Four Days

Wednesday, June 13 5:53PM is when it all began. The four following days were so monumental I want to share them with whomever so chooses to know.

The 13th marked an exact year since my ex-fiancé and I were no longer engaged. Because of this fact I had no desire to talk with anyone. After I got off of my shift at Victoria’s Secret I finally made the decision to head to a Starbucks, at which I had become a regular in the previous two months. The barista who took my order recalled my name for my cup, even though I could only remember seeing him twice in all my ventures. I took a seat outside and immersed myself in the story of a prostitute and a man who came into her life, forgiving her for everything and loving her as she is (Redeeming Love). After half an hour or so the barista came outside and asked me what I was reading… 45 minutes later his break was long over and I had learned a lot about him and his heart, but I had to be on my way to meet a friend. The barista and I exchanged numbers and planned on meeting later that night to continue talking.
It was 11 before I made my way to our meeting location. As I walked in I reminded myself that this was just a man who wanted to talk with me, he wasn’t interested in me and I didn’t have to worry about anything like that. But still, there were small butterflies in my stomach.
All night we stayed up. Talking, sharing stories and facts, laughing at whatever random thing came up. 6:45AM on Thursday the 14th he looked at me and asked if I was hungry – I was. He asked if I liked French toast – I do. Without hesitating he then said “We’re going to Philly.” and I found myself in his front seat.   He didn’t know, but for the last month and a half I had been craving French toast and never made it for myself. Why’d we have to go to Philly? Because he knew of a great cafe which served amazing stuffed French toast. The 14th was spent in and around Philly. We found ourselves at the KOP mall and after I walked around a store I took a seat next to him on a bench and laid my head on his shoulder. All day long we would look at the clock and remark at how early it was – time was moving so slowly and we were enjoying every second. That afternoon we were seated in a restaurant for an early dinner when I received a text message from my dad – my 4 month old nephew in Austria was not feeling well and they didn’t know what was wrong. Upon relaying this information, the man who was just a barista to me, pulled me out of my chair, took me out of the restaurant, put his arms around me and began praying. My heart skipped a few beats. The rest of the afternoon was spent together. By the time we parted ways it had been 23 hours straight with each other.    We had seen each other cry and laugh, we shared our heartaches, triumphs, and the majority of our life stories with one another. He asked me before I got out of his car if he could take me on a date the following day. I said Yes.
Friday, the 15th, we met and he took me to his hometown, stopping in first to meet his mom and sister at the family’s cafe. It was a brief meeting, but monumental nonetheless. He had never introduced a girl to his family. He took me to a grotto, which has a lot of meaning to him. As we sat there, we couldn’t help but recognize how natural everything felt. As we took a hike up a hill to overlook the town I immediately took the lead. About halfway up he took over. The entire way we talked. Talking is something we did a lot of. Looking out over the town for two hours we got lost in each others words, the natural beauty we were surrounded by, and how much we understood one another. He took me to a little Italian restaurant for dinner – where for a moment he felt as though he was back in Italy, but this time not alone. We closed the restaurant and decided to walk around the area for a while. Rather quickly we found ourselves on the steps at the back of the Capitol building. Staring up at the night sky and chatting for a few hours felt like no time passed at all. He told me that he wanted to see me every single day. I wasn’t about to complain at the notion – I desired to see him as often as possible.
Saturday, the 16th, both of us had to work. We weren’t sure when we’d see each other, but we knew that it would work out. As I was finishing a customers transaction I looked up and was surprised to see him standing there. He dropped in before his shift started to say Hi and bring me a drink, which I needed after the very small amount of sleep I managed to get. That evening I had plans to go downtown with a friend, so when he got off of work and she and I hadn’t really started our night yet I invited him along. The night was still young when my friend went back to her house so he and I walked around only to find ourselves at the Capitol for the second night in a row. We discussed fears and feelings that night. I knew the moment would come and I’d have some things to say, but I didn’t want to scare him and share too much too soon. After taking a few deep breaths I knew the time had come. Trying to prepare him for what he was about to hear I said “I don’t want to freak you out, but there’s something I need to tell you…” Moments later 3 very important little words floated out of my mouth and it was perfectly okay. He had been feeling the same way. For the first time since meeting I finally allowed him to stare into my eyes – like he had tried to do so many times. That night lasted forever – until the sun started to creep above the horizon.
Sunday, the 17th – day four. He wanted to hold strong to his desire to see me every day, but I was in no mood to get in the car and leave the house. To my surprise and delight he asked if he could come up after he got off of work. I said Yes. In the afternoon I realized that a man was going to be entering my parents house and my parents had no clue he even existed. So I began telling my mom a little about what had happened up to then, and then my daddy came home and I told him. They both were willing to stay up a little and meet this guy who I rather liked. The meeting was so different from any other meeting I had ever been through (for those interested – there were two other meetings which involved a guy and my parents). He was comfortable, honest, and in a good mood which my parents reacted to. At one point my daddy asked him what his intentions were and he responded “To see your daughter every day.” When my mom followed up by asking “Do you think that’s feasible?” and my dad responded “Yes” before anyone else had a chance to say anything, I just sat there silent. It was the meet that I had always desired. A man who felt comfortable in my parents home, meeting them before he and I discussed anything long-term, not thrown off by any question, honest and not wishing to hide anything. After my parents went to bed he and I walked around the park and eventually laid in the field. I was astonished by how things were going and still amazed at how natural everything felt. He felt comfortable and unfazed by his first meeting with parents. As we laid there recounting the evening we saw a shooting star.

