On Being A Balloon
So, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking lately, trying to figure out why I married the person I did.
Like, a lot of thinking. Verging on obsessing. Who am I kidding? I’m totally obsessing. But I like to think I’m justified in this one teeny particular instance.
About 3:00 in the morning, it hit me. Because I’m afraid that without an anchor, you just don’t know where the balloon is going to sail to.
[FYI: I’m the balloon in the example, and my husband is the anchor. Duh.]
I looked back over my years of dating and friendships, and over my years of marriage. There are a very few friends I’ve had who are really truly balloons, and while I love(d) them (some are still in my life, others not), it was never comfortable to be with them. There was always the sense that if I didn’t act extremely responsible and a little ploddy, between the two of us, we might just sail away on a gust of “why not?” and that’s kind of terrifying.
This is not coming out clearly. Let me try again.
I love being curious. I love going ahead and doing the thing everybody wishes they could do, if only.… The kid who hugs the principal at the last day of school. The one who hams it up when using the grocery store speaker to call all baggers to the front. The person who imagines beauty, and then actually makes it happen. Who makes a tiny little fairy door and places it carefully in the hollow of a tree. Who makes pancakes, and tries to make them to represent the Hawaiian islands, using blueberries to represent mountains. Who actually takes the belly dancing class.
There is nothing more fun than just saying, “Why not? Let’s try!”
If two of us got together and both of us were of the “why not” persuasion, we could end up in a yurt in Arizona. Or dangling from ropes tied to the sides of camels. Or crashing and burning in a heap of pathetic poseur-ness, jobless, friendless, homeless.
Almost without exception, my long-term boyfriends and friends have been … how to say this without seeming nasty? They’ve had a strong sense of reality. They’ve been very solid and safe and maybe barely tolerated my whimsy, but certainly didn’t celebrate it or participate in it. One boyfriend called it my “daisy-fairy-ness.” He was right, actually. That’s a perfectly good description. It drove him nuts that I went around humming happily to myself, just trusting the universe would make things work out for me. Now, I was working my butt off to accomplish things, but I didn’t spend much time worrying too much. Usually if I did what felt sincere and honest and true, things would, in fact, fall into place. Not always what I had hoped or planned, but almost always something good eventually. I was very good at rolling with what came at me, and making the best of it.
Throughout my life, when I’d get a goal that wasn’t quite sincere, or it didn’t resonate with me but I still really really wanted it, I’d hammer away at it. I’d hammer and hammer at a door that did not want to open, and for good reason. Some of the times, I’d actually force that door open and jam my foot in there and wiggle my way in, but those never left me feeling right. I’d feel proud of having “made something of myself,” but the sun didn’t shine on me. The achievement felt effort-full.
All of these men I’ve been with have something in common. They were ALL anchors. They were what I wasn’t. And most significantly, they were who I thought I needed to be.
Not who I needed to be with. Who I needed to BE, because I believed that who I was was inadequate to the task of growing up.
Sit with that for a sec.
Not until really recently have I ever felt like the me who I actually am could possibly be someone who could be a grown up all by myself. I’m not sure what has shifted, but I believe in myself now. I believe that even though I have all of those ‘daisy-fairy’ qualities, they aren’t the only things I have. I am also responsible and smart, aware and mature, and I can figure things out. I don’t need a ribbon. I can see the ground when I float, and I know how to get back down there sometimes. I don’t need an anchor, I just need the balance I ALREADY HAVE within myself.
I can be the woman in the flowy skirt who wears a feathered headband, and also be the person who pays her insurance bill. I can be the person who hides little sparkly things in unexpected places for other people to find, and still keep my car registration up. My children can both have a midnight snowball fight on a Wednesday AND get their teeth cleaned every six months.
It is possible. It IS possible.