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.

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.

Terrible Girlfriend

I am a terrible girlfriend; not really, but I have my moments.

Yesterday after very long days for both of us, my girlfriend and I arrived at my house within minutes of each other. I had been out of town, driven 4.5 hours and was literally bursting with excitement to see her. We embraced, we kissed, we reveled in each others presence and began to let the weight of our days dissipate.

We fell into an easy rhythm as we chatted and eventually wiggled our way (not so gracefully) into the hammock where we could snuggle and reconnect. As we rubbed our faces against each other like cats, we began to find our balance and that familiar feeling of home.

As we swayed, she pointed at her lips and with a small smile told me that she’d lost her lip ring; I blushed, embarrassed that I’d been so wrapped up in my feelings and our shared energy that I  hadn’t seen something right in front of me.

Had I not looked at her in the half an hour we’d been together?

It seemed so obvious now that she had pointed it out. And her kisses did feel different, not better, not worse, just different. What kind of partner doesn’t notice a missing facial piercing? I apologized for being a terrible girlfriend, for not noticing something right before my eyes and as always, her response was perfect.

It’s OK baby, I know you see the inside me more than the outside me.

Then she smiled and she kissed me and I just knew that she understood. She is so much more to me than the body that houses her soul.

Touch

The words slipped between my lips, practically whispered, as I gazed at her longingly; I really want to kiss you, but I lack self restraint. As the last syllable escaped, her lips were on mine, soft, tender and embedded with lust. In that moment, the passion we shared for each other was so pure that time ceased to exist.

All there was, in that moment, was her.  Her scent, her taste, her touch, her beautiful eyes looking in mine and the softest sounds that wouldn’t be contained. My senses felt awakened and although we had reached before, I know that in that moment, our souls touched and our worlds shifted. Hours later, I would peel myself (fully clothed) off of her, the wanting and desire pulsing through my body as she said good night.

She asked me today, why I felt so strongly (at the time) that we should wait.

I was afraid, not that I could love her, but that an evening of lust could somehow taint the potential for a love like no other. I knew that we could be something special, that we who were so aligned in values, in life and in dreams had the potential to be everything I never dreamed of. In my life, I have chased lust and though the moments are lovely, it has never made my heart sing. And I was so fearful that chasing lust might ruin all the hopes I had for something beautiful with her.

My girlfriend responded simply, I was waiting for you, we weren’t going to ruin anything. And I’m sure she’s right, but in life we need to learn our own lessons, we need to live our own experiences and we need to find our own certainties. And I needed us to wait.

Now, I need her touch.

Only once, have I felt like our communication was stilted, like perhaps she was misunderstanding me, or I her. We’d been together all day, but around people and in public. We were in the shower, washing the day away when she reached for me, with both hands on my face she kissed me, deeply and passionately and when we pulled apart we both smiled coyly as she stated so simply that’s what we neededI haven’t been able to to do that all day. 

And she was right, with one touch, one moment of shared intimacy, everything was right with the world again.

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.