I got this text tonight, “Not to scare you, but as every second ticks by I fall deeper in love with you.”
Awhile back I listed my list of wants in a partner. A dream list. Would you believe me if I said I found him? At the time some snarky male reader commented that he probably doesn’t exist and I’m here to say YES HE DOES.
Last June I met someone. We connected. I got scared. I freaked out big time. I broke things off.
He waited 7 weeks until my birthday to text me a happy birthday message. 7 weeks for an excuse to text me.
Is he perfect? No. Is he perfect for me? I think he might be.
I can be myself with him. I can be strong when I need to, soft, or vulnerable when I need to, and he accept me just the same. It’s exhilarating.
I don’t think I could have found him without going through the stuff of the last 6 years. All the awfulness just makes me appreciate him even more. It set me up to find him and, eventually, to accept him. To allow him space in my life and in my heart.
Oh, and we’re engaged. It’s been a couple months now. No wedding plans yet. I’m fully comfortable with being engaged forever! But we’ll get there eventually. House remodels, kids graduating from high school, work, travel, all that fun life stuff, is taking precedence right now and that’s just fine with us.
Thank you to my readers for following along on my sometimes painful journey. The journey continues on a slightly different path now than I expected it would. Having a respectful, loving, giving partner is really freakin’ awesome and I highly recommend it.
Oh, and here’s a pic or two of my senior, just because he’s good, clever, & handsome:
Once upon a time there was a man who just knew and a woman who was too damaged to understand the truth.
A sweet man decided I was special last summer. He came in like a wrecking ball, to quote Miley, and turned the world I had built upside down. He proved me wrong on every negative assumption I erroneously attributed to him (due to nearly every other man who came before him). He looked at me with magic shining out of his eyes.
I felt like I was unworthy of such a good, honest, loving man. I broke up with him.
Seven weeks later he texted me on my birthday. He had waited seven weeks for an excuse to text me. He waited. On purpose.
So we decided to go watch football together.
And slowly, without pressure or scary titles or words of commitment, I learned to open my heart again. I learned that maybe, just maybe, I am actually lovable.
A couple years ago I published this dream list of what I wanted in a man. Let’s review, shall we?
When first meeting me, he will approach me with respect. He will feel compelled to meet me.
He will ask for my number. He will try to learn about me. He will be interested in the words that come from my mouth.
He will call or text when he says he’s going to. And before we sign off talking he will tell me when next I’ll hear from him. He’ll take the lead.
He’ll tell me about his life. He’ll want me to know all the things that make him who he is.
He will be kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart, creative, thoughtful, loving, funny and generally a pretty happy and content person. A positive person.
When he asks me on a date, he’ll plan it or at least give me options. He’ll take my comfort & safety into account. If he brings me flowers I guarantee to be impressed and happy.
He’ll try to open my doors for me and he will good-naturedly roll with it when I open my own doors because I’m an independent woman, dammit. But he will keep trying. I secretly love that.
If we walk down the street he’ll make sure he’s closer to the curb. If I’m wearing heels he’ll offer his arm.
He’ll ask me when he can see me again before we even end the first date, and he’ll text me good night when he gets home.
When he meets my sons, which he will want to do, he’ll be inclined to love them because they’re mine, and because they’re wonderful.
He’ll love Friday night family movie nights, with pizza & popcorn.
He’ll call me on Saturdays at 8 AM and say get dressed, let’s go to breakfast & the Saturday market. Or get the boys and let’s go on an adventure! Let’s go find a hot spring!
Or on a Saturday night, let’s go find a great spot in the country to look at stars, listen to music & kiss.
And he’ll want to walk with me in public, and hold my hand, and be proud to call me his partner.
And when I’m upset or sad or mad, he’ll tell me everything will be alright and we’ll get through this together. He’ll understand my mad is usually frustration. My sad is usually unresolved pain. My upset is usually a hurt. He’ll want to mend me because he doesn’t like seeing my frustration, pain or hurt.
He will be independent, strong, capable, and he will be good with fixing things because I think people who fix things don’t throw away value.
He is all that and a bag of chips too! (Except maybe that last one as he’s not really the fix-it type! Though he’d fight tooth & nail for me). Every other particular is, hands down, the truth about my love.
