Mi Sei Mancata

Airports have always been a place that I feel comfortable. It’s just full of people and energy and movement.  It’s always busy.  People are coming and going; some running, some half asleep and barely walking.  It’s like it’s so chaotic that it’s intimate.  If it wasn’t so busy, more people would notice the other people.  But they rarely do in airports.  Everyone has somewhere to be by a certain time and the chaos provides an amazing mask over the intimacy that occurs at every airport.  If you ever want to witness a real hug, go to an airport.  I doubt there are very many other places whom’s walls have witnessed much more pure showings of love and reunions; goodbyes and don’t go’s; endings and beginnings.

When I used to get really homesick back when I first moved to Florida, I would drive from the beach all the way to the airport.  I’d pick a spot depending on my mood.  Downstairs in the baggage claim or upstairs at the security check point, and set up to people watch.  I guess it was kind of weird, but oh well.  I liked the pure signs of emotion people display there.  Mostly, I liked the reunions. The embraces that followed the lighting up of each party’s face when they saw each other for the first time.  I loved hearing the “I missed you”‘s and watching the guy swing the girl around in his arms.

One day I was sitting in one of the rocking chairs by the security gate, when an old lady sat next to me.  She asked me who I was waiting for and I told her no one, just liked watching people come back together.  She told me she was waiting on her husband who had been gone for a week to go on a trip she couldn’t go on.  The woman told me that they had been married 43 years and that this was their first separation for an entire week.  In slight disbelief I inquired if she meant since they were younger.  She quickly replied that she meant since the night they were married.  She added in that they had not gotten married to spend nights alone and that they had agreed not to do that throughout their life together.  She told me that she had never missed someone so much.  She added in that my generation has gotten very accustomed to missing people who we supposedly love and it was a foolish trait; that you should only miss people when there is nothing you can do about being without them, like in death.  She told me we had it all wrong, that we miss the people we’ve left, instead of just staying with them.  When her husband came through the gate he exclaimed “Mi sei mancata!” very loudly and again and again and again.  It’s Italian for I missed you, which I knew from my family.  They had one of the most genuine hugs I am sure that I will ever see and probably that those airport walls had ever seen.  They walked away together with her arm around his waist and his over her shoulders, totally defying their old age by replacing it with their youthful love.

Lately this whole exchange has been flashing in my mind.  I’d like to say I’m not sure why, but I know.  For some reason in the last few months, I’ve gotten contacted by a lot of my x-boyfriends.  Some of them texts, a few emails, a couple drunk dial calls, and a few sober ones too.  I’m not sure what alert went out to all of them that made them decide to all try the “see how you’re doing” convo or whatever, but the attempts have been fairly close together, so maybe it’s the way the planets are aligned or something.  All of the relationships ended in different ways, and I used to just think that I needed to take more responsibility for their endings, because I have repeatedly looked back and been like.. wow.. I did nothing wrong.  But breakups and ghostings kept happening and I started to think that maybe it was something I was doing wrong.  Some of the guys that have contacted me lately were quick little short stories, some longer chapters, and two of them I thought I loved.  All contact came out of no where, at different times, in different forms.  They all had one thing in common though. At some point in the conversation, they told me they missed me.  Some of them made me want to laugh, a few made me want to cry, and for a couple there was no reaction.  After the third conversation with an x and the same line being repeated, I decided to try and figure out how I felt. After the basic “yeah of course you miss me, I’m the shit, I told you you’d miss me” attitude wore off, I was left with a more realistic 28 year old reaction.. When do I get the one guy who doesn’t leave?  I am currently not dead, and although I may have wished it upon a few of the guys who reached out, here they are, still alive!  So.. why now do they miss me?  Is it because they’re lonely? Did I post a super fierce selfie or something? Just.. why now? For some, years later and for others, months later.  I became angry almost when I was woken up at 230am by another x the next week and then when a text from an x came through a few days later.  Why are they missing me I kept thinking in my head and I was getting angry.  I wanted to ask all of them, so I did.  The responses didn’t satisfy or put out the pissed-offness that was gently yanking on my insides.  They all told me similar things, none of it helped.  Then I realized it’s because I wasn’t asking the right question.  I didn’t want to know why they missed me all of a sudden, honestly I could careless, I had moved on.  What I guess I wanted to know was why did they ever leave in the first place.  A question which I refused to ask any of them because I don’t think I’m ready for those answers yet.  I’ve fielded one or two since the big epiphany, luckily one was a text and one was an email.  Both I just responded with mi hai lasciato.

