I Still Found What I Only Had a Vague Idea That I Was Even Looking For
This post is dedicated to the memory of Rudy Lucero, who, despite his ill fated insistence on going to the Mill Avenue Happy Trails to buy tickets for the Sun Devil Stadium show, was a great friend. RIP Pauloo
Thirty years is a long time-
Of course, as the world's biggest u2 fan (anyone who buys a condo because the address is #u2 can say that) I certainly would be attending some part of the 2017 Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour. I was excited, but also had some misgivings about this momentous occasion. The week before leaving for the show, I was an emotional wreck. Well, not really, but I seriously couldn't get through the CD without crying, so by the second day trying, I realized that I should put my makeup on at work, not before.
There was the plain ol' basic nostalgia. Being from Phoenix, I was lucky enough (thank you Debby C!) to attend the very first "practice" show of the tour and also the epic, mother of all bragging rights shows, the Sun Devil Stadium grand finale that they filmed for the movie Rattle and Hum. Thinking back to the state of the world, my youth, u2's youth... well, there is a lot of material there to look back on.
On the first 1987 show, which was in the spring, X and I had been dating about two months. He dropped my friends and I off at the show, but declined to go. I won't say that should have been a red flag. No couple can agree on everything, or have all the same interests. Besides, I was in love, who cared if he didn't like u2 that much?
A deeper part of me felt uneasy but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Later that year at Sun Devil Stadium, (in the nosebleed section for reasons I won't go into) (but thanks to Suzi.L for getting us in at all) X was with our merry little band as we went to pay homage to the greatest thing going. The band/album/tour had become a phenomenon and Bono and company were speaking truth for our generation- politically, socially, musically. There had even been controversy over whether the show would take place at all because our then Governor, Ev Meacham, was against Arizona's adoption of a day honoring MLK. I remember driving my Fiat with the lights on in the daytime as part of the protest and taking part in the recall campaign.
Upon arrival at the show, a poster was procured. It hangs in my entryway to this day, there could also be a story about the acquiring of said poster, but my memory fails me. X, upon seeing the reality of our seats, swiped a pair of binoculars from a rental stand, an action that, however wrong, really saved us. The show was the usual u2 brand of amazing, and I won't go into it all. I will say that X seemed only to mildly enjoy it. I was a screaming, hopping up and down, singing mega fan and he was merely quietly swaying. I was mildly annoyed. I now realized I cared that he didn't like u2 that much. It could have been a red flag, and it bothered me, but I still couldn't put my finger on it.
X was the type of person I had been looking for- quiet and stable. He was a hard worker, organized, methodical and very handy in fixing cars, building things, etc. He didn't yell and was usually dependable, although there were a few incidents with showing up late at my house to pick me up because of imbibing a bit too much. That should have definitely been a red flag, although I chalked it up to college boy antics. I'm sure there were red flags I raised that he overlooked too, enough so that he actually called off the wedding for a couple of weeks. Perhaps guilt played a part in his changing his mind, but now my heart breaks for him and his uncertainty and our inability to have honest, assertive communication at that point.
Thinking back to all of this is the bittersweet, emotionally difficult part of reliving this tour.
I was only looking at the surface of X. I was uncomfortable with diving into emotions, talking about them, with sharing mine. I didn't really ever want to be vulnerable, it was natural that I would gravitate to someone who didn't ask me deeply probing questions. I wanted to appear like I had it all together. We camped a lot in Mexico and were alone on a beach for days at a time. We talked about things, but I don't remember really baring our souls, I know on my part, I kept it just away from that line.
X was stable and quiet, and definitely an introvert. That is fine, and all good. I didn't realize that there was a component of emotional detachment involved and why it was there, and I wouldn't really understand that until years later- like thirty years. To me, he was just someone who didn't get super excited about rock shows, or much else. I felt a false sense of safety and respite from the over-emotional atmosphere of my childhood, which included lots of yelling- yelling still can't be classified as communication. Eventually, I came to overcompensate for the lack of emotion in our family by reverting to the patterns I grew up with.
When I look back at the girl sitting in Section 248 that December night, I can see my comfort zone for miles. Don't rock the boat, don't question anyone on their emotions, what if you're wrong? I really had low self esteem, didn't trust myself or my instinct and made a choice to play it safe. There are no regrets about that, X and I had some great times and accomplished some great things. With honesty, openness and trust, we might have accomplished more. I sang along to "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" that night, but I didn't realize then that I didn't even know what to look for.
The woman sitting in Section 114 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas has gotten a lot clearer on needs, wants, and boundaries. I'm confident enough to be completely vulnerable, yet voice my needs and wants honestly. What I was looking for all that time was to be myself. A relationship is only truly safe if you can be yourself. No more feeling the need to be perfect all the time.
What a blessing to have found out what I was actually looking for was the way to be my authentic self. Maybe that street didn't have a name before...