I have stepped into an new and different world. A world that I have been watching on movies and on TV shows for years. A world that I did not know existed. Really, I intellectually knew, but I had no idea how it felt.
I have believed myself to have been in love a couple of times in my life. But they have always been these precarious experiences with people who never ( I repeat NEVER) felt the same way I did. I have never in my life been in a recipricol relationship. One where the person I liked, liked me as well. Ok, rephrase this. I have been liked, but not loved. Not in a way that I felt.
I am willing to accept that it is me. That I am the culprit in this. I have the regular trust issues. That I have never had a whole lot of faith in myself as a person and so why would I have faith in anyone else?
I have always assumed that I am the 2nd choice, the Also Ran, the person who would be picked last. Always. It was true of my childhood with my parents always making me feel like my sister was more important. One year at Thanksgiving we were at the table talking and I jokingly said, “Yeah, mom and dad always liked you best.” And my sister said, “Yeah, I know.” And she was not joking. When my sister was away at college was the only time I felt like I had mom’s attention at all, and those 3 years will always be special to me.
Naturally, going into school I watched other kids as they paired up and acted out their first love affairs. I watched from a careful (read: introvert) distance. The one time I tried the “check the box if you like me system” I received a crushing blow. I didn’t tell anyone I liked anyone for another 10 years.
My mother tells the story of when I was about 2 and a half. I had been slow to walk. I mostly crawled from place to place. One day she had a group of women and their children over. The mothers were all talking and drinking coffee, the children were all walking around getting into things. I had crawled over to my rocking chair and was watching everyone. My mom says I was rocking faster and faster, she could see I was getting more and more agitated. Then suddenly I launched up out of the chair. I walked half way across the floor and walked smack into an open door. The whole room went quiet. Without a noise, I walked all the way back to my rocker and sat down. I did not try to walk again for 3 months.
This is typical of how I am. Apparently I had a huge shiner and bruised my whole face. I can tell you that in my head I was thinking, “Well, that didn’t work. Don’t think I’ll try that again for a while.”
The reason I know this is what I was thinking is because it has been an ongoing theme my entire life. I jump in, all or nothing and then at the first set back I retreat. I have no concept of Baby Steps.
This year is the first time in my life, MY ENTIRE LIFE, that I have had a boyfriend on Valentine’s day. I have had only one Valentine’s day where I spent it with someone I loved, and that was because Kris came to Seattle for Valentine’s day weekend the year that Don and I broke up the week before. He just showed up. We went to brunch. We watched movies and ate popcorn. He slept in my room with me and I got the first night’s sleep I had gotten in weeks. It was lovely. And it only hit me that it was Valentine’s Day as he was leaving.
My birthday follows Valentine’s Day by a week. So I have always felt like I could stretch some of the love I get on my birthday to Valentine’s Day. It has been my secret for feeling like I was ok. That I was not the last person in the world.
This year, however, I have a boyfriend. Granted, I have not yet physically met him. I don’t know what he smells like. I have not hugged or kissed him. But I am as smitten as smitten can be. And he is romantic as hell. I never thought the things that happened in movies could happen in real life. I just assumed it was as real as unicorns and being a size 0. The fact that I have never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s day is just a given to me.
When I woke up Friday, Valentine’s Day, I went on-line and found 5 red roses on the computer for me. 5 because it is 5 days until we finally meet. And red roses because he is my BOYFRIEND! He struck first. He took the lead. I was dazzled. Almost as Dazzled as when he wrote me the lyrics to “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”. I went into the world of Valentine’s Day 2014 feeling differently.
And I’ll be damned if it didn’t manifest for me. I received a white long stem rose from my friend Brenda’s husband John (He had come to meet her at my store and brought us both flowers). Abbie brought me a breakfast Chai. (And remembered to bring me sweeteners.) David came in to huge me and call me Valentine. Matt and Calum both posted on my wall on FB. Greta gave me a Valentine like she does every year. As did Jeff DF and Kathy (who mailed theirs) My friend Leo gave me hand lotion and a hug. A friend who I have been estranged with came in and we talked about my upcoming trip to meet my Boyfriend, and she and I made a real connection toward repair. One of my favorite customers gave me an entire box of Whitman Sampler Chocolates. The necklace I ordered for my trip arrived. My sister and I had dinner together and then she bought me a pair of tennies for my trip, and for my Birthday too.
When I got in the car to go home, it occurred to me I received Friendship, Hugs, Chocolates, Jewelry, Lotion, a Rose, Cards, Dinner out, New Shoes and LOVE from all over the place.
I know I have had those things before, but this was overwhelming to me. Why? Because I was aware of it. I was in a place to receive it. I was a willing participant in being, receiving, and giving love. It is a new world for me. To jump in and find that not only is the water fine, but I am no longer on the outside looking in. I am just trying to take deep breaths and know that I can get used to this.