Thursday, May 28, 2009

Perfect Stranger

After a long weekend of partying and all that being around a race weekend in Indy entails, I was walking through the newly built Indianapolis airport when a stained glass window caught my eye. Even amidst the afternoon thundershower that had rolled through, the window’s bright coloring still seemed to light up the terminal. But it wasn’t the colors that really drew me to this particular window more than the rest. It was the words written on it that really caught me off guard.

I will bring you a whole person
and you will bring me a whole person
and we will have us twice as much
of love and everything

I be bringing a whole heart
and while it do have nicks and
dents and scars,
that only make me lay it down
more careful-like
And you be bringing a whole heart
a little chipped and rusty an'
sometime skip a beat but
still an' all you bringing polish too
and look like you intend
to make it shine

I will be bringing you someone whole
and you will be bringing me someone whole
and we be twice as strong
and we be twice as true
and we will have twice as much
of love
and everything.

I later learned that it was a poem called Celebrations written by Mari Evans.

There was more of the poem written on the pane, but I only needed to see that particular part to have a moment of “Eureka” regarding the past few months of my life. Time and time again, I have come to my blog as a place to find solace in the craziness that is my life’s journey, and you have all been an amazing audience and dare I even say a shoulder to cry on from time to time. While I may change the names to protect the innocent and (in more cases than not..) the LESS than innocent, I have also been nothing but brutally honest with the incidents that have occurred. You have seen parts of my life that some would call heartbreaking, others would call ironic, and some.. well, were just downright humiliating. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess if we are really going to understand this epiphany, we need to retrace my steps this weekend. And those steps begin the minute I stepped foot in Indianapolis. For those of you who are familiar with my stories, Indy has always had a special place in my heart. It’s been my sanctuary in times of turmoil, my place to retreat to gather my thoughts, and a place to remember what really mattered in life. In short, Indy always brought me.. back to me. This weekend was no exception. Well, sorta.

For weeks I had been planning to meet up with this reoccurring figure in my life, that you all have come to regard as the Roadrunner. I call him this for various reasons, but the main one being the obvious: he enjoys the thrill of the chase. Rarely were the two of us ever in the same city at the same time, but this particular weekend we just so happened to be. I had forgotten to factor in one thing.. there is a reason I call him the Road Runner.

He is one of those ridiculously pretty boys that has never really had to work hard to catch a girls attention, sometimes… multiple girls in fact. He loved the thrill of the chase and almost always seemed to think the girl should chase him. This weekend was no exception. It was always.. come meet me here, come see me there. But for some reason this particular weekend, when the entire theme was built around “the chase,” I found this game extremely unamusing. Though until now, I really didn’t understand why.

That’s because this weekend, I ran into a Perfect Stranger, that as Kenny Powers would say, “f*cked me up with some truth.” I wouldn’t call him a stranger, because I definitely had known who he was for some time, given both of our backgrounds. But what little I did know about him I knew only from the internet, and if I have learned anything in the past few years it’s that the internet isn’t always the most reliable of sources.

I don’t mean he was “perfect” … because well, no one is. In fact his faults are brutally scrutinized. But I mean.. his “timing” was perfect. Not too long ago, I began to realize that so much of what happens in our lives.. the places, the people.. are all based on timing. We meet certain people, at certain times, for certain reasons none of us really understand. Any later or sooner, and well.. the outcome of our lives would be vastly different. Or at least, that is what Doc Brown said in Back to the Future. Sometimes these events are subtle, while others might as well be decked out in neon lights like “Girls, Girls, Girls.” Or something like that. This may very well have been one of those times.

Anyone that has met me on a personal level will be the first to tell you, I’m quick with my one-liners and barbs. Well, the Stranger went toe to toe with me, and then some. He was quite the antithesis for the brand I had come to associate with his “kind.” The complete opposite of a fathead… you know?? The type of guys that are fun to look at, but aside from that they serve no real use other than to hang on your wall just to root for your favorite sports team. But not this one. He was different. He didn’t use lame pick up lines or cheesy gimmicks. In fact, I’m not sure he was really trying to pick me up at all. He threw my one-liners back at me with the quickness of a line drive that would’ve had most pitchers riding the pine pony unable to recall their own names for days.

