I will be flying to New York for Valentine’s Day.
Well, not exactly.
But once I did fly to New York for the new year countdown in Times Square. It was crazy. I will never do it again. But I did love it. I also saw The Color Purple on opening night, with Oprah and everything.
This Valentine’s flight will, of course, be the one that takes me to the JFK airport, and then on to Tel Aviv with an 18 hour flight that will land me in Israel just after lunch the next day.
They are eight hours ahead of us, I think, in case that helps you know the timing.
But since I will be gone on Valentine’s Day, I had to celebrate early.
At first, I wasn’t going to celebrate Valentine’s Day at all. I was excited that I got to leave the country on Valentine’s Day, and relieved that God had given me one more reprieve from such nonsensical torture.
Then when I got the email that I had free tickets to Romeo and Juliet at the PAC downtown, I thought that would be a perfect date for me and my mom. I had extra tickets for her friend that we love but who wasn’t able to come, and for my date who was imaginary. So it was just her and me, which turned out perfect.
I barely got off work in time, with not enough time to change into fancy clothes. So we made it casual, determined to make it to the ballet even if we didn’t get a dress-up night.
We were grateful to the PAC, who donates tickets to the dress rehearsal (always on Thursday night) of all of the ballet performances to local charities and non-profit agencies. I get my tickets through TSHA, and love that the PAC supports the Deaf community in this way. The ballet is one of the few performing arts that does not require an interpreter, and I love that they make the experience so accessible to so many.
We got there before the rain, and were very excited to find our amazing seats and discover there was a live orchestra playing. I love live music more than almost anything else.
We knew the story, of course, but it was amazing to see the costumes and the dancing, and to hear the music. I used the music setting on my processors, adjusting the volume and sensitivity settings on my remote (which now hangs from my neck on a handy-dandy lanyard). This opens more electrodes with more frequencies, and is unlike any other listening experience. My digital ears tingle with the layers of instruments and the plucking of notes and the vibrating of the score in my brain. It was amazing.
What was less amazing was running in the rain after, to get the car, and having an all-out-old-school asthma attack where I thought I might die on the spot. That will teach me not to run in the rain (and remind me to pack an inhaler in my bag for my trip).
It was a lovely night, and a good date with my mom, and we very much enjoyed.
As I drove home, I was thinking about Juliet. There she was, minding her own business, when all the adults in her life started pushing some guy on her that she didn’t even want. When she did pick someone, they didn’t like him. But the guy? The guy adored her. He thought she was a 10.
I just found out about the rating system.
I never knew of it before.
Clearly, this is how badly I fail dating.
I only found out about it the other night in discussion about guys I have dated, guys I have not dated, and guys who are not interested in dating me. I was told that it is because I was a 5, and that superficial guys are looking for 10’s.
I found out the rating system is for appearances alone, and does not account for intelligence or wit or nurturing ability or experience in loving well or degree of devotion.
I did not respond in the moment that I was informed I was only a 5, mostly because I was stunned. I just stood there, blinking, and wondering how on earth a coding system had been developed – and why didn’t it have a talent or interview portion included?
This morning I went to the gym (mostly because that is what makes me a 5 instead of a 2), and the more I thought about any guy judging me like that, without knowing me at all, the harder I worked out.
I have found that racquetball is not only those most exciting 3D version of Pong ever, but it also is really good for getting out any aggression (in safe and good and appropriate ways).
After being rated a 5, however, racquetball was not enough. I had to lift weights, too, which normally I would not have done until tomorrow.
And then I ran on the treadmill.
And then I stomped on the elliptical.
And then I raced my thoughts on the stationary bike.
And then I did laps in the pool, mostly to erase any evidence of tears, because a guy like that does not get any tears, not even hot-angry-tears, not even one.
And then I sat in the hot tub until my muscles melted and I was breathing again.
And then, when I had worked out until my bones had become jelly so that I could hardly even stand, then I went to the sauna to reclaim the Emily that I know me to be, have some prayer time, calm down, and take a few deep breaths. We call this “utilizing our coping skills”.
Except it’s hot in there, so I didn’t sit there very long.
(I scratched sauna off the coping skill list.)
I know that any guy who would even think such rude, shallow, juvenile things is only revealing where he is at and his own lack of substance. I know that any guy rating girls like that is not the kind of guy I am interested in – at all. I know that a guy with that kind of perception is not a guy who has any of the character traits that I am searching for in my prince-in-process.
But here is what really bothered me: a guy like that clearly doesn’t know me at all, if he is going to limit me to a 5 and then equate that with not-even-worth-trying, which equates with worthless.
I know this is false, what he said, not because I have some false illusion about my degree of hot-ness-or-lack-thereof, but because a 5 is not so bad.
A 5 is way better than dead.
Because, you see, if the guy really knew me, or even a taste of my story, he would know that I have lost a lot of the weight gained from on bedrest for almost four years, and am still working hard every day to get back into shape and be strong again (I do still work out, by the way, I just finally figured out how to turn off the app I use from posting it to Facebook every time automatically).
A guy interested in me or my story would know how my heart is healed, how my ovaries are cancer-free, and how my hair is growing back after getting it shaved so that I could learn to hear, which required getting my skull chopped open TWICE – just so that electrodes could get shoved into my brain (ow).
And that’s just appearances.
It doesn’t take into account any of the character that those experiences have built, any knowledge I might have, or any spiritual gifts I have to offer a marriage and to the world.
But he isn’t interested, because I am a 5.
That’s what I texted to my bestest friends, who are my bestest friends even though I am not their bestest friends because they are happily married to their for-realz-bestest-friend, which is as it should be.
I shared more with them, the kind of things you share with your bestest friends, even if they are happily married and so love somebody else more than you, while you don’t get to love a best friend (because you are only a 5).
I preach His Needs, Her Needs enough at work to understand that attractiveness is something a guy needs, something that is important, something that has to be a part of the relationship. So I don’t mean that I get to get off scott-free and not even try. I will comb my hair once a week, maybe. I will wear at least a little makeup (anytime I am not wearing pajamas). I will be clean, and keep the laundry done. I will try to make sure my socks match (on the days I bother to wear any).
But you see, I am still just lucky to even be alive.
I am brand new to being alive again.
I know I am lucky to even be a 1.
Because even a 1 is better than dead.
So I am pretty proud, as it turns out, to be called a 5.
That’s a good start.
My life has been preserved for a purpose,
and that purpose will I fulfill.
Because I am just starting. I am not finished yet. I am a work-in-progress.
Which is different from a guy being a piece-of-work.
It fits when such a villian is a guest.
I’ll not endure him.
~ Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet