saving face…why?

One day last week, I woke up in the middle of the night and the words, “I am so lonely!” shot out of my mouth. I don’t remember this ever happening before. The feeling that accompanied this outburst was despair. It was a dark moment. I felt like I might be dying. It passed quickly, but I’ve thought about it off and on since it happened, and I’ve wondered what the message was for me. 

I talked about this in an earlier post, or at least I think I did, but one of the messages of this time, for me, seems to be to become more real, to admit my shortcomings, and to be more vulnerable. I’m getting plenty of opportunities to do this, and I’m noticing how afraid I’ve been of letting others see those areas of my life that don’t feel at all OK or put together.

The man whom I’ve been seeing, for a couple of months, called me yesterday morning. This isn’t unusual, we talk every day, but it’s almost always later in the day. Throughout our conversation, I kept hoping he’d propose getting together that evening, but he didn’t, and I didn’t, so after we hung up, I felt like I’d missed an opportunity. I called him right back. He didn’t pick up. My mind went to instant fear and worry. I wondered who he could be talking to so quickly, or if he wasn’t on another call, was he ignoring my call? I felt “foolish” so I texted him and said that I’d dialed his number by mistake. He texted back a few minutes later that it wasn’t a problem since he’d been on another call.

I was telling a friend about this yesterday afternoon, and she said, “You could tell him that you’d lied because you were afraid…” and I thought, “Lied?! That’s a little harsh, isn’t it?” Then I thought, “No. That was exactly what I did to ‘save face’”. What “face” was I trying to save? The face that had the smile that covered the face that was afraid, lonely, scared, and insecure? I think so. I wondered why I wanted to preserve that image/face/mask so much. I ended up feeling like I was on an emotional roller coaster for the rest of the day. 

Last evening, when my “boyfriend” (really, what a ridiculous word to use at this age, but I don’t know a better one…if you do, I’d love to hear it) called, I said, “I have a confession to make….” and I told him about my earlier call and that I’d lied. He then said, in a very loving and understanding way, “Maybe that’s why you had the kind of day that you did.” I intuitively felt he was right.

It felt good to admit to him what I’d done and apologize for it. If I want clear, honest, upfront, and loving, relationships then I must embody all of those qualities first, and I have to be willing to be fully human too…I just never knew how much of a challenge this could be❤️

Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we are not perfect….knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people” Fred Rogers

15 thoughts on “saving face…why?”

  1. Dear Mary, my heart goes out to you as you navigate the crazy world of being single and dating. But, I am boosted by your continued willingness to face your fears, be honest with yourself and others, especially this man that you are embracing into your romantic circle. I am sending you love and thanks for your honesty and your willingness to continue to be human.

    1. So sweet, Debra…thank you! Before I post, I always pray that something/anything I say be helpful (it is to me❤️) to someone. Sharing vulnerabilities is not how I grew up and it was almost shameful to have challenging emotions, so I feel is it one of my “responsibilities” in this lifetime to open up that side of myself. Sending you a huge hug today, Mary

  2. I like the modern, up-to-date – “gentleman caller” or “beau.”

    And, as always, your post resonates with me (and I’m sure others) feeling we should NOT be ourselves, but someone else? and, to please others on top of it. Acceptance AND LOVE of self is a pretty good goal.

    1. beau could work😊 Thanks, Mary! Accepting myself, all parts of myself, has been a huge challenge (but I’m getting a little better at it). Loving thoughts to you💕Mary

  3. Let’s face it , we are never going to be perfect. But it seems you have met someone that knows that. And for this feeling of loneliness , I think we all are feeling that especially now.

    1. I think so too, Joan…the “loneliness” that I felt that night, I believe was an expression of what was happening in the world (as well as internally). Hoping you are well💕 Mary

  4. Sweetheart, I feel so sad for you, exactly as I feel now for myself in my 30s, desperate for a relationship to make me happy. I think the task of the 40s and 50s is to begin to thoroughly enjoy your own company. In my late 60s, I do. That said, there are a very few people who I do need in my life, that I would probably be lonely without. One of those is my mother. I don’t know how old you are, but I hope you have not lost ALL your important people. I dread the day I do! Pick some flowers today, be happy.

    1. Thank you, Joan. I’m not sure that was what I was saying or feeling (that I was feeling desperate for a relationship to make me happy) but it’s always nice to feel supported on our journeys, so thank you for your thoughts. How wonderful for you that you have reached a point in your life of feeling so at home with yourself❤️

  5. That was so brave of you to call your friend again and admit your white lie. I can’t imagine being alone, although i think we all are, to some extent. Maybe you were tapping into mass consciousness. At the beginning of the year I awoke with an image of me in a hospital bed with all these tubes etc attached. I was so alarmed, I quickly swept it away. Now I’m convinced it wasn’t me. It was a glimpse of what was to come.

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