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This must be the place

This must be the place

What are you afraid of?

“I ain’t afraid of nothin’, darling,” I replied to the femme fatale voice. 

The questioned posed by this person was one in which she wondered why I remain single and, well, by myself, and yet I constantly write about love and making sincere connections with others in the opposite sex. 

Sure, I’ll be the first to tout the glorious nature and bountiful aspects of intimate interactions and lifelong bonds between those who catch our eye along the journey of life. And with that, I’ll be the first to also hold steady in my own pursuits, most of which lies in the solo mission of mining the soul for gold nuggets of truth, beauty, and inner peace with what is and what should never be. 

Back in the day, we’re talking middle school in the late 1990s, I was all about dating, and being in love. Others were thinking about who they’d slow dance with come Friday night, while I was sitting there in the classroom wondering which girl in my school I’d marry someday. Heck, just thinking about that cheesiness of my adolescent thoughts makes me even cringe. Yuck. But, I’ve always been an old soul, one that is very sentimental, traditional and genuine in matters of the heart. 

High school? Oh, I was all about marrying my sweetheart. But, as per usual, we broke up at the end of that first semester of freshman year in college. Good ole “Breaksgiving” as we’d call it. But, I wasn’t going to be deterred. I wandered around campus, meeting girls here and there, having brief flings and such. 

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Sometime midway through my sophomore year of college I met the girl I was “100-percent guaranteed I’d marry someday.” Seemed like a sure bet at the time, but like anything in life, the cosmos will always have the last say in your fate, as seen by the break up phone call I received as I boarded a plane for a semester abroad in Ireland. 

For years after that, I drifted along like a rowboat lost at sea, moving up and down with the current and flow of that day’s weather forecast. Sometimes I’d see the safe harbor of shore in the distance. Other times, I’d have no idea where in the hell I was, let alone which direction I need to go to find stable land again. 

Love is a crapshoot, plain and simple. But we keep playing the game because there’s no other game in town worth playing. That feeling of butterflies and a soul finally centered is irreplaceable in the deep well of purpose and possibility in humanity. 

And in my decade or so of ricocheting around society following college, I’ve seen it all. From being cheated on or cheated out of a fair shake on the relationship, from distance or timing (which is everything), I popped out into my early 30s, bleary-eyed and confused as to what just happened to those years, to those women, and my place I figured would always be in their lives. 

It’s not that I’m afraid of love, or to love. We’re old friends. I just look at it with such respect and awe — like holding a priceless gem — that I just hold it at arms length until I’m fully sold on the idea of embracing it. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, and of which, it must be held with great care. Yes, get down and dirty in the mud with your heart — experience something, anything — but always remember to dust it off from time to time, to polish it up like the shiny, priceless jewel that it is. 

I’m 31. Never been married. No kids. A lot that I can attribute to my restless nature, a never-ending sense of self to never stop moving, to check around every corner for the adventures of a day unknown. I also never wanted to settled down young, seeing as I was not only not ready, but also didn’t want to jump into a serious situation until all of my loose ends were tied up from within. 

I’ve been in love, I can safely say, a handful of times. Most of the women in my past, many of which now blurry in memory, I thought would stay on my path. But that wasn’t to be the case, for we’re all on our own trek, with some of us luckier than others to cross paths at the exact moment that mysterious smiling face that holds the key to the butterflies and soul finally centered enters the frame.

So, where does that leave me, or rather us? Well, I’m under the impression that every morning is the chance for something great to happen. Whether that is love or not, it’s up to the powers above and beyond my control. I just know you must adhere to yourself, and to not feed into the urge that you’re “not doing enough” to bring about positive change in your life. 

If you walk out the door with your head up, a curious grin on your face, then you’re already ahead of the game, for it’s all about that counterpoint of flesh and blood that reciprocates that energy radiating from the depths of your ultimate intent. 

Life is beautiful, grasp for it, y’all. 


Hot picks

1 The “Concerts on the Creek” series will host Ol’ Dirty Bathtub (Americana/bluegrass) at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the Bridge Park Pavilion in Sylva.

2 A “BBQ & Brews Dinner Train” will be departing at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad depot in Bryson City.

3 The Classic Wineseller (Waynesville) will host “Speakeasy Night” with the 9th Street Stompers (gypsy jazz/ragtime) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.

4 The Blueberry Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Cherokee Indian Fair Ground. 

5 The Mountain High BBQ Festival and Car Show will be held Aug. 12-13 at the Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center in Franklin. 

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