“Why the Bleep Are You In My Life”
Shakespeare was so right on when he said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” If you think about it aren’t we each starring in our own play, complete with a cast of characters? And doesn’t our life’s plot unfold through our interactions with others? Would it not be correct to say that it is our relationships that are what fuels our life’s story?
Who or where would we be without all the cast of characters that have come in and out of our lives? Think about it? Who would you be if you had different parents, siblings, best friends, teachers, and even your adversaries? And behind each of these relationship isn’t it a mystery on how they wound up to be in our play and we in theirs?
Of course, for every mystery there needs to be a detective. That’s the character I love to play. I love to search for clues. I love putting pieces of a puzzle together. I love to explore and contemplate my own experiences, books I’ve read, observations I’ve had or even clues I get from my own thoughts. The writer soul in me is driven to write about what I discover. I can’t explain why I’m compelled to write about relationships and all their mystery. What I do know is that there is something beyond me, some unknown source that fuels my writing passion. The older I’ve gotten I’ve started to realize that maybe my past holds some insight into where my intrigue with relationships started.
In my formative years personal relationships, in particular, were a main point of frustration for me and this was the time when the seeds of my curiosity were planted. I grew up in a typical dysfunctional family, similar to many others, only as I found out much later. (I sure wished I had known this fact at the time. Knowing this might have eased much of my anxiety and angst.)
As with many dysfunctional families what you saw on the outside wasn’t what was going on behind closed doors of our home. The family dynamics were such that it was physically safe and financially secure. But emotionally it was very confusing and rather inconsistent. My parent’s marriage was held together by respect. Love was a noun, not a verb. My dad was a doctor and very left brain. My mother, on the other hand was more intuitive and had a lot of emotional issues that plagued her and thus were part of our growing up years.
The four of us siblings were all very, very different which left little room for any feelings of cohesiveness or a bond between us that I could hang on to other than we respected one another and were all on the same family tree. Each of us just went about our lives without a whole lot of interaction. My dad made the comment on more than one occasion that we were just “camping out.”
Outside the home I never felt like I fit in with my peers. I was a very cerebral young girl, school smart and way more mature for my years in how I saw the world. As I reflect back I must have come across as awkward around kids my own age. Being an introvert and socially awkward – to have thoughts and feelings I didn’t have the social skills to articulate – was not the best combination to have. I had a few close friends but was never part of any clique that I could claim I truly identified with. I desperately needed someone to confide in, someone safe to share all my deep feelings with.
When I hit puberty and all the kids were beginning that stage where it was cool to have a boyfriend or girlfriend to brag about I really felt left out. So for about two years, around age 11-12, I solved my loneliness by creating an imaginary boyfriend. He was my constant companion, someone I could trust with my deepest and darkest thoughts and secrets and someone who loved and accepted me unconditionally. I have no idea where I got his name. It just came to me one day. His name was Richard. About that same time, I also had the obsession with the uppercase letter “S.” I used to doodle it all over my paper when I was bored in class. Little did I know then how many times I would write that capital letter.
When I was about 14 I discovered I loved to write down all that was going on in my head. Poems were a great beginning to write something that had a beginning and end. I wrote my first poem when I was 14 and it was titled “The Lifeless Sea.” The poem was about a girl whose lover had died and she wanted to be with him. I look back on that poem, and to this day, I’m not sure why I would have such insight into the sadness and despair of losing a mate at such a young age.
It was about that time that I met a young man who was 18. I never could relate to or was attracted to boys my own age. We started officially dating when I was 15. My parents weren’t keen about me going on a car date with an 18-year-old, but he was down to earth, from a nice family and the trustworthy type. We ended up dating all the way through my high-school and college years.
We had our ups and downs. We even broke up for a number of months and then got back together. I was like a big sister to his sister who is two years younger than me. I literally became part of his family by proof of all their home movies I’m in. Their family dynamics was one filled with genuine love for each another. Being around them taught me things about being in a family that I didn’t learn from my own. Everyone was so sure we were going to be married one day. But God had other plans.
I met the man I was destined to marry in February of 1980 at a bar in Oklahoma City. I went out with a friend for the free food at a happy hour at a local disco. From the first hour or so of our meeting I felt something I had never felt before. There was a recognition in his eyes that pierced mine when he looked at me. I had never been looked at by anyone like he looked at me. He saw a person in me that I didn’t even know was there. You could say he introduced me to who I was going to become. From that day forward I was never the same person again. I knew I could never go back to being the old me. It was like I had stepped through a doorway to a whole new way of experiencing myself.
