Does Your Family Know I’m Black?

As time inches closer to the holidays–primarily Thanksgiving, plans are also starting to form. I’ve never thought much of Thanksgiving as a whole. Wait, that sounds terrible. I mean, growing up my family always celebrated it, but beyond high school and into my college years it’s all sort of been ad-hoc and conditional. Some years I just visited extended family out of state, other years I’ve had local “friendsgivings” and twice now, I’ve spent it watching netflix while eating Boston Market or something similarly shitty. I did a combination of the last two options last year (though the majority of it was a blur). I guess I hadn’t thought much about this year until this past Sunday when The Teacher asked if I would come home with him to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family this year. We were riding back to his place from having a triple dinner date at his friend’s place and had just spent a lovely weekend cuddled up together doing cheesy solo couples shit, perhaps he just felt “popping the question” was appropriate?

After agreeing to the offer, he went on about how excited he was. His eyes lit up like fire works on the fourth of July. While I’ve already met his father and step mother (and I’m cool with them), he mentioned that this time I would be meeting his (actual) mother, grandfather, aunt, uncle and maybe a cousin or two?

Whoa. whoa. whoa there, buddy.

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I was under the impression that this would be an intimate sophisticated adults Thanksgiving with just his dad and step mom where we all got wine tipsy while watching cheesy holiday specials after gorging ourselves on loads of carbs. You know, a lazy-ish Thanksgiving of sorts. You mean I’ve now got to meet more of your fam-a-lam-a-lam-a-lam?

As he rambled on about these loosely thought out plans (when we’d leave, what we’d do the day we got there, whether or not we’d be bringing something, etc), I thought about whether or not his extended family knew much about me (I at least know they know OF me) and if after meeting me, would accept me? I probably haven’t said much if ANYTHING up here, but The Teacher and I are in an interracial relationship. Yes. While this doesn’t SEEM like a huge deal in 2018, it could be to those who may not agree with it, or well, (don’t agree with) me specifically and I’m always aware and on high alert about it. I don’t entirely live in a bubble. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t care about what someone else thinks about my relationship, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that ongoing negativity would potentially piss me off over time.

The Teacher is extremely open-minded and welcoming. He’s a very warm and kindhearted person. He’s loyal, silly, intelligent, adorable and probably one of my favorite people to be around whether we’re actively doing something out or being lazy and binge watching netflix in. He checks all of the boxes and then some. He’s never said anything remotely insensitive or racist (nor does he seem to associate with anyone who is insensitive or racist) and is always fully aware of who and what we are and ready to “go to bat” for anyone who has a problem with it. He’s also extremely public about our relationship and is quick to introduce me as his girlfriend to any and everyone (though most people he introduces me already know who I am). In our conversations about cultural differences (mostly me explaining things some black folks do–like how I had to explain to him just last night that I do not want him getting my hair wet each time we shower together–especially if we have to go somewhere immediately after– because it’s a literal PROCESS for most black women to wash, dry and style our hair), he’s always been respectful and accepting. I can tell that if he has a question, it comes from a genuine place of wanting to understand and not one of malice or mockery.

I occasionally forget about “reality” and find myself immersed in our own little world of just “us”. Of course, I never forget that I am a black woman and he is a white man and regardless of how “in love/like” we might be with one another, the world around us might not always be so welcoming or kind, especially as we become more serious in our relationship and skeptical people realize this is no phase or fetish–yes, people in 2018 would probably think that. They might also wonder why neither one of us is dating someone of our own race. The world can be a cold place. Luckily, our friends, immediate family members and people who matter the most to us seem very accepting of our relationship. I was relieved that his father and step mother seemed to really take a genuine liking to me and welcomed me with open arms, considering the very first time I met them was also the weekend I stayed in their home, in a bed, with their son. The entire way there I wondered…did he prep them? Did he tell them I was…black?  How did THAT conversation go?! After all, I am the first black girlfriend he’s had and maybe the first girl he’s been serious enough to “bring home” like that?

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“Guess Who (2005)”

Before he met my parents a few weeks ago, I don’t explicitly remember ever telling my parents that he was white. In fact, until somewhat recently, I hadn’t really told them many specific things about him at all outside of the fact that he was a Teacher and he treated me well. Oh, also that he sleeps A LOT. I guess I didn’t feel like I needed to? As long as he treats me well and makes me happy, does it matter? I’ve been in interracial relationships before, so I guess I didn’t see it as being a “let’s sit down and have an open discussion”, thing. Besides, I had shown them photos of the Teacher prior to the meeting and of course after finding out that we finally became facebook friends, my mom “facebook stalked” him, as she typically does with boyfriends of mine and told me his whole ass class schedule for the year (after googling the high school he works at) Ok…?

