Friday, May 31, 2013

I dated The Batman

So, I dated the Batman.  

He has been mentioned a time or two (or many) throughout The Sparkled Life story.

Why am I sharing this story now?  The story of the fact that I dated the Batman (thus being understated that we are no longer dating)?  Because when book time comes, I want to remember that this was a large chapter in The Sparkled Life.  And it's a good story.  Even if its ending isnt perfect.

The Batman, you dated? you question.  For real, yes.  

Batman examining a bat in the net

Bats are becoming sick, which is bad, because as scary as they are, they protect us humans from bugs and such.  Long story short, some guys from England (I could have that wrong) went caving in a bat cave spreading a disease called "white nose syndrome".  This white nose disease kills bats and spreads quite quickly.  Thus the decline of bats.

Because of this, environmental protection has gone to the bats.  Before a company can build in a certain area or an energy company can put in lines, if its a protected area, a bat survey needs to be done by an environmental contract company.  

Every night during Bat Season, huge nets go up to catch said bats and to examine them for the disease.   There is a list of about 30 or so people in the US who are qualified to identify the type of bats caught.  Batman happens to be on this list.  So not only was this his job, protecting bats and doing bat surveys, he also was the qualified leading bat identifier. #nbd

After identifying the bat, a little tracker would be put on the bat that the team would then follow and hopefully find the bat's family.  This all would lead to whether or not the area was infected with white nose, thus determining the ability to build or not. 

I know all this not only because I dated the man but took part myself in a bat survey night.  Yes, me.  I think I ended up spending most of the night sleeping in the truck but I did help put up the nets and help set up tracking reflector tacks on trees so that we could find our way in the woods in the pitch black night.  #workinghard

So thus the nickname, The Batman.  

We met in early December a few years back.  He was the older brother of my roommate's boyfriend, who also was a friend of mine.  From day one we were "together".  There was quite a bit of an age gap (for both our sakes I will not mention how many years...but it was over a decade).  And we werent exactly what one would call, from the outside, a compatible couple.

Corporate America meets real life Batman.  Thats why I have to write this down.  It's almost epic.

The weekend I moved to DC was the weekend he took a job in Philadelphia, making our relationship long distant.  (Im not a fan at all of long distant relationships). 

But we made it work.  We would work from home on Friday/Mondays to extend the weekends.  Both our jobs/bosses were flexible (and I think intrigued with the relationship as well) that they allowed us the freedom to either work from home or office as much as possible.  

This led to every other weekend being spent very differently during off bat-season.  Weekends to Batmans would usually include going up to his cabin in the mountains in PA.  Weekends to me meant metropolis DC.  The extreme of two worlds.  

Yet both worlds had what we loved to do the most: eat, drink good beer, bike and listed to good live music.  Oh and people watch.  We loved to people watch.

Bat season would begin in May and he would begin his 70-80 hour work weeks anywhere their job took them.  We'd work around each others schedules as much as possible, sacrificing what we could (usually sleep) to see each other at least every other week.  

Our relationship wasnt perfect.  But we had our system.  He didnt understand my obsession with Starbucks but didnt raise a ruckus because I had the income to supply myself with my daily need.  I didnt understand his need to buy silly cars but he too had the income to supply himself with a garage full of cars so thus kept my mouth (mostly) shut.  

Then MS hit.  And as Im sure it would do to any relationship, it tested ours.  From March, when I was diagnosed, till August, we were pretty strong.  He was with me when diagnosed, held my hand, supported me.  

I attribute part of my ability to remain with such a positive attitude to his teaching and guidance, his ability to show me that there is always a happy thought to think about, even if its just my puppy for the day.  He brought me flowers every time, put a garden in my room (literally), gave me a mini-fridge for ice packs and always brought presents.

We thought I was going to get better.  I was going to improve.  We would go back to our system.  We would go back to the way things were. 

But it was becoming more prominant as the days went by that this wasnt the case.  

Break-up details are not needed.  In summary what can be said was that I/we became overly aware that we would never be able to go back to our system.  So we had two choices: 1, rebuild the box we built to accomidate the new situation, create a new system so to speak or 2, determine the box was built and could not be changed aka ending our epic tale.  

Eventually, no matter how you tell the story, choice 2 was chosen.  After last year's Bike MS : City to Shore, Batman left without me.

My ability to date Batman taught me a lot of things, and not just about bats.  It taught me that you have to work at love.  It's not easy.  Its not always romantic.  You wont always cuddle on the couch and say "I love you sooooooo much".  There will be times you will be annoyed by the other person.  There will be times you will have to support the other person, help them with their confidence and even suck it up and help them with their stitches when they fall or cut off half their finger. #gross


It taught me my approach to love: you fall into love, you choose to stay in love.  Its a choice to stay in love because it is so difficult; but if its the right person you do it anyway because of the love, because of the person.

We fell into love fast and quick.  We choose to stay in love through lots of ups and downs.  But eventually, that choice to stay in love came to a halting stop as it became relevant that there was now a third person party aka MS that wasnt exactly loved, messed with our system and was no longer wanted.

And while I'm sure the break-up wasnt easy for Batman, he wasnt the one left behind with MS lingering like a black cloud.  I was.  

I get asked from time to time if I still love Batman and I reply "I always will."  I fell in love with him.  We went through the most challenging time of my life together in love.  But then one day we choose not to share in that love in a relationship.  That however does not change that first love falling. 

There is no easy way to leave behind loved ones, so I dont; I just move on without them physically but with them forever in my heart instead.  

To end this post, I'd like to end with a picture (of course we have a break-up wasnt on purpose...only coincidental) and my thoughts towards it.  I believe it sums it up perfectly.  

The break up picture. Some nice man took an innocent picture of two souls, one still on a bike and one in their wheelie, after the completion of Bike MS. What he did not know was this moment was actually the start of our official break up. The talk that made it apparent that MS didn't fit in the relationship. However, only one got to walk away without MS. I'll be forever grateful for this picture; it's beautiful, just like our relationship was. What's invisible is MS, the poison that broke that beauty. That's life. I'm grateful for him, our love and like this picture, I'll always have a piece of it with me. And one day, I'll find a new love and Im confident it won't end in shadows.


PS: Batman, if you decided to actually come across and read the blog again, thank you for all the memories, for being there for me when you could and for loving me when you did.