Money: Meet Mouth

I met a woman. THE woman. The one you never think will really come along so you prepare yourself for the fact that you’ll end up settling for the closet alternative.

And really, that may be kind of ideal. You never really anticipate your soul mate showing up in your inbox. You definitely don’t consider the implications of what happens when she does. Few of us operate on the day to day with everything to lose.

I never have. I’ve never edited every text I send four times. I’ve never paused before everything I say to consider the second and third order effects. I’ve never checked my nose hairs and ear hairs every time I leave the bathroom. This is a sad but true conclusion: I’ve never cared that much.

I care about her more than anything in the world. And I think, especially for a man, that’s a particularly vulnerable place to be. We all like to fall back on the “fuck-it’s.” We accept less than perfection from ourselves because we don’t see or care to see it in our partners. So “fuck it.” We allow ourselves this notional gray area to operate in because she can’t really ask THAT much of us. I’m not throwing stones. I’ve lived in that glass house for a very, very long time.

I don’t want to be that man anymore. She doesn’t deserve that. And frankly, I don’t think she would accept it. She is the blessing that I’ve prayed for every night since I felt I could even ask for it. And I won’t repay God or her for that blessing by giving her anything less than what she deserves.

This is where it gets creepy though.

I’m saving for the ring.

No, I’m not going to propose soon. I concede my batshit craziness. However, I’m not stupid.

$250 a paycheck. Its enough that it stings. It’s so much that I’ll lose my house. It’s a tangible representation of the fact that I love her more than money. I love her enough to plan for our future. I love her enough to forgo starbucks in the morning to make her smile in some distant future. I love her  enough that the moment I have any inclination that she’s willing to spend the rest of her life with me — there will be no hesitation. There won’t be grumblings about money. There won’t be any reason to waste a moment without my ring on her finger. Just a check happily written and signed by the luckiest man in the world.

I met a woman. And I have plans for her. Shiny ones.

Walking The Tightrope

I met a woman. And I have no idea what I’m doing.

How do you begin a relationship that you want to be your last? How do you sustain it?

I could beat around the bush about it. Hem and haw about how much I love her and how sure I am she’s the one. But none of that matters if I can’t keep her.

Its funny how this all works. I, frankly, am fine with women. I know the right things to say. I know how to present myself. I always get the second date. It’s always my desires that determine how things play out.

Not with her.

Every time I look into her eyes I want to roll over her with the wave of what I’m feeling. “I love you” has been on the tip of my tongue every second of every hour I’m with her. I can’t say that though. I can’t even call her my girlfriend.

She’s been hurt and I can see it in her eyes. She wants to take it slow and I want that for her. I don’t want to force her into anything she’s not ready for. But saying anything other than exactly what I’m feeling is lying. I try to say “I’d like that” as much as possible. When really all I want to say is “I’d love that, and everything else you’ve ever done or will do.”

None of this is to say I’m not pressing. I tell her everything up to the precipice of what I think will run her off. I tell her she’s beautiful. I tell her that I want her in my life. I tell her that I have no idea what I’m doing because I’ve never met anyone like her. I tell her that when she’s ready, I will be too. I send her songs that remind me of her. They all do.

Grace and a smile. That’s what she gives me in return. She tells me I’m sweet. She tells me she is cautiously optimistic. She says she wants to be sure for my sake. That she trusts what I say, but not that I’ll mean it later.

It crushes me. A feather on your shoulder is comforting. A million feathers break the legs beneath you. It’s a ridiculous situation, trying to convince the person that you want to die with to just go out to dinner next weekend. But that’s where I am.

So how do I walk this tightrope? The answer is slowly. One foot in front of the other, taking care not to swing to far in either direction. One text at a time. One dinner where I can’t sit still because my legs want to run to the nearest church — at a time. One kiss that I want to hold until neither of us can breathe — at a time. One long goodbye in her doorway, breathless with the fear that it will be our last — at a time.

I pray about it every night. But not for me. For her. That she finds the strength to trust again. That she finds the love she deserves. That she meets the man who has the capacity to understand her worth. That she wake up every morning next to a man who has already been up for an hour thanking God he got to watch her sleep.

Who am I to even pray that I’m worthy of being that man? I’m simply a guy who has stumbled upon the glow of the greatest blessing I’ve ever experienced –just praying that I can stay in the glow a little longer. To call that blessing my own? That would truly be an act of God.

Im suffocating on the things I want to say. Because I met a woman.

 

Permanent Art

I met a woman. A woman willing to sit through a three hour tattoo.

Body art isn’t really my thing. A combination of excess body hair, body image issues, and a strong inclination to keep a clean cut image kept me away from the idea.

But this year sucked. And was awesome. I wanted a reminder (permanent) that things seem to work out how they’re supposed to…if you’re willing to put in the effort. Full disclosure: I lost 50 pounds so this was kind of a reward. And motivation to avoid ruining it by getting fat again.

When I met her, the appointment was already in place. She had a tattoo. She wants another. She uses the same shop so she wanted to come sit with me.

Alright, now. I’m a love sick puppy. There’s literally nothing I wouldn’t do to impress her. But for the first time she sees me shirtless to be writhing around on a table with some hipster lady defaming my body in the eyes of the Lord? That’s a pretty bold play. She seemed genuinely interested tho. So. Fuck it.

We got there and I was a nervous wreck, didn’t take the pain like I was hoping, etc, etc. I don’t remember a lot of that part. Here’s what has stayed with me —

I was laying on my stomach with my head towards her for three hours. She smiled at me the whole time. She held my hand. She let me viciously hit on her. She rubbed my back. She reassured me. I was so damned proud to have her next to me.

There was nothing else going on in that busy room but her eyes looking back into mine. I got lost in the moment. I was reflecting on the fact that there was something being put in my skin that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life. Permanent.

I want to tattoo her into my life. I want her to always be there to reach out and hold my hand when things get hard. I want to tell dumb jokes and hear her laugh even though they’re not funny. Forever. Even though every bit of the pain I felt was totally self-inflicted, a choice I made that will probably seem ridiculous in a few years, she stood by my side.

Towards the end I was pretty exhausted. Three hours is an enternity when you’re being stabbed repeatedly. She could tell. She ran her hand slowly through my hair and kissed me on my forehead. It shook me to my core. I hope she didn’t notice, but I welled up with tears. It had nothing to do with the tattoo. It was a physical reaction so the truest, most sincere love I’ve ever felt for someone.

Weve been together for a month. We don’t have a lot of time to spend with each other. But I can say with more conviction than I’ve ever had for anything that I’m deeply, madly in love her. My heart has found its counterpoint in her. I’m scared shitless by it. It’s the most vulnerable position I’ve ever been in, to feel in my soul that, if God really makes someone for someone else, his pick for me is 30 miles down the road and mine to lose (no pressure). It’s terrifying. I love it. And her. So much.

I will pursue that feeling and its origin until my last breath. I marry her, raise a family with her, and grow old with her in my mind every single day.

I am the happiest nervous-wreck of man in the world (with a silly tattoo). Because I met a woman.

 

 

The Context

I met a woman. The woman who has changed every plan I’ve ever had. But she wasn’t the first.

She’s the first and only I’ve ever felt this way about. It’s new ground for me. But to know happiness you’ve gotta endure some not-so-happiness.

I spent five years with a girl. We met in college and got along well. So we made it work. She moved to my city and we lived together pretty quickly. The overarching theme was “it seems like the right thing to do.”

As all new things do, it faded. I’m far enough away now to know that I was to blame for a lot of it. I’m a type-A, me-first, ten year plan since I was ten, type of guy. But she hung in with me. She supported me and made sacrifices for me. She was at every graduation. We had some very lean times. She was there when I didn’t deserve it. She’s in the background of so many pictures that I hang to remind myself that I’ve accomplished some things. Smiling. And for that I owe her a lifetime of gratitude.

The end gets blurry. It’s a haze of things we shouldn’t have said. The smoke of hurt feelings still stains the walls of that house. I would bet the shattered dreams still riddle the floor. I wouldn’t know. I had to leave.

It was a hard year. Just because your heart makes a decision doesn’t mean your head follows. I grew up in the safety of our relationship. I tried a couple (many) times to get it back. I didn’t know life without her — what sort of life do I choose now? I was alone and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I did what every normal man does. I drank too much. I tried to force relationships that wouldn’t work. I made things worse on myself and everyone around me.

Then life happened. I moved out west. I put the bottle down and picked up a couple books, the good book being one. I picked up new healthy hobbies. I met some incredible people. I met a new me. Or maybe the old one? Either way, he’s an okay guy. I’m not embarrassed to have him around. I don’t spent my nights on social media wishing he was more like the people on the screen.

I certainly wasn’t perfect. But I sure as hell wasn’t broken. I was okay. And in the grand scheme of things, okay is okay.

