Lessons in Love

I try not to dwell on the past, but I remember, so that I can learn the lessons and continue to grow and blossom. This weekend amidst a conversation with my girlfriend, we started to talk about love, particularly in the context of the past. She asked me, if you never cared what he did or who he did it with, did you never question if it was really love?

And I always tell myself, that I never asked the questions that I wasn’t ready to answer. That I wasn’t ready to change my life, so rather than reflecting and truly evaluating the choices I was making and the life I was living, I just kept following the ‘recipe’ for a happy life.

But if it was that simple, then I have to believe that the question would stop presenting itself to me time and time again. As we talked I had yet another realization; I barely had time to process the thoughts before I shared them with her.

It seems so obvious now, there’s still a lesson for me to learn about love, about why I was willing to settle for good enough, why I didn’t strive and dream and want for more. For the past year and a half, I’ve been allowing myself the comfort of an “I wasn’t ready” excuse, because in all honesty, I wasn’t yet ready for THIS lesson.

I can feel within me, this lesson is one of the important ones.

This lesson, like every one before it, is going to change me and its going to change the way I interact with the world. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but in time, I know another switch will flip and the world will become a little clearer.

The Magic Ingredient

Sometimes, I still can’t believe this is my life.

I am currently sitting on my girlfriends couch, clad in panties and her tee, her golden lab and my boston terrier snuggled up against me with a cup of coffee, my computer and my thoughts, while my girl is cozy in bed.  This is the only weekend we will have, all summer, where I can remove my Mom hat, where I can be me, she can be her and we can just be US.

We contemplated going away, going camping or perhaps on a weekend getaway, but instead we chose to be wrapped up in each other at home. We have visited the farmers market, cooked amazing food and enjoyed the tranquility of home.

Never have I made food with someone, the way we make food together. It starts with ingredients, thoughts, ideas and then one of us is chopping, prepping and marinading and when we sit across from each other at the table, we have the most delicious meal that neither of us could have created on our own. Together, we make everything better.

My youngest son, at the age of 6, recently told me that a meal we had made was so delicious and then he proceeded to ask me, if I knew why it was so good.

Because its made with LOVE Mom, love is the magic ingredient.

I can’t argue with that son.
Love is Love and its the most beautiful thing.

All the Time in the World

I was almost 19 when I met my ex; it was supposed to be a summer fling that turned into a 14 year relationship where I lost myself for a long time. I followed the societal ‘recipe’ for happiness: got a degree, got a job, got married, had kids and bought a house. It was  easy to just do the next thing on this list without ever considering if it was truly what I wanted. I want to believe that if I had taken the time for that reflection, perhaps I would have reconsidered at least some of those steps.

But the past is part of the journey and its brought me to a most amazing present, so I rarely dwell, but part of that ever important journey, is the lesson. I learned through my first post-separation relationship that even though the path may appear different, simply going along with what’s easy is just a variation of the same mistake that I’ve made before.

So this time, I have my eyes wide open. We talk about life and our relationship, we are honest about what we feel and where we want to go in this life, together and on our own. And the truth is, I want it all with her, but not too fast and not today. But someday. And she wants that too.

I remember one day, early in our relationship, we were discussing all the possible adventures that we could pursue and she told me ‘we have all the time in the world’ and my heart melted, just a little, because I knew I wanted all of the adventures without any of the rushing, the pressure or the need to meet some external standard.

It’s been over 9 months and we live by those words; we do what feels right to us in the moment and nothing more. And it’s the most beautiful feeling.

We spend a lot of time together, we can barely make it two days without each other and we almost always have a sleepover because there is no greater feeling than falling asleep in each others arms. We live in different cities and without question, we both know that one day we will live together, that she will come to the house that I’ve bought and together we will make it home. But when?

Every single time that we spend multiple days together, every damn day is amazing, even if its a day filled with chores and errands. Things truly are better when we are together, so after much discussion we have decided to change our someday, to a someday soon.