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Refreshed

So, Nick texted me. After literally almost 3 months of silence through multiple attempts of communication and unanswered emails, he texted me. I looked down at my phone screen after hearing my text alert, I was driving, and almost crashed into on coming traffic.  I told myself that I was just imagining the picture of us with his name under it on the screen.  That my mind was just playing tricks on me and it wasn’t really there. It was a different Nick and my heart switched out the picture, like a cruel joke on myself. I pulled my car over to the shoulder of the intracoastal bridge that I was crossing and took a deep breath.  I don’t do it very often lately, but I looked up and asked God to please not be playing some kind of joke on me.

I unlocked my smart phone’s screen and there it still was: my favorite picture of us together, his name, and the alert that there was a new text message. I swallowed down all the nerves and questions and the strange feeling that I still can’t even seem to find the right words to describe what it was. I took a deep breath and opened it.

We texted for the remainder of that Saturday. I worked in the middle at Green Room, and to my surprise the texts lasted until after the bar had closed and I was back at home. I do not know if he was on or off his boat while all these were happening; I didn’t have the courage to ask to be honest.  The conversation wasn’t a good one, but it wasn’t really a bad one either.  It wasn’t about getting back together. It wasn’t about missing each other. There are a million questions I wish I would’ve asked, but didn’t because I held back.  I was too surprised that he even contacted me that I treated the situation so delicately that I think it has made everything worse.

See, the texts started that day and ended that night.  There hasn’t been any return of conversation.  I can’t really say that I am surprised. I can really say that I am extremely confused. Actually, I can’t.  I still feel like I know Nick so well; I do know him so well.  I am grateful for the texts that I got.  He contacted me. Out of nowhere. And yes, at first it was to sort of yell at me for some instagram stupid stuff.  But you know what that means? That he still looks at my instagram. You know what else it means? That he is beginning to get over his pride a little bit and after he texts me instead of just deleting it, he actually sent one. You know what else it means? That he still cares about me enough to, although it was through harsh words, watch out for my well-being and somewhere inside him is still the urge to try and protect me.

Nick is the type of guy to wipe someone completely out when he’s decided to be finished. I think he may be one of the most cold hearted guys there is; except I never witnessed that side.  I got a guy who hid notes and bible verses around our house, who had breakfast delivered on my birthday when he was out of town, who wrote me poetry, and who showed me glimpses of his heart.  I’ve often questioned these glimpses since the split. That maybe those were just the fake pieces of Nick, that maybe they were just the times he was acting how he thought he should, but that they didn’t come from the heart.  That he was trying to be what I wanted, but that after we stopped talking, he was being who he truly was: a cold-hearted, womanizing, bed-hopping barfly. This view was the one everyone has been trying to push on me to believe.  That I had idolized him in my head into a person greater than the real Nick is.

Nope. HA. Everyone was wrong. See, if Nick would’ve never texted me, I would’ve finally agreed with everyone. I was just giving into it all. The hope was gone. I was thinking about dating this guy who had been displaying interest and is pretty attractive. I was about to just throw all my feelings away and write it off as my heart just being stupid. I was going to cover him up with someone else and drinks and bars and parties.  It’s like Nick has this direct line to my heart and my soul because there has only been three times in my entire knowing him that I was at my wit’s end.  That I needed something, anything, from him to stop me from turning around, closing the door, and never looking back. Three times I have prayed to God so desperately asking for a sign or a clue to which direction I am supposed to go in with Nick.  Each time, He’s provided one. I don’t care if you believe in God, or the Universe, or Karma, or whatever.  But I do know that every single person believes in love. If you want to admit it or not, you do.

