Remembering Arthur, who in 1985 was twenty years my senior, Arthur who “loved me to pieces.” Who affirmed my beauty as well as my bright mind. Arthur who followed me across the country to Philadelphia where I attended University of Pennsylvania.
I met Arthur as I moved through my feminist rebellion phase in my mid-forties. He playfully and doggedly pursued me. I resisted because of the age difference, but he won me over. He ended up being one of the most interesting, fascinating, and well-rounded men I have ever known. Arthur’s list of attributes included a well-developed feminine side and a mischievous side which added to his charm.
I didn’t see it at the time, but Arthur filled the ‘adoring Daddy’ role I never had, lavishing me with compliments, showing me off to his friends, wanting us to be seen together in public whenever possible.
Gone now, long dead, I still have conversations with Arthur from time to time. He’s helping me brush away the last lingering baggage that keeps my heart guarded, pushing love away. Afraid? Timid? A hundred years of therapy and my vision about love and relationships is still blurred. Excuses—to busy with career/writing, can’t/won’t let myself be vulnerable, my life is just fine the way it is, and on it goes.
What I dug up a short time ago was that when Arthur left Pennsylvania to return to Portland, I replaced his adoration and validation of me as both pretty and smart with my own masculine persona that ended up being less kind. My invented masculine energy became a driving force that shut down my nurturing, playful feminine. My lengthy couch time helped soften that tyrannical, demanding, judgmental masculine, but it remained dominant for so long it’s been a challenge to unite it with the feminine.
Since writing my memoir, Flight Instructions: A Journey Through Guilt to Forgiveness, my inner world shifted, vulnerability crept back in. I’m smiling more, laughing, not taking myself quite as seriously
To be continued . . .
Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi