in public and the set ups. I got sick of hearing comments like “if I had a kid with you it would have a birth defect” or I wouldn’t date you, only f*** you.
Then there was the aimless small talk.
The “why am I wasting time on my phone when I have work I have to do” and the growing cynicism in my heart.
It wasn’t all bad. Of this two years and two month experiment, a year of it was dating. Actual dating, like only one person, not going on the apps to find a date, having a conversation about only dating each other. A concept seeming more and more rare.
Here’s the break down with cause:
#7- 3 months-moved to London
#28- 2.5 months-a master’s degree student who I felt was always trying to analyze me
#31- 2.5 months- turned out to be a functioning alcoholic
#34-4 months-great guy, just the wrong time
Here’s a few other statistical breakdowns:
I’m moving forward with my life and making choices that might be harder in the future by myself but I don’t want to live a life of regret because I was waiting around for someone.
I’ve been single for 7 years now, many people have said “ the right man with come when you’re least expecting it” or “when you give up, that’s when it will happen.” Well, it’s going to take a lot for this once hopeless romantic turned cynic to believe that some guy will ever ask me to marry him. But maybe, just maybe that wish that I made once upon a time will come try.
As you wish…
#tinder #match.com #okcupid #failure #IdK #givingupmovingon #brokenhearted #cynical #love #truelove #princessbridequote #asyouwish #ghosted #booger #whatwasIthinking
Our lives are like spider webs. When we are in the middle of them, it is sticky, we are caught, and we don’t know how to escape. When we step aside, we see the intricate beauty of the patterns. When we are depressed, we do not see our purpose or how our life connects with others. We only feel the pain, isolation and hopelessness.
I am sharing my story to break the silence of depression and the trauma that led to it: a dating violence relationship. This is not a story that will go into detail about what happen, that is personal. That is my story. The story that I share is one of a journey and twenty years later, I am still on.
On December 6th, 1996, I woke up in a cold sweat, crying. Sitting up, unable to shake it, I decided to take a shower. I stood there letting the hot water run down my back, still a little uneasy from waking up so suddenly. I opened my eyes and looked down at my arms and started screaming because I saw them all covered with blood and my whole body now was bleeding. I splashed water on my arms and my face, looking again, the blood was not there anymore.
I put my hands on my face, rubbed my eyes, and continued to cry. I just stood there crying. I crawled back in my bed and cried for three more hours. I did not think of anything in particular, my mind was mostly blank; I just felt everything from the last two and half years of my life.
I was feeling very tired. I wanted to give up. I didn’t think that I could ever survive this pain. I went in to the bathroom and looked at the girl in the mirror. She was crying just like me. I looked in the mirror and told her that I once had a dream to be a dancer but it never came true. I told her that I wanted to be a princess but for people like me, fairy tales do not come true. I was just a servant girl and people were going to use me until they would kill me. I was not going to let anyone have that satisfaction; I was finally going to play Sleeping Beauty.
I opened the cabinet and found a bottle Naprosyn and my roommates sleeping pills and I started to swallow them one by one. I took about five of them when a little voice in my head asked me “is this was really what I wanted to do? It’s not your time yet.” I somehow knew that if I tried to kill myself, it would work. Over the last year stuck in the relationship that I was in, I played around with taking too many pills to make myself sleep for a long time, in the hopes that maybe I would.
I didn’t want to die but I didn’t see how I could go on living with this pain. I looked down at the floor, crying, and between my tears saw the phone book. I opened the cover page, weak from crying for the last five hours, I called 1-800-603-HELP and spoke to a counselor. She asked me what was wrong and it was as if someone had opened the floodgates to my emotions. I told her everything that I had wanted to say for the last two years. Saying the words,” my ex-boyfriend use to beat me” was the beginning to starting over.
They arranged for someone to come and meet me that night for emergency counseling. For the next month, I went to counseling twice a week for an hour. The counselor explained to me that when I was in the shower, I was hallucinating the blood because I had incurred so much traumatic stress that it just built up inside of me until I exploded. The feelings of numbness over the last year was my way of protecting myself and surviving. Survivor.
The first three months were easy because I broke my silence, got an order of protection, he moved back to Iowa and I was happy, or so I thought. I stopped therapy. I partied with new friends. Drank too much. Danced late in the morning. Life was good except for the times when I was alone and the words that he said echoed in my ear. Walking down the street, I felt his hands reaching around my neck but wait, the cure is drinking, dancing and partying.
Until of course your alone. October. Sunday was dinner with my neighbor, Renee. She left for a moment and coming back, she saw that I had been crying and had gone blank. She didn't take “I’m fine” for an answer but she did take a “yes” when I agreed I’d go back to therapy. For months, she’d ask, “did you go to therapy today? I don’t need to know what you talked about, just that you went and when you’re ready, you’ll tell me what’s going on.”