As my relationship with the Teacher progresses, I keep waiting for the day that we face an extreme instance (or four) of someone openly disrespecting or discouraging our relationship without any regard for one or both of us as decent human beings. I halfheartedly expect this from older people–who may or may not have as much experience with interracial dating or even being around people of other races, but I’m pretty sure even people in my generation are this stupid too (just look who we have in the white house after all).

I think my concerns/premonitions are justified here. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to worry or care about what a total stranger, family member or friend thinks of the man I love, but such is life, I guess. Hopefully Thanksgiving goes over well.

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A Year Later…

It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since the split that (at the time) seemed to rock my entire world and I feel blessed to be able to look back on that experience today and be at peace with it.

Looking back on it, the relationship was probably doomed from the start. My ex (while still a very kindhearted and lovely guy), wasn’t entirely ready or even patient enough to build a new relationship with someone from the foundation up. At the time, I didn’t realize he had dealt with a broken engagement several months prior to us dating, which explains many of his (at the time) questionable and irrational actions and mannerisms. I can’t even begin to imagine or understand the pain of losing someone you thought you were supposed to spend the rest of your life with. I felt the entire relationship from our first date or our breakup was super rushed and colorfully chaotic. While fun and romantic, it lacked a great deal of crucial foundation. Milestone after milestone after milestone, when in reality being formally engaged, he probably missed many of those relationship comforts and longed to experience love again with someone new, but quickly to maybe fill a void. This is not to say our relationship wasn’t real or that he didn’t genuinely care about me, though, because I know that he did (as did I).

Unfortunately, I am not a replacement for an ex-fiancee and I’ve never claimed to be (nor do I ever want to be) and if I could have done anything in my power to take that hurt away from him or heal his heart, I would have done so in an instant. He was a good guy and treated me extremely well, but his heart wasn’t ready to be legitimately open during our time. I don’t think his intentions were to ever hurt me and I’ve forgiven him for the hurt I had to endure as a result. While I wouldn’t call us friends (though he’s referred to me as such), we are currently on good terms and occasionally catch up with one another from time to time. Knowing that he’s doing well in life genuinely makes me happy, he deserves it.

Building a relationship with someone is hard work and not something that I think should be rushed. Corners should not be cut. There are not shortcuts, back roads or detours. You have to be all in and committed to it. It takes time to build that trust and grow the relationship into something beautiful (and strong). To force a relationship forward past all of the initial building phases is emotionally reckless and almost never ends well. I think it’s natural in the earlier stages to have some infatuation over your S.O., but the entire relationship shouldn’t solely exist off of that feeling.

I spent yesterday reflecting on some of the night it happened and just how hurt I was. How could this happen? What did I do wrong? Will I ever open my heart like that again? But then I thought beyond that night and how much I’ve grown (emotionally) as a person over the past year since. I am so proud of what I’ve become. I am a much stronger person. It’s definitely been an interesting ride, but I couldn’t be happier with how life turned out.

I’m in a happy, long term, committed relationship with this amazing guy and I probably would have never met him had I not gone through heartache before (and maybe some other stumbles along the way).

Blending & Meshing

The last few weeks have been amazing, but ridiculously busy.

When I last wrote, I was just getting back from a business trip and preparing myself to meet The Teacher’s parents and attend a wedding as his “plus 1”. I’m happy to report that while I had some minor anxiety going into it, all went well. I wasn’t quite sure really what to expect with his family (dad and step mom). Our conversations about his dad  were never overly specific. He’d mention things about his dad here and there (how he was retired from the military, enjoyed art, liked to cook, prided himself on yard work, was possibly at one point a hippie), but never anything super specific to paint a clear and defined picture of him. I had no idea what he even looked like or if the Teacher even resembled his dear old dad (he did slightly and their mannerisms were similar).  I felt like I needed to go into the situation overly prepared to make a GOOD impression, so in my usual “over the top” manner, I baked for him as a “thank you” for his hospitality.

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Our initial meeting was super abbreviated because we were running late for a rehearsal dinner about twenty minutes away from his dad’s house, but it went well. His dad and step-mom greeted me with open arms and were very appreciative of the baked goods (that I baked during a passing low grade hurricane the night before with flickering power). To my surprise, his dad and step-mom “set BOTH of us up” in his childhood bedroom. While we’re both in our 30s and have technically been dating about 8 months now, have traveled together and we definitely have “sleep overs” a few times a week, it still weirded me out to share a room–a bed with him in his family’s home…next door to his dad and step mom’s room. We later had some of the most mind blowing love making later that night (in said room), but very quietly (not that either one of us is usually loud anyway). That was wildly adventurous, to say the least.

Overall, the wedding and wedding festivities went over well. Many of his college friends were there, so it was nice to meet and hangout with them. They all seemed very welcoming. I also bonded (even more) with his two best friends’ wife and fiancee (now also wife!). It’s been a little while since I’d been to a wedding, but even longer since I’ve gone with an actual date. Like a legit, I’m with this person, date. But it was nice. It seemed like the majority of the guests there (young and old) were either married or in relationships.