That morning I had poured my heart out. Telling Him I couldn’t do it anymore. Explaining that it had been nothing but silence from Nick and I couldn’t hold on anymore.

Then I got the text messages. And everything didn’t get answered or really even addressed. But I know Nick. If he still didn’t love and care for me, that picture of us with a new text alert wouldn’t have been on my phone. It’s all going to be ok. I knew it would be. I will take this sign and continue how I was thinking before I started letting everyone else change my actions. I love him, I promised him my life, and I think that one day it’ll all work out.  I am not dating anyone else for a year, so maybe by April there will be another break-through or two with us.  Maybe there won’t be. For now, I am extremely grateful that I got the sign that I did. And just because it wasn’t some huge get back together text conversation or even a visit, I’m ok with that. Because I know Nick, and if he didn’t give a fuck, he wouldn’t give a fuck. There would have continued to be no communication.

I am refreshed in my hope for us and faith in us.  Understand it or don’t. I could careless about any of the other opinions.

Love is patient.

Incorruptible Love

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down, don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” -Ann Rice

 

I was driving back across country from California. It was the second morning on the road.  I had reached Kansas around 5 am.  Nobody ever has really mentioned anything about Kansas. Well let me just take a second to say, it is one of the most underrated states.  It was beautiful. Rolling green fields and hills and just amazing. It’s hard to put it into words really. I felt very at home there, which is not a feeling I get very often. 

I was the only car on the highway. I couldn’t see much at first because it was still dark out. Then something amazing happened; the sun started to come up.  All of a sudden, I started to be able to make out silhouettes of tractors in the middle of amazingly large fields. There were little oil rigs pumping back and forth.  Scattered massive, ancient oak trees with cows sleeping around them. And the colors, oh my goodness, the colors.  The sky exploded with beautiful blues and pinks and the greens and teals from the fields began to shine.  I had to pull over and just take it all in.  I know my words aren’t even describing it properly. I tried to take picture after picture as I sat on the side on the deserted highway, but none of them did the scene the justice it deserved.  I felt like I was the only one watching this amazing sunrise and remarkable display of beauty. I wanted anybody else to notice it; to appreciate it.  I wanted to share it with someone, anyone, else.  It deserved a huge crowd applauding and witnessing this display.  But there was no one else to be seen anywhere. As I sat there, in Kansas of all places, enjoying and trying to mentally take in one of the most beautiful spectacles I have ever been blessed enough to be apart of in my entire life, I realized something very, very important.

I took this road trip and during it, in California, I decided that I wasn’t going to write Nick emails anymore.  See, I kind of do this crazy thing and I write him an email weekly to just keep him updated on my life, to let him know I still love him, and to try to be a constant in a world of so many unsure and changing things. Sometimes I feel like the only people and things he now surrounds himself with aren’t the best habits and environments, so I just try to let him know that he has always had the potential to be great and do great things and that he doesn’t have to fall into stupid routines and scenes that I know he never really enjoyed anyways.  The emails never get a response, but I know that he reads them because of certain signs and actions that he takes through them. I know, a lot of people are going to think that this sounds psycho and crazy and sometimes, I do too. But a very wise person who I respect on too many levels once told me, “Love pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if it costs everything: your pride, your time, and your dignity. There is no dignity in love, there is no too much, and in the end if love doesn’t succeed, it is better to know that you gave too much then held back because other people may think your crazy or pathetic.” So, I write emails.

Something happened in California though that made me not want to write these emails anymore. I was around a bunch of old friends and met some new ones. To be honest, I met a guy that was roommates with one of my friends who moved out there. He was great. He was attractive, nice, funny, my age, polite, considerate, and we had awesome conversations.  I liked him, I kinda felt it the first few minutes of conversation.  We all went out to the bar that night and had a great time. When I get drunk, I still cry about Nick. I can’t control it, I really, really try but it never works. Without fail, at some point in the hours of drinking, I will cry.  So of course this happened. I cried on this guy’s shoulder for a good hour or so, and he just listened. He brought me water and tissues. He didn’t make the typical comments that everyone else seems to make… the get-over-it, the he’s-an-idiot, the it’s-his-loss, and all the other bullshit sayings that really don’t help anything and kind of just make me angry because half of the people don’t even know Nick, so how could they know that it wasn’t my loss?! So this guy just sat there and listened and comforted me. At the end of it all, all he said was that Nick was a lucky guy to have someone in the world love him the way I did. We went to sleep, and it was nice to sleep next to a guy. It really was. 