Then it was time to come home. I missed my family and my friends. I really missed my hound dog. I still made dumb decisions after I got back. Had some really bad dates. Some decent ones that I built up as awesome because loneliness still finds even the most “okay” among us.

Then I met a woman. And for the first time in my life I’m thankful for everything that got me where I am. She chose me for who I am, and like it or not we are all the sum of our experiences.

I look at her like a traveler who sees home in the distance. Road weary. Wearing the strain of the journey on his forehead. There’s a smile though. The relief of getting where he was going, even when there were times he wasn’t sure he would make it. Especially because of those times. The undying thirst is quenched even though he isn’t to the spout yet. Because he knows it’s coming.

Im better than okay. I’m truly happy. I’m home. Because I met a woman.

How We Met

I met a woman. And this is all dramatic for how it started.

She sent me a message about Netflix documentaries. No idea why I put that on my match profile. “Hey I’m really boring, and that’s reflected in my streaming preferences.” She also mentioned PBS. A democrat. I snickered.

There was something more though. A confidence. A grace. So I sent a couple messages back and got a number back really quickly. Suspiciously quick. This a some guy in Africa milking me for my social, not this absolute #smokeshow in the pictures.

I sent her a text and we talked. I was on military orders so a date would have to wait a couple weeks. So we talked (texted, my generation’s talking.) And talked. And talked. She lived with a good friend of mine from high school. She’s also a young professional. A go getter. An audiophile. Funny in the right ways, not the obnoxious ones.

At some point my outlook goes from “she seems cool” to “wow she’s awesome.” And then “wow we have a whole lot in common.” To “hmmm if I made a physical list of my preferences it would be filled with check marks.”

By the end of the two weeks I was a wreck. We planned a date for a Cuban place. Dissected everything the other had ever out on social media. Called in every possible connection to see what the other was about. She was the real deal.

I drove to her place with a knot in my stomach. I practiced questions to myself in the rear view.  I bought a new outfit — my money talks. I’m cheap as they come, but no expense spared. New haircut. Shined shoes. Because this was important. Something told me this was a big deal.

Then she walked out the door and smiled at me.

In that moment I felt something I’ve never felt. She was talking but I couldn’t hear it. I wanted to say something but there was no air in that whole damned city block. My mouth must have been hanging open. “SAY SOMETHING DUMBASS.” Nope, nothing. Well played.

There was nothing in the universe at that second besides dirty blonde hair. A little black dress with some clubmasters. A smile that collapsed my world in on itself and then shot it back out all over Central Kentucky. The Big Bang of the rest of my life.

Ive managed to say a couple things since. I’ve seen her three times. I’ve kissed her. I’ve touched her. I’ve learned more about her and fallen in love with every detail she’s given me. But I’m still there on her doorstep. Everything else in my world is on hold because she’s everything I never knew I needed. I’m still speechless on a porch and drowning in the fact that this is who I’ve been searching for. When a magnet meets metal it doesn’t pause and reflect on what it’s doing or hesitate in consideration of what could happen. It just connects like it was always meant to be connected.

That’s me. Connected and sure. I met a woman. The woman I’ll never let go.

I Met A Woman

I met a woman. THE woman. The woman I’m going to marry.

A month ago I called my mom. “I’m done dating. I’m tired of getting hurt. I’m tired of hurting people. The love you keep telling me about isn’t real. It’s all Hollywood drama and poorly written at that. People date for a while, decide it’s time to get married, and then just hope for the best.”

I’d prayed for someone to come along. Well. That’s not true. I prayed for clarity. I wanted to know what the fuck to do. How does someone who truly believes that a man’s purpose on this Earth is to be a good husband and better father make it to my age and still have (absolutely) no idea how to get there?

But then I met a woman. A silly message on a shitty dating website with an expired account. She was beautiful though. So I paid my thirty bucks for one more shot.

A month later and I’m starting a blog to say everything I can’t say to her because she would think I’m absolutely batshit crazy. I am batshit crazy. But I honest to God, Babe Ruth in game five of the ’32 series, sure as I’m sitting here, know I’m going to spend the rest of my life with her.

Shes the same as me in all the things I like about myself. She’s better in all the things I don’t.

I’m a professional speaker but my voice is constantly cracking. I’m a professional writer but for the life of me I can’t figure out what to say. Im a professional convincer but my deepest fear is suddenly that my biggest case will be convincing her to be with me.

Everything makes total sense. But absolutely makes zero sense. Because I met a woman.