Worship at My Altar

Crawling around in the mire and muck, trying to keep my head up from the mud, dragging, lurching forward in infinitesimal, sucking inches. Limbs pinned back, each forward drag of a shoulder moving lagging fingers a few wet centimeters. That’s what the past year or so has felt like. Never rising up enough to be released, always being reeled back in by the quagmire’s tension.

I’m still there, but maybe feel like I’m now shakily, wet and mud-heavy, on hands and knees instead of clawing my way forward on my belly. New experiences and good relationships with a few key friends are really helping me through. Their advice and wisdom, gentle correction and, in one particular case, frank questioning and candid opinion are helping me to make sense of the shift in my life. They’re thinning the mud.

Some things are making it worse. Some things contribute to the mire, tendrils of muck that reach up and threaten to pull my center back down, things that become one more thing to work through amongst a spectrum of things I’m working through. My new work is one of those things. I can’t get out of work. I have to work, and the only way to make this job a good one is to dedicate my time to it as much as is required. I’m still having trouble concentrating and organizing, but I’m working on it as hard as I can. I think it’s improving a bit. Headphones and running during the workday help to narrow my working concentration lens.

The second part is harder. The second thing to work through is a potential romantic interest. What do you do when, in the midst of the settling dust from turmoil and chaos, you find someone to whom you’re powerfully attracted? It’s probably stupid, I tell myself. It’s such a bad idea, I say. The last thing you need is to be caught up in another person, I think.

I know I’m right.

Do I nip this in the bud while we can still be friends? I like him so much, but he seems most unlikely to work out for me as a partner. It’s been absolutely terrible for my ego so far. There are long stretches of time without meeting or meaningful contact, where I just don’t know what’s going on. I’m in a place these days where I am really vulnerable and need a little bit of affirmation. That’s obviously not his responsibility, but the absolute desert of information coming my way is pretty unacceptable in my current circumstances.

I just left a 24-year relationship where I had become somewhat comfortable with the idea of being invisible, until I woke up one day and realized that I am absolutely, 100% NOT OK WITH THAT. I am NOT invisible. So no matter how attractive I find this new person, being invisible and having the relationship entirely on his terms is not only a difficult pill to swallow, it’s probably a dealbreaker.

It’s about time someone worshipped a little at my altar, shed a couple of tears at my beauty, recognized that I am a catch, and treated me with respect. I need someone who appreciates my presence and realizes when they touch my skin that they’re in a kind of heaven. Because I promise with my whole heart that I will worship back at their altar if it’s the right thing.

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