During the wedding, The Teacher was fairly affectionate. I wasn’t sure if this was because he was feeling overly sentimental (due to the occasion) or simply because he felt like publicly making it known that we were an item, either way, I enjoyed the attention. We got to slow dance, which typically shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but we’ve never had the opportunity to slow dance (because both of us admit to not being great at dancing), as I mentioned prior to getting on the dance floor. In conversations since, we realized that he thought I said, “I’ve never danced“, instead of what I actually said, “We’ve never danced“. Ha, would have been a bit awkward had I never danced before.

During the times that we danced, it was as if the world around us disappeared and we were in our own little world.

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In keeping with the theme of the weekend it seemed, locking eyes for too long made my heart race a mile a minute, my face flush and butterflies flutter in my stomach with excitement. I felt a similar spark during the rehearsal and wedding while locking eyes with him while the bride and groom said their vows. Since he was part of the groomsmen and facing the audience, it was hard not to look at him, but every time our eyes locked I became a bit overwhelmed with emotion and would eventually look down or away while blushing. He called me out on it later and I made up the excuse that I didn’t want to “distract” him from his groomsmen duties.

I’ll keep it 100 (if the kids still say that now a days), the real reason I kept cutting my eyes after feeling all of warm and fuzzies is because the entire weekend, the entire reason for us even being there was to celebrate the love and union of one of his best friends and his now wife and In addition to the wedding, I was also meeting his family for the first time and many of his dear college friends who he’s very close to. The fact that all of these very important people in his life had been SO loving and accepting of me, just consumed me with emotion (and I tend to not display my emotions on the outside). On top of all of those gooey feelings, I’ve been processing the fact that I do indeed love him. Yes, I said it. I do love him and I have for some time now, I just haven’t said it.

I love him when he gives me forehead kisses while I fall asleep during some random netflix show we’ve (he’s) decided to watch. I love him when he’s being a sleepy head and will still be knocked the fuck out at damn near noon like he’s not a whole ass adult with actual responsibilities, I love him when he’s rambling off random useless trivia, I love him when he speaks passionately about teaching, I love him when he’s grouchy from lack of said sleep (or work), I love him when he’s silly, when he’s happy, when he’s annoyed, when he’s nervous, when he’s afraid, I just love him overall.

Without even realizing it at first, he’s literally everything I’ve ever wanted and didn’t realize I needed. He checks all of the boxes. He’s been nothing but warm and kind and patient with me the entire time we’ve been together, even when I truly didn’t deserve it and was being a fucking idiot. I get a little overwhelmed emotionally when I think about him, our relationship in general and just how much I genuinely care so much about him. Flaws and all. He’s an amazing person and it takes a one of a kind guy to put up with my foolishness.

I guess my hesitation in saying those three little words is that I’ve tried to really take my time with this relationship and truly let it grow organically. It’s so easy to rush into things only to crash and burn before you even know what hit you (Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson, for example). I felt that with my last relationship (the aftermath was so unbelievably painful) and I wanted this one to be truly meaningful and so far it has been. If you had told me a year ago or even 6-8 months ago that I’d be in this situation, I wouldn’t have believed it. While neither one of us has really point blank said those three words I think we’ve both talked around them either through actions or other creative phrases to make it known. Perhaps like me, he’s afraid to take that “leap”. Here is an  example of me talking around the word “Love” from this morning while he was asleep (“Oliver” is my cat, btw–and he likes to climb on both of us in the morning when it’s time for his feeding):

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All in all the wedding weekend and meeting his family went well. His parents seemed to like me and I was able to have several bonding moments with them between all of the chaos of the wedding. His dad even sat down with me and showed me every school photo of him from pre-K through his senior year of high school. It was sweet.

So fast forward to this weekend in the theme of mixing and mingling of friends and family…I finally introduced the Teacher to one of my best friends (that I’ve known since high school and probably knows more about the Teacher than anyone else in my life via our conversations about him). We met over dinner Friday night and both got along really well. The best friend approves of the Teacher, although the first thing he asked him when he met The Teacher was what did he do for a career?

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I also finally introduced him to my parents, which has been a long time coming, since they technically live locally (about 30 miles west). For weeks I had been tossing around the idea of a meeting, but timing never seemed to quite work out because we’ve both been busy being together. I finally opted for brunch today (as the teacher and I usually do brunch anyway after spending a Saturday night together) and my parents and I usually do lunch or dinner or Sundays. Two birds, one stone. During our time together last night, the Teacher admitted to being “mildly nervous” to meet my parents and referenced the entire event as “doing the parent thing”. I guess that’s natural because well, they’re the people that BIRTHED me and making a bad impression on them could potentially not go over well (with me, maybe). I could certainly relate though as I felt the same anxiety the weekend before. I assured him that while I was indeed bat shit crazy (and he probably knows this), they weren’t too shabby.