To transform your life so that you don’t end up back where you are trying to leave, takes hard work. It took me on a journey of examining my relationship that brought me to this place but then understanding the links between my childhood, my self-esteem, my body image and all the collective experiences I’ve had. I have had to learn how to speak differently about myself, my feelings and others. I have had to learn how to stick up for myself, let go of people who are not a positive influence on my life and find my purpose. I’ve learned that even if you move away and travel, the problems are still there. You can not run away from things for they will always come back at you two-fold.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the path to healing is how to forgive someone in order to move forward. Forgiving someone does not mean forgetting, it’s about accepting what has happened, cutting the ties and moving forward. If someone receives your act of forgiveness and can understand what truly has occurred, they will move forward with you and in the act of doing so, forgive themselves for hurting you.
I see the world differently now. Being a survivor changes you. Renee touched me with kindness and it changed me forever. Since then, I’ve gone on to touch and reach so many kids and people through teaching, performing and speaking publicly about my life in the hopes that it will reach just one person to make a change.
I see the beauty of the spider web. I am in no means walking on sunshine all the time, for the sun does set but then a friend will whisper in my ear that I am loved, I take a deep breath and find center. My favorite poem as a kid was the “Road Less Traveled” because I seem to always do things differently then the people I grew up with and was related to. I’m not wishing anyone to go through the things I have been through. Instead, I am hoping by sharing my story it will create empathy and maybe someone out there is going through the same things will read this and know that it will get better, it just takes a lot of work.
It takes making a choice to say your worth it and find away to surround yourself with people who love you for no other reason then who you are as a person. It takes time, perseverance and love. It take loving yourself, living love and allowing yourself to be loved.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
#suicideprevention #suicide #domesticviolence #resilence #hope #love
Thank you Renee
My favorite movie of all time is the Princess Bride. At times the movie has paralleled my life from the characters, the relationship I had with my Grandmother, the time I almost married Prince Humperdinck to quest for true love.
The ending scene. The perfect kiss. The boy doesn’t mind as much. We hear “since the invention of the kiss, there have been 5 kisses that have been rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”
I’ve have three memorable kisses that when I close my eyes that moment still lives. One, healed my heart. One, a stage kiss that people still talk about. One, thrust together every possible emotion.
"You kiss a beautiful mouth, and a key turns in the lock
of your fear." - Rumi.
The great Sufi poet Rumi wrote “you kiss a beautiful mouth, and a key turns in the lock of your fear.” We are tangled up by fear, heart ache, commitments and questions. People who listen with their hearts, speak through actions and intuitively understand. Words only compliment the actions. Words without actions are meaningless. This is why a kiss can change a persons life in a moment in time. A kiss can heal a heart. A kiss can unlock fear. A kiss can make you smile.
The Canadian and I met at a music event when he took my photo with the worse possible flash. My response “are you trying to make me look more pasty white and blind me all at the same time?” One of those moments were words just spill out of my mouth. His friends busted out laughing. He turned red. He admitted that this was the first photo he took that night with a flash that he didn’t know how to use. That brief encounter turned into a 12 hour long conversation complete with a walking tour of the city.
There was plenty of time between bars, parks and odd alleyways to catch a train home. Somewhere around midnight, the topic of love came to the surface. Two heartbroken people managed to find each other. His girlfriend left a three weeks ago. Mine, left a year ago. Disappeared. Reappeared and tonight was finally moving his stuff out of my house. I didn’t want the night to end because I had to face an empty house. We both realized that in the last years of our relationships, even though we were with someone, we were really lonely. Now we are just alone. As the sun was coming up over Lake Michigan, the crisp reality of a new day was at hand. With nothing else to say to each other, he kissed me. I had forgotten what it was like to be kissed. Kissed by someone who connected with you. Humperdinck and I never had that connection. I bit my lip and took a deep breath. The feeling was mutual. Running away to Canada was easy. Staying and cleaning up the mess of my life was hard. Facing the next year alone was better than being lonely in a relationship. The Canadian helped me remember what it was like to be kissed. I will never settle again for another Humperdinck.
The Stage Kiss
The Artist takes the blows on the heart and turns it into art. I wrote Touch, inspired by the poetry of Rumi shortly after the Canadian. Set in graveyard, an elderly man visiting his wife’s grave meets a young woman who just buried her child. The two share stories of there lives, giving each other wisdom and an ear for listening. He told the story of how his daughter met her husband. “If you want love, you need to have a story, ever great romance has a story. Sometimes love is unpredictable and we just have to follow our heart and trust and see what happens.” The couple is reunited at the end of story.
It was one of those nights, were everyone in the cast was on. The audience was engaged, crying, laughing and smiling. Across the stage, we stood there. Two performers ready for the cue to kiss. I think at that moment we both were wondering who was our Farm Boy. Meeting center stage, he grabbed my face and we kissed, melting into each other as the tango music started. Our foreheads never separated. Sweat dripping down our faces and instinctually, undirected, we kissed again. As he lead me off stage, we stopped and looked at each other. “What just happened out there” I asked. He said “I think we had dancing stage sex. Don’t worry I’m still gay.” “Okay, good cuz’ that’d be weird.” During the rehearsal process, he made the comparison of Rumi to Star Wars and we’d discuss. It is true George Lucas was inspired by Rumi. Since then, he has become my Luke. I am his Leia. We even shared a forbidden.