Completely thrown off my emotionally, for I had absolutely no explanation for why I felt the way I did about this man I had just met. He didn’t come close to fitting “my pictures” of who I would be attracted to. He was 13 years older than me. He was a dark haired Italian New Yorker, father of three children and a New York Giants fan to boot. I, on the other hand, was a diehard Dallas Cowboy fan, blond, blue eyed 21-year-old Okie. There was absolutely no rational, physical explanation for our connection to one another.
Despite all the differences, our relationship within a couple of weeks had the communication that many couples never reach, even after decades of marriage. We felt like we had known each other for years. We could say or share anything with each other. Communicating with him was effortless. I fell in love with who I was with him. Needless to say I broke up with my boyfriend. I’m not sure whose heart was broken more…his or mine. It was devastating for me to say goodbye to a relationship and being part of a family that was so important to me for such an integral part of my life. To this day there still resides a place in my heart just for him. I could never thank him enough for rescuing me from living the life of a lonely, isolated teenager. That relationship gave me the foundation for what I was going to need and use later.
My husband and I have known each other for 35 years now and I know that I have become the person I am because of our relationship. He has profoundly influenced every aspect of my life. Our relationship has had its share of bumps along the road but for the most part being with him has been the easiest, most natural relationship I’ve ever had. And, oh, by the way, my husband’s name is Richard. His last name is Sangiorgio…with a capital S.
I have spent the last 30 years of my life being a wife, a mother, a step-mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. I’ve created some amazing relationships in my life where just being together with this other person was joyful and light and where we both could be our authentic selves. And then there are others. Oh yes, those people who have come into my life who threw me the proverbial curve ball. Communication with them was uncomfortable, they undermined my self confidence, they would do or say something, that if another person had acted the same way it would be no big deal, but because it came from them I took it hard. Why? My heart has been confused on more than one occasion as to why I couldn’t make some of my relationships work better than they did and feel like I wanted them to feel.
I’ve also witnessed hundreds of other people’s relationships, and like me, have had a mixture of all kinds of experiences, both good and bad. It seems we are all destined to have a life filled with both the positive, satisfying ones and relationships filled with pain, frustration and conflict.
Years ago one of my daughter’s dance teachers said an interesting comment about conflict in relationships. She said, “Relationships don’t have issues. People have issues and the way the issues rub up against one another is what causes the conflict.” That one simple statement profoundly changed the way I looked at the conflicts I was experiencing in my own relationships. It got me to start looking more at my own issues and stop blaming the other person for how I was feeling.
Someone else share this thought with me about relationships. She said when you have a conflict with someone ask these two questions? Where’s the gift? And, where’s the lesson?
The bottom line for me is that my relationships have been a driving force in my life filled with many gifts and lessons. I would not be who I am today without all the people who have crossed my path, especially the ones with the most conflict. I have come to the conclusions that there is much more to our relationships than what we experience with our five physical senses. Especially those relationships where we are the closest and the ones who give us the most conflict. Our physical experience is not enough to give us the “whole picture.” There’s something behind these special relationships, something on the intuitive spiritual level, that defies a physical explanation. For instance, I don’t think it was a “coincidence” that my imaginary boyfriend’s name was Richard and I married a man whose his last name began with the letter “S”.
From my observation most people don’t conduct their relationships from the premise that there is more to them than what is on the surface. This is why they too often suffer even years after a relationship’s conflict is over and the person is no longer in their life. (I can say this because I too have done this many times.) They fail to seek a higher level of understanding and discover a higher purpose for the relationship. Deep inside we know we should look for a greater understanding but we fail to do that because that would require us to take responsibility for our part in the conflict. That is way too much work for the average person. It’s scary, uncomfortable and emotionally challenging.
So most choose what appears to be the easier route – to push aside the pain of the conflict and forge ahead. Then they end up spending half of their time looking for new relationships and the other half of their time either denying their pain or complaining about the past. Rarely do they stop and look at the people in their life and see them for what they are – and that is a teacher. They become victims to the relationships that they themselves helped co-create. They wallow and sometimes even relish in all the drama and conflict with a “poor me” attitude and over the course of their life they continue to bring people into their life who they blame as to why their life turned out the way that it did. Sadly, many people end their life with very little peace in their heart. Their heart is full of regrets, withholds, and unexpressed love.
Maybe if they had asked one simple question and remained determined to find the answer they would have experienced some peace along the way. That question: “Why the bleep are you in my life?”
This is the purpose of my book. To hopefully bring you a little bit of insight into “why the bleep someone is in your life” so that you might feel a little more at peace with the way things have or are turning out. This may also lead to you discover something about yourself that helps you have better, happier and more fulfilling relationships in the future.