Friday, May 15, 2009

My Rational Belief in Juniper's Love For Me (or why I love her more than my beloved SciFi)

In comments on the previous post, Abby Normal used my mentioning Juniper's love for me as an example to describe a question about irrational and rational. Abby had mentioned it in the context of non-rational thinking and I responded by explaining that in reality, my belief that Juniper loves me was actually based in evidence. But I didn't explain what that evidence was - largely because I thought it would make a good post - in turn because I love Juniper and enjoy writing about her. While the evidence I discuss will be limited due to the very personal nature of some of it, I really have been looking for an excuse to explain what a wonderful women she is...

It all started several months ago, when she wrote about her desire to prance about in an Edwardian tea dress. It may well have been the first post of hers I read. All I know is that I thought what a wonderfully fun person she must be. Smart, beautiful and quite charming - I had a crush. Like most crushes, I figured that was that - except it wasn't. We emailed regularly and quickly became friends. Only as our friendship developed, I was increasingly uncomfortable because I was feeling things that I thought were rather inappropriate, untenable and very likely offensive. I continued to write, but increasingly writing her felt very dangerous - but given the value we both placed on our friendship, I couldn't stop.

I felt a lot of contradictory feelings. I was confused. I was also afraid that I was just allowing my crush to run wild, because I was recently come out of a long term, very toxic relationship that ended in a brutally fucked up manner. I was, to put it mildly, a bit panicked. It was noticeable too - she asked me about it, concerned about our burgeoning friendship - so I sucked it up and told her what was happening and managed to rather piss her off with my presumption that my feelings might freak her out. She had after all, mentioned that she was rather attracted to me - by explaining that she was keeping a tally of my negative attributes to keep herself in check.

I was mostly concerned that she would think I was insane for even contemplating the possibility of a relationship with someone who lives a million miles away and who is far more stylish and elegant than my rather rough and, err, less than elegant, stylish self. The jury's still out on the insanity of it, but it is an insanity that we share.

Did I mention Juniper's real name is so very lovely? Almost as lovely as she is...

I definitely had feelings for her, but what? I truly believed that I had reached the pinnacle of my depth of feeling with the mother of my children. That is not to say that it was a heart-stopping excitement - it assuredly was not. I loved her, and I still do in a way - even after the hell she's put me through. But it never even approached what I feel for Juniper, not even what I was feeling then. I truly believed that what I had felt in the past was the sum of my capacity for romantic love. I could not begin to understand what the fuck was happening - it was - and is, completely foreign to me. Terra incognito.

I was also rather panicked because I had resigned myself to being alone. Not completely alone - I have kids and love them, they love me - and I expect to have them a lot of the time. I refuse to parade women through their lives and really don't see myself wanting to waste the time that I do have to myself, on pursuing even Teh Sex. I figured on being alone for a rather long time and was actually resigned to it - looking forward to it really. And then Juniper happened and happened big. I felt what I feel now (though the depth continues to grow) a while ago - but I wasn't sure what it was or if it was even healthy - she lives a million miles away after all. Then something happened that forced me to accept what I felt and to tell her. It was at once both very simple, a small gesture and absolutely, stupendously exciting.

It was when I was last in TN to see the boys. We had started talking on the phone quite a bit and that had been very exciting. But on my last morning there she really blew me away, smiting me with a small gesture. That morning I was going to meet with Eldest's therapist, his teacher and check out his therapeutic day school. I was frazzled - moreso because our wakeup call didn't reach us. When I got up and was checking the time on my phone, I noticed I had a text message - considering that the only texts I got were spam, I almost didn't open it. When I did, I knew beyond any doubt that I was in love with Juniper.

She had sent me a text to let me know she was thinking of me and hoping that my visit with the school went ok. Like I said, a very simple gesture. Probably not even a big deal to most people. But it was to me. I almost started crying - did a bit when I got done at the school and got back to the hotel to finish packing my van. I was in love with her and this was evidence that at the least, she cared a great deal for me. I emailed her, letting her know that I love her. And was later gratified to find that she hadn't been online all day, so I was able to tell her on phone, when I called to let her know I made it home safely.

