So He Wasn’t My Prince Charming

Oh, the end of a fairy tale. The fairy tale ending is often overly simplistic, including a true love that develops tout de suite without any work at all. It leaves no real vision for what actually happens ‘ever after,’ other than that it happens, well, happily. Reality, of course, is a bit messier.

My reality has never included a fairy tale ending, and I suppose I could really say that my reality has never really included a fairy tale middle either. But I might go so far as to describe one chance meeting as a fairy tale beginning. It was, by no means, a traditional fairy tale; there were no speaking animals, no magical assistants (read fairy godmother), and no real female virtue to speak of. In the same way that Cinderella unexpectedly found herself all dolled up with somewhere to go, I was walking through the streets of Manhattan heading to a ball (okay, just a birthday party) on a glitzy rooftop bar. On my way to the subway station, I ran into some actors who play FBI agents on one of my favorite summertime shows. This was a fun run-in all on its own, but it became even more serendipitous when later that evening I met my first real-life FBI agent.

Life sometimes conspires to push people together, and that night, the FBI guy and I were the only single people at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We were sitting together with a group of people chatting and sipping on pricey drinks (it was a glitzy rooftop bar, after all), as the people around us at the table slowly disappeared, wondering off to speak to other invitees as they arrived. At the end of the night, we were quite attached to one another, and after everyone else in our group had left the bar, we got quite comfy on our couch.

Things moved quickly, and I was enamored from that very first night. But my fairy tale never got written. Challenging work schedules, summer traveling, and a sheer lack of motivation on the part of my not-so-prince-charming resulted in five “dates” over the course of three months, followed by two months of anxious anticipation of the elusive sixth date. The date that will never happen.

Why am I writing about this? Why do I care that this story has not become the story I wished it would? As stated in a previous post, this is the worst year of my life. I am working hard to find happiness and stay sane. And as sad as it may seem, the hope of this man – even if it was just the hope of a next date, and not realistically the hope of a happily ever after – was helping to pull me through. The carefully crafted narrative of what might have been, the idea that somewhere out there in this big city someone was thinking about me like I was thinking about him, these daydreams were making the future look better. In a way, that’s what a fairy tale is for me, the hope for a future that is better than the present, better than the future most likely to come – in short, a fantasy.

The Worst Year of My Life is Almost Over

Worst Year Ever?

Why ‘the worst year’?

The year 2012 began a mere 17 days after the death of my father. Thus began the worst year of my life. Or perhaps my worst year began on 15 Dec. 2011. Whatever way I do the math, it has been about nine months since the year began, which means it is, at last, mostly over.

In that time, I’ve continued my life as a woman, a sister, a (grand-)daughter, an aunt, a friend, an adjunct professor, a graduate student, a research assistant, a big city dweller, a book lover, a traveler, an aspiring runner, and the myriad other persons I am. I’ve struggled to wake up in the morning, and stayed out until the sun rose the next day. I’ve given people up and leaned heavily on others for help. The year to date has been the hardest of my life, even if it hasn’t all been bad.

As the year goes on, and quickly comes full circle to that dreadful date I foresee being a day of tears for years to come, the struggle continues. In the months that follow, I will face my future and possibly my death in a way that most people could never even imagine. I will also undergo the next level of examinations in my doctoral program, which require much preparation and the dreaded ‘speaking in front of a crowd’ that still makes my knees shake, even after 2 years of teaching. The combination of these oh-so-important events/actions with my life as usual means that the rest of this worst year ever will continue to challenge me in ways I need to face in order to make it through in one piece.

Wish me luck.