A Kiss That Said Everything
The boy found his was into my heart and then, just like that, vanished. No text messages, no calls, no nothing. I was heart broken. I figured maybe he had someone else all along and he just chose her. It wasn’t meant to be. So I tried to get over but I never really did. I date someone else. We break up. Rinse, repeat.
Days turn into months, which turn into a year. I see him. Text messages are exchanged of well wishes and birthdays. I see him again. I take a risk and tell him I’d like to have drinks again sometime, just to catch up. To me, I was hoping this would be a moment of closure for the great disappearing acting and I could move on.
Walking in front of him, he catches me off guard by grabbing my hand, turning me around and with his two hands, reached for my face and kissed me. My thoughts and breath disappeared. Time stood still. With a simple kiss straight from the heart, every possible emotion poured out. Regret. Vulnerability. Love. Fear. Apprehension. Happiness. Attraction. My whole body became alive with that kiss and for the first time in my life, I was rendered speechless.
A kiss is a powerful action. It can say I’m sorry and I love you all at once. It can bring tears to your face and make you smile. We kiss people sometime just for the sexual rise to distract us from our loneliness or to see if that date is really worth it.
A season kisser knows the difference between a frog, a prince and a farm boy. A kiss from the heart lasts a lifetime permanently etched into your memory.
First stage kiss during the play 1984, his ears turned red every time we kissed.
The last time the photographer kissed me, he said he was sorry for cheating on me. He knew he lost me forever but somewhere in Barcelona, there is a beautiful photo of my back hanging in a bar he gave to the owner, who listened to him cry over me.
#rumi #truelove #kiss #barcelona #canada
I have a new family waiting for me. One that sees me for who I am now and who I can become in the future, and regardless, loves me, for no other reason than me.
I was born into a family where I was invisible. I learned very early on how to escape into the imagination; it was my way of preserving myself. Being an invisible baby meant never receiving the love that you needed, just the care that was done out of obligation because you were biologically related. Being an invisible kid meant playing alone in a closet to escape the chaos and noise. Being an invisible teenager meant making yourself invisible by not eating.
Somehow you know that you are not meant to be invisible as you quietly move from room to room in the house where you live but which you long to escape. Maybe I escaped into my imagination because only I could see who I was suppose to be. Maybe I escaped into my imagination because I was invisible to the family I was born into.
Being invisible led me down a long path of eating disorders, partying way too much, and seeking love from others to fill my inner void that longed to be loved.
I used to think that I just needed to clean house, throw out everything and everyone who caused any problems. At first, my house was cluttered. I slowly cleaned house, and the people who caused chaos through my choices and theirs slowly left. Everyone landed in the backyard, screen door locked. Door locked. Occasionally looking out the back window, I was reminded where I had come from.
Back door locked, front door open, even when I was sleeping. I was dreaming of a new life, in my house, which is why I wasn't fully aware of the people entering my dreams. Even though I was ready, it didn't mean that everyone was—they were ready to play happily ever after until the happiness ran out.
Somehow my house got cluttered again. Nothing was in order. And even though I owned the house, I was invisible again. The foundation of the house began to crumble, the roof was falling off, and when the wind blew, it came through the cracks in the windowpanes. Everything was falling, I was falling, and the people who were supposed to help me not to fall fell further away from me. The only thing that remained once the dust settled was knowing my own self and knowing that I was worth more than all of this crap!
So I asked everyone to leave—again—and to join those out in the backyard. And this time, take all their personal possessions along with them that are taking up my space.
New people were wanting to enter but were happier outside, across the street in the field climbing trees. They used their imagination to tell stories that created happiness for others. They smiled and boosted you up into the tree because they wanted you to enjoy the same happiness that they received from climbing trees. I joined them for a while picking apples and watching the sky but realized I had to go back and clean house again. Eventually, I cleaned so much that the house was empty. I got lonely. Old was out in the back, and new was in the field.
Knowing I needed to make a choice, knowing the house I was living in wasn't the house I really wanted, I decided to leave and asked everyone in the backyard to come to the house because they were happy living there, it was familiar to them, and they couldn't deal with change.
When I told them that I was leaving and that they needed to stay, they couldn't understand why I would want to leave, and wasn't I afraid about failing?
Fear of failure is hell. Other people are hell. I didn't want to live there any more. I want heaven.
So in the middle of the night, in a single backpack, I packed up my few meaningful belongings and changed the locks so that they could not follow me down my new path, not exactly sure where I was going.
I have a new family waiting for me. A new sense of self.
I have finally learned the missing part of my story. Loving myself. Knowing myself.
Hope is love. Love is essential to humanity’s core. Love and hope transcend through time and generations. Love is vital to humanity. It is what keeps humanity going, but it has to start with an honest love of yourself. We have to be able to say, "I am worth more than this present moment, and I will find a way out of this. I will surround myself with those who love me for me. I am not ashamed of my past, for I use it to help me grow into a better person with more love and compassion for others. I will love everyone but give my love unconditionally to only those who deserve it, who understand the gift of the moment. That gift is a smile, laughter over the phone, a true understanding of what makes you unique. I will stop waiting and make my life happen for me."
