On December 1st of 2001, I wrote this poem in a journal entry. I was on my way over to my now husband, then almost ex-boyfriend’s place. He was forcing me to meet his brother and sister. I didn’t want to. It never occurred to him that “meeting the family” might be scary to me or that it might be too soon in our relationship for that…
Tonight I will change.
I will pretend with a
and the clothes and
pretend that there’s
than what’s really there.
I will dress the part
And play the role
I will act like it’s mine—
Whose heart that he stole.
so stunning is that performance
I may even convince myself
that I am that woman everyone else sees
Beautiful and strong as
The woman he doesn’t really want
And who I can’t be—
The woman who looks at him,
Holding his hand—
The woman who I wish I could be?
The woman that
We broke up the next day… For no real reason other than I wanted to live in the mountains/woods, and he loved the city and wanted to live there. I thought we were doomed! I could never live in New York City. Yes, that would be a thorn in our side later, but in the scheme of things, it seems silly in retrospect.
Then, just after we met up again in Los Angeles, where he was living at the time, and we realized we were still in love, on November 26th of 2003—almost exactly 2 years later, I wrote this:
“I realized/remembered tonight that I really am a ‘shapeshifter.’ I change myself a lot to be what other people want me to be. I fool them into loving me by becoming what they want and what I’m really afraid of is that he will see that I’m really not the woman he thinks I am because I don’t really know what I am because all that I am is what everyone else wants me to be and I’m afraid of what we will find out if he gets that close to me to know me and see the real me.”
The thing that scared me about Jeff was not that he wanted to live in the city. It was not that he was too different from me or that we wanted different things… It was that he was willing to love me unconditionally. He was willing to know me just as I was. He was willing to hear my story and accept the truth. And he wanted the REAL version, not some made-up one that I turned into whenever he was around. And that just didn’t seem right. It seemed like all of the other guys had their agendas (like I did); they wanted a certain kind of girl… It was my specialty for awhile, study what they wanted, be that for a little while. When the pressure to pretend became too much, I would bail. “Sorry. I know you think I’m your dream girl. Just kidding! I’m totally not that girl. Oops. No really. I’m sorry. I do feel bad. I just don’t know any other way. See you later… or not.” Jeff didn’t have an agenda. Just, “Hey. I like you. I’m looking for a wife. Wanna tell me everything about the real you?”
I never asked him to love me. As a matter of fact, I threw every reason at him not to love me, but he just loved me anyway.
It was like he had a direct line to God and he had been asking for God to send him someone, a perfect match, a beautiful, quiet, meek, good Christian woman to be his soul mate.
So, God looked down at this scared, lonely, messed-up, looking-for-approval-from-any-man, wounded, broken up, brazen, bold, shape-shifting puzzle piece of a heathen called me, pointed and said, “That’s her.”
And Jeff said, “Uh, her? Are you sure, God?”
And God said, “I AM God, aren’t I?”
And Jeff said, “Okay. I’m in. She’s the one. I’ll love her forever no matter what she does or who she believes she is. I will believe she is who YOU say she is.”
And so he did.
And I told him not to. Because I didn’t believe he could love me like I am.
But he did anyway.
I'm really glad he did, because if he hadn't, I never would've really known how to know and love the real him.
I think that’s how God loves us. Like He looks down and says, “You. I love you. Lonely, broken, scared, messed-up you.”
And we say, “Me? You must be pointing to someone else. You must be mistaken. I am not nearly enough for You to love me.”
And He says, “I AM God, aren’t I?”
And after we protest and tell Him how we aren’t good enough, eventually, we say, “Okay. I’m in. If you're willing to know and love the real me, I'm willing to know and love the real You."