After a good amount of nonsensical banter, we soon realized the two of us shared more than a deep love for sports in common, with our similar histories, similar philosophies, and similar outlooks on our given situations… especially in the dating category. For some stranger reason, this kid seemed to “get” me. And I “got” him. A few adult beverages into my encounter with the stranger, things took an interesting twist.

“You Ms. Sterger are quite an enigma. I’m not sure what to make of you. On one hand… you seem very genuine and very much one of the guys. You play the ‘I’m a cool single chick’ role real well. But part of me thinks it’s just an act. I think … I think you’re scared,” he said.

I nearly spit out my drink. No one, and I mean… NO ONE calls me chicken. Especially not you, Mr. Stranger.

“Oh really, is that so??” I cocked my head slightly, intrigued by his overall observation of me.

“Sure, well, if you’re this cool… why don’t you have a boyfriend??.. “ he asked.

And that my newfound friend.. is the million dollar question. For months now I had been picking up the pieces from a tumultuous relationship that had left my life in complete shambles. I had gone on countless dates, with all kinds of people.. but nothing really seemed to stick. I always just assumed I was too picky, or when I did pick something it was all wrong for me. As it turns out, the Stranger had been in a similar situation, though he didn’t divulge a ton of details. From what I gathered, he was just too young, and too in denial that they wanted different things that he wasn’t willing to admit that they had grown apart. Since then, he too had made a few missteps, and just like me.. watched them play out for everyone else’s amusement.

“You want my opinion??? For what it’s worth??..” he asked as he took a sip from his Guinness. “I don’t think you have the slightest clue what you want. You had something, you lost something, and since then, you’ve devoted so much of your time looking for the right thing that you probably wouldn’t know it if it hit you in the face. Trying to have a career, a life, and a love life?.. Forget it. Something has to give. You’ve spent your greater adult life, always with someone else, that you don’t know YOU anymore. And you’re too scared to admit it.”

I sat there stunned. Silent. This guy… this stranger.. that knew me for a mere few hours was calling me out. Who did he think he is??... Just because our lives overlapped in some aspects did not mean I suffered from the same lost boy syndrome he did.

Or did it?

That night, the two of us ended up roaming the streets of Indianapolis by ourselves. Not as a couple of drunken kids looking for a corner to make out in, but as a couple of guarded lost souls that just realized.. maybe for the first time, they weren’t alone after all. By him calling BS on me, he had in turn forced himself to confront his own fa├žade he had been hiding behind. And as they say in crappy old heist movies… the jig was up, pal.

The next few days went by rather fast, as I had a ton of professional obligations and appearances to fulfill, but the Strangers words stuck with me. It wasn’t that I was stuck on my ex, because I could really care less as long as he is happy. Maybe I just hadn’t been alone long enough to really put myself back together again. So every failed date, every misadventure broke humpty dumpty into more and more pieces… to the point I had no clue where to start. Where were all the king's horses and all the king's men???

That’s when I realized… I really didn’t NEED to be with anyone. For once, it felt okay to be alone. I needed to figure out who I was again as a person, not a pair. Months of therapy, years of blogging, and it only took one chance encounter with another lost soul for me to figure out what my life was missing… Me.

I never did meet up with the Roadrunner. And part of me thinks, maybe it was for the best. He would have only filled my head with false hope and just perpetuated this nasty cycle I had caught myself in. Instead, I spent the rest of the weekend figuring out myself, and getting to know me again. And while I’m far from the finish line, at least I made some good headway.

Which brings me back to the window….

A whole person. Such a novel concept. It was something I hadn’t been in a long time. I need to quit bringing this guarded, self censored version of myself to the table, and bring back the real “Jenn.” She may be flawed, and have a few bumps and bruises, but those scars are what make her the unique sensitive individual she is today. The one beneath the tough girl exterior she presents to the rest of the world… her poker face if you will.

The next time I decide to take the plunge, I will bring everything. . I wouldn’t be in something just out of need, but I would be in something because I WANT to be in it. Not the baggage of relationships past, just the lessons that it taught me How was anyone supposed to get to know the real me if my guard was always up???.. It wasn’t fair for me to keep dating from the other side of the wall. If the Germans had brought that ‘ish down, maybe it was time I did the same.

I never did get a chance to thank the Stranger for the lesson he taught me that weekend, but something tells me he’ll keep in touch. I promised him I’d keep his identity a secret. And that I shall. But I think the lesson he taught me needed to be passed on to others. I’m convinced God brings certain people into our lives for a reason, to teach us things as he sees fit. Maybe this was one of those instances. It just goes to show you that timing really is everything. If I hadn’t gotten lost, hadn’t made a wrong turn or two… I wouldn’t have met such an interesting person. Our chance encounter taught me it was ok to laugh again, taught me first impressions aren’t all that they may seem, but most of all it taught me… if you’re going to get lost, at least get lost together.


Will said...


RevJason said...

Nice post Jenn

Doug said...

Haven't read your blog in a while (too much work, too much travel, too much travel for work...)but this was a great read. Sometimes it just takes an outsider to your circle to help you find the light switch that you've been fumbling around in the dark for. Now you're suddenly re-energized and ready to press on to bigger and better things.

Just like in one of your favorite sports, timing is everything. A half second early, and it's a groundball to the shortstop, but an half second later and, it's out of the yard. You've had your share of grounders to short, Ks, and pop outs to the pitcher, but you've also had your share of hits too(That's important to remember). The time will come, and maybe soon, when your timing will be perfect, your swing will be dead on, and you'll take that fastball out of the yard. Then you can come out for the curtain call for the fans who cheered you on.

danny61 said...

That is a deeply felt, well thought out personal revelation! I hope you get eveything your heart desires. You ARE a real, cool, chick!

anthony0358 said...

What a beautiful essay
I loved reading it

Big moments there

JMGNole said...

Quite possibly my favorite of all of your pictures. That's the Jenn I know.

Keep kicking it kiddo. Great insights.

Veritas said...

For starters I have to agree with the guy in a 100% way.
In fact what he told you is what I been telling you all this time, but what I find interesting is that he called you out, laid the facts in your face and you where cool with that, but when I tried to tell you the same thing...well we both know the outcome of my attempts, don't we Jenn?!
It's good to see that you finally are starting to see the big picture; that you are a beautiful, intelligent and intriguing woman, that doesn't need no one to feel herself completed.
And with this I leave you a phrase from Henry Ford "Whether you believe that you can or can't do something, is all up to you to define which is right".

PCat said...

Sort of funny seeing that after you last post. I always wonder why for some reason the "so called" pretty person has a hard time finding someone. I get where you are coming from and blah blah blah blah. I don't know you from Adam nor I'm I going to pretend that I do, but speaking from my point of view. The girl that can wear a sweat shirt and a hat and still look sexy in my book is all a guy wants.

The guys that say ohh how hot you are and blah blah really guys lets just pad her ego some more and really she isn't going to hook up with you nor does she even ready this shiz, lol. So for once I'm glad to hear someone out there gets it. EOD doesn't matter how hot you are or sexy or whatever you are, when you are 80yrs old if that connect and romance isn't there WTF is the point. Sort of reminds me of a movie I just watched with a gal, and yes someone give me props for watching a chic flick. Anyways I have always lived my life that a female not only is lucky to be with me and I am with her but she doesn't define me and life goes on without her. Will I lose part of that life yes, but I'm still me and life has to go on.

Time to get real... mad real...

Chris said...

Pretty interesting...and I hope you know lines from Airplane!...

Sean said...

Jenn - all of us have flaws and once we realize this it makes us a better person in the long run. Congrats on joining the rest of us in this group and I'm sure you'll enjoy your life a heck of a lot more. And yes, you are a cool chick!!! Best of luck on all of your endeavors...whatever they may be.