When all else falls away, what we can truly grasp for is only knowledge of ourselves. Some people will choose comfort and security, the knowledge that comes from others’ superimposed ideals. But for those of us whose quest for knowledge is a lifelong journey, our path is a little fearful, a little circling back around, a full circle, a perfect circle, a path less taken but one with pure fulfillment. An idealism that is strange to many. This is our personal story that allows us to hold on to hope, love, and endless compassion.
I have a new family waiting for me. I’m not sure where this new family and path in life will take me, but I know for the first time in my life, everything is going to be okay. I know this because I am no longer invisible. I will someday build my home out of bricks and mortar that will never crack, and when the howling wind shakes the windowpane, my house will not break because my foundation is built on love.
It was a moment of parallel universes of two heart broken souls who managed to find each other even though we lived in two separate countries.
There is a lesson in every moment of our life, if we take a moment to step back and reflect.
On September 2, 2011, in a crowded backroom of a traditional Irish pub, I saw a man sitting by himself listening to the music that played nightly. The sounds of laughter and music filled the air and spilled beer was a musty scent. I was with my friends, who after 10 years of being married, decided to have their official wedding in Dublin. I couldn’t be more happy for the two of them. I had meet them as neighbors and saw their love grow for each other since they had their court house wedding so many years ago. The smile on my face hid the pain in my heart, the tears in my eyes and the uncertainty for the future.
I had hoped to be in Dublin with the man that I loved. The one that I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with. The one who even though it was not perfect, I could work though anything as long as he loved me.
Standing in that room that night, I saw it through a filmmakers lens. I was there but not really. So when I saw this man, whose name I never learned, sitting there alone with a pint of Guinness on rickety old bar stool, I asked him how he was doing.
I’m not exactly sure what he responded initially but he told me he signed his divorce papers today. A broken hearted person finds another broken hearted person because there is a mutual understanding and a look in ones eyes. An outsider will ask questions but the broken hearted never ask, we just listen. We understand that there are questions we’ll never find the answer too. Alone, we’ve asked ourselves every question, we’ve gone through ever detail and still no answers.
His story begins in 2004 when he met his wife. Believing he had met the person that he was going to grow old with, he bought a house and planned a future. He admitted that there were a few problems but at this point in life, no one is perfect, you make things work. 2008, his mom got sick and he became her caregiver, she died shortly there after. Then in 2009, his father died suddenly. He believed it was of a broken heart because they were each others true loves.
The man said that during this time, he didn’t pay enough attention to his marriage. He had to manage the care of his parents, their eventual deaths and he transitioned jobs. He wasn’t happy. He was depressed. You would expect that when one is in difficulty, the partner understands and is there for you. They realize that they need to give to you because you are giving so much to other people. You would expect at this time that they don’t leave you. They help you through, help heal your heart and become your serenity.
The man shared that while he was being the caretaker for his mother, she would go on weekend holidays to “get away from the stress.” Every time she left, it pierced his heart but didn’t say anything because he had to stay strong and take care of his parents. He avoided the situation and focused on his mom because he knew that these were her last days. He did what any son would do. He loved his mother and took care of her as she took her final breaths.
After the death, the management at his job let him go due to an economical downturn. He ended up finding a new job a few months later. A few months later, his father passes away. With both parents now gone, he had to box up the memories of their lives. Sell their home, possessions and put into perspective what they meant to him.
The man did this all on his own. His wife was barely there to help him. She found it painful to watch. He admitted he never told her that he needed her because she had a hard time coping with loss. She lived her life, he cleaned up the fallen pieces of his.
During this time, he thought that once he gets through this, they will be happy again. Distance will make the heart grow stronger. She’ll miss him. Feel sorry for him and how realize how she’s acted, remember their vows to support each other and it will be okay. He never thought that she would leave him.
Sitting in this pub, with music swirling around us, it was only the two of us. A wall had been built around us. It was as if we were in a movie, isolated in time. My heart was growing heavy, not only for my pain but for his as well. I listened.
His wife had changed jobs and made new friends with people who were younger than her. She started going out with them first, just after work, then on the weekends. She shared stories of what they were doing since he never joined due to his care taking responsibilities. A few times that he did make an attempt to go out and meet her, the plans suddenly got changed or cancelled. He noticed a few text messages from her new friends and feeling a little uneasy about them, he asked. She would shrug and tell him, he was just a friend and it was a joke.
The grief and responsibilities of his parents death finally subsided in 2010. He was trying to make attempts to be the good husband again but nothing was working. They fought more than they ever did before and she picked on him for the way he dressed, how he spoke, nothing made her happy. She belligerently agreed to go to counseling. Agreed to make it work out. A pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken.
