Here I come to you from the year 2022. I’ve been MIA from this blog since its last post, In 2021 I hope, and quite a lot has happened over the last year plus some months. To start us off with an understatement.
I didn’t update you on my sobriety birthday, which I usually do, or even feel compelled to post when major goings-on were rocking my reality. A lot of life changes came and went, but I stayed silent on here. I wasn’t sure yet what to share. I wasn’t ready to share it all. I needed time to live in it all and experience the unfolding. Despite my silence, my first love remains the written word and I owe you all- my dear readers- a few very important updates.
Now, where do I begin?
In the last post I wrote that “in 2021 I hope that I am brave enough to really follow my heart, however that looks. I hope that I can become more me, to continue the unfolding and the blossoming that is my story.” I’ve done this before, written a hope for myself in these New Years letters that I had no possible idea of how remarkably it would come to fruition. I shouldn’t be flabbergasted, really, at how it came true. Still, I am.
I am absolutely, stupendously, completely, mind-bogglingly flabbergasted at how 2021 unfolded. Or perhaps awed is a better word.
As you can glean from the juicy headline, somehow, someway, in the very middle of a worldwide pandemic, I met someone. Let me set the scene. It’s early November of 2020. My colleague sends me his LinkedIn profile with an accompanying message that he looked like he might be a fit for a project I’m recruiting on. Our client is based in Northwest Ohio, and this guy is located in Southwest Ohio. “Maybe he will be open to relocation”, she said. I messaged him asking if he’d be open to discussing the opportunity, which he was, and we setup a call. It was strictly business. I’d never met this guy and I had absolutely no idea who he was or context as to what his life was like. I’d never even been to Ohio.
The first time I heard his voice, I felt a pull inside of me. It felt like recognition, despite the fact that it was our first time speaking, mixed with curiosity. I don’t believe that any single thing happens by chance in life. Nothing. Least of all my first encounter with this man. If I had said one thing differently on that call, or if he had, or if the timing had been a few months earlier, we might not be here. There was an instant connection that I felt I must be imagining. A little sizzle of electricity.
I met this man via phone, and what started as business blossomed into friendship. And over the course of several months what became friendship blossomed into maybe there’s something more here?
With that question to answer I flew out to Cincinnati where he lived, in a state I’d never once stepped foot in, to see each other for the first time. The very first time in person, the very first time in real life. Coming off the airplane and walking down the terminal towards baggage claim, I started to really get nervous. It was all becoming real. I wore a newly-purchased heavy winter coat with a fur-trimmed hood- since I’d never needed anything so substantial in San Diego- over my carefully chosen travel athleisure. A pink face mask secured over my mouth and nose. You know, pandemic chic. I saw an escalator ahead of me. I knew he would be waiting for me at the top of the escalator, at the top of that exact escalator I was coming up on, and so much inside of me questioned this decision to fly out and explore this. Would he be as handsome in person as he was in photos and over facetime? Is he as tall as he says he is? I had stalked the bejesus out of his social media, but photos could be misleading. If he was handsome, would we have that spark? Would there be flow between us or would it be awkward and miserable?
What in the actual sh*t am I doing?! Am I insane?
I kept walking and approached the escalator that would transport me to my destiny, taking a deep breath. My stomach squeezed with nerves. I knew that when I stepped on to that first step, allowing it to take me up and up, I’d see him. I’d see him and there would be no turning back. Nowhere to run.
I took the step and let my head follow an upwards trajectory. Towards him. This guy I barely knew but had flown over 2,000 miles to meet.
My stomach did a little flip flop when I spotted him standing there, waiting for me. Somehow, an escalator’s length between us, I was attracted to the way he was standing. One arm propped up on the railing, he was casually leaning towards me. He gave me a little wave. Like this moment wasn’t completely terrifying for him, or something. I tried to nonchalantly give a little wave back, but inside I was freaking out. I was freaking out and I was still smiling big under my mask. Or, at least I think I was. I am not sure what my face was doing. Palms and armpits nervous sweating. I couldn’t tell if I was perceptibly trembling or if it was just in my head.
I arrived at the top of the escalator, arriving finally to him, and our eyes locked. I knew he was smiling under his mask as he began walking over to me. His eyes are kind, and he has great hair, I thought to myself.
He came to a stop in front of me. Was this real life? Were we finally here, together? He was as tall as promised- the exact right amount of tall for my 5’7″ frame. There I was, meeting the love of my life, and I had been panicking about his height. Face palm. I sighed a quiet yet great sigh of relief. The perfect amount of tall and he was handsome, we were still a go. Oh my god he’s handsome! Another panic moment. Now what?
He asked if he could hug me. I nodded and said yes. He took me into his arms and gave me a long squeeze. We finally pulled apart and our eyes locked again, wondering how we had arrived in this moment. How insane and magical and terrifying this moment was.
Our first date lasted six days. We knew we were on to something. This was different for me. All of it. For the first time ever in relationship, I felt completely held. I never questioned where we stood or what he wanted. For the first time ever in relationship, I never doubted his commitment to me. There weren’t any games. No indecision. He gave me his heart and his dedication, fully and completely.
