I Thought I Would Be ELATED.

So I caught up with my ex yesterday…

A year ago, I was EAGER for the day when we would catch up and he’d essentially not be in the best spirits or “got a taste of his own medicine” (by ending things), because I was bitter and heart broken. I imagined myself as Demi, belting out how I was SORRY, I’M NOT SORRY for being better off without him (it is a hot song though, I’m not gonna lie).

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Obviously, time heals wounds and over the months I’ve gotten better, gotten over it, and learned some valuable life lessons.  I’m fine, but hearing that he perhaps is going through some “bad times,” (in regards to his love life) didn’t give me the satisfaction that I thought (a year ago) it would have and I felt like a shitty person for even telling him that I was doing, “REALLY well and was HAPPY” (though I didn’t necessarily reference my current love life, but we’re facebook friends still and I’m sure he’s at least seen clues or references of The Teacher and might have put two and two together by this point) .

It’s been a crazy year since we parted ways. Some ok times and some really bad ones…but I think I’m on the road to being ok. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well though.

I thought when this moment came, I’d be elated to know that he felt some OUNCE of heartache, sadness or emptiness that I STRUGGLED with for MONTHS after we broke up, but if anything, I felt genuine empathy and a bit of sadness for him. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone, especially this time of year. And while, I’ve moved on (and I am happy), there is still a part of me that wants genuine happiness for him too. Though we didn’t work out romantically (and now I can see that we probably weren’t as ‘perfect’ for each other as we both thought while dating), he’s a good person and deserves to find his peace and happiness too. He’s also continued to treat me with respect and not like a terrible ex, which I appreciate and I’ve tried to do the same with him.

I chose not to elaborate on my love life, but instead offered support and words of encouragement. I hope that he finds peace or some glimmer of hope that eventually things will look up for him. I hope that he finds that special someone that loves him in a way that I was unable to and treats him like fine china.

I have to say that I’m extremely proud of myself for getting to this point. This is HUGEEEEEEE progress!

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Thankful.

Well, I’m happy to report that I made it through all of the anxiety ridden Thanksgiving festivities this year. When I last wrote, I was gearing up to spend the holiday with the Teacher’s family (I previously met his father and step mother, but would be meeting several other extended family members and his actual MOM). To say I was a wee bit nervous was a bit of an understatement!

Let’s start from the beginning…

Before even heading out-of-town to visit his family, we (well I) made dinner plans with two of my best friends from high school. The Teacher had previously met one of my best friends (that lives locally) the same weekend he met my parents, but hadn’t yet met the other BFF, who lives out-of-state. When I found out this friend of mine would be in town, I jumped on the opportunity to introduce him to the Teacher. It’s been important to me lately to introduce The Teacher to every important person in my life so that he gets an even better idea of who I am and what the people who matter to me the most are like. Of course, by this point, anyone who I’m relatively in consistent contact with has either met the Teacher or at least knows who he is (and that he exists).

Dinner went over well as I thought it would. He seemed to get along effortlessly with two of my OTHER favorite people, which made my heart smile. I remember sitting back quietly observing the three of them (all guys) having a conversation like they’d known each other for years and it just made me warm and fuzzy inside. They all genuinely seemed to have a good time and it was great (later) to hear (from them) that they liked the Teacher and it was great to also hear that the Teacher genuinely like them as well.

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The following day we were off to his childhood home for Thanksgiving. While I wasn’t entirely nervous to see his father and step mother (since I just met them last month), I was a bit nervous to meet his mom. Throughout the entire time we’ve dated, the Teacher hasn’t said a great deal about his mom, outside of the fact that she was significantly younger than his dad and at times seemed to struggle with being “independent”. It was hard to visualize this woman who gave birth to this wonderful man. Was she a good person?? Would she accept me? What all did she know about me?

I remember at one point semi early on in dating one another (I think when we were more casually dating–but still seeing each other frequently enough for things to be “going somewhere”), having a conversation where he admitted to alluding to his family that he was “dating someone”, but failed to really provide a great deal of specifics outside of that (I’m starting to notice a pattern with the Teacher’s lack of details/substance in his description of the people in his life lol). That’s fair and I remember not being offended by his comment. I was actually relieved that he hadn’t said much about me. At the time, I doubt I had said much about him (if anything) specifically either. I guess we’re both guarded in that way and choose to keep our “love life” private until we feel it’s serious and stable enough to include the other people in our life. Of course now we’re in the “free fall” stage of literally meeting every friend, family member/loved one, neighbor, co-worker, pet, etc in the other person’s life….yeah, that’s been uh…eventful to say the least, but mostly great.

Anyway, on the ride down to meet mom, he explained to me that his mom was a “good person” and was “very nice”, but paused and frowned a bit when describing her now fiancée. Let’s call him Bill.

I have to be transparent in saying this though…Bill seems to be a nice guy, but he’s very…how to do I put it? Conservative? Southern…old? A little set in his ways…possibly a Trump supporter? He *may* say something stupid in those regards…

So…indirectly what he was trying to say is that Bill possibly had some “deep-rooted” backwoods racism brewing and the idea of his step son–who he probably already doesn’t quite ‘understand’ bringing home his black girlfriend would probably be enough to send him to glory on this fine holiday?!

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Check. My heart sank a bit when he said this, even after he told me his mom was absolutely not that way (even went as far to say that his mom was very liberal–how that even works, I’m not sure). My nervousness swiftly changed to internal rage coupled with activated defensiveness on justifying who I was as a person.

The plan was to meet the mom at the movie theater and then dinner after, because apparently that’s what the Teacher and his mom do whenever they get together. How was I supposed to make a good impression in the dark? When we walked into the lobby, I nervously trailed behind him as he strolled up to who I assumed was his mom and Bill and the introductions began. His mom seemed genuinely happy to meet me, but perhaps also nervous?  Bill didn’t say much, but smiled and shook my hand (probably thinking in his mind, “I don’t like black people, but I’m trying to be on my best behavior for my soon to be wife”).  Shortly after the introductions we took our seats in the theater. We were there to see: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which in my personal opinion was all over the fucking place plot wise, but then again I wasn’t the BIGGEST fan of the first one, so who am I to really comment?

Dinner followed the confusion of the movie and by this point my nervousness (and defensiveness) had semi worn off and my hunger kicked into high gear. It was going on 8 o clock and the Teacher and I hadn’t even had anything to eat that day! WTF?! His mom opted for a Thai restaurant where we dined on spring rolls, Pad Thai and plum wine. Speaking of wine, I gifted his mom with a bottle of her favorite wine after The Teacher let it slip out that his mom recently had a birthday AND what her favorite wine was. Brownie points!

Throughout the dinner, his mom seemed to keep a steady conversation. She didn’t grill me on anything and naturally let me elaborate on things in my life as I felt up to it. Of course, she did the mom thing and told embarrassing stories about him and how she “owed” me “naked baby photos” of him the next time I was in town, since The Teacher told his mom how my mom the previous weekend (while having him over for dinner) showed him all of MY baby photos! There was one moment where the Teacher got up to use the bathroom and his mom shared with me how much he had spoken about me (to her) for months and how she was very eager to meet this “lovely lady” in his life.

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After dinner we ventured back to his dad’s house for the evening to retire to bed before having to be up bright and early to great the rest of his extended family for Thanksgiving. In my mind, I felt like things would be ok meeting wise, but for some reason after laying down for bed I started to get fairly anxious and had a full-blown anxiety attack while laying in bed. I haven’t had an actual full-blown “I feel like I’m having a heart attack,” anxiety attack in several months. My body temperature climbed quickly, my heart was racing–almost beating out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Luckily, The Teacher (who was laying beside me during all of this) managed to help me through it and assure me that things would be fine with his family the following day. He stayed calm, held me in his arms and kept speaking in a really calm and empathetic voice. He stayed up with me for a good two hours before I relaxed enough to attempt to go to sleep. While I was partially embarrassed for him to see me in such a vulnerable state, it was good to have him there as comfort as well.

The following day went better than expected. His grandfather, aunt and cousin all arrived promptly at noon and we had a few hours of wine and cheese nibbling before dinner. I had a chance to casually speak to his aunt, grandfather and cousin, which was nice. I especially enjoyed speaking to his grandfather, who seemed to share a similar sense of humor with The Teacher’s father and The Teacher! Now I see where his goofy nature comes from.

Dinner-food wise was interesting, and here’s where our cultural differences stood out, big time. Thanksgiving for my family has traditionally been: Turkey (maybe also a ham depending upon who decides to host), BAKED mac and cheese (the baked part is important), green bean casserole and/or greens, sweet potato casserole, HOME MADE cranberry relish (NOT the stuff out of the can), stuffing, some sort of roll and an assortment of pies (maybe cakes if someone brings one).

The Teacher’s family had the following: Turkey w/ gravy, mashed potatoes (also with gravy), I can’t remember the green veggie (maybe green beans?), carrots, mashed rutabaga?, cornbread pudding? something else that was tan/neutral color?, cranberry sauce in the SHAPE of the can And two pies: pumpkin and pecan. It wasn’t bad, just an adjustment from what my family usually has. I didn’t ask for seconds.

After dinner, The Teacher got a call from his sister, who lives across the country on the west coast. From my understanding, she isn’t necessarily “estranged” from the family, just never makes it out to visit (though she does keep in touch). Somewhere along the conversation he told her how he brought along his “girl pal” to “meet the fam” and then went into some ten minute ramble about how great things had been and how happy he was (d’aww). Of course, he probably knew I could HEAR him (since I was sitting right beside of him during all of this) and eventually told me his sister said, “hello”. Like his mom, he hasn’t said a great deal about his sister (aside from what I’ve said before), though his mom did share that they were relatively close (as siblings) growing up and even shared some of the same friends (as they’re about a year and a few months apart in age).

Later on that evening after the extended family left and his dad and step mom retired to bed, we spent a few moments to ourselves goofing around and watching netflix before bed. It felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had done it. I managed not to completely fuck up meeting his family and to celebrate, we managed to have relatively quiet love-making much later on that night. Now, the first time this happened, it caught me by surprised because I just assumed none of that would go down out of respect for his parents, but to be honest, there’s something wildly intoxicating about it (and to his credit, he did ASK if I felt comfortable considering the environment we were in this time before proceeding). Maybe it’s the fact that we could potentially be caught with our pants down (literally) or who knows, maybe his parents know and because we’re in our 30s, they don’t care? I’m not sure if I’d be so willing to try that in my parent’s house though. Not that they’re super strict or anything, but they’re both very light sleepers.

We left to head back home the following afternoon, but not before The Teacher took me on a nice romantic walk around the water front across the street from his dad’s place.

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On our walk, he told me more about growing up in the area and even pointed to a few houses where friends of his in the neighborhood used to live.

I have to admit that when I agreed to join the Teacher for Thanksgiving, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, but to my surprise, everything seemed to be fine, or at least as fine has they could have been considering. His family seems mostly accepting of me, which put some of my anxiety to rest. This Thanksgiving was definitely better than last year’s.

Next on the agenda is figuring out Christmas. The Teacher has already started to coordinate when/how we plan on linking up all while attempting to spend an appropriate amount of time with our own families. Luckily, my grandfather lives about twenty minutes away from his dad’s place and that’s where my family typically spends Christmas day, so maybe something with work out with that. We’ll see.

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.

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.

nervous

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?

crazy rich asian gif.gif

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?

now sis

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.

no water

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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