I’ll miss the poplar trees blooming again.
When we first moved in end of May 2022, they had already bloomed. The vibrant, green grass lined with shriveled orange and yellow tulips. I was a month too late.
I always thought it was a sweet coincidence that a tree so special to my family (my grandparents have one of the oldest and biggest poplar trees in their yard, and my parents have two trees that came from it), would be growing in the yard of our latest rental. Several of them, in fact. Tulip poplars galore, right outside my window. Turns out they’re much more common in the South.
I can add this sign to the list. The list of reasons I kept in my back pocket, ensuring me I was doing the right thing. Whenever my intuition came online and beckoned me, I’d take my imaginary scroll out of my pocket. I’d recite my counter evidence until the loud and clear siren turned into a faint moan.
Poplar trees, astrological charts, trauma bonds, therapy, faint memories, artistry, time, dog, love.
Let’s start with love. Love is bullshit.
I love a lot of things; and quite a few of the people and things I love are not good for me. That’s why love, in my opinion, is never a reason to stay.
So, as the list of red flags banded together forming a red carpet, I clung to love. I clung to delusion. I clung to the advice you get from every miserable married person:
“Relationships are hard work.”
“If you’re happy more than half the time, even if it’s only 51% of the time, stay in it.”
“No one is perfect.”
“I want to kill my husband half the time.”
“The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.”
In my opinion there are two extremes:
- People who are utterly unhappy in their relationships and have accepted this and deem it normal.
- People who seem way happier than they are in their relationships, because they either want other people to think they’re perfect, or they’re eternal optimists making the most of the card they picked.
I do believe there is a minority of people who are truly happy. They did the work and found their person (I don’t think there’s one person you’re supposed to find, but I do think there’s a “type” of person that is an ideal match for your personality, etc.). They didn’t settle. They trusted their gut. Of course, they have their qualms and quirks, but there is a palpable harmonious energy seeping out of their auras.
I’ve decided I want to be those people.
I made that decision a long time ago. Probably when I watched my first Disney movie (well, I think I was born with this desire, but Disney definitely helped spark my imagination). And even though my inner princess has been shoved down and trampled by the horrid outcomes of my malfunctioning love radar, she kept breathing. She kept dusting herself off and trying to get my attention.
And now at the age of almost 33, I’m finally listening.
Later then some, but earlier than most.
I’d say the majority never adhere to that voice.
And no, I’m not searching for some fairytale ending where we ride off into the sunset on horses and never have an argument. Like I said, I know there will be qualms and quirks and disagreements and annoyances.
But I do think it’s possible to find a calm partner who uses respectful language and knows how to say what he or she means without being mean. While also being attractive, trustworthy, masculine, responsible, intelligent, and making me laugh on a daily basis.
At this point I don’t know if this partner will be a man, a woman, or a tree.
Or maybe I am the only person for me. I’m open to moving into the side of a mountain and living a peaceful life with a few furry friends.
What I do know is I am in no place to date anyone for the next six or so months.
There’s some serious unworthiness, self-sabotage, self-doubt, and trauma bonding tendencies I need to heal before I involve myself with another person. After three back to back relationships since the age of 25, this couldn’t be more clear to me.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m excited. Part of me wishes I could fast forward through this healing process, but a deeper, wiser part of me know it’s necessary.
For now, I’ll be at my parent’s house. Lucky for me, it’s only April, and Poplar trees bloom in June in Rhode Island.