How do I find the words to describe how meeting this man has felt? How do I accurately tell you the story of how falling in love with the most amazing human I have ever known has impacted me? How do I communicate the beauty of it?
I don’t know that I will ever do well enough at it, but I will try.
Our relationship, and my partner, gives me the room to be who I truly am. He sees me, really sees me, and he celebrates the fuck out of me. A day doesn’t go by where he doesn’t tell me how beautiful I am or how much he loves me. I have felt free to reveal every part of myself to him, good and bad, and trust me when I say there’s some really un-pretty and skin squirming-ly uncomfortable parts to that. Before him I never had the opportunity to feel safe enough to fully open up to being seen, all of me, and he continues to love me during moments where I hate myself. He shows up for me, every single day. He is consistent and he is dedicated. He is gallant and he is witty. My partner is also sober, which takes us to even further depths of understanding and compassion for each other, both in context of our relationship and as individuals. He remembers the little things as well as the big things. He teaches me how to be a better partner through his simple demonstration of unwavering trust and dedication. He is soft in all the places where my edges are still sharp and he is sure where I sometimes falter. He is my biggest hype man and supporter. He celebrates my giant emotions and deep sensitivity He always reminds me to let my light shine as brightly as it possibly can.
In every relationship before him I had found myself wanting. Needing more. Craving something deeper, more fulfilling, something better. For the first time, with him, I didn’t want for anything.
I never knew it could be this good until it was this good. Or perhaps I always knew that it was supposed to feel this way, and that him and this love were out in the ether waiting for me. Maybe that’s why every other relationship experience felt like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, why everything else before him had a hollowness to it. I was always on my way to him. Through the pain and the loneliness and the wanting and the praying and the giving up. We were always connected by something invisible, intangible, and powerful. Until we finally met.
Kismet. Written in the stars. Destiny. Fate.
When I would call in tears over a broken heart, my best friend always told me that God wastes no hurt. She was completely right. I went through a crapload of hurt to arrive here, and I wouldn’t change any of it. It all shaped me and prepared me to be ready to receive this. To be ready to pour into it. To know it when it arrived. To know when I had met my match, and to appreciate him for all that he is.
Last year, at the end of June, I packed up my car and Charlie to make the drive from San Diego to Cincinnati. The plan was to stay for a few months to see if this thing, our relationship, really had legs and could work. Before I drove out, he told me he hoped I’d stay forever. I never made the drive back.
The other day I got my Ohio drivers license and applied for local license plates. On the way home, I felt glad, and also like I might burst into tears. This move, and transition, has contained so many giant feelings for me. Feelings that demand to be felt. California was home for thirty-four years, and now I am making a new home in Cincinnati. Life is wild.
I am now experiencing being a bonus mom to my partner’s two young children. My heart is breaking and opening in ways I never anticipated. Children change everything. I feel a love, and a responsibility, to these two tiny humans. I feel a fierce protectiveness. I feel my inner child grieve, heal, and thrive alongside of his children. I stand witness as parts of myself are evoked which I had no idea were there. It’s an awakening and an uncovering. I see these children receive something I had always so badly wanted: an amazing, loving, and present father. A father who is doing his inner work, the hard work, the crucial work so that his children can have the emotional tools and support they deserve. I just feel so damn lucky they all have chosen me. Every time his daughter plays with my hair, or hugs me after she gets home from school, or asks me to read with her, I feel the tug of overwhelming gratitude. Every time his son calls me “Sawah”, jumps on me, holds my hand, or asks me to play a game with him, I feel my capacity to love- to show up as my best self- grow. Charlie adores them, and my partner, and in my best moments I’m able to truly appreciate the enormity of thankfulness that I carry for this little life we’ve created. It came out of nowhere and now it’s everything.
And if I’m being completely honest, which I always promise to be, there are a lot of moments that I feel absolutely fucking terrified that one day it’ll all disappear. Poof. Gone. There’s a fear for every miracle, a doubt for every blessing, a what if for every time I think this is everything I’ve prayed for.
It’s not like meeting the love of my life has been a cure for all my isms. My fear. My shortcomings. My shadow self. That’s my inner work, and there will always be more to be done. Meeting him has made life a whole lot sweeter, a lot bigger, a lot more complex, a lot deeper, and a lot more meaningful. That’s what true partnership does. It continues to amaze me that he does everything in his power to hold space for me and to show up for me. I’ve never known a man or a love like this.
He’s a hand hold in the darkness, a kiss in the morning, a window into what more is to come. He’s who I point to when people in Cincinnati ask why on God’s Green Earth I’d relocate from San Diego to the Midwest. He’s The Reason. He’s everything I’ve ever fought for and hoped for. Our relationship is the manifestation of all the love, healing, and patience I have endeavored to pour into myself year after year. When I was able to do the inner work to heal what was blocking me from a partner like him, everything changed. Doors opened. Magic happened. Destiny arrived.
And as they say, more will be revealed.