Brunch went over well and as I expected my parents really like him (especially my mom). They all seemed to get along just dandy and they didn’t embarrass me too bad or maybe now that I’m in my 30s, and don’t care. I think he made a lovely impression on them, especially considering some of the “things” we were doing right before meeting them for brunch 😉 .

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Well,  I don’t think there are any more introductions this week (because the last month has been saturated with them and quite frankly, I think we’re both a bit drained), but we both promised each other to accompany the other for various social obligations and gatherings with friends throughout the week. Should be a fun filled week…

Running on Social Fumes

I’ve always been a naturally introverted person. I get the most peace and satisfaction out of doing quiet “smaller group” activities/hobbies with close friends/loved ones (or even by myself) than I do in mass crowds of people I don’t know very well in loud/chaotic environments that I’m not quite familiar with.

This is not to say that I am not an open-minded person and that I do not try new things/experiences or enjoy meeting new people, I just approach it all a little differently than I think I should. Somewhat cautiously at times.

For instance, I truly believe that I’ve learned in my 30+ years of life that there are two very prominent versions of me (with subcategories of course). I touch on those subcategories here, but in a nutshell, there is the true introverted me and then there is the “pretending to be extroverted” me. I’ve taken the “test” and while I’m fairly close to the center (having both introverted and extroverted qualities), I feel more natural as an introvert and I’m reminded of this in extended situations where I am unable to “recharge” appropriately.

For example, last week I was on a business trip for the entire week attending a conference. Typically when I travel for work I usually build in one “solo day” (usually the day before business or day after business has ended) where I explore whatever city I’m in and gather myself prior to (or after) dealing with an extremely long duration of social interaction. I love this alone time. Doing this usually helps to reprogram my mind so that I appear “put together” and “well rested”. Granted, most of the people who attend the conference I went to last week are colleagues of mine (scattered across the country) in the field that “I know”, but it’s still draining to spend all day networking, collaborating and doing dinner/drinks to chit-chat about our lives outside of the office. I can lay on the charm decently enough I believe, as I’ve spent nearly a decade working on this “skill”.  I laugh and smile constantly, compliment those in my presence, act genuinely concerned or interested in news (both good and bad) they care to share and I always wish them the best with all of their endeavors (and I mostly mean it). On business trips though–unlike an actual 8 hour work day, there is very little “off time”. From sun up to sun down there is consistent interaction and it’s draining. I can usually keep the energized extroverted version of me going for a good little while until I abruptly hit a wall and run out of gas.  I can recall feeling somewhat “energized” earlier in the week and even earlier parts of each day, but towards the end of the week I had very little drive or motivation to be overly friendly and talkative and really just wanted to be alone. It was like the social side of my brain had gone on a hiatus. I remember attempting to have a quiet breakfast in the hotel on my last day of the trip, only to be met one after the other with an eventual table FULL of my colleagues who didn’t want me to have breakfast alone.

But that was the point.

It took me nearly a day after returning home to gather myself enough to jump back into my routine and even in making plans with my boyfriend, I opted for the day after my return and for a quiet evening “in” (as opposed to us “going out”). Luckily my very sweet boyfriend (mostly) understands this and “gets me” as he is also an introverted-at-times-pretending-to-be-extroverted, as well. Having my solo time the day I arrived home and then our lax 1-on-1 time “in” really helped me recharge socially in order to take on my week. It’s like I gained an extra boost of energy…that will later be depleted.

Speaking of the boyfriend and being social, I’m in this continuous cycle of basically meeting everyone in his life (which is very flattering, but at times overwhelming). I’ve met his best friends, his friend-friends, his co-workers, his boss, neighbors, S.O.s of his friends, old friends, new friends, acquaintances… and so on and soon to be his family (this weekend). As I mentioned a few weeks back, we’re heading to his best friend’s wedding (that he’s in) this weekend and because the wedding is in the town he “sort of” grew up in, we’re staying with his family.

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While in the back of my mind I’ve sort of seen this as kinda being a “big deal”, the idea of it all really hit home while at his best friend’s soon-to-be-bride’s impromptu bachelorette gathering (I won’t go into detail about how last-minute and highly unorganized this was and how it almost interfered with our planned night in time). I sat there nursing a beer and chatting with the ladies (you know, “making nice”) because I want to be a good girlfriend and genuinely be warm and friendly to the people in his life. They are all either married, engaged or in longish-term relationships with friends of his.

