I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior. It’s interesting to watch two people or a group of people interact with one another. The body language, facial expressions, even words chosen.
I’ve shared before that I don’t believe in accidents and I will never be the person that lives with regret. Collectively speaking, I’m an open book. In relationships this can be a plus and a minus all at once. Sometimes it’s nice to be a mystery, keep a person guessing a bit. I like to think of it as a bit of a safety net to keep one from being taken for granted.
If you’re always honest, it can come back on you. It’s easy to prey on someone who wears their heart and emotions on their sleeve. Not all people come with pure intentions. Life teaches us that and when we’ve been hurt, others often pay the price for our scars.
Trust is a big thing. In order to truly allow a person in, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable to ‘show our hand’ (figuratively speaking). For some, doing this brings on its own set of insecurities often prompted by past experience. It’s a vicious cycle. As much as we logically remind ourselves that the person in front of us has no connection to our past baggage, somehow we still proceed under the light of caution.
But with all that said, there is this other thing which brings people together which I have yet to truly put my finger on. The law of attraction when it comes to friendships and relationship is truly a puzzling thing.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that many of my closest friends are absolutely nothing like me and that is what I love about them. Sure, at the core we are good, honest and genuine people, but often that’s where it ends.
The most inexplicable is when you feel a connection to someone of the opposite sex. It’s puzzling really. You meet someone for the first time and your stomach takes a slight tumble. They’re happily married, you’re happily married and yet here you are - standing with a person you know nothing about yet feeling a strange connection to them.
In 22 years of marriage I experienced this a handful of times. It puzzled me each and every time and often I wondered if the other person was as aware as I was.
I’m known to be outspoken and up front, but out of respect to the vows I took and the man I loved these feelings were never explored. It seemed silly, but it was never a physical thing just a feeling of familiarity. One that often made me wonder if we had met at another time, if circumstances were different would we then both be honest or was it just me.
Once when I was younger (and married), I experienced this with a fellow volleyball coach. It was pushed to the limits of its test when I was the person asked to take him to the hospital when he twisted his ankle in a tournament. I’ll never forget that awkward moment in my car as we both reached to turn up the radio for the shared fondness of a song playing on the radio. Our faces were close, the tension apparent … I dropped him off at home and he never returned to our volleyball group.
Now, years later … a divorce and a heartbreak behind me I find myself in this place again. Meeting a person and feeling a ‘connection’ when you’re married is safe. There is a shield in front of you, a ring, a respected covenant. But when all that is stripped away and the other person begins to use their words, then what?
In all honesty it’s a struggle, all of it: the guessing, the wondering, the obsessing. Honestly, it’s just plain scary. But as I tell my kids, you only know if you try and if you’re going to go in … go in with both feet.
Life is not put before us to live with regret. We are given challenges, questions and tasks to see how we navigate. Each action has a direct or indirect reaction, but in the end we learn there are no accidents.
So here we go … a new adventure. Uncharted territory before me, trust hanging in the balance and friendships to be cultivated. With each new crossing, if we’re smart and not reckless all will pan out as it should. The good news is, there is no hurry for anything in life when it comes to relationships. Life allows us to do things in time. The bad news is, I’m an impatient, curious, worry wart with obsessive tendencies. Life throws me curve balls often. Sometimes I manage; I make it onto first and often all the way to home plate. But it’s the strikeouts that really teach the tough lessons, so the question is: Am I really ready to take the plate? Answer: I have no clue, but I’m willing to take the first swing.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.