"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wild, Unexpected Love

Many of you faithful readers told me how much you enjoyed reading my mantox post.  I enjoyed writing it as well.  My mancation brought feelings of strength and wildness.  It helped me to remember who I am and taught me new things about myself.  It helped me to regain my dignity and find the gems in the messy past few years.

The longer I was single, the longer I wanted to be single.  I became intoxicated with being the owner of my life.  I had no one to answer to, no one to interfere with my agenda, no one to need anything from me.  I got quite used to be being un-vulnerable.  I was hyper-focused on moving west at the end of this school year.  I had no time for dating or even thinking about men.  I made it quite clear to the universe that there will be no falling in love while I am still on the East Coast.  Nothing was going to get in the way of my plan.

Then I met Johnny.  And the universe laughed.

I climbed with him at the rock-climbing gym, matched somewhat at random by a belay partner-finding website of which we are both a part.  Now mind you, I have climbed with several random people in the past year, mostly men, many attractive.  I have not paid any of them any mind other than to keep me safely on the climbing wall.  But Johnny was different.  He told me that he had taken a transformative road trip out west earlier this year, and so was planning to move west now and follow a life of adventure. Whoa.  Get outta my head.

We became friends on Facebook after that night, exchanged travel photos and stories, and shared inspirations over the internet.  The next time we climbed together, we shut down the climbing gym talking.  Then we went to get tea at a diner, and shut down the diner.  We talked for five hours until 3:30am.  This was not looking good for my mancation my friends.  Not looking good at all.

BUT!  He was leaving for Utah in a week, so there was no danger.  Right?  Right?  I opened myself up to him.  I allowed myself to become vulnerable in a way that I haven't done in a long, long time.  I did this because I thought he was leaving.  I thought it would be safe; I could fulfill a small need to be intimately connected with someone without having the pain and inevitable heartache of a relationship.  One week of long talks and long walks and then I'd send him off into the sunset with a custom-made mix CD.  A modern day tragic romance.  It would be perfect.

Then I left for PA over Thanksgiving, and when I got back, he was still here.  He was not leaving.  And it had a lot to do with me.  Shit.  Fear was my first response.  I felt my throat tightening and my shoulders rising up in tension.  I can't do this again.  Relationships mean sacrificing part of myself.  They mean pain and disappointment and never-ending compromise.  It's not worth it.  Why didn't he leave?!  He was supposed to leave!  I have plans!  I have it all figured out!  There's no room for a man!  Right?  Right?

He listened to these fears.  He heard them, acknowledged them, and then he blew them up like so many dandelions on a windy day.  He scattered them with one breath.  All of my carefully-constructed reasons and defenses that had taken 15 years and a dozen relationships to build up simply imploded.  No ceremony.  No drama.  Those stories of fear simply had no place to live anymore.

I have been spending my days and nights (which are all blending into one at this point) floating around in a serotonin haze.  Everything is fresh.  There is an newness where I was sure all was dead.  I feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, when she walks through the town to bouncy music and everyone sings and greets her.  I feel like Snow White when she walks through the forest and all the animals follow her.  I feel like Cindarella when she enters the ballroom and everything else falls away as she sees the prince.  I am stilly, stupid, corny, ridiculous in love (if you can't tell from my completely embarrassing and uncharacteristic princess metaphors).

I have written and rewritten this post many times.  I have deleted many versions of this story and am still not satisfied with the way it is written.  There seems to be no way to adequately write things like this.  There is no clever quip I can use to explain how this feels.  Also, there is a bit of hesitation in writing about love.  Why?  I have no hesitation writing about my glorious singlehood.  Why not my glorious love?

In the end, I decided to publish it for a few reasons.  This blog is about a journey to wildness.  I write about living wildly and uncaged here in the hopes of inspiring others to find that wild part in themselves; to step outside of the daily comforts of cars and offices and shopping malls and push their limits.  I would be hypocritical if I didn't admit that opening up to love again is my limit.  I can climb to the top of a mountain or hang from a precarious rock face without batting an eye (ok, maybe batting an eye a bit), but jumping into love and giving another person permission to know me in this way - well, you might as well throw me out into the middle of the ocean and leave me to the sharks.

I write this because I want to declare that I am choosing courage, and extend a hand for you to do the same.  I am choosing to live in a world where all things can become new, and love is always enough.


  1. Spoken like a wild woman, Melanie! Do not worry the joy of mantox and mancation thrives in glory and courage and so does the celebration of glass slippers and sleeping beauty and senseless fearless love. Perfect and complete.

  2. my friend..."No ceremony. No drama. Those stories of fear simply had no place to live anymore."

    ...and now you have room to live in something so big, so expansive, that even you--wild woman-- are drawn to metaphors of princesses frolicking in the intoxication. bravo for being a dream catcher, even if it wasn't yours at the time...a perfect, right now.