Gingers and Math Professors and Bhagavad Gita, Oh My.

Y’all. Something is up with Oregon. I mean aside from triple-decker man buns, obsessions with microbrews and whiskey, and wannabe hipster bro-boys. I’m talking about the ridiculously high ratio of gingers to the rest of the population. At least, I mean that’s at least a thing in the dating pool. Not that I’m complaining; some of these gingers are smokin’ fuckin’ hot. (Uhm. Maybe most of them. Which is weird, because as an aesthetic, I was never interested in gingers. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of ginger flavor – ginger beer, ginger snaps. But ginger boys? Too…pale. Oregon is changing my mind.)

If you stacked all of my dates up on a weirdass live human bar chart, the tallest bar would be gingers, by far. (This is not intentional.) At one point, I may or may not have been casually dating three gingers at once. One of them was pretty simple, but funny and wild as hell. Another of them was a super country libertarian boy (yeah, I passed pretty hard and fast on that one). The third was fucking brilliant – this weird dichotomy of former military and current anarcho-philosopher turned psychotherapist with a fucking PhD. Oh…was he yummy. Lemme tell ya… Too bad he was emotionally inaccessible and a bit of a sociopath.

Last night, I had a date with yet another ginger. A math professor. Yep. Another weilder of a PhD. (No, stop picturing a 65 year old in a tweed blazer with elbow patches. Fuck, I just planted that image, didn’t I? Stop picturing it!) Shy and awkward over text. Funny, witty, and deep in person. In between covertly checking him out (holy shit – since when do nerdy geek boys lift??) and getting coached on how to play pool, I was alternately laughing my ass off and diving off into deep conversations about math, the universe, string theory, self, other, the Bhagavad Gita, and Eastern Philosophy. With wild fucking abandon. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that rocks my socks.

We did a bar crawl – my first ever, I think – and drank. A lot. Well, my a lot is just a little compared to seasoned drinkers. I don’t drink often. So, the two jumbo-sized ciders and the sangria had me in orbit. (Oregon makes sangria with wine AND tequila, y’all, at least at rooftop bars in college towns. My name is Stephanie, and I approve this message. (That fucker also came in an oversized, don’t think you can call that a pint glass anymore, pint glass.)) I wasn’t wasted – those three drinks were spread over about three hours – but boy, I got spirited and (only slightly) wobbly.

We walked it off, then looked at the stars. Man, there’s so much less light pollution in that little town than where I live. It was glorious. We listened to Irish folk music and Ravi Shankar and had the deepest conversation I’ve had in ages, punctuated with sass and smartassery, crude jokes, and ribald laughter.

It was incredible.

That charming, brilliant, Irish bastard.

And it’s almost a 100% certainty that I’ll never see him again.

Why? Because out of this abundance of gingers, only one of them has been interested in more than a single date (see simple but wild boy – and he’s not in it to win it, either). And it seems the smarter and more philosophically inclined they are – ginger or not, but especially the gingers – the less likely they are to be interested in anything even remotely serious.

Unfortunately, what dating is teaching me is that my interests border on the fucking unattainable. If the guy isn’t a deep thinker, I’m not interested. If the guy can’t banter, I’m not interested. If we can’t talk until 4 in the morning (yep, last night was a late one) about anything and everything, with no filter, I’m not interested. If we can’t enjoy comfortable silences, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about him, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about me, I’m not interested. If conversations are about things or people, I’m not interested. If conversations aren’t about ideas and thoughts and philosophies and weird little eccentricities of self and universe, I’m not interested. If I’m not laughing until I’m doubled over in pain, I’m not interested. If he isn’t a little….wild, rough around the edges, I’m not interested. And every. Single. Motherfucker. That I’ve met that has those qualities – the ones I AM interested in, are “ethically non-monogamous” or “polyamorous” (welcome to fucking Oregon) or strictly interested in an “FWB” or “NSA” situation (yeah, I’m learning a lot of fucking acronyms lately).

And it feels strangely like the longer this carries on, the less interested *I* am in something long-term and serious. Sometimes I think I’m *too* fucking adaptable, because I don’t want to compromise my personal convictions, the ones I have just for me. But at the same time, I don’t want to go back to being a complete and utter hermit, either, afraid of the opposite sex and what they do or don’t want from me.

Dating is nice. But it’s also terrible and unpredictable and scary. And I’m fucking sick of it. And also wish I had one tonight. (Oh wait, I did. But after the stellar night with the Jacked and Ginger Buddha, there’s no way I could meet this other guy. It would have been a soul-sucking exercise in tedium. So I canceled.)

See. If I don’t even know what the fuck I want, how can I expect others to know what they want? I mean. Every time someone does want something serious with me, I’m the one that’s not interested. I “don’t feel a connection,” or something on that laundry list of elusive but critical qualities is missing. I’ve totally ditched boys for lack of banter. And I just ditched one for lack of depth/connection. I don’t wanna talk about tv shows and YouTube political commentators all the damn time. I wanna talk about Plato and Buddhism and Experiencers/Enlightenment. Fuck those fucking gingers for dangling that fucking carrot and running off because they wanna be deep…with a shallow girl.

Fuck those fuckers for making me think it’s possible, because there’s no way in fuck I can settle now. I know what’s out there. I’ve known it for a long time, and I’m just getting it reinforced now and then. (Don’t get me wrong, most of the people I’ve been on dates with are horrible. I have some horror stories to share with you people! But sometimes…the veil is parted, and I get a glimpse of what could be. And I know…fucking. I know, I’m not digging too deep or searching for something imfuckingpossible.) So fuck those guys…and thank those guys.

Fucking gingers.

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The Fountain

I wrote this a few weeks ago, at the behest of my longest, dearest friend. The one who has stuck by me through good times and terrible. I was having a bad night, and he told me to write. Begged me to write, for release. Just for me.

You see, I was sitting in my car, in a store parking lot, and we were talking on the phone. And the dam burst. I had had a bad day, a bad week, and the deepest cries of my soul burst forth into him as they have so many times over the years.

I’m sharing it now.

For me.
For you.

For Tomás.

~

Watching the clouds roll in, she could feel the mood shifting. It shifted in the way a wounded animal’s mood shifts. It shifted in the way a broken heart shifts. It shifted in the way a distraught soul shifts.

The mood of the Universe was shifting.

She observed the rich but deepening blue of the night sky grow increasingly dark.

Ominously dark.

It was the clouds. But calling it a cloudy night is spurious, a red herring to throw one off from the event unfolding. It wasn’t a cloudy night. The mountainous wall of thick cloud laid waste to the sky, laid waste to the light, as it marched forward, assaulting the beauty of the night and robbing her of the glory of the Cosmos.

She was one with Cosmos. It had always been so.

She could feel the pulse of the earth.
She could feel the wind’s breath.
She could feel the raw power of storms thundering through her body.
She could smell the salt sea and sense unexplored depths.
She could smell the crisp clean air of untamed mountains and wildernesses.
She could feel the humid, damp earth of the forest floor and spot the slick and shiny slime trails of banana slugs and wonder upon their journey and purpose.
She could feel the shuddering earth as herds and hordes raced across the land, to greener grasses, to better mates, away from danger.

She feels the moods of the Cosmos. They are connected in some ways deeper than the connection of lovers.

She weeps when the Earth weeps, when the sky weeps.
She aches when animals are in pain, and she shatters when humans tear each other apart.

And she yearns. She aches. She needs.

Always looking up. Attuned to both the Earth and the Heavens. In awe of the unique and nightly paintings splashed across a shifting atmospheric canvas. In awe of the sea of stars carpeting the night sky. In awe of powerful light sources that looked so dainty to the naked eye, but were in truth powerful enough to burn one alive should one approach too closely, their beauty too much to behold in full.

She is not empathetic. She is empathy. And only the vast and mighty Cosmos understand her, and she it.

empath-challenges

And tonight, she wonders, and not for the first time…

Am I feeling the pain of the Universe?
Or is the Universe feeling mine?

Is the mountain of clouds drowning my light?
Or is my own darkness shrouding the universe in a cowl?

She tilted her head up, unruly curls whipping wildly about her head, and gazed up at the terror unfolding. The Others seemed oblivious. Doing their shopping, scolding their children, honking their horns to hurry, hurry, hurry. But not her.

She was attuned to things others ignored or had never been aware of at all. She could see that which was real and dismissed that which was not. She could see into the eternal. Searching in earnest for a sign. Any little sign that it would all be okay. And just as she was about to hang her head and weep, she spotted it.

A single rogue star, peeking out from the shroud.
Her breath caught, her pulse quickened, and she emitted the tiniest little squeak of joy.

And then.
And then it was gone.
The star was overtaken.

She gulped back tears, and the pain in her chest intensified with every advance of the mountain. It was overhead now, and as she gazed upon it, she could see in its darkness a swirling, seething mass of heartache, loss, lack, loneliness, pain, hate. It overwhelmed her gentle soul and seemed impenetrable. She collapsed to her knees on the pavement, one hand gripping loose asphalt, the other gripping her chest.

The Cosmos were dying, and she was dying with it.

Her heart pounded and hammered and raged against the dying of the light, until slowly, slowly it became the tiniest flicker of the tiniest ember. With the last bit of strength she had, she forced her head up through the viscous mass of cloud. She could see nothing. This was no mere darkness. This was a complete and utter lack of light. She slowly, uneasily and with growing frailty rocked back on her heels, thrust her hands up into the mass and up toward where she knew the heavens hid.

She opened her eyes to the darkness. She allowed it into her. She became one with the darkness and felt all of the pain. All of the anguish. All of the love and loss and heartache and death and betrayal and war and famine. All of the poison. All of the lack. She felt it all. Overwhelmed by the vastness of it all, she gasped for breath and clutched her chest once more.

Please, she whispered.
Please, she pleaded.
If I’m causing you pain, I’ll do better.
If I’m feeling your pain, please help me.
I’m dying under the weight of your pain
.
Share it with me.
I’m taking your pain into me; take mine.
Be one with me as I am one with you.
Let us heal each other
.

When the first fat raindrop plopped onto her cheek, she brushed it aside as yet another tear. But then another and another and another raindrop followed, until she understood and looked up, bathing her face in it.

These aren’t my tears at all.
They’re yours.
Let us bathe in each other’s tears and cleanse each other of this palpable darkness.
Let me love you.
Let me love you, and others will follow.

And the tiny ember of her heart kindled once more into a crackling warmth. And she knew, she knew all would be right with the Universe. With herself. And so she did the only thing there was left to do. She stripped down to her naked skin and gleefully bathed in the fountain of the Universe.

Because no matter how thick the clouds.
No matter how dark the void grows.
The fountain always appears; the font never dry.

They simply have to hold fast through the storms, through the darkness, through the pain.

Together.

And the fountain will rejuvenate.
Restore.
Cleanse.
Heal.

~

Thank you, Tomás.

For the words.
For the listening.
For the kindred.
For the soul.

For the unconditional.
Love.

For the fountain.

Splish
Splash