I have a vivid memory.
Just before I stopped dating anymore, I dated one last person. I invested a lot into him which is strange because I wasn’t really attracted to him at first. But then he expressed an interest in me and you all know that is the secret formula for me. If you like me then I like you *shrugs*. But he then would be pretty aloof and evasive unless he wanted me to catch him. Which was secret formula #2 for me. Act like you don’t want me to make me want you harder. Basic bitch shit.
I went to my regular mani-pedi spot on Fulton downtown Brooklyn (even though I lived in Queens). And while my nail tech was doing my nails she started massaging my hands. And I remember it feeling so good that I took note. I studied what she did to my hands, the lines her fingers would follow, how to tilt, bend and stretch the hands just so to give it release. All this because in the instant I felt great, I wanted to learn it so I could make HIM feel great too. Because back then… that’s all I wanted to do. Make whoever I loved (or at least lusted after) feel good. I wanted to be a source of good, happy feeling.
On an off chance, I called him from the mani spot to see if he had his afternoon free. He lived in Brooklyn and not far from the nail salon. It would take me no time to make it over to him. What I knew in dialing was that the answer was almost always no. The protocol was for me to wait to hear from him and then I’d have to clear the schedule because, well, if I wanted to see him, I was gonna have to MAKE time. But this was the anomaly. He was free. I offered to come over. He accepted. I still remember basically flittering to his apartment. I was so high with the anticipation of spending time with him. It was a full afternoon of me doing all that I could to please him. Starting with cleaning his place: washing his dishes, mopping, sweeping, dusting. In nothing but an apron… (there were several breaks for hand and other kinds of massages). We spent the entire afternoon pleasing each other one way or another. That was my goal. I wanted him to feel good. I wanted being with me to always feel good to him. The thought of me to send shivers down his spine. To wish to see me more often than I was available because he wanted to keep that feeling going. These were my goals because that is what love is to me. Love is making the one I love feel amazing. Just by doing the regular, little things. Or even some extraordinary things.
The piece I keep forgetting about in this equation is that the other half of that love that feels so good to me is depositing the notion that as a result of me making that person feel so good that they’ll think enough of me to attempt to do the same. And maybe even in a way that they’ve studied me long enough to know will make me feel great. This fabled reciprocity I’m always talking about. The give and the take. The 50/50 (that has since been disproven and we’re all supposed to bring 100% to the table. so much pressure). It’s been a very long road for me to understand that … it does not exist the way I was taught to look for it. Sometimes, it doesn’t exist at all. And somehow I have to work from a place of never really expecting to get it back if I give it. Period. But that… just doesn’t feel like me. It doesn’t feel like being good to me…. I probably just need to change. And just … expect nothing.
Anyway – he was engaged to someone else and they were expecting. The whole time we “dated”. Something I only found out by happenstance. I was sincerely heartbroken in a way I’d not been in a long time. I didn’t get a choice in that one.
But I did chose to leave it all behind.
So much for good feelings.