We’ve decided that on November 1st, the anniversary of our ‘not-date, first date’ we will take that step, she will move in and we will begin the next step of our life together. In truth, I can hardly wait for that day to come, but I’m happy that we are giving ourselves time to process, to prepare and to grow a little more on our own. More than that however, I’m confident that this time living together is what I WANT and so just like everything with her, it will be different than anything before

Mean Girls

As a young adult I remember asking my mom why I was never teased; I was always nerdy, awkward, clumsy and looking back, probably pretty sexually confused. I have definitely lost friends over the years, but have only one recollection of being teased. My mom told me that kids probably tried to tease me but I was likely busy in my own world, oblivious to those around me and therefore not worth the effort since I never solicited the right response.

I’ve always carried around this naive belief that when you are truly good to people and treat them with respect and good intentions they will at the least, attempt to return that kindness. I am an extrovert and I recharge by talking about and sharing my feelings and my experiences with those that I consider my friends and family. I will bare my soul and I will share pieces of me, if we share any sort of connection.

Foolishly, I’ve always believed that though I share them, the pages of my book are sacred and those that have seen them respect all that they contain. But I know now, that in a moment everything can change; I find myself standing here with the pages of my book fluttering in the wind for everyone to see.

It’s not the first time that I’ve lost friends but I do think its the most painful.

Maybe its because I’m an adult and I expect that the people in my life can and will act like adults, that there can be a conversation, some space and some shared understanding of how a situation can improve.

Maybe its because in a town of ~2000 people, starting over isn’t exactly easy especially when you’re a working mom who has very little free time. Making new friends when you’re rarely around is difficult at best.

Maybe its because my heart breaks every time my children ask me why they can’t go see the kids they thought they were there friends, or why I’m not friends with the mom’s anymore and I have literally no answer to give. I don’t know why.

I think its the latter that is the hardest for me; I don’t want people in my life that can’t support me in all my authentic glory, but my kids are suffering too and that hurts my soul. They miss kids they thought were their friends, shared barbecues, camping, kayak trips, laughter and smiles. This summer is nothing like their last and I can’t change that for them.

But I’m also disappointed, never in my life have I ever felt like I was truly part of a group of girls, I just never seemed to fit, until I moved here. It was an adjustment for me, to learn what it meant to be part of the crowd and then just like that, I was out.

It turns out mean girls aren’t just for Disney movies and they don’t just disappear after high school. Mean Girls become Mean Mom’s and quick as you can blink, they may turn on you when you no longer fit their mold.

I’m Glowing

I’ve had a lot of people tell me lately that I am ‘glowing’ in my pictures on social media, that I look so happy and that people are proud of me for finding my happiness and being true to myself. And I can’t help but wonder, if my people can see THAT much from my photographs, what must they see when I’m standing right in front of them?

My parents spent some time at my house last week and although I missed it, my lovely girlfriend caught my dad looking at the two of us, and smiling as we all shared a meal. Then when we went to the pub for dinner, my mom pulled out her camera and asked us to smile for a photo; it turned out terrible, but when she posted it to Facebook the post was accompanied with a simple ‘Happiness <3′. I just couldn’t tell her to take the picture down, such a public compliment and expression of her acceptance of our love.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ve been spoiled with acceptance when its come to my being out. My cousin is getting married in September and when my invitation arrived, I was excited to see a plus one included and promptly asked my girlfriend if she was free and up for the family affair that is a wedding.

And then I realized, my cousin isn’t on social media, maybe he didn’t know I was gay. Maybe his wife’s family is homophobic. Maybe my gramma is homophobic. And suddenly, RSVPing wasn’t quite as simple as it had once been. But when I contacted my cousin to check in, he told me quite simply ‘I know about the love of your life, and yes she’s invited.‘ And my mom assured me that she had already talked to her mom and although she sometimes speaks without thinking (don’t we all), there was nothing to worry about when it came to gramma either.

