In 2012 I was sitting at Courtney Love's place in SoHo and her friend Peri Lyons came over. Peri is a psychic. I don't normally like psychics. I think the majority of psychics are hustlers and thieves preying off those who are addicted to seeking and hope, but there is also part of me that believes some people do have certain talents. Like, the police use psychics to help solve cases occasionally, and there are certain things that are unexplainable as to how a person could know what they know or predict what they predict.
"You've had a hard year," Peri told me as I was sitting across from her, smoking a cigarette. "People project a lot of things onto you."
OK -- I know what you're thinking. Generalities. Anyone could say these things. But then she started talking about a man in my life.
"You two love each other, don't you?" she said, and then she started describing him in detail.
I had met this guy about six months earlier and in the time since, we had begun working together -- and because of that, decided to not become involved romantically.
"Well you can't be together right now," Peri told me, lighting a cigarette of her own. "He has major mommy issues that need to be resolved. I'm talking like a book filled. A trilogy. But you'll be together in three years."
That was -- cue the spooky music -- almost three years ago. She was right, too. This man does have mom issues. He's told me so in detail himself. And he has now finally at long last reconciled with his mother and done a lot of work on that issue in particular. We also have had our own very dramatic ups and downs in our relationship with one another, at one time not speaking to each other at all, and then as it has been lately, talking an hour or two every few nights on the phone.
Over the years, he and I have told each other all about our romantic pursuits and the disasters and hilarities contained within. But before we got to that friendship point, there was loads of romantic tension. At the very beginning of knowing one another, he once told me that I was the female version of him and that he had searched his entire life and never thought he would find it, but here I was. He was the one to tell me he loved me first, but I pointed out that since we were working together, it might be a bad idea. He agreed, and we've still never even done so much as kiss.
To put it in pop culture terms, we've almost become "When Harry Met Sally" in our relationship, no longer considering each other as potential people to date but now actively giving each other romantic advice and even setting one another up on dates occasionally.
But lately as I realize how much the majority of people just don't interest me as dating partners, I've thought of him in the romantic possibility context again -- and I brought it up to him during one of our recent phone calls. "You're one of the few people I can truly be myself with," he agreed. "It's just we've known each other so long now, and I adore you. I wouldn't want to lose that."
Then we had our own hilarious psychic moment. He always calls back to an article I wrote on xoJane about making out with an ex-drug-dealer of mine turned dog walker I ran into a year ago on the street. "Do you know what that guy's name was?" I asked him. "It was a street name. Take a guess." (I can't reveal the guy's name for obvious reasons but I'll use something in the ballpark for the purposes of telling the story.)
"The Rock," he guessed.
"Oh my God," I said. "His street name is Rocks. That's crazy."
When we got off the phone, he texted me after, "If we ever get together, you can call me 'The Rock.'"
We talked every few days in the time since, and every time I felt better after. I know he did too because he told me so.
On Sunday I fell into one of my anxiety-prone panic attack rabbit holes where I read some stupid harsh thing online and instead of letting it roll off my back like I usually do, I started spiraling out into a "What's the point?" sense of existential despair. I looked through my phone, wondering if there was anyone I could call to talk to about what I realized was just a silly case of catastrophizing on my part. After thinking about it, I called my mom.
"I still keep thinking about how you told me the Internet made fun of how I took a card-making class," she said.
"Mom," I said. "Here, just listen. I'm going to tell you what to say to me, and all you have to do is repeat it back."
"Mandy," she said. "I can't do that. I was that way with my mother when I was younger, and it's not healthy. I once went away to sleepaway camp and had to ask the counselor, 'Tell me everything is going to be okay' because I was so reliant on that reassurance from my mother."
I got off the phone with my mom, even more annoyed at myself and my totally irrational sense of dread I was feeling crippled by, and as I looked through my phone again, I saw my friend's name in there amongst my recent text. My "Harry."
What was really upsetting me? For some reason the Internet comment bothered me, but why was I so upset? I felt helpless, that's why. I felt at the mercy of the world rather than in control of creating my world by taking action.
Sometimes I enjoy throwing things out into the universe and seeing what I get back, largely in the name of not feeling paralyzed by any one thing. I had the sudden thought: What if I just told my friend I loved him? So that's what I did. I texted: "I think I'm going to start telling you I love you. I love you. See isn't that nice?" It was 10:42 p.m. on a Sunday.
He lives in California. I waited. And...crickets.
But instead of feeling lousy about the lack of a reply -- like that it was now more piling on of crappy feelings on top of other crappy feelings -- I felt great. I felt so happy that I had taken some kind of action to feel like I was in control of my life, creating a sense of movement, of doing something, even if it didn't lead to some kind of magical mystical "Let's fly to Vegas tonight and get married" response. I think what made happy was the fact that I was able to enjoy the journey, rather than obsessing about the result.
I even avoided a stupid habit I've gotten into which is when someone doesn't write me back right away (well, when a MAN doesn't write me back right away) I just delete the whole text thread so I don't have it on my mind. I've lost some awesome hilarious informative text threads because of this habit. Instead of doing that this time, though, I just chilled and smiled at the whole dumb thing.
Earlier that day I had been on the phone with my sister and her family, laughing my ass off with them at every little thing. It reminded me of how I am when I'm not focused on results and more focused on just the thrill of living itself. Sending my friend this message gave me this same thrill.
At 1:24 a.m. I sent him a follow-up text: "Believe it or not, texting you that actually got me out of a funky spiraling freak out after reading something nasty about me online."
And then I sent: "I doubt we will end up together because I'm the one doing the sales pitch (which never works out) but just feeling I can say and do whatever the f*ck I want makes me happy. So yeah :)"
The next day, at 8:51 p.m. he sent me a message: "I need people to love me... So those words mean a lot. I love you too. We all need to be loved. As far as the definition of our love... It's open ended and let's not define it now and see what happens... Where life takes this all. But having each other in this world -- a relationship with full truth is rare and you know how much I appreciate it, need it, and I know you feel the same. I hope the above made sense. xo"
I was walking my dog back from daycare, read the text and giggled aloud. I texted right back: "Omg I so want to run this as a post and let xoJane dissect it! Haha"
He called me soon after and we talked for another two hours. "The xoJane commenters will be brutal," I said. "They will say how deluded and stupid I am for thinking this could ever be anything."
Since my friend has worked in reality TV, he gets the whole life-on-display xoJane racket and thinks it's amusing and clever, which is yet another reason I like him. So many guys I will talk to, they will Google me, crap their pants and then say, "You're not going to write about me, are you?" Which, of course, I find hilarious: The idea that some guy on Tinder is going to write me, "Hey" and I'm going to expose him on the front page of the New York Post with the big scoop that a guy on Tinder wrote me "Hey." This kind of response from a guy tells me everything I need to know about him.
Meaning: It's not a fit.
But -- my friend might just be one. He might even be The One. Or I may find someone else.
I do think he's right, though. We all need to be loved.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.