In January of 2011, she withdrew even more. Went on more weekend holidays with “just the girls.” Their mutual friends of many years took notice wondering why she never came around anymore. One day while he was at work, she moved out. Never said a word. He came home to an empty house with no note. He called, texted, emailed. No response. She vanished. During this time, he found out that she has stolen part of the money from the sell of his parents house, opened credit cards in his name and took money from their joint accounts.
A month later, she called to say she wanted a divorce and that she had meet someone. She had been having an affair for almost two years and didn’t want to tell him while he was depressed because he might harm himself.
At that moment in the story, he chuckled a bit commenting that she waited until he was happy again to break his heart. I bit my lip. I knew that what he had said was the truth that I had not been wanting to admit.
I reflected on his story. If felt like hours and day but it was only moments before he asked me why I was so sad. Encapsulated in time, with music swirling around us and laughter in the air, I said, “my father also died in 2009 and everything has falling apart since then.”
After 35 years of fighting Multiple Sclerosis, he lost. His body gave up the fight but his soul continues to by my angel.
Ali had promised my dad on his death bed that he would watch over me and take care of me but I believe, when my dad’s body separated from his soul, my father saw that these were all false promises and he was not worth his daughter’s love.
Paralleling my Irish heartbroken soulmate, I too had meet my love in 2004 at a debate party I was hosting. He was a friend of my neighbor’s friend. We both lamented over the Presidency of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the polarizing wars that we were in and how we got there. Religion, politics, social justice and shoe shopping with his ex filled the conversation. He told me of his two son, 3 and 5 and of his recent divorce. He asked if I wanted to go to dinner later that week and I said yes.
I had been wanting to find that person that you were suppose to grow old with and had been asking for advice from others. I didn’t trust myself or my choices. I had been in an abusive relationship in college and the last man I loved, cheated me. As he admitted, he then turned into a pot head eating only cheese pizza knowing he had lost me forever.
People said I should find someone a older than me, with a good job since I was going to work in the arts, comes from a good family and has at least some common interests. It shouldn’t matter if he is creative or not, it matters if he appreciates the arts. I would find out that all of these qualities I thought he possessed, were false.
It was an instant relationship, the kind that after two months he says he loves you and you say I love you back even if you’re not sure. There are red flags. He’s argumentative, cultural and religious differences and after a year of being together, he told me he was 10 years older than me, not five and had a daughter in high school. I admit, I rationalized the lying about the age thing as insecurity, the daughter because he was 18, and I made excuses for everything else. I tried to fit his mold of what he wanted. A trophy wife in training.
He took me to his political events for programs that he “volunteered” for, later, I found that all a lie. It was a game of smoke and mirrors. He would buy me things that I said I didn’t need but he said he wanted to spoil me, to show me he loved me. An iPod, a trip, new clothes, you name it. Getting dressed up, meeting politicians, talking to influential people and it was exciting.
With all of the excitement came the fights. They started off small about something I wore, something I said or the way I acted. Eventually, he would say I was talking too much at a party and no one wanted to hear the stupid things I had to say or my opinion on global events. Over the years, it turned into verbal abuse. Manipulation was a key card in his game. When a person in caught in a spider web, you don’t see how every word and action eventually sucks the life out of you and you become dead. I became dead inside. I went about trying to make this relationship work because on the outside it did. My family who I never got along with, loved him and they in turn acted nicer to me.
But it was all smoke and mirrors. In 2008, my father was given three weeks to three months to live. Shortly before this phone call, I had broken up with him but it’s hard to end something when they live with you. I put my relationship on hold to be with my father. I drove weekly 86 miles to stay a night or two with my parents. I trusted that the person who said they wanted to grow old with me and always be there for me would.
I got accepted that fall to teach in India and my father said “go.” I knew that I would never see my father alive again but he would finally be released from all of his pain. January 12, 2009 everything changed. The loss of a parent changes you in ways you would never expect until it happens.
The memorial service. The dinner. Obama’s inauguration. Reality sets in. Back in Chicago. He says to me, he can’t handle the cold or seeing me cry, so he’s going to Hawaii for a month. I am in shock. The person who said he was going to be by my side is leaving. I never forgave him for this. I put my relationship on hold again.
For the next year, I contemplated what would have happened if my father wouldn’t have been diagnosed with MS, would my life be different and how? Many memories came up. I healed, I forgave. I stopped asking myself how would things be different because I realized I would never know because we are only given this one life to live.
The year ended with a trip to Guatemala. Three weeks, a chance for us to reconnect, let go of the year. While I was there, he was distant and we fought more than any other time on a trip. He told a few women at the hotel he was single; they were surprised to see that he wasn’t. He made a joke that he was just trying to practice his game and that at “45” he still had it. Still grieving, I brushed it off.
2010 came and that summer, I saw emails from a woman and confronted him. After much denial, he confessed that he was having an “emotional affair” with her because I had been so distant due to my father’s death. Troubled, confused and once again, alone, I left my house for several days. Crying in my car, not knowing were to go, I finally went back to fix things after he said he was sorry and wanted to change.
They say that infidelities is a symptom of a broken relationship but it can be fixed. I don’t believe this any more. Maybe it’s true for people who are honest but when dishonestly is the ruling factor, there is no fixing. A lesson learned from experience.
He asked me on August 31, 2010 to marry him on what would have been our sixth anniversary in six weeks. We would have a recommitment ceremony and then do an official legal wedding later. Of course, I said yes. I had invest almost six years into this relationship, was helping to raise his two boys and my family really like which meant they were liking me more.
October 13, 2010 was a rare warm fall day in Chicago. About twenty five people were planning to come to the little ceremony that we planned. The days leading up to it, he was particularly on edge, he would yell, he would say he was sorry, he was afraid I was going to leave him because he had been divorced twice and didn’t want a third. Two hours before, he told me that he owed $30,000 in child support, in fact he never paid child support ever, he owed $40,000 in taxes, had been cheating the system from his hedge fund that he ran and that he had been cheating on me for the last two years. He said that he never loved me and that he was using me for child care and a place to live. Of course, I was in shock. After an hour of crying, he told me it was all a lie and that he said this because he wanted to test me to see if I would leave him. I didn’t know what to say or do because people had already started showing up. He was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Okay was the only thing that came out.
What occurred next was straight from the wedding scene in Princess Bride, except there was no Westly to save the day. The wrong music played. The ceremony began. It was beautifully played by the actors in which I was one of them. The words that we had written two weeks before were once meaningful and now hypocritical. Then, when it comes to the vows, I said what was written on the paper. When it came to his, he was about ready to say something when some one interrupted asking him if third time was a charm. Everyone chuckled but then, just like in the movie, he didn’t give vows, they were skipped over. Rings were exchanged but no husband and wife, nothing about forever being married to this person. This part was left out. Skipped over accidentally. He, like Humperdinck, rushed the ceremony and skipped to the end. I watched the video once to see if my memories were correct and they were.
After all the guests left, he went to bed without a kiss. The truth was said in this moment. The next day the phone call came from his mother saying his father had died.
Time seem to speed up from this moment. He spent a week with his mother and family. He came back, he left. They cycle repeated. I didn’t know what to do. Once the boys were fighting as they do, I was in the kitchen cooking, when I heard the sound of him breaking up the fight by him hitting his son. He had no remorse in his eyes. It was only going to be a matter of time before he did it to me.
A week later, he bought plane ticket to Columbia for us for the holiday. A month away. Time to talk. Time for me to figure things out. In a honeymoon phase, things start off nice but with a flip of the switch turn to explosive.
We started our trip in Cartagena, Columbia and while we were they, he met an Indian man who ran only Indian restaurant and was wanting to sell. I thought it was only a joke but this turned into reality.
On January 1, 2011 at 1 a.m. he received a text message from a girl who said “happy new year, I can’t wait until we can finally be together.” He didn’t mean for me to see the phone. It was left on the table when he went to the bathroom. When I asked him, he screamed, called me names and punched the wall. I was afraid. I left. I went the next day to an island with some people I had met. When I returned four days later, it was true, he bought the restaurant and said that they girl was stalking him and that is was truly over. We returned home to Chicago. He went to see his mother, saw the boys and a week later he left for Columbia to take care of the restaurant and would be home in a month.
Four months later he finally returned. During this time, he stopped answering my text messages, my phone calls, Skype messages, emails. I didn’t know what happened to him. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive. I made up stories to people about where he was and what he was doing. After sometime, I started to look through his mail and opened letters from the IRS and yes, he did owe the $40,000 in back taxes that was gaining interested and yes, he never paid child support and then I figured it out, he had been scamming everyone that he invested in the hedge fund that he started. I still didn’t no where he was.
In May, he finally returned but didn’t explain himself. He was here and then left to go to his mothers, saying he needed to spend more time with her because she is depressed. I asked, no I demanded for explanations but they were only filled with violent threats and hateful speech about how stupid and fat I was and at least he never hit me or raped me like my college boyfriend did. I wish I could say that was the first time he told me this but it wasn’t. Told him he needed to get out of my life, my house and take his stuff but he didn’t respond, he just left.
On the 4th of July, he came back that morning and said he wanted to talk. We did for about twenty minutes, he said that he want to be polygamous and that it was his right as a Muslim man and that I made a promise to him that he would never leave. I’m not sure what came out of my mouth but it wasn’t nice. He left. I called. He wouldn’t answer. I met up with a friend and tried to call him again, this is when I heard another woman’s voice on the phone. He said if I called again, he would beat the crap out of me and kill me.
Shocked and knowing that he had been cheating on my for at least two years by this time, I went home. After taking with a neighbor friend, decided I needed to change the locks to the house. It was the only way. So that night I did. He tried to come back the next day to get things he needed for the boys who were coming to stay. I sent him a message that I dropped off the items at his mom’s house.
Over the next month I messaged him to get his things, he never did. He never responded. I cried. Not because I was missing him but because I didn’t understand how this all could have happened. I didn’t miss him because he wasn’t the person I thought he was. I didn’t know who he was. Over the years, I would come to find out, that no one knew who he really was because the beginning and endings of his lies were so carefully crafted.
