Several years ago, during one of our “heart-to-heart” attempts, my mother told me that she feared I would never be happy. Like, ever. She had given this great thought and the pained expression on her face when she uttered this phrase spoke to its torturous veracity.
“Why do you think that?” queried I impatiently, already dismissing her answer because of course I know everything and always have.
She replied “Because you expect too much from people. And no one can live up to your expectations.”
I mulled this over for about six years and finally had to admit (like, this morning) that she was right. I do indeed do just that. I expect TOO MUCH from people.
Now, I’m not sure if this is all people or some people or most people or just the people I really like or maybe only the people I love. It’s definitely people, though, so I guess she was right. I mean, I expect my dog to be a good boy and I expect the local bears to stay clear of my summer abode and I expect the chipmunk I’m feeding to come eat out of my hand one day but … holy crap, SEE! There I go! Already expecting the damn chipmunk to do something in return. In return for my love. My love in the form of peanuts, mind you. But still my love.
The problem here I believe stems back to my soulmate. I know I’ve written of soulmates recently but this goes further. It goes to the expectation that one actually exists. And maybe more than one? Because if you had one, maybe you can have two? Or even three? What’s to say there’s a limit to quantity in soulmate-land? Because how can we be sure if souls really do mate forever? Is it a reason or maybe just a reason for a season? When the season passes perhaps the reason does too.
In my 20s I mated souls (or so I thought) with the lovely guitar player in my band. He looked like Eddie van Halen, played almost as well, could sing, could laugh, could give me a run for my money at Scrabble and gave me immense emotional and physical joy daily. Until the day he told me (three years in) that we wouldn’t be having any kids because he already had a family (he was divorced with a daughter) and one was enough, thank you very much.
At that time my biological clock wasn’t exactly ticking but I sure hadn’t written off the possibility of creating another human being at some point with my soulmate. He, on the other hand, had.
It was the beginning of our end.
Fast forward about 25 years and who walks into a little restaurant where I’m performing but Eddie #2. I swear I did not recognize him. Gone was the long hair. Funky jeans. Cowboy boots. Eddie had gone completely corporate. He looked good. Just corporate.
Turns out the reason Eddie looked corporate was because he WAS corporate. Long ago abandoning music as a viable career, he had returned to school, got some badass degree and was now the president (yes Mom and Dad who never thought he would amount to much – the PRESIDENT!) of a huge automotive company. He drove a Porsche!
Apparently one of his employees had mentioned this chick jazz singer at this sweet bistro and my name came up and he was incredulous and Eddie’s marriage was on the rocks so he drove the hour to see me and THERE I WAS! Playing in a little band.
With my current soulmate. The harmonica player, if you must know.
Long story short, Eddie ultimately professed a desire to run off with me, I professed gratitude for his desire but also a desire to remain mated with that current soul, so we forged a friendship, stayed in touch, eventually current soul ditched me, Eddie had another relationship, that tanked and at that one moment years later when we were both actually FREE … we got together. Just to, ya know, see.
You know what happened? Nothing. Nada. Not a single spark flew. We had created such a nice friendship the thought of taking it further was almost laughable. I’m actually pretty sure we did laugh.
So here’s my point – we were soulmates. At one time on our parallel journeys our souls DID mate and it was heavenly. It just didn’t last.
Same with harmonica-man. Even more so. We were completely and utterly mated, soul, heart, mind and body. It was heavenly. It just didn’t last.
The problem is, my dear mother (rest well), once you have tasted that sweet nectar, nothing else will do. It is so very difficult to settle for water when you have tasted wine. So very difficult to accept good enough when you have experienced magic. Glorious, daily magic.
And that is why I still expect too much. I don’t look at it as too much. I see it as just enough. Just enough to make everyday life bearable. Just enough to accept tragedy and sadness when they befall. Just enough to fuel my tank just enough to give back … just enough.
And that’s the thing. I am more than willing to give back more than my share. Seriously, take my heart, take my money, take my energy, take my words and my music and my food and my wine and my time and yes, please do take my soul. Here it is … on a platter.
And if that’s not in the cards then please forgive me for expecting too much. Apparently I have been doing it for a very long time.
A few months before my father died, at a time when I was experiencing huge marital difficulties which distressed my parents greatly, my dad took me aside and very privately whispered “Vickie, the best thing I ever did was stay with your mother. Because now I am going to die with my best friend.”
And he did.
Because they were.
His words bought my marriage another 5 years.
But I also received surprisingly different counsel from someone else very close to me. She told me that we basically have two options when this ‘mid-life crisis’ occurs: we can choose family for the sake of family or we can choose the quest for soulmatedness. And she emphasized that neither was the right choice. They were both noble choices and it was UP TO ME to decide which was the one for me. Period. Then it was up to me to make that choice and live it.
At that time my father’s words prevailed. Five years later it was a different story. And even when that soulmate broke my heart I still got back up on that fucking horse and kept on expecting too much. Those cracks and bruises and scars did not stop me from expecting too much. Not then.
And not now.
Some may call it pressure. Some may call it foolishness. Some may call it just plain ridiculous.
I learned it all from my soulmates. These lessons came with immense sadness.
The thing is they also came with immense joy.
Which is exactly why I continue to expect too much.
Thinking, pondering, reflecting on your words…..perhaps no one person can actually fill the place of soulmate. My elder son and I have amazing talks about thoughts and ideas and books and people; younger daughter and I share feelings, emotions, secrets; hubby is a rock and I am his. We love and share, cry and laugh, live life together in its happiness and struggles. So I am thinking that no one person can be a “soulmate” but all the people you have let into your life are a part of that soul to soul touch.
As a Christian, I am reminded of Pascal who said “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ”.
Love your writing, Vickie ! And your ability to share your heart!
Thank you Barbara. Your words are wise indeed!