Robin, at the top of the pyramid, seeking something she needs and doesn't have. My older sister, second row right, is supporting me with a smile. Loyola School summer gymnastics program.
I've received lots of mail about my "Breakin' Up is Hard to Do" story. One of my oldest friends said she thought it was "sad, like love." I meant for it to be funny, but love is bittersweet, isn't it? You can't dive into the ocean and never scrape your foot on a bit of coral, or not have a moment during your swim when you are sure you are drowning.
I have been a plunger all my life and I'm from a family of absolute and complete non-plungers. Each of the three others in my family has his own non-plunging technique. One puts a toe in, then a foot, then wades, then swims. One wades only. One never gets wet at all. I was born knowing I wasn't wanted --my mother loathed being pregnant because it damaged her figure and my father wanted a son--they have both told me this. But long before they told me this, I already knew. And I think I gained the sense that the only hope I had of being loved was to throw myself into everything with everything I had and hope someone would notice me and reach out.
That part has led me to great success in all kinds of things, especially television. High drama and plunging are excellent assets there.
But it hasn't been the right way to go about finding love.
Yet, even having learned that, I must say I think each of us has no power at all over who we love. We may not love wisely and we may love too well, but we don't choose whom we love. That is written into our DNA. We can decide how to proceed and that's about it.
We were in Washington then, and it was Morning in America.
After my marriage ended and I learned things about my husband that were stunningly bad, I kept asking myself if I could have, or should have known these hidden things further up the line. Why didn't I see them? If I met him again, would I, could I have been wiser? Caught on to him sooner and not fallen in love and not gotten hurt?
And each time I have gone over it in my mind I have not been able to say I could have changed a thing. The man I met, was the man I met and my heart was my heart and that's about all you can say. I might have waited longer and decided not to marry him--as I did with the OBF I wrote about recently--but it would have ended the same way. My husband was very charismatic. There just wasn't a deep well beneath the surface.
Each person we love puts something in and takes something out. And since each of us is a great deal more than the sum of our parts these things that come and go with our loves change us deeply and forever. People lose terrible things in love, and recover to do valuable things with their lives. Lost children. Painful death. Broken hearts. All these things are tied to all our loves and joys. With luck, each of these things can make our journey into a better one. But we must look around and we must vow to learn and to go on.
Sometimes, I'm afraid that by the time a person gains this kind of wisdom, the bar man is making his Last Call. But maybe not.