In the 9 months I had been going to the Starbucks he worked in, I had never noticed Bruno. He had noticed me every time I came in while he was working though. I have a feeling that if I had noticed him, our relationship would be entirely different.

Our greatest feats to this point are that we have seen each other every day and each day we love each other more.

Not Over vs. Impacted

It’s crossed my mind multiple times lately how over my ex I truly am. I suppose that my continual looking back doesn’t make it seem that way though.
Here’s the thing – I really am over him. The hurt, pain, trials, heartache… There’s no reason to not be over the relationship. However, I have been impacted by it. Perhaps that’s why some people come up with the conclusion that even after a year I’m still holding on.
The other week I was on the phone with my best friend discussing the relationship and I mentioned how someone had just questioned whether or not I was over it. She was astonished that anyone would ever consider even asking me that.
I will not claim that this past year has not been a maze. I will not claim that I was not an emotional wreck the first few months. I will not claim that I never think of him. I will not claim that I never miss being with someone.
What I can claim however is that no part of me wants to be in a relationship like the one I was in. No part of me wishes to have my ex in my life at this time. No part of me is able to recall being in that relationship without also recalling the hurt.
I learned a lot from the relationship – so I will often pull on those lessons in my daily life. In no way does that say I’m not over the relationship. Rather, proves that I have come so far that I am now able to recognize the bad from the good.
Preparing for this month I was a bit lethargic, sentimental, and overall reminiscent. With what I believe is good reason though. I don’t find it possible to hit your one year anniversary of ending an engagement as well as what would have been two years of being in that relationship without thinking back and recognizing what all has happened in those years. To date, two years ago I was arriving in England – the land I consider home. One year ago I was in PA working and celebrating a good friends’ 21st birthday. So what? I remember a lot of things and when exactly they happen. Doesn’t mean that I’m stuck in the past and unable to look toward the future chasing after the goals which I have in my life.
Everyone’s past experiences impact how they live.

No Choice

When it comes to the big decisions in our lives, we have a choice. What kind of car should we buy? Where should we live? What will we do with our lives?  The list of questions go on and on… But what if one of those decisions wasn’t up to you? What if someone made the decision for you and never allowed you any choice?
As much as I hate to admit or recognize it, that happened to me. When I was younger someone stole a choice from me. One which I will never be able to make again. My life was drastically changed because of it. At first, I believed it was for the better. Over time however, has proved that it wasn’t. Not only did I no longer expect to receive a choice, but I actually expected others to perceive me and treat me the same way. I didn’t believe what others told me. I always felt guilty. Guilty because I had been forced into not having a choice. How is that possible? Why would someone feel guilty because they didn’t have a choice?!  It’s taken me years to realize that it wasn’t fair, right or even more importantly – it wasn’t my fault. In my naivety I was taken advantage of and ultimately hurt and bruised far worse than most in my life know.
I barely remember the name, or the face – but the facts will never change.