They talked about the wedding and all of the activities in between and how much fun it will be! And how as a group, we were going to do all of these *really* fun things! All I could think of how the constant “togetherness” of being around all of his friends (and then family during times where we’re NOT doing wedding activities) was going to be exhausting. Like really exhausting. Fun, but the kind of exhaustion that may require some down time when I return home. I thought about how the only “down time” I’d have to really “recharge” would be the drive there and back where we’d have a few hours of just “us” time..but NOPE! Apparently as of today an out-of-town college buddy of his (who I have not met yet)  will be joining us on this journey to the wedding so now even the car ride over and back will involve, “putting on the extroverted charm so that I don’t appear cold or distant”, social interaction.

Jesus lord.

This week I can’t even mentally prepare for all of that togetherness (for this weekend) because he wants me to meet old high school buddies of his that are in town this evening and more co-workers on Wednesday (I feel like when we started dating he didn’t even regularly hangout with THIS many people–wtf) And I can’t say no…what kind of girlfriend would I be (maybe a more socially energized one)?

Through all of this potentially social, stressful and draining hoo-ha, the one silver lining here is something his best friend’s wife told me on Saturday during our “girls afternoon out” that sort of put all of this into perspective:

I’ve never seen — so happy before and I’ve known him and my husband since college. Whenever I’m around you two, you have this really strong connection and I can tell you are both genuinely crazy about each other. It’s sweet. I remember watching the two of you interact a few weeks ago at dinner and it was THE sweetest thing. You guys just “get” each other and it seems like you’ve been together years.

He’s also very protective of his family and even — has only met his dad ONCE (in passing) and they’ve been best friends for like a decade! The fact that he’s intentionally taking you to MEET his family and stay with them is a big deal (to him).

We think the absolute world of you and we’re so happy that you two are together!

No pressure, right?

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I hope this weekend doesn’t turn out like Crazy Rich Asians.

 

Meeting the Parents?

As the weekend draws near, my plans of how to occupy my 48 hrs of “freedom” are starting to become set in stone. Lately, my weekend plans have included the boyfriend, even if I’m (or he’s) juggling many other obligations and we’re only able to get together for a short period of time. We both have this unspoken reoccurring priority set for one another and it works. We also try to incorporate at least 1 mid-week “get together”, which is usually something more lowkey and lazy like dinner in or netflix and wine…but weekends are usually for actual “dates”.

This upcoming weekend happens to be fairly family saturated as it’s my mom’s 60th birthday (Sunday) and I agreed to attend a football game with my parents (who, like me, are die-hard football fans). Already half of my Saturday and a good chunk of my Sunday are reserved for family time. In discussing weekend plans with The Teacher (I reference him in my blog posts by this nickname because he’s a high school teacher) via text today, he mentioned that we (he and I) were “invited” to dinner Saturday night with two other “couple” friends of his that I’ve already met. I always try to be as supportive as possible and attend whatever event with him as I know these things really matter to him, but I explained that we might have a potential conflict and mentioned probably having to meet him there separately (as I will be coming from the game), but that I would go regardless. I further rambled on about how I had considered inviting him to this Saturday’s game, but that I thought that might be an “intense” first interaction with my parents.

Let’s be honest, my parents just found out about him specifically maybe a month ago? I typically keep my romantic affairs under right wraps unless I see some longevity or seriousness in them. While cool (as far as parents go), my parents (by nature) are super inquisitive and I don’t like to give them additional reasons to interrogate me, specifically over a situation that I’m not entirely sure about. I feel really sure with The Teacher. I feel like we have a solid foundation in our relationship so I’ve felt secure in starting to reference him (by name) in conversations with my parents. I still don’t tell them everything (like the IUD mishap), but they have a pretty decent idea of who he is,  that we frequently spend time together and that he makes me happy.

When mentioning to The Teacher that I had “considered” inviting him to the game (with reference that it would involve him meeting my kin folk), he agreed that meeting them for the first time at a football game would most likely be “intense”, but that he “really would like to meet them soon” and asked me to set something up (with emphasis on it being more lowkey than a football game). I have to admit I’m a bit shocked that he’s essentially asking to meet my parents and I’m not dragging him to do so. I think that’s sweet and speaks volumes to just how seriously he’s taking our relationship.

I really value my relationship with my parents and I don’t waste time introducing them to people I’m not 110% fond of–friend or otherwise (if you’ve met my parents, I REALLY think highly of you), so for me to introduce a boyfriend to them IS a very big deal in my eyes. It basically means that I am telling them, “I am very serious about this guy. He MATTERS to me.” I’ve introduced boyfriends/romantic interests to them in the past and the meetings have usually gone over well. My mom still asks about two ( [1] [2] ) of my exes to this damn day! My parents are fairly open-minded and accepting unless they get wind of a guy treating me horribly. Ha, my dad won’t even threaten the guy, but does come across pretty intimidating because he’s relatively tall and doesn’t say a lot to people he doesn’t know well.

When I mentioned to my mom that The Teacher seems to want to meet her and my dad, she enthusiastically asked me to do this soon. She seems excited. Am I the only one in this equation that’s nervous?

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Welp, looks like I’ve got a “meet the parents” meeting to set up, which I guess is fair considering that it looks like I might be meeting his parents when we travel out-of-town (where his parents live) to his best friend’s wedding in a few weeks. Hopefully that meeting doesn’t follow the plot of Crazy Rich Asians…I wonder what all he’s told them about me…

Issa Whole A$$ Hurricane

Quite possibly the strongest hurricane to ever hit my state is on its way here in a few days (actually, it’s probably slightly weakened since I started writing this 3 days ago–but it’s moving slowly, which is not a good thing).

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I’ll admit, when I first heard about this storm (at the time it was barely a tropical storm), I figured it would fizzle out before getting here or the prediction path would shift and we’d be out of harms way.

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Nope, not so lucky folks. Looks like we’re doing this damn thing. I can’t even begin to describe the mass chaos going here. Stores are out of bread, milk, water, generators, batteries, flashlights, pretty much any essential thing you MIGHT need in case you plan to spend several days in a flooded home without power or water.

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a sign indicating that the grocery store ran out of water.

On my way in this morning, I stopped by a gas station to top off my gas to be met with a line that wrapped around the station two times! I managed to GET the $10 worth of gas needed to “top off” my truck, but I’ve heard reports of stations already running out of gas and landfall for this bad boy (or girl) isn’t really due until Thursday night-ish/Friday morning. My area hasn’t been evacuated yet, but areas as close as 1.5-2 hours east of us are under mandatory evacuations already, including some of my family who are on their way to my parent’s house (my parents live about 40 minutes west of me in the neighboring city).

I’ve managed to gather a few things, but with it being about a week until payday, but budget is a bit tight and I didn’t anticipate having to hunker down in preparations for “the storm of the century”.

Work has been insane and we’ve already got word that we’ll be closed Thursday and Friday due the storm. The five days that we’d normally have to wrap up projects and meetings has now been condensed into three and it’s been a madhouse here. Not to mention the fact that I work at a hospital (on the administrative side), which is already insane on a normal day.

All of this insanity takes me back nearly twenty years (actually 22 years and 1 week ago to be exact) with Hurricane Fran. I was a child when Fran hit, but I remember the entire experience vividly. I remember the days leading up to it (the same chaos, my parents running around frantically), the night it hit and hearing trees and misc debris fly around and hit our house and such. I remember being too afraid to go to sleep as we huddled in the attic for fear of flooding. I remember when the eye passed and how quiet and eerily calm everything got, until round two kicked up and we prayed our house would stand strong.

Most of my memory stems from the aftermath of Fran. The damage it left behind was out of a movie. The entire city was without power and most of the city was without water.

To add insult to injury, temperatures skyrocketed to 90+ degrees and with no electricity, we didn’t even have fans to stay cool. We were without power easily for about ten days, but some people were without power for much longer. We mostly passed the time by listening to the radio, playing board games and sleeping (at night when it was cooler). I can’t remember if phones were working because cellphones weren’t a thing (yet) and my family was never one to occupy themselves obsessively with their landline, but I can guarantee that was out. ATMs, gas stations and stores in general were out of commission for days. I remember our neighborhood having a block party of sorts to grill out meats before they expired from lack of refrigeration.

I rambled on about that fairly traumatic experience to point out that this isn’t my first rodeo. I wasn’t quite old enough at the time to fully understand what was going on, but I remember my parents doing a pretty good job of keeping me safe.

My goal with this storm is to OVER anticipate potential incidents (like lost power FOR DAYS, flooding, no water) so that I am prepared. Luckily, with hurricanes you usually know about them semi far in advance, so it gives people time to “prepare” (or fill themselves with extreme anxiety). Over the course of this week, I’ve pretty much managed to get my hands on many of the items on my “list”…slowly, and I’ve mostly had to get these items by getting up at the ass crack of dawn and sneaking out into the darkness to go to stores that have odd ball hours or going to stores that many people wouldn’t think to go to (like today when I went to Ross to grab candles).

All in all, I think I’m ready for this damn thing. I’m ready for it to come and go so I can get back to my routine. In the meantime, all I have to do is sit back and wait for it to begin. Hopefully everyone around me prepared enough and stays safe. Hopefully there aren’t any casualties.

driving in storm

storm clouds rolling in

My IUD Experience

So, this will be extremely personal and potentially graphic (warning)…but I feel the need to document my perspective (and experience) as I don’t believe I came across an experience like the one I had yesterday (Wednesday).

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“This is How I Show My Love”

We were laying in bed cuddled up Friday night as we usually do for several hours before actually falling asleep. Usually this time period is split between being silly and having some of our more serious heart to heart conversations.

Per usual, he spent several minutes tickle attacking me (I’m basically ticklish everywhere). It’s quite amusing to him to see me squirming about and giggling uncontrollably. After about ten minutes of this he eased up before kissing my forehead and placing his hands on the sides of my face, squeezing them close to my cheeks.

“What are you doing???” I laughed as he stared at me with a wide grin.

“This is how I show my love.”

time out

WHAT?! Love. Like L-O-V-E, Love?

I wasn’t quite sure I heard him correctly, after all it was rounding about 2 in the morning and I had been up since 3 a.m. the previous morning without any sort of nap or downtime. Perhaps I was delusional?

“…This is how you show love?” I reiterated slowly.

“yes..”

“By squeezing my face…you show looo–that you care…by squeezing my face?”

I couldn’t bring myself to repeat it once again. I heard him loud and clear the first time, he didn’t stutter. He knew exactly what he said and possibly what he meant?

We eventually moved on to talk about other things before eventually falling asleep, but I couldn’t help but to replay what he said in my mind. I even had a dream about it while sleeping next to him, which that in itself is weird. Was this his way of saying that he “loves me?” I mean, shortly before this we both said how “great” the other person was,  how we both “really cared” about the other and “enjoyed the other’s company” , so maybe? Even earlier that evening, he asked me to be his “Plus 1” at his best friend’s wedding in two months and suggested that we start planning out our trip (the wedding is about 3 hours out of town and would require at least an overnight or two stay and some days off of work). That’s kind of a big deal (in my books anyway) and shows that you’re looking towards the future with that person.

Maybe he was being silly (as he often is) because he was being mildly absurd in that moment by squeezing my face with his hands?

As goofy as he is, I don’t think he was (entirely) being goofy in that moment. He might have partially used humor to cover it up, but I think that might have been his way to
“test the waters”, so to speak to see how I’d respond maybe?

Lately, I’ve really been processing my feelings towards The Teacher and our relationship and I feel like I might be on the verge of…*ahem*, the “L word”, but I’m hesitant to admit that or even tell him that, because what if it’s too soon? What if he doesn’t feel the same way? What if it’s just awkward? I don’t believe my feelings are “lust” or even “infatuation” at this point. I’ve been there so many times and this is just…different. I care about him on a deeper level that I haven’t cared about very many people in my life. I know that I feel this way because even when he annoys the fuck out of me (which isn’t too often, but it happens), I still care just as much for him. I still want the best for him. I still want nothing more but for him to be happy. I genuinely care to know how he’s doing and how he feels. I’d much rather spend an evening IN with him watching GoT (which I don’t really care for btw–sorry) than being out with my own friends having a full out night of tomfoolery.

GoT

Hell, I care so much about him that I’m willing to spend upwards of 8 hours playing a ridiculously (and unnecessarily) complicated board game with his friends just because it’s important to him that I’m there (but let me be clear, this is not going to be a weekly occurrence).

Because it’s not often that I find myself L-wording someone, I’ve been googling all of these articles on how to tell IF you actually do L-word someone and how to tell if they do too and let me tell you this, those articles are a bit all over the place. Honesty, if someone L-words you, I think you just know…you can just feel it…of course, outside of them saying it.

The Teacher is a smart cookie and he’s usually very careful with his words. Very careful. He’s always been extremely kind and tactful in everything he says. He teaches after all, so he would almost have to be, right?  I think he sincerely meant what he said. It came out too naturally for him to have not meant it. That’s not something someone would say on accident. Perhaps he didn’t mean to say it in that exact moment, but he said it nonetheless.

So where does that leave us? I don’t know. I had to make a quick exit the following morning to meet up with friends (he was still half asleep when I kissed him goodbye) and we were both busy through the rest of the weekend, though he seemed to check in more than usual?

I’d like to ask him about this, but in person. I’ll have to think about how I’m going to frame this so it doesn’t come out weird or self-righteous. I don’t want him to think that he completely weirded me out. I’ve invited him over for dinner on Thursday, so we’ll see what happens.

 

 

Persona(s)*

I keep clicking the “write” button in hopes that I’ll have some extravagant and wildly colorful blog post to share, but nope! Life is good, but I can’t quite organize my thoughts enough elaborate on any one thing at the moment.

I will say that aside from my writer’s block, I’m coming to terms with truly being vulnerable in my relationship. Initially (in a new-ish relationship), it’s the most uncomfortable feeling in the world to me to truly trust someone enough to be unapologetically naked (emotionally) around them . By nature, I’m an extremely private person. Like, really private. I share very little about myself with co-workers, acquaintances, family and even friends of mine that I don’t consider “close”. I’m the kind of person that will make you THINK you know a great deal about my life, but I’m very savvy in just giving you enough to think you do. Tip of the iceberg type shit. I’ve also mastered the art of redirecting attention or conversations off of my personal life. It’s not that I’m hiding any deep, dark secrets, I just don’t trust easily and I don’t want to be judged for who I truly am. I like to be in control of the persona others perceive me to be. It’s important for me to maintain a “certain image”.

quotes gif.gif

At work I’m the “I work HARD. I have all of my shit together personally/professionally and I ‘work well under pressure’. I also work and play well with others. I’m probably the nicest most team orientated person you know and I always get things done. I’m your girl, but lack of work life balance is non-negotiable. ”

It's handled

With my family it’s the, “I’m wildly imaginative (almost to a fault), but I’m kind, loving and a “good girl”. I would never say or do anything (purposely) mean spirited. I’m resourceful. I am intelligent and can take care of myself. I’m trustworthy.”

flower child

With friends I’m, “silly and fun, always up for an adventure. I’m very sweet and a good listener and always have a (mostly) positive outlook on life. I’d give you the shirt off of my back if I could. I’d help you move all of your stuff sans uhaul in the pouring rain. While I don’t think as highly of myself as humanly possible, I’m well aware of what I’m capable of and I’ve grown into who I am as a person and I’m confident-ish. I’m loyal, patient, creative, nurturing and loving. I am fearless.”

will smith

My relationship persona is the one I feel least comfortable in. It’s the persona where I’m THE MOST vulnerable and the one where (at times) I am the most afraid.

LEO Screams

When I’m in a relationship and I truly care deeply about my partner and start to really let my walls down I become a not so polished version of the personas above. I wonder if my partner can handle the unpolished, unedited, raw version of me. I may not always appear to have my shit together, a lot of things scare me, I don’t work particularly well under pressure (though I’ll roll with the punches and I’m flexible),  sometimes I allow anxiety to get the best of me, I’m sweet (but at times to a fault where it inconveniences me), I’m not as much of a “good girl” (I often take risks and consider the consequences later. I also tend to do really stupid and extremely self destructive things–I’m going to get to that in an entirely separate post), I’m fiercely independent and at times like to do things on my own (and will need to be alone), but I just as frequently want to do and experience things with my S.O. by my side, even if it’s just a netflix night. I’m stubborn, absurd and I daydream a lot. A lot. A lot. Sometimes I’ll get defensive if I feel like casual conversation is turning into an interrogation, when really my S.O. might genuinely want to know things about me or my past that I’ve failed to elaborate on previously. Each move I make is calculated and it might take me longer to feel “comfortable” to do seemingly insignificant things (like “sleep overs”, meeting friends/family, physical intimacy, etc) for fear of things not panning out and getting hurt. I have to feel an overwhelming amount of safety/security with someone to exhale in that way and it’s hard. It’s hard to put that much energy into something–someone, to not really know *IF* it will work out down the line. You invest a lot of yourself (time, emotions, etc) into it. While I won’t openly verbalize this, I’ll need the occasional reassurance that everything is ok.

Revealing my inner most mess(es) to my S.O. is starting to stress me out a tad because I wonder what he makes of it all. He’s easy going and doesn’t seem particularly phased, but my anxiety of course says otherwise. Not that I’ve revealed anything particularly earth shattering or have anything particularly earth shattering to share? Aside from my relationship fears, I’ve pretty much at least touched on other pivotal parts of my life thus far (and he’s done the same). He knows enough about me at this point to form his own opinion of me. But is that enough?

I don’t know, but so far he seems: Supportive. Kind. Patient.

A few weeks ago, he saw me in a very unexpected and vulnerable state of extreme frustration. An unexpected expense concerning my car really caught me off guard and the building stress and frustration of it all practically left me in tears. Up to that point, I had been (at times) robotic in my emotions and had really only shown him a relaxed mood, a nurturing mood, a happy mood, a silly mood and an adventurous mood with very little deviation from that heavy rotation. In that moment, I forgot he was there and panicked when I snapped back to reality. I apologized all over myself for the slip of “professionalism” in those moments.

I don’t cry.

Well, I rarely cry and when I do, I don’t cry in front of people, so to have him witness me in a very emotionally raw state where I temporarily lost control was uncomfortable at first. Would he find me to be annoying or a big baby? Would he be dismissive? What if he thinks that I’m crazy? 

crazycrazy

Actually, I know I’m crazy and I’m learning to accept that in my 30s!

I don’t know if he felt any of those things in that moment, but he did the best thing he could do in that situation when your girlfriend is in a panicked state: he hugged me, told me it would be ok and offered his support if I needed anything from him. He later drove me to pick up a rental car (since I was also going to be without my car for a week). Just those little things were HUGE to me.

Wow! I didn’t mean to ramble on that much. I guess I wrote all of that to say that this “L” stuff (like, love , yes, like), is scary. I really like this guy and I don’t want to fuck this up. I’m going to try not to fuck this up. In order to do that, I’m going to eventually have to suck it up and fully let down my walls.