“I’ve built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries“- Simon and Garfunkel
The last time I allowed someone to come close to me, broke my heart, and sent me fleeing into a year of self-destruction and 1-night stands, I guess with the intent of hurting the person who hurt me. But instead, I just hurt myself. I was so convinced I had lost my one chance at love and intimacy with someone. I was done.
That year (2013) I put myself on every dating site imaginable. Even one called “7 or Better”. And, you can imagine what THAT’s about. The result was a year of disastrous “dates” that put even Sex and the City to shame in terms of laughable story lines to entertain all my friends, but left me emptier and emptier.
I had micro-penises, raging drunks, liars, and married men thinking they were sly and sexy. One was so bad, the guy leapt over a set of planters on Broadway to beat a poor homeless man over the head with a hockey stick, because he was clearly high on something. It was so ridiculous the group of friends sitting next me gave me a case of wine to take home to try to un-remember it by. No luck.
Ever since, I’ve avoided intimacy. Not “intellectually”, of course, I can TALK about it no end. I can analyze it to death very efficiently. But doing it is a whole-other ballgame.
So, I moved into post cancer, post-political aspiration covid in isolation very comfortably. Enjoying the quiet and solitude of my own yard and dog, possibly a little too much. And then I did the same as I moved to Bermuda on a mission to start a new solo life free from all that New York Dating Scene nonsense. Until someone actually wanted to be intimate. And I DID try, but his chemistry was as electric as a dead fish’s. And all he spoke about were his mommy issues and other girls he thought were pretty on our very first “date”. Um? Turn-off? I actually thought it was pretty funny at the time, but as I look back, he was just SAD, like so many of those other experiences.
Why had I done that? Settled for “less-than”? Even the one who supposedly broke my heart was a “less than” despite his neurosurgical profession. As his sister had warned me. His Cases (not Patients) always came and would come first so he could actually avoid relationships. I ignored her.
Of course, the easy response is New York Men, or Men in General. And there is a level of truth to that. Women are outstripping men intellectually, athletically, and even in the work force. Earning financial independence, self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency that wasn’t possible for previous generations. And yes, women are expecting something other than a muscle or a paystub from their partners now. And yes, I do mean PARTNERS. A +1 to, not a compromise in their lives.
But that’s not MY TRUTH. I kept compromising. And lowering my standards, laughing at really bad jokes and trying to not notice terrible grammar, wild assumptions and unwanted advances, because I KNEW they’d leave. Which they did, in time, if not in the middle of the night. Like the dead fish.
Except for 1. Where there is no compromise, in intellect, humor, values, ambition, compassion vision, or mutual admiration (if not awe). As we’ve communicated in synch, like “stiff twin compasses” for 9 years in our own geographic locations questioning, Is This IT?
Am I ready? Can I trust? Will it fail?
And I’ve come to the conclusion after 2 years in isolation on a rock in the ocean, that yes, I am ready, because even isolated rocks and islands cry, and I’ve waited long enough for the one I’ve deserved.
Holly Lynch is a 20+ year ESG and DEI communications veteran, board member, strategist and investor who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges, transitions and transformations in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching and consulting with those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to adapt to change while rebuilding their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.