She loved me too.

There is more evidence than her now regular texts, when she knows I have something stressful to deal with. But those data points are rather more personal than I am willing to go into. Suffice to say that I have a great deal of evidence as to the veracity of Juniper's love for me.

I also love my SciFi. SciFi and Fantasy has been my boon companion since I was a child - more than any other genre. Exploring strange and exciting new worlds, being regaled by stories of lands that exist with different laws governing time, space and matter have provided the very best escape from the worse my mind has to hammer me with, for as long as I can remember. When I was the most upset, the most alone - there were my friends, Daneel, the Magician and his wives (the gorgon was my favorite), the Pevinses and Prince Caspian, the Space Tyrant, Brother Paul of Tarot, Maudib - the list of my dearest friends is endless and I loved my visits with them - still do.

I am quite serious when I say that were it not for them, there is a good chance I wouldn't be alive today. I am not talking about some passing fancy, or minor infatuation.

Forced to choose, there would be no question or competition.

I choose Juniper......


Tyler DiPietro said...


(Yes, I am in fact up at 2:30 in the morning. No, it's not healthy. Yes, I'm pumped by over 9000 liters of caffeine.)

DuWayne Brayton said...

All right now Tyler, we're going to have to have a talk.

Jason Thibeault said...

OVER 9000!?

Okay. Shoot me.

Juniper Shoemaker said...

Hi, Tyler. I recognize you from ERV's blog. Caffeine sure does seem to bring out your softer side . . . :)

Juniper Shoemaker said...

My dearest DuWayne,

I have struggled to write a public response to your public (and welcome) account of our courtship. On one hand, several details are incorrect. (You know this, right? Mmmmm . . . :) On the other hand, were I to correct you—nothing would change. Nothing important, anyway.

For now, I will confine myself to thanking you for this post, which made my whole weekend. I also always appreciate a glimpse from your point of view.

About our “insanity”? I have been thinking about my developing acceptance of it. It has been fostered by your caution as well as mine. Ostensibly, you’re reckless; really, you’re not. You have a sound heart, and you want zealously to make good choices. Meanwhile, we were natural friends from the get-go. So, though I was wary for all the reasons that any blog reader of mine can discern from the most shameless of my posts, I couldn’t help but perceive that you valued our friendship too much to want to change it just to satiate a “passing fancy”. (Even if it never was the most platonic friendship in the world.) I love you and am in love with you. Joking aside, there isn’t anything insane about that.

Besides. Don’t you think there’s something . . . quintessentially American about our relationship? I’m just sayin’.

Forced to choose, there would be no question or competition.And I’m grateful, darling. But far be it from me to force you to choose between your girlfriend and your sci-fi. I have no intention of giving up my sci-fi. . . I have no intention of giving up Edwardian tea gowns, either. And you’ve convinced me to give the Dune series another try anyway.

Abby Normal said...

Awwww! This is too sweet to sully with pedantic talk of rationality. So, I'll offer instead this excerpt from Henry David Thoreau's poem, Friendship:

Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
  Withstand the winter's storm,
  And spite of wind and tide,
  Grow up the meadow's pride,
  For both are strong

Above they barely touch, but undermined
  Down to their deepest source,
  Admiring you shall find
  Their roots are intertwined

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I'm totally grinning like an idiot after reading this. Good for you guys! There needs to be more love in the world ;)

Stephanie Zvan said...

Juniper, DuWayne's probably already told you this, but I want to tell you myself, too. He once asked something along the lines of "Anything I can do?" My answer was to keep talking about being in love. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see you two happy.

Juniper Shoemaker said...

Dear Stephanie,

He did tell me! He reminded me again tonight that he has at least one reader who will not lose her lunch over our unbridled sentimentality. A very worthy one, too.


Seriously, I'm overjoyed and tickled pleased that it makes you happy.