Dublin. I am at a bar. I share my story. My parallel story with a man I whose name I never asked.
I did ask him, “if we are such good people, who love with all of our hearts, then how could this have happened?” He simply shook his head and said “we just got duped.”
We just got duped. There is no other way to say it. I came home a bit stronger and really wanted to get his crap out of my house and move on.
When my father passed away I went back to my roots of meditation in the Sufi and Buddhist tradition that I let slip away from being in this relationship. On May 31, 2010, I started meditating everyday, which helped me get strong for this current moment in time. I accepted that I cannot not control other people, just how I respond to them. I accepted that really only God know what is our exact future. I accepted that only love heals because love is the essence God and reason we exist. I learned to let go of the hurt surrounding my father’s illness, my past abusive relationships with myself and others. I knew that everything that was happening at this moment would eventually end. Since I didn’t know who I was with for six years, I couldn’t miss him. I only missed the boys who had moved with their mother to another state, which would be for the best.
He finally came over and we got into an augment about the bills that he hadn’t paid since January, which he insisted he wasn’t going to. He told me that I threw him out of the house and that he was the victim because I changed the locks. I changed the locks because he threatened to beat me up. Then a classic phrase came out of his mouth that he had said so many times before, “you can’t hold me accountable for words said in anger.” I guess I finally did. He eventually calmed down and asked me to go to lunch with him. I told him “no, I do not need you in my life any more, why are you still here?” He said that I needed to proof to him that he was still a good man. I simply shook my head and said, “you’re not. I don’t know who you are.” This was the only time, I saw him start to cry because he knew I was right.
On October 13, 2011, what would have been our seventh anniversary of being together, he finally admits some of the truth, that he has been with someone since 2009, the year my father got sick. Had my father not gotten sick, I would not have left him and he would not have cheated because it was my job as a woman to keep him faithful and because of it, he has broken his vows as a good Muslim. I told him, he was never a good Muslim because he doesn’t no what that means. He went through the actions of prayer and fasting but that is all it was, actions. Finally, all of his things were removed from my house, I could move on.
I was wrong. A week later, Ela, the girlfriend emails me and says she wants to meet. With a friend, we meet. She starts by saying she didn’t know anything about me except what he told her which was I was on the verge of suicide when my father died so he couldn’t leave and that I was fat and unsuccessful so he had to buy me a condo as a parting gift. All of that was lies, especially that part about the condo because I purchased that a year before we met. All lies.
I asked her how old he was, she said 40, I corrected her and told her 46 and that his “cousin” was really his daughter, who happened to be 2 years younger than her. She didn’t no about the taxes, the child support, the money problems or the not for profit that he started, Abraham Faith Foundation was really a tax shelter and that the money she “donated” to it, he used to buy T.V’s and vacations.
She told my friend and I that in August of 2010, she married him, which would explain why he couldn’t actually marry me. He was already married. Over the years, after conversations with people who knew him, we believe they got married because she needed a green card. He told me once that he needed to be with a skinny supermodel looking woman that would shut up and let him talk. Well, he got that.
My friend said, “he might have gotten a skinny supermodel looking women but he lost a super model of woman!” I couldn’t agree more.
I had to clean cobweb of lies and deceit that kept coming. Like how he took my companies not for profit status and opened five phone lines and never paid the bill. He traded away my IRA for his own investment. It was only $2,000 but $2,000 he took. He continued to email and text stalk me, so I had to get a restraining order on him. From time to time, he makes a new account and social media stalks me. I’ve had to have everyone I know block him. If he was so happily married, why would he do this? I renamed him Elephant because no one wanted to talk about the “elephant in the room” with me. After my trip to India and meeting elephants and learning about Ganesha, I renamed him Hyena, a more appreciate description.
By the time the last bill was paid, I was $10,000 in debt from him. One would think that going through this experience would harden a heart. I hasn’t. It has made me a bit more cautious.
Going back to what the man on the barstool said, “we were just duped.” This doesn’t happen everyday. You can’t miss someone you never knew. You have to move forward because staying behind will only stop you from being your authentic self.
Since going through this experience, my life has changed so drastically. They say our lives are in seven year cycles. This cycle is coming to a close. I hope by finally sharing this story the questions of what happened to “Ali” will finally end.
There is a lesson in every moment of our life, if we take a moment to step back and reflect. The last seven years, I have gained a new sense of self. I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve created a new family who have taught me how to allow myself to be loved for no other reason than me being me. I have found my voice as an activist artist, a leader, a teacher and a mentor. Most importantly, I am connected to the reason we exist, love. For love must always guide us. The quest for love is what guided me to Hyena and yes, it was horrible what happened but I’ve ended strong. I came out connected with the woman I was suppose to be.
