In high school and at most of the fraternity parties I attended in college – I was always amazed by people’s obsession with stealing road signs. Whenever I would comment on the Yield or the Stop sign serving as decor in their apartment, the new owners of the signs in question would instantly light up and go into detail about the elaborate story behind their abduction.
While I was never impressed and frankly confused by the allure – I will say I’m a sucker for looking for (and often creating illusionary) signs when I’m in a relationship or interested in someone.
My friends who often poke fun of me for being the romantic “wishes, rainbows, and unicorns” type of gal (though I’m trying to come a little above idealistic water) – always tell me that I make anything and everything into a sign. It could be from the way we met, how his hands look next to mine, a shared interest we have that’s out-of-the-norm, how his last name sounds with mine, the words he writes in hidden notes – to how he remembers my favorite flower and when my freelancing article is coming out and how even though I don’t really “just know” – I’d like to think that I could.
And more often times than not, when a real or pseudo relationship comes to a close – it is not really the man himself, the intimate moments I shared with him, or our long incredible conversations, that I have such a hard time releasing – it is the signs. These minute symbolic matters that made me believe that whatever love I was feeling or hope I was having regarding this man were really not signs of fate or of forever – but rather, just coincidences that I gave meaning to.
Recently, I discovered some information about Mr. Possibility that has made me question not only him, but my feelings towards the road we were easily traveling through. While I haven’t decided if it is a deal-breaker in my book or something I can get over quickly – it has made me realize that sometimes, I just read into things too much. I spend more time trying to dissect meaning between the lines, determine what someone really means (instead of taking them at their word), and often times, I make several somethings out of a hell of a lot of nothing.
One of the guidelines I made clear when I decided to embark on this path and the 12-step program to overcoming my self-proclaimed love addiction was that I would make no rules for myself. I was not going to hold back, I was still going to date, I was still going to fall head over heels if the wind blew me that way, and I was still going to live my life normally – because that is what a journey is. There are ups and downs, sometimes you take three steps back instead of one forward, sometimes you have bumps in the road and sometimes you fly all the way to cloud 9 one day (with 30 tulips), and then reality takes you back down to Earth (with a text message that shakes you up).
So, when Mr. Possibility and I met and started to see one another casually, I decided I would continue because it only would make my goal to reach self-love that much stronger in the long run. And though I went about things differently, opened myself up to different ways of looking at relationships, and allowed myself to let go, even in the slightest way – I did revert back to old-Lindsay habits by looking for signs of love, instead of looking at the signs before my eyes.
Because sometimes, even when you’re trying so hard to be independent and carefree, to put yourself before any relationship or man, to focus on the reality instead of the dream – you get lost in making excuses and seeing what you want to see, instead of listening to your gut.
And when you are able to wake up or something is admitted to you that stirs up some not-so-pleasant feelings – instead of looking for the symbolic reasons behind them or how you can curve the news to be favorable, it is time to start creating our own signs.
To know when to proceed with caution if something doesn’t sit well, to stop a relationship or stop an action or stop in the name of yourself (not in love) if you aren’t happy or satisfied. To yield to what you want as much as you yield to emotions and others. To place a speed limit in your dating life that feels comfortable to you and isn’t based on someone else’s standards. To know how to look for icy conditions ahead and learn how to break with precision and caution, instead of sliding into danger. To look out for the dead end ahead instead of trying out your tires to battle a rocky path to make a road when maybe there was never supposed to be one. To know that sometimes there is only one way to go about something and to not enter when deep down, you know the outcome will only hurt you. That is, unless road construction – not of only your effort, but the man in question’s willpower too, can restructure the route.
And also, to know that even when all the signs point to safety and to “yes” – sometimes you have to be the one to take a step back, let off the gas, and determine what is acceptable for you. To decide if this is a road you want to travel down or if you’d rather turn around and take a left. Because there really are signs all around us and maybe one day when a relationship does work out, when a man is true and trustworthy, when love does last across a distance, and promises are made and kept - we will celebrate all of the seemingly-indicative directions that brought us to this person.
But until then, the best road to take, the route that will give you the most profitable gas mileage, and the clearest conditions you can face – is the path that points directly to you. The signs on that highway will remind you to not stop believing, to let you know you always have the right of way, and while not encouraged, U-turns are allowed, if you so decide to make one.