The next day, I had sex with him. I’m not sure if I care who knows it or care what people think of me for saying it. He was a great guy and we had a good time for the rest of my California trip. I know I’ll see him again and I think because of that, that’s why I decided to stop writing the emails. I think I realized why everyone just jumps from one person to the next when they break up. It’s easier than healing. It’s like putting a bandaid over a cut, it doesn’t heal it, but it helps.  I think it helps break the intimacy and the feelings that you formed with the old person and gives you new ties to a new person.  I can see why other people use this method instead of taking time. Trust me, taking time sucks. Remembering sucks. So why not form new memories and spend your time with someone else?

There was just one problem: He isn’t Nick. We got along great, he’s really attractive, and really sweet. He’s just as smart and probably a little more kind than Nick.  Honestly, he might be a better person than Nick. See, even typing that my heart and my head screams WRONG! I dont know. But I do know that it was nice to be appreciated. It’s nice to be back home and get good morning texts from someone, to know someone is thinking about me. It’s refreshing to have missed calls and see silly memes on my phone. For a moment there, I could’ve let myself get caught up in all of this and just stop writing the emails to someone who doesn’t even respond or wish me happy birthday for the first time in 3 years.  And for a minute, I did.

Then I hit Kansas. I witnessed this amazing sunrise. I realized that it was very possible that I was the only one who saw it.  Then something clicked in my head. It would have still happened and still been just as beautiful if even I had missed it.  If I had been sleeping like the rest of the world, it still would have been just as remarkable.  The sun continues to rise and create this much beauty no matter the response it gets.  If it’s ignored or appreciated by thousands of people, it is constant. It doesn’t change. It tries again tomorrow. It invites everyone to appreciate it everyday, and if no one accepts the offer, it still does it’s thing. 

The Kansas sunrise made me realize that I don’t want to take the easy way out. The way out that everyone else takes, the typical move on approach. I know I could. If it wasn’t with that guy, there are plenty others expressing interest.  And Nick really isn’t better than all of them, looks wise or intelligence wise or even heart wise. Nick might not appreciate me or my emails or my love, but I think I’ve decided to be like the sunrise. I’m still going to be me, I’m still going to write him emails, and I’m still going to love him… with or without his presence or response.

 

Maybe one day he’ll wake up for it.

Really Guys?

So I was at the gym. Next to me at the bench-presses there were two bro’s working out. I always find it kind of funny how guys have work out buddies and they talk about and compare themselves to each other and flex their tri’s in the mirrors.

These dudes were doing all that and then began having some other conversation. I can’t help eavesdropping, it’s a part of what I do every night. As a bartender, it’s my job to listen to people’s private conversation to see if there’s anything I should hear. Like a few girls talking about how their fake IDs worked; how some people might not like what they’re drinking for this reason or that reason; angry guys with too much alcohol pumping through their veins plotting a fight in the bar; and even just simple things like saying they thought the service was great and are having a great time. When you’re an employee who works for tips, it’s important to overhear these things and surprise your customers by letting them try this beer they were saying to their friend they thought sounded interesting or replacing the one in front of them that they didn’t like, but didn’t complain about to you.  It makes you seem competent and people like it when it seems like you can read their minds. Unfortunately, it’s not a skill that is easily turned off once you step out from behind the bar and into the rest of the world.

Well apparently these two bro’s also play in a co-ed softball league together. One of them had just made a girl on the team his girlfriend and he was talking about her to his buddy.  He was saying great things: she was pretty, smart, funny, they liked the same music, and he could see himself being with her for awhile.  Overhearing these things always gives me mixed emotions these days. I was stoked for this new relationship and impressed that this dude was telling his buddy about this girl, almost bragging on her.  I wondered if any of my past relationships used to do that. Ok.. you guys caught me, I wondered if Nick used to do that with his work out bro Randy. I knew he didn’t.. even when Nick and I were engaged, Randy would ask Nick to accompany him on double dates and Nick never understood why I hated Randy because of that. I figured if Nick had ever spoken highly of me and his affection for me that Randy probably wouldn’t have done this. If Nick just would have stuck up once and been like “Bro, that’s the girl I’m going to marry, I don’t want to go hang out with any other chicks with you. Stop asking.” I feel like Randy would’ve stopped asking.

As these feelings and thoughts started to rush through my head, I added another plate to each side of the squat rack and began to work out a little harder. I began listening in again on the work out bro’s conversation.  The recently relationshipped up bro had finished his rant on how great his new girlfriend was. The other guy said “yeah, but you better not break up because it will ruin the rest of our season. she’s one of our best hitters”. To this, the same guy who had just been saying such nice things and speaking so highly of his thoughts and expectations of his new relationship replied, “Nah bro, I’m not going to screw it up. Unless Ashley decides she finally wants to hook up. She’s so fucking sexy, I couldn’t turn that down.”

I don’t think I need to say it, but Ashley was not the name of his girlfriend he had just been stoked about. 

What the fuck. What. The. Fuck.

I have officially lost faith in the whole male sex, especially the ones in my immediate age bracket. I racked my weights and left. My heart cried a little bit for that girl. It also hated Ashley, probably for no fault of her own. This is why I took a year off dating. This is also why even after the year has finished on April 24, 2015, that I’m not sure if I’m ever going to start again.

Fuck. I’ve heard all my married/engaged friends say it and I know they’re right. “I’d be scared to have to start again. To go through it all these days with people the way they’re becoming.” 

Back to Me

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

 

Today was the first day in a long time that I realized that I am slowly becoming more like the old Cam, and I am extremely excited about it. What spawned this realization? I was talking to my friend who moved to California and just telling him about what I did today. Towards the end of my list of today’s events, he just started laughing. I am a very hilarious person, but at that particular point in the conversation I hadn’t used any humor, so I questioned what spawned his roll of laughter. He paused and said, “I missed you. It’s good to have you back. Ole happy, hippie Cam!”.

We talked for a little while longer, said our goodbyes, and hung up the phone. I really started to think about what he had said. I noticed that I had to fight the urge to laugh as well. “I am back,” I thought to myself, smiling. I knew, and felt, exactly what he had meant.

It’s hard to put your past self into words. So I’m just going to act like I’m describing a stranger who wasn’t me because it’s easier for me to articulate my former qualities that way. I’ve changed so much that looking back to the past on who I used to be is kind of like observing another person anyways.

She’s a health freak- I’m talking 100% external and internal. She doesn’t drink any alcohol or smoke cigarettes. She grocery shops in the organic section and at farmer’s markets. She makes her own almond milk, peanut butter, vegan cream cheese, and mashed potatoes out of cauliflower. She is a fantastic cook. While everyone else is sleeping, she’s at the gym. When she gets home, she meal preps. She reads a lot because she enjoys it. She doesn’t have a television because she doesn’t enjoy it. She spends as much time outside as possible. She walks her dog and talks about her like she’s a person. On the back of her dresser, which doubles as a headboard, she has hand written a million different quotes in different color markers. They range from “Live, Laugh, Love” to “Don’t waste your time and energy on feeling envy or jealousy. The race is long, and in the end, it is only with yourself”. She has the most brilliant smile and strangers often stop her at the grocery store or the bank to tell her how happy she looks. She holds the door open for people. She pulls over and helps old ladies on the side of the road carry things. She has conversations with bums about why they shouldn’t smoke when they are digging in ashtrays for stubs, but then tells them that if they are going to, to at least smoke their own and hands them money to go buy some. She is kind. She doesn’t judge or think mean thoughts towards strangers, remembering that everyone is fighting their own battle and that she honestly believes a chain of kind events towards people who need them could help end the world’s problems. She’s religious and a Christian in her heart and actions, but has no idea of that yet because a boy hasn’t given her a bible hidden in a stack of books, so her brain hasn’t learned it just yet. She glows with happiness, inside and out. It’s not an act, it’s just her. She’s fun, spontaneous, and a genuine good listener. She is a loyal friend and will get out of bed at 3 am to give her drunk ones rides, they call her the Cam Cab. She’s never in a hurry. She isn’t worried about money [which let me explain the thing is that I had way less then, I just had this weird/awesome way of knowing and trusting that everything always worked out]. She inspires people and teaches them things, and doesn’t know she’s doing it until they tell her, sometimes weeks or years later. She has plans to move to Italy to teach English. She has been applying for a volunteership to build the National Park of Patagonia and thinks that she will finally be accepted for that 6 month program this year. She believes in soulmates. She doesn’t believe in looking for them. She’s hard to tie down to one place, one person, one job, one life. Traveling makes her feel more at home than anywhere she’s ever lived. She wants to do great things; not like be famous or rich great things, but like make a difference and help people great things. She has no idea how to accomplish that.