I like to sum up those seven years of my life with him as a place holder to where I am now. I wore a dress but never got married. I may have been in a relationship but I was alone and always feeling lonely. Now that I am single, I am alone but not lonely. I am loved.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be lucky enough to find my person, my one true love but if I do, I know that it will be filled with acceptance and unconditional love. I know that I will not carry the relationship with Hyena forward because these stories really only happen in made for tv movies and maybe someday, I’ll turn this story into one.
#cheating #gettingoverlove #dublin #parallellives #truelove #hyena #love #soulmates #heartbroken #rumi #marriage #princessbride
Come see T.S Eliot’s ‘“The Wasteland.” The poem comes to life through Eliot’s descriptive and narrative poetry that blends together dance, theatre, music and video imagery into a visceral theatre experience. Eliot wrote the poem shortly after WWI after witnessing the destruction of Europe and with the hope of uniting humanity and illuminating the beauty of life amongst change.
I first fell in love with the poem while studying at Roosevelt University in a poetry and philosophy class. After graduating graduated school, I wanted to work on a performance project that was in the style of “tanztheatre,” but Chicago did not have many companies at that time who did this style of work. So, in 2001 the project of adapting the poem began.
Many who attended said that they had never seen such a performance in such a unique style. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Adler gently joins artistic forces, even to the point of making the exposed-brick walls of the space speak with a wizened sense of melancholy. When the shadows of the four ensemble members unobtrusively get superimposed on, say an image of a dead tree facing a treacherous sea…conveys in a tactile, aesthetically gorgeous way, the mystical power of fragmented moments weaving through our minds.”
This performance of “The Wasteland” started Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble. A year later, in 2002, we incorporated and that same year, a full length performance and tour of “The Wasteland” took to the stage.
Over the last 13 years, I have created over nine original works, on top of working with over 3,000 kids a year but “The Wasteland” was always calling me to come back.
Maybe it has something to do with first love or beginners luck. After this season, I will be taking a year long artistic sabbatical to focus on a few other projects and to let a some other amazing artists direct work for the company. Including the other artists who are directing and performing in “Still Small Voices” and “Dance + Activism,” which are also apart of the night.
With that being said, I hope you can come and see “The Wasteland” and if you saw the first time, fall in love with it again, like I have.
Fridays & Saturdays 8p.m.
Location: Ebenezer Lutheran Church
1650 W. Foster @Paulina
Tickets for both shows: $15 Advance, $20 door (available at brownpaperticket.com)
For more info: 773-486-8261 www.danztheatre.org
-for my running friends
Running helps me remember,
Processing with every foot step on the hard pavement,
Learning from my memories,
Understanding how to get where I need to in life,
One step forward at a time.
The morning rain cleanses the path I run,
While this path I run is paved,
The path in life is not always that clear.
A million thoughts clutter my brain,
Endless to do list,
A grant proposal to be finished,
A phone call to make,
A schedule to create,
I don’t have time to run with a million things to get done.
Footsteps on the hard pavement
Thoughts begin to dissipate
Thoughts more focused
I got a date tonight, what to wear?
Focus on breath, breathe
Let the to do list go,
Everything will be there when you get back
This is my time for me,
Give to me so I can give to others,
Puddle ahead, run, run, leap
Footsteps on the hard pavement
Thoughts begin to dissipate
Music inspiring me to run,
Breath is natural,
Grass is green from all the rain,
I remember a rainstorm in a dream,
A flooded riverbed, cascading dreams.
Footsteps on the hard pavement
Thoughts begin to dissipate
Head is clear, body and breath connect
I am alive with love, joy, and my path
Mile after mile,
Body and breath connect with the footsteps on the hard pavement
Thoughts dissipate bringing clarity.
The colors blending together in an impressionist painting,
The jasmine blooming under the midnight sky,
Beautiful is the way I feel when you kiss me.
Fingers of interlacing passion, tacitly touching,
Eyes so flawless like the morning sky,
Sleeping slumber so still and perfect
The beauty is that moment.
The laughter of a lifelong friend,
Sitting in silence and listening to every word spoken,
Beautiful is old fashion connection validated with a smile.
Sunlight bouncing off the cream city bricks creating shadows that tell a story,
A heart, just like a flower, opening up when the love that is this light shines.
Beauty is visceral,
Beauty is captured,
Beauty is this moment.
"Love me before the first cup of coffee
Love me when I awake with no make up to cover up
Love me for when I am quiet
See my imperfections
See my scars that I can not cover up
See my eyes seeing you
Understand me as I understand you
Understand life is an imperfection
Understand me as I understand myself
Love sees to understand"
The lines etched in your palm are the branches in my tree of life,
I knew you before you were born,
A thought of joy,
A passage of wisdom,
A life cycle completed,
An embryo growing inside of me.
I imagined your smile,
what infinite possibilities of each new day would bring to your life.
I imagined your tiny, soft, uncalloused foot in my hand for the first time.
Never expecting the cord of our connecting life source would wrap around your neck,
Ending the gift that you were to become.
The branches on my tree fell.
A moment never to be had.
A dream never to become.
A touch never fully realized,
A life cycle completed.
An embryo no longer growing inside of me.