Just like that, I realized that our crazy circus, my boys and my girl are going to a wedding and my entire family is going to see all my damn happy. If they can’t see the joy and authenticity that this life brings me, when I’m standing right in front of them, then I guess they aren’t paying attention because apparently, I’m glowing.

What’s Important?

Change takes time. Sometimes I feel like I’m succeeding in my journey of self discovery, confident I’m learning my lessons and progressing step by step. Other times the progress feels slow and old memories, old patterns and old habits abound but I believe that any challenge truly worth undertaking is worth the effort.

I know, that there is no finish line, no single moment when life will achieve perfection and there’s nothing left to strive for, because there’s always an opportunity to dream bigger, but that does not negate the value of reflection. Over the past month, on multiple occasions, I’ve found myself contemplating where I’ve been, who I am, where I’m going and of course, what’s important to me.

I learned about Autonomy (the independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions) in the context of work; an employee who has the freedom to complete their work in a way that makes sense to them (and without being micromanaged), is more apt to be satisfied in their role and the same is true for life. Autonomy is important to me; the ability to make my own decisions about my life and my actions means my life is my own. I am free to be me, to love who I want to love and to express  myself in the most authentic way I know how.

Family is more than the sharing of blood and relations, its the people in my life that will stand up and support me day after day, time after time. Family trusts and believes in my ability to blaze my trail with my head held high, but will hold my hand and lift me up when I get tired. I am honoured to have the family and support system that I have.

Nature, the scent of the earth, the sound of leaves rustling in the air and the tranquility of water gently swaying are like food for my soul. Nature brings me balance, peace and an opportunity to revitalize my soul. The opportunity to separate my mind and my body from the realities of life, even for a moment at a time, is not optional; I need access to nature.

And love. I love, love. The warmth that overcomes me when she’s near, the smile the slips across my face as I see her walking towards me, the understanding that we share and most all all our ability to communicate and to listen. Together we stand taller, are braver and are stronger, because we don’t have to tackle life’s challenges alone. I am spoiled to share a love that is rooted in acceptance and individuality; love enhances the life that I choose to pursue.

Today, I live the life I want to live and finally I feel certainty that I know what that actually means.

Friendship and Affirmation

My mom always told me that people come into your life when you need them, and sometimes they leave when the experiences you were meant to share have passed. She also told me that the friends worth keeping are the ones that can be absent for years, but when you connect, everything feels the same. She is a wise woman in this respect and I take her advice very seriously.

Lately I’ve been working on letting people go; people who feel I’m too much or perhaps aren’t supportive of the place where my journey is taking me. There have been tears, emotions and an utter lack of clarity, but through it all I have embraced my authentic self and stood proud. I’ve extended olive branches and I’ve tried to bring back friendships that were once strong, but everything is different now.

I AM different now, because I appreciate and honor all that I am.

I am a hard working woman who provides for her family and strives to raise boys that respect not only themselves, but those around them.

I am a responsible, independent woman who owns a house, tows her trailer and knows her way around a budget.

I am gay and completely, ridiculously, head over heels in love with the most amazing woman and I don’t care who knows it.

Anyone who doesn’t respect and honour all of that doesn’t deserve my energy or my time; I am a strong woman and I will never again change for someone else.

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with a few old friends, people I haven’t seen (or stayed well connected with) in over 10 years and when I saw them, I could feel my heart flutter with happiness and joy.

THESE are MY PEOPLE.

And they love me (and I them), despite a distance of years, just the same as they did the last time I saw them. And the most beautifully affirming thing happened while in their presence, they told me (unprompted and not in the presence of each other) that my authenticity and sense of self was just as they remembered it.

They both said I had barely changed.

I know that’s not true but it re-affirms that I’m on the right path. I’m not creating a new version of myself, I’m rediscovering and redefining the girl that I used to be and the woman I was always meant to be.

I was lost for a long time, but now I’m found.