A metaphorical death.

One of the first posts on this blog was about the issues with the mothers of my girlfriends that I’ve had. I also expanded just a tad on my relationship with a man. I went into great detail about the manipulative ex I dated for almost 2 years. One thing that I have not written much about was the first girlfriend I ever had.

I’ve decided to write about it now because it recently occurred to me that she does not actually exist anymore. The name I have used to reference her is Maya. I will do my very best to condense this story because it spans over 5 years.

Maya and I met in 2011 during high school marching band practice. We were both freshmen, but we came from different middle schools; we actually came from opposite ends of the town. Upon first meeting, I decided that she was too loud and too “in-your-face” for my liking. I hung out with my friends, mostly, and interacted very little with her. She caught on to the fact that I wasn’t exactly her biggest fan.

While I had a more serious crush on a senior at our high school, I also developed a crush on Maya. I can’t tell you how it happened, but I just knew I liked it when she “bothered” me. I liked the attention and she liked my reactions. At the final band concert of our 9th grade year, I told her that I, in fact, did not hate her.

That moment began a friendship. 10th grade came around and we had 3 or 4 classes together. I was pretty happy about it. However, the more we talked in class, the more I started to see a very sad side of her. She had a lot going on in her mind and at home. The romance began slowly and we were both so confused by the feelings we were experiencing. I think she was the first to say something about it.

Marching band caused us to reserve every Friday night to go to football games. I remember always being happy about a long bus ride to an away game because Maya would sit next to me and lean against my chest while I leaned against the window. That was about as much physical contact as I had allowed her. I had my own issues at the time.

I remember us hanging out with mutual friends on Halloween of 2012. I remember her arm around my waist as we walked through the neighborhood, not really trick or treating, but just enjoying each other and our friends.

I remember Maya’s mother suggesting that our group of friends should have a sleepover at their house. So we did. It was me, Maya, a few of our other female friends. We watched The Ring while all sitting on a couch. I sat next to Maya, of course. That night would be the first night we held hands. I can recall both of our hands doing the very movie-like slow crawl towards each other like neither one was aware of what was happening. The next morning, her mother gathered that we were together and that’s when shit hit the fan.

Over the next 2 months, I was blocked from her Facebook, email, and cell phone. Her mother also transferred her to a different school.

Between 2013 and 2014 we had minimal regular contact, but we still were “together”. She would text me from friends’ phones, create a new email, a fake Facebook account, and various free texting apps.

While me and Maya dated, there were a few suicide attempts (from Maya’s end), issues with abuse at home, and a variety of other mental health problems. We eventually did break up in 2014 “for good” because “long distance” just wasn’t working.

While I was in in my first semester of college, in 2015, I received a voicemail from a voice I didn’t recognize, “Hey, it’s me. Your number was the only number I memorized, so that’s why I’m calling.” It was Maya calling from rehab after a very serious suicide attempt. That day was October 15, 2015. That’s the day that Maya [metaphorically] died.

I’ve had on and off contact with “Maya” since 2015, but in 2017 I met a new person. Her name was Maya, but she didn’t speak like Maya or act like Maya. The sense of humor was still there, but she wasn’t as sad. 2018 rolled around and she continued to grow. 2019 held an even bigger surprise (but not really).

Present day, I am good friends with the person who inhabits the body of my first girlfriend. Their name is Max.

In a recent conversation with them, I told them that while I was very happy for them, I also felt like I was mourning the loss of my first girlfriend and how did that statement make them feel? They informed me that Maya had, in fact, died 4 years ago. They didn’t know who they were between Maya and Max, but they’ve finally arrived at an identity that feels more like home than anything else.

For me, these are complicated feelings I’m feeling because I know that the girl I fell in love with at age 15 disappeared, but to know that that person no longer exists in her entirety is just a sad thought. Max insists that Maya was “ego-centric, impulsive, attention-seeking, unstable, self-serving, and unable to see anyone’s perspective but [their] own.” But a younger me looked at Maya with nothing but love. I didn’t see these things and Maya never treated me badly. I knew she had problems that were beyond me (and beyond herself), but our relationship was an innocent one.