I guess that’s the most of it. It’s crazy how far away from yourself you can become. You change one thing for one person, then you sacrifice this thing for another, then you stop doing this because of that… next thing you know describing who you used to be is like looking at a stranger. I don’t point fingers and I don’t believe in regrets. I changed because I made choices that led to decisions that lead to actions that caused these changes. It was totally under my control. It’s funny how when you stop concentrating on yourself and start focusing on someone else, how easy it is to become a ghost of the person you once were.

But today, that ghost must have jumped inside me. Here’s the events I was explaining to my friend that made him point this out.

I woke up at 5 am to drink a protein smoothie made with fruit & veggies in my blender and go to the gym for spin class at 6. After spin, I worked out more and came home. I made breakfast which consisted of eggs cooked with cottage cheese on protein toast with avocado. I walked my dogs down to the preserve and back, which is about a four mile loop. I showered, threw on a bathing suit, and went and laid out at the beach for a while. I went grocery shopping at this place called Fresh Fields Farms [amazing!] and publix. While I was there, an old man told me that I looked like one of the happiest people he’d ever seen [I was visiting fantasy land in my mind and day dreaming about some happier memories about a year ago involving an old couple, grilled cheeses, and a past publix trip]. On the way home, I saw a lady with her 3 young kids waiting at the bus stop looking hot and aggravated, so I gave them a ride. It turned out being quite the ways away, about an hour longer than expected, so when I got home I spent some time cleaning where my ice cream melted all over my car. I cleaned my house and put some laundry away. I practiced Modest Mouse “Ocean Breathes Salty” and Willie Nelson “Always on my Mind” on guitar. On Tuesdays, I started a new routine of giving myself a facial from a mask I mix up of a bunch of stuff [activated charcoal, tea tree oil, rose-water, European clay powder, honey, and aloe- try it, it makes your skin so so so smooth]. Then I started meal prepping for the week, so I made cauliflower stirfry [no rice, you use the grated cauliflower as the rice], egg fritata, peanut butter protein waffles, 7 seed protein granola bars, salad with homemade guacamole for the dressing, baked chicken stuffed with homemade spinach pesto, and some gluten-free protein donuts for a treat on my high carb days. When my friend called I was reading The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was having a bad day so the phone call started with me telling him some advice and a cheesy “Old Cam quote” to back it up. I haven’t used a quote paired with some advice in a long, long time. It even felt familiar and happy to do it; and it was awesome to remember one after so long too. Then came the laughing.

Sometimes, things happen for a reason and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. You can’t change the past. You can’t force people to love you and be with you. Today I realized that I can only look forward. I can go back to working on myself and being the person I loved and the friend I am called to be. I picked up a few new tricks during my relationship and they’ll come in handy, but it’s mostly time to revert back to the old, known, tried, and true methods. Hello, Happy Hippie Cam. Peace out negativity and fighting for things that just don’t deserve more efforts at this current point in time. Maybe one day they will, or maybe they never really did. The fact of the matter is, it’s all behind me now and all I can do is smile, accept it, and see what happens next.

Damn, I missed me.