One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can. –Frederick Buechner
I started to spend time with him even though he reminded me of you, a little. He looked sort of like you, but better. He was close to your age. He even liked all the same things as you; bright, odd colored socks, hikes to exotic places, Boulder. But how could I punish him for merely just being like the person that you lied about being? My feelings for him are more complex than they were for you. You fed my beast. You allowed my monster to throw its tantrums and run wild as you caressed me with empty words. You fed my inner struggles and starved my thirsty soul. You gave me everything I thought I wanted, only tinged with control and power. He gives me none of that. He does not allow my demons to overwhelm him. His approach is inspiration smothered with loneliness and discomfort. I think that is what evolving feels like; like what a caterpillar must feel like as it pushes through the capsule it has been comfortably resting it. It does not know what to expect as it breaks through its own barriers. I can only assume it does not realize it will soon learn to fly. Its painful to not understand him and feel as though he does not understand me. But one thing is crystal clear, he inspires me to think. And he does not let the darkness be my guiding force. And he does not even realize it. Its balance.
We walked around after our second date breakfast. Sometimes I get so frustrated because I cant read him. Said the girl after two dates. Sighing at myself. There is no manual to a person who is whole all by themselves. But he just does, he likes me. I know that. Or rather, I can feel that. Yet, my first instinct is to tear him to pieces and try to figure him out. I am realizing slowly that taking apart pieces to understand someone does not necessarily give you a clearer grasp of who they are. Especially when you are not fully equipped to help put them back together. And he surely wouldn’t let me do that even if I wanted to. So I decided not to. Realistically, it was not really a choice or decision; and I did not want to at a certain point. Unfortunately, that brings upon pain for me. A pain that feels like I am misunderstood, inadequate or unloved. However, the stronger of feelings is that I would rather have him say special things when he really thinks them instead of when I think I need to hear them. Like, when he was holding me and told me I was a ‘catch’. That felt unique, maybe not in content, but in the way he made me feel when he said it. Having him say his true thoughts in his own words, it sure feels more authentic that probing them out of him; and with him, I am not sure he would play my game even if I really tried to.
I’ve made a decision to allow others to make their own decisions. He is fully capable and wise enough to make choices as to what he wants and what is best. So each time I refrain from trying to make him love me too soon, or want me before he is ready (if ever), I think I am showing him my genuine heart. So the story continues, we walked. And as we walked by the creek, I felt at peace. He takes me there because he knows that water is calming and I think he also does that for himself. Water signs. Its just something we inherently understand and feel without assigning words to it. Each conversation we have is just a sliver of words. They feel disjointed, in that, they come in small in instances, but eventually form into larger thoughts. That day it was a simple thought, spirit animals. He asked if I had a creature that kept reappearing in my life. I could not think of any. And that was the end of that conversation. A conversation with dialogue that ended in that moment between us but continued reappearing in my recollection of that day.
So, I went home with so many other thoughts and feelings in my heart. He kissed me. And I remembered this one. I never remember being touched. Or the first kiss. Its overwhelming, normally, or happens in a matter that is not something that seems relevant. But with this one, I thought long and hard about that. How I have never remembered a first kiss with anyone. I remember how he squirmed for a long time. He could not make up his mind when the right time would be, or, maybe if he wanted to at all. I felt that. He would look at me and he would touch my hand or caress my shoulder; but still could not find his moment. I am not sure what took him so long, but I appreciated that he let it happen when it felt organic. Sitting side by side, leaned forward, moved his body closer to mine, and looked deeply in my eyes. I took a moment, where I thought about whether I should lean into him too. But my body decided against that. So, for a few seconds that felt like many minutes, I made him stare into my eyes. I felt his body was shaky, but I still did not match him in his effort to press his face or lips against mine. Instead, he waited there, vulnerable. I think he was waiting for me to make a decision. And when I didn’t, he got a little closer still. It felt like there was no space left between us, as his nose gently swept across mine, to which I reciprocated. Lipless kisses, where a part of the face just brushes against skin, have always been my favorite shy kiss. And in that moment, he pressed his lips upon mine. And that was our first.
Then I thought about how he touched me. He felt my bones. He moved his hands around freely and fearlessly. He focused on what parts he liked. I could tell because he moved around to every part of my arm before resting his touch on my shoulder and elbow. And soon after, we walked back, and I drove away. All I had left was a few memories and an endless wave of thoughts.
