Last night I experienced my first Texas thunderstorm. I grew up with Wisconsin thunderstorms. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve sitting in the garage with my dad watching sheet after sheet of rain barrel down the street. We’d sit in folding chairs and listen to the thunder while watching the lightning brighten the sky. At times a quiet stillness would hit, inevitably followed by tornado warning sirens. That’s the point when my mom would usher my sisters and me down to the basement to sit and play under the pool table (the heaviest and safest place in the house), while my dad stayed in the garage watching the horizon for funnel clouds.
Last night I received a call from my new friend “RP” whom I had recently started dating. RP’s call was surprising, but not entirely unexpected. In fact, I had been wondering about the same issues that he called to discuss. He said the initial excitement that he felt when meeting me had just disappeared, seemingly overnight. I totally understand the what and the why of what we talked about, but it still made me very sad. It made me sad because I knew from the moment I met RP that we were two totally different people and didn’t have much in common. To make this work long term would be a challenge. However the twinkle in his eyes and his infectious smile kept me coming back for more. RP is one of the most kind, genuine, stable, funny, generous and authentic men I’ve ever met. I felt safe around him, and my last relationship taught me how important feeling safe with a partner is to me. Yet there was no getting around the very basic fact that we are cut from different cloth. In fact, I’m cut from different cloth than most of the men I meet in Texas. It doesn’t mean it can’t work with any of them, but it does mean that men look at me and realize I didn’t come out of a cookie cutter. And most men don’t know how to process a woman who doesn’t fit the mold, nor do they even want to try. I don’t blame them. I once had a therapist tell me I was one of the most complex people she had ever met. This complexity is a large part of what had me so unhappy with my life in Los Angeles – living a life that didn’t feel authentic to me. This complexity is what drove me into a deep depression trying to find peace with my life and with whom I am. This complexity is ultimately what led to me taking to the U.S. highways with Yoda a year ago.
The call from RP is why the thunderstorm was so fitting last night. It was louder and lasted longer than any thunderstorm I remember from my childhood. I felt the window behind my bed shudder with each clap of thunder, and the constant lightning made it seem like my bedroom was glowing. Yoda snuggled his warm body close to mine, and I lay there sad, wide awake, losing my thoughts in the sounds of the thunderstorm and the pounding rain.
When I awoke this morning the rain had stopped. I walked Yoda and the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds. The air has the crisp cool freshness that I always love after a big storm. As I breathed in the clean air I was hit with a rush of peace, contentment and optimism about my life. Today is a new day. The sun eventually appears after every thunderstorm in life. It rained every single day for the first month of my road trip last year, and it took me months on the road to start seeing the sunshine in my life. However this morning, well, the sun is already beginning to shine again. I’m happy in Austin, I have a handful of really amazing new friends, and best of all, my sister Betsy arrives tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with me. Yup, last night’s thunderstorm has passed.
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