And it IS love. But let’s not be hasty. Let’s just have fun. I like my life. I’ve worked hard for it.
So let’s go to Vegas and London and a white beach, and a cabin in the snow, and a hot spring or two, or let’s just go to the movies or that yummy new restaurant. Or let’s put on flannel jammie pants and Netflix & chill the whole damn weekend. I’m so there for all of it.
What does it mean? I have no idea, and I don’t have to. Magic is in his eyes when he looks at me and I just want to hold his hand everyday.
When I was young, some family members called me “fearless.”
I leapt with faith that I would always land softly.
What happened to that fearless girl?
She comes out sometimes, when she has to get on stage. Vulnerability & bravery colliding.
I CAN do hard things. I CAN be fearless.
The bad self-talk will not prevent me from living and loving and being loved. I will not stand for anything less than what I am worth; and eventually I will trust that someone can actually fully & respectfully love me.
I’m not very excited about it. 43 seems the hardest so far. Maybe it’s the health challenges I’ve been having. Maybe it’s because I’ll be 50 … in 7 years.
I found the most gorgeous roses. And I bought them. They are called cherry brandy roses.
My parents brought me an updated stove … not for my birthday but it just worked out that way. Double ovens!
My handsome sons went to the Homecoming dance.
I have a good life. The horrible man at work who was awful to me just resigned. I can pay my bills. I can make the decisions about every aspect of my life on my own. There are people who care about me. There are people I love.
Every once in awhile someone sees me and thinks I’m special. Someone sees ME. It’s magical when that connection happens. I live for those connections.
So I’m just going to be 43 for the next 360+ days and see if 43 has any juice in it at all.
Good night, my lovelies.
P.S. I’m trying to not talk politics. It’s all so horrible though. I’ve been thinking of my own sexual assault (the most Of them egregious, I should say) every day. It’s exhausting. It’s hard to think the elected officials don’t care. Boys club. Misogyny. It’s all just awful. We matter. Women matter. We are your mothers, wives, daughters … and even if we aren’t, we matter. Why is it that men have sympathy for sexual assault on other men but some men lack sympathy for women victims? She was asking for it. She wanted it. Would you say the same if it was a teenage boy? Do you think he wanted it too? Did he ask for it? It’s so hard to rise above this vitriol and do my job and mother my kids every day when every day the future of my freedom as a woman is potentially at stake. We already elected a predator as fucking president and now a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court? Are you fucking kidding me? WOMEN MATTER. Our trauma and abuse matters. Fuck. This is not hard, you hypocritical right-wing “Christian” mercenaries. Jesus didn’t tell you to make money. Jesus said to love your neighbor. What part of that is hard for you?
Do you ever sit back and and really look at your life to see if you are living it in keeping with your core values? My pastor would call it the “growing edges.” Are we recognizing those spaces where we could have done better? Where we can learn from it? Or where we have improved?
Do you think about the little adjustments you can make to improve your life or do you just make sweeping changes that end up failing later? I have a suspicion the little changes will adhere better for the long term.
I’ve been thinking of the full moon tonight. I read that in my sign, Libra, it’s recommended to embrace change. Let endings end and new beginnings start. Embrace the small changes.
I believe there are things that exist in this world that I cannot see and I cannot prove. I believe there is magic & mysticism & spirituality that most of us will never witness. That doesn’t mean it’s not there. I believe in deja vu and no such thing as coincidences and I talk to my deceased grandparents, my sister, and a dear dead friend. They hover over my bed, their disembodied souls, and they listen to me talk when I need to talk to God, and they feel me cry when I need to get it out, and they see every side of me and they love me. I have no proof except the peace I gain from that conversation. That I not only “give it to God” but I rest it in the hands of those who love me.
Since my marital separation I have fallen for two men. I have wrestled with these loves, these broken hearts, for far too long. No more. It’s time to forgive them the hurt they caused and to let go of the burden of bad decisions I made. Forgive them, and forgive myself.
One of these men helped me immensely during such a hard, desolate, confusing time. He was patient when I held him at arms length. When I was confused & careless with his feelings he just stayed there, steady, waiting. It wasn’t until I fell for him that he backed away. He left me hanging and never explained why. I stumbled across his online profile the other day and realized he’s been in a committed relationship for awhile now. I am happy for him; it does appear she is probably a better fit. More outdoorsy than I am. But I have never stopped wondering what I did wrong to lose such a loving & good man. I must have pushed him away. I was such a mess then; still learning who I was going to be. I feel like I constantly owe him an apology and, at the same time, I’m constantly sad & hurt by him too. I am letting him go tonight. I honor that he was in my life for a purpose; a season of learning and growing. You will always be special to me, SJL. I wish you every happiness. Thank you for the love you gave to me.
The second is complicated, but not, and stupid, but not, and, fresh, but not. I fell for someone inappropriate; someone who doesn’t value me, who doesn’t love me, and who doesn’t want to be with me. Except when he wants to. It’s been going on for multiple years and it has to stop. I’m stopping it. In fact, I’m making the little adjustments I need to further build that gap. I will be strong. I will conquer this. I am deserving of love. I have so much to give and I want to give it to someone who equally cares for me. Help me to cut off this power, this obsessive, controlling mindfuck, so I can move on and find the joy I deserve. Help me be strong. To be the badass I know I am and walk away from this undeserving man and stop listening to the BS he feeds me every time he feels me pulling away from his chains. I will not be his to manipulate anymore. Goodbye SJW.
As I stand in the full moon tonight and admire the beauty & grace it gives, I also relinquish these painful ties upon my soul. You are forgiven and released to live your lives in the way best suited for you. I will do the same. My grandma and grandpa and my sister and my dear friend all hold my hands and help me, lords of my silent prayers, every day to find my way.
I will be true to my true nature.
I will love unabashedly but with caution.
I will not be fearful. I will take chances.
I will learn to be more diplomatic but still a force to be reckoned with (a fine line if ever there was one).
I will be strong & capable.
I will not be negative; negativity serves no one.
I will honor my body and what it needs.
I will love myself first so I can then give that love to others.
Do all things with love, my friends. We only have ONE life. One. It’s ebbing away every single day. Love as much as you can. Do not hate. Hate kills your soul. Offer forgiveness. Extend a comforting hand of love to those who are struggling. But honor yourself first. Put your oxygen mask on so you can assist others.
Give yourself grace to be human and move forward from a place of joy & contentment.
I am a good person. I may not ever find romantic love again but I will continue to open my heart and be there if & when it does come. I will operate with integrity, mindfully, going forward.
It’s a deplorable state of affairs in our nation, isn’t it?
I find myself wanting to immerse myself in the news, in writing my lawmakers, in sharing all the details that I’m so scared people won’t see and assimilate. They need to SEE IT ALL. If they do then they will understand. They will see how horrible it all is. They’ll see the hypocrisy. The cruelty. My goodness, they’ll see it, right? They’ll see the blatant crimes against humanity. They’ll stop accepting the lies. They’ll RISE THE FUCK UP and fight this disgusting monster making a mockery of our government.
That’s what I want to do. But I can’t. It sickens my soul to wade into the disgusting morass. People are so polarized. Listening to and believing sound bites. Tweets. Partial truths or full-on lies. What have we become? I feel like a foster child with abusive foster parents.
It’s just SO HARD to be real right now. So hard to face it all. At the same time, we have to keep living, working, raising our kids, and trying to eke out some enjoyment in life. We have to. For our sanity.
I’m trying to live my best life. I’m working. I have wonderful sons. I can watch NCIS reruns when I need normalcy & predictability. It’s a comfort. I’ve been re-reading my favorite book series. It’s a comfort too.
Remember when I was like, hey, I’m 42 and that’s a magical number, the answer to the universe and everything? Well it’s been a year of intentional change. Sold my house and bought another. By myself. BAM. I got a meaningful tattoo. BAM. I bought myself a car. BAM.
There were a couple other things I wanted to happen in my 42nd year and, with 3 months left, I’m not sure that’s going to happen but I think that’s okay. I think it’s going to be all right, no matter the outcome.
I’m working on my health. My age is starting to raise a hand and say, hey, recognize me and do something about it.
I’m enjoying my sons. They are so big, maturing like crazy, smarter than they should be, and wonderful. My oldest started his first job. My youngest started shaving. Wtf.