He calls them wound attacks when I get angry and cant adequately explain myself. I like the way he frames feelings into words that are complex enough to feel significant and gentle enough to be fully digested. And as I sat there, a few days after our time together, I was still thinking about him when I got a notification on the camera I have outside my front door. I got that because of you. Because of how unsafe you made me feel when you came to my door and left me the letter. I figured that it would be helpful to see you coming next time. And also how fortunate it was that we were not there when you decided to leave it.
Lately, around the same time every night, but never on predictable days, I have had a visitor. Every time the notification pops up, my heart still falls and my fingers tingle. I sit there paralyzed, breathless, so that you wont see me moving in my own home; not even a shadow or movement in my chest. Just as quickly as the magical thoughts of this new man entrance me, the thought of you cracks open my wound and I am empty again. But its never you. Its my new visitor, my new company. When she first came, she guided effortlessly and rapidly down the window right in front of the camera. It was a flash of yellow and then she was gone. But I could see her. It was like she wanted to be noticed. Just like me, screaming inside to the universe, ‘please. please, see me.’. So I thought it must be coincidence, because spiders are everywhere. And I began to appreciate how frightening she looked on camera and how big she appeared when so close to the lens, even if on the other side of double-pained glass. And then I decided to sleep. The thought of her and him were both gone.
I did not think about her again for a week. Still, endless thoughts about him still came. And I think she wanted to be noticed again so this time, when she returned, she moved a little slower. She crept right by the lens, shouting to me, ‘notice me. i am worthy’. So I did. I paid attention to her. But I was still blind. I did not know what I was look at or for. There were spiders all over, and my only thought was, how interesting it was to have caught her twice on a randomly placed camera by my door. And then the thoughts were gone again. Until last night. When I made a decision to open my heart truly to him. Through frustration and uncertainty, I made a choice to try to love him. And sent out some hope that maybe he would love me too someday. I made some lavender lemonade from the herbs I bought at the shop he showed me. I thought I needed to heal some dark part inside of me until he told me that we do not actually need to heal, and at the deep core of our being, we are already healed. And I calmly sat wondering of so many things I wanted to express to him. And childishly wished those things would come faster, that I could speed up time and skip to the part where we were just together. And then within another instance, was feeling grateful for what was presently the place we were, not physically together, but still something that felt worthwhile.
That’s when she made her third appearance. She must of been hoping I was finally going to open my eyes and see her as more than a physical body. Just like me. Hoping. Silently screaming, ‘See me.’ I watched her again, only her legs this time. As if she was waving. She moved slower than ever before. And within a few seconds, she was gone again. I thought, at first, ‘I should spray that area tomorrow morning. Spiders are sort of scary and I should just put some poison out there.’ And then my mind stopped. It paused. I remembered what he told me, ‘have you seen any creatures more than normal lately’. And next flashed, ‘spirit animals’. She had been pursuing me for months. She was not a threat to me, and yet my first instinct was to poison her and make the occurrence go away? And then I thought of him. Always going back in my mind to traces of his words. He leaves so many intense and wonderful thoughts inside me and gives me the ability to put complex ideas together.
It was one of the more intense moments in my life. That realization; where about 5 different moving pieces from two different distinct conversations (with him) came colliding together into something cohesive:
If the spider shows up in your life, this spirit animal may remind you of negative aspects of your personality or your life that need to come to the light more fully. For many, spiders inspire fear or at least some form of aversion. As such, they tend to be associated with what psychologists would call “the shadow self”. In brief, your “shadow” or “shadow self” are aspects of your personality or your life that you or other people deem unworthy or not likable and are therefore rejected or repressed.
The spider as a spirit animal does not typically take on these negative attributes. Nevertheless, its presence in your life might bring up negative feelings or unease. Whenever you feel your relationship with your power animal is characterized by tension, discomfort or fear, you can ask yourself where these feelings also appear in your life. Look for any association with your personal feelings, even if it indirectly leads you to other areas of your life, such as work, family, or a relationship for instance.
Here’s another question to ask to interpret the meaning of the spider spirit animal and the guidance it offers: What kind of relationship or connection did you or did you want to establish with this animal? Was the spider threatening or harmful? Did you kill or harm it? The answer will indicate the kind of dynamic that is shaping up between you and what the spider represents.
Spirit animal, I see you and I feel you. I will honor you. And I will fight to keep him around; for all the things he does not even understand that he contributes to me. And if he decides to not love me, that will be his choice and not my forceful push in that direction. I will honor him.
And so “you”, this is the last time I will write to you and about you. This is my true courage to forgive you. This is the goodbye I never really gave you and the one we both deserve.