A friend of mine had a House Re-Heating (kind of like a housewarming, only when you've bought out your TIC housemate, gotten married, the wife and dog have moved in, and you've done some remodeling) last night, and besides the amazing chocolate chip brownies and eating more cheese than I've had in the past three months, I had some fairly long and pleasant conversation with my ex-girlfriend from the Bad Relationship. She's just returned from a year in Indonesia that turned out as more of a mixed experience than she'd hoped, where in some sense she was the NGO's token white girl and not doing as much actual work as she'd planned. With regard to me, however, before she left we were barely acknowledging each other as human beings: she'd made it clear she didn't want me to say hello, and while she did talk to me at the cocktail party in January 2006, it was to get someone else a ride home, and made possible because she (the ex-girlfriend) had been drinking. So I don't think we'll be great friends or anything, but to actually talk to each other is a huge change. Maybe someday we'll mention the fact that we dated and traveled together for two years; no rush, but I'm more aware now of how it's different to make peace with that period by myself, and how it might be to involve the other person. Does that make sense? If I'm only making peace with it myself, there's a sense of incompletion, in part simply at the loss of someone who helped create a big and important chunk of my history, but also because I then have only my own perspective to learn from, to use to help comprehend the whole thing. She and I both had our parts to play in having a volatile, passionate, psycho relationship, and I wonder if she understands and accepts her roles in that, and what she's gotten from the experience.
But really it was genuinely nice to talk about Mexican hot chocolate, Muslim head scarves, the confusion over why she was in Florida for the Iranian New Year.
I noticed last night that while I'm still an introvert, there's a wonderful pure joy in talking to the people I love and spend time with. I've been making sure to see my friends a fair bit this past three months, and the veil lifted, things are so bright and clear and simple, and it's even more obvious that we all love each other just for our own sake. I run after my friends' daughter so they can keep looking at stuff in the Thai grocery, we give each other presents or say true things or buy each other dinner or sit around and don't say anything, just because.
I'm still in touch with various ex-girlfriends in California. I wasn't always good to all of them, and they've mostly developed a sense of humor about me: it's interesting because while they all got different positive parts of me, for the most part they all got the same negatives. So in talking to them, I see reflected the various positive things, and then the same list of negatives, which reinforces that it really is a list of things I need to be aware of and work on.
Equanimity is really easy in the absence of other people.