We were never very physical, I’d say. Most of our time together was spent just existing together side by side because being in each other’s presence was a rare occurrence. I think I spent more time talking her off the edge than anything else. It was rough. I don’t want to downplay the severity of her mental health struggles, but that relationship heavily impacted the way I looked at people, family dynamics, mental health resources, and relationships.

I never blamed Maya for “putting me through” anything. I put up with a lot. I went through a lot. But I never blamed her. When I spoke to Max a few days ago, they apologized on her behalf. They said, “I did love you, I loved you very much and I hope I never made you question that or feel otherwise with my words, actions, or behaviors. Even though I can’t go back and change anything now, I still want to apologize for all of that, and how helpless and confused it must have made you feel.”

Those words were the closure I didn’t know I needed.

So, to sum all of this up: Things were rough, but everyone got through it. Well, I suppose Maya didn’t, but that seems like it was for the best. Max and I are friends. We’re not “BFFs”, but I appreciate their existence and I wish only love and joy for them. They have expressed their happiness for me with my current relationship as well.

Until next time 🙂

Having a Life Outside of Your Romantic Relationship

The moment you go from single to taken, you tend to spend ALL of your free time with the new human in your life. This is normal. I think the first 2-3 months are very “honeymoonish” and you forget that you have hobbies, friends, and family. You might also forget that laundry, grocery shopping, and meal prepping were ever a thing you had time for.

Once you get settled in a relationship, both partners might resume their independent interests as well as start to combine them. I think this is SO important.

The topic of pursuing activities and events independently from your romantic partner is an interesting and tricky one for me. I am in full support of having your own friends. I also fully support merging friend groups. I support whatever works for whoever.

The issue that I have run across has been partners who are shocked to learn that I want to do things alone or only with my friends. In the past, its been taken VERY personally and it made me significantly decrease the amount of time I spent with anyone else who was not my partner. I learned later that that was very manipulative of them and that I should feel free to hang out with my friends whenever I please.

Currently, I am dating a lovely human. She and I both have our own friends. We have met most of each other’s friends and have spent time together with them, but we also regularly plan things independently of each other. It’s such a simple thing, but for me to spend time with my friends and not feel guilty about it is a new feeling for me.

So, my message to everyone is to keep living your own life even if you begin sharing it with someone else. If your partner doesn’t support your individual endeavors, then they are not the partner for you.

“It’ll Never Be Easy”

I rolled up to the rental bike stand that I work at on the weekends and started setting things up. After I opened the register and pulled out all the rental bikes, I turned on some music, sat down on a bench, and started working on my homework.

After about an hour I got bored, so I took a lap around the stand on one of our bikes. I chatted with a friend and reviewed my calendar for the next month or so. Finally, a couple took a pit stop at the pavilion where the stand is located.

We went through the normal formalities of small talk and I asked them where they were coming from. They said they came from a few towns over and were trying to hit twenty-five miles. I continued to work on my homework and they chatted about where to ride next. I decided to interrupt their conversation with a question: “How long have you two been married and when did you know that you wanted to settle down [with each other]?”

The woman smiled and said she would have to take a minute to think back that far. The husband chuckled and started talking about marriage in general and said, “Well, it’ll never be easy, I’ll tell you that.” His wife followed with, “It’s more of the commitment to each other and the vows you make to each other. The things that annoy you about him, are those things you can live with?”

Of course, both of these individuals presumed me to be straight, so reference to a possible man in my life that I was thinking about marrying was definitely happening. I didn’t bother to correct them.

Her last bit of advice was that sharing the same religious values might be helpful; she said she and her husband are both Christians and that foundation has helped them a lot.

I thanked them for the conversation and wished them a good ride. As they were leaving, the woman paused, looked