I love so many people. I just love them. I love so much. I love them whether or not they love me. It sucks sometimes. But I’d rather love than not. I’d rather feel love than hate. Yes I get walked on, taken advantage of, and sometimes discarded. But, dammit, what is this life if you can’t lead with love & trust & good intentions? I would rather feel it all than be safe – when safe means lonely, distrusting, and too cautious.
I’m still loving live music. I’m still writing poetry. I’m still trying to be the best me, and be faithful to myself and my heart. I hope you are too.
Here’s a sample of our last few months:
Let’s just keep lovin’ and livin’ and voting and writing or calling our lawmakers and let’s do it all with balance. To live and survive and thrive with a clean conscience. If I’m doing my part then I feel better. If I’m reading my book before bed every night I feel better. If I hug the people I love I feel better.
I’ve been a mother for 16 years. It’s absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done. My sons are both taller than me, and funny, sweet, and they love Star Wars and Marvel and their momma.
We’ve been working hard to create an escape, a peaceful refuge, in our backyard in time to host a birthday party and SUCCESS! This is phase 1. More to come with time, patience, and money.
Still werkin’. Same place, but these are from two different events on either coast back to back: SF & NYC. One of my HS BFFs met me in NYC for shenanigans. Well, we both worked, had Starbucks, pub food, and alcohol. So 40’s shenanigans. Plus my favorite Sales colleague in the last pic.
I dunno. Sometimes life just goes and you sort of float along with it until you can plant your feet and walk with intention again. I’m planting my feet.
I tried this a couple weeks ago and it went off the rails in one particular direction. Oh dear. Let’s take romance, or lack thereof, out of the equation.
You know how football teams have rebuild years? That was this year for me. It was all about transition and growth this year. Acceptance. Hard truths. Change. Gearing up and preparing for what comes next.
What does come next?
Well, a new job, I think, inshallah. I’m working on my resume right now. 12 years later and I feel like I don’t know how to characterize what I’ve done in that time.
My youngest will be 14 here in a second. My oldest will be 16 soon. He’s getting his driver’s permit in a few weeks.
I need to figure out how to continue the workouts regime I had started last year. My wonderful trainer isn’t offering regular classes anymore and since the move started this past summer everything had just dropped off. I’ve only worked out haphazardly but, truly, I love the classes. They help me so much.
Job first though. I don’t know how to solve for two life-altering problems at one time. I truly do not.
But – this is the big one – I need to fix my mind. My outlook.
I am so cautious. So afraid. So scared that I will make a mistake. It paralyzes me sometimes from making necessary decisions.
When I was young my aunt said I was fearless. I want to be be fearless again. I want to be undaunted. I want be that woman that when she wakes the devil says, “uh-oh, she’s up!”
How do I become a badass again?
I said I wasn’t going to talk about romance but I have a quick thought: what I thought I wanted was false. What I want is yet to be found, but I feel like it will scare me and intrigue me and lighten my soul when it does happen.
I am so worthy of love. And I do want to give that love in return. I have too much to give for someone not to gravitate to my heart & my arms eventually. I need to hold that faith hard and focus on making myself the best version of me that I can possibly be.
I’m so scared as I step into 2018 but I’m trying desperately to shake off that mantle and step bravely ahead. I know there’s joy & contentment there if I just put a little elbow grease into it.
Dear heavenly creator, thank you for this day! Thank you that I woke up, all my loved ones awoke, and they thrived in their joys. I laid in bed this morning feeling gratitude for the shelter over my head, my warm blankets, and my health, and the health of the people I love so dearly. Please continue to provide loving perspective to their actions and help guide them to their joy and happiness. Please help me to be humble, loving, compassionate, inspired, and unselfish in my desires. I want to be proud of everything I do.
I wish this all for you too. I love you, as I love the stranger sitting next to me at this bar (as I sip my chocolate martini and listen the the gorgeousness that is Blaze & Kelly strumming at their guitars and crooning into their microphones) and I wish each of you joy, success, and love in 2018.
If this is a rebuild year for you then please know you WILL get through this.
If you are stuck in your life please explore your joy. You’re not a tree.
And if you’re somewhere in-between, you have my support. Make your decisions with good, measured balance and you will come out ahead.
All my love, and all the light I can possibly muster!