Addiction

It hit me the other night as I was driving to a friends house. When I realized it, it took all of me to stay focused on the fact I was driving. Why had I never realized it before?   I had become addicted to my ex while we were in a relationship.  Looking back I’m able to see that because of how things were formed and how I clung to him and the thought of being in the relationship, that when it ended there was a mess.
When you quit something you’ve become dependent on, it takes time, there’s usually a bit of backsliding, and it’s difficult to let go. Which is exactly what had happened to me last year.
I know it may seem a little ridiculous for me to even be thinking of these things yet, but this is who I am. I look back on things and somehow always find new lessons. It’s not that I look back because I’m depressed, so please don’t think that.
Last summer after we ended our engagement, I had an unbelievable pull to stay connected with him. I gave in at times and allowed myself to once again be caught up in a fantasy. For months he truly was an obsession. Only after I truly broke all the ties with him did I no longer have the desire, need or even craving to look in on his life.   There’s a difference between being addicted to someone and being in a relationship with them.  When it came to the two of us, our relationship was one based out of a forced codependance. Somehow this realization of how deeply I was fixated with him took almost a year. I needed it though.
When you are young, caught up, and manipulated it’s easy to become addicted.

Ring of Fire

The last week I took part in an experiment. One which I never thought I’d have the moxie to do. Since I wrote “15 Diamonds” I have worn that ring, just about 9 months or so now. The very simple, delicate ring was bought with the intentions to be worn as my wedding band. Obviously life determined otherwise.   My choice, and continuance of wearing the ring on my left ring finger was filled with so many different reasons.
I didn’t want people to look at me and see me as the girl who failed.
I didn’t want to feel empty.
I didn’t want to let a beautiful ring sit.
I didn’t want the question “What happened?” when I talked of my wedding plans.
I didn’t want to accept the fact that I came so close to what I have desired for so long, and I had to let it go.
I didn’t want.
About a month ago it started to bother me. It had just served as the perfect reason for an unsavory fellow to leave my girl friend and I alone while walking down a street at night, but I couldn’t quite shake the thought from my mind that something wasn’t right.
After a bit of soul-searching I decided to swap the hand that the ring was worn on. After two days of attempting to wear it strictly on my right ring finger I realized that subconsciously I would continue to switch it back to the left hand.    There is no part of me which is sworn away to another. There is no one in my life who stands in the position as soul mate (or whatever one chooses to believe in). Rather, it’s simply me. I could no longer fake the fact. It was time to accept it as it is. The last week I’ve been painfully aware of a very small tan line, the lack of bling, and the sinking in of who I am right now.

No longer wearing the ring is a choice. A choice to accept where I am in my life. A choice to accept that there is something better out there for me. A choice to believe that someday I will once again wear a ring on my left hand, but when I do, it’s going to be the one I love from the one I love. Not a ring I bought for myself to match the wrong ring.
In the mean time, I may go back to wearing my ring on my right hand – but I first have to meet a few goals I have for myself. Oh how I love a reward!

Leaving the Past, in the Past

It is said that it takes half the amount of time spent in a relationship to get over it. While this would be a wonderful way to tell how much time is left in the process, it’s entirely inaccurate.
The amount of time it takes to move past a failed relationship is dependent upon how involved you were in it. On all levels – physical, emotional, spiritual.   I’m the type of person who when I am with someone, especially when it’s serious, I’m wholly committed. I never expect it to end. Therefore, for me to leave the past in the past it takes a bit.
When the memories appear the biggest trick is to allow the feeling to be felt for the moment necessary – but then move on. I was reminded of this today. Not only was there an event which crossed my path with which memories flooded my mind, but then someone told me that if I’ve truly moved on, I must move on from everything. Take the memories, let them in and then let them go.
Like a crashing wave upon the shore.
Allow the old to wash away, and the fresh to stay.

When Settling is Actually Discovering

We all want to make sure we find the best in life, whether it is the best outfit for our shape, the best home for our family, the best car for our commute, or even the best type of food for our body. There is a constant search for these things because life is always evolving – there’s always something new and better. But what happens when there is nothing better? We leave behind what we believed life could best, and we find ourselves in a bit of a conundrum.
We passed up the best, for the search. This is when settling is no longer settling, but rather discovering what you are pleased with. What you are willing to take a chance with. There will always be a new car, outfit, food trend – but you must allow yourself to accept that what you have already discovered works for you, will continue to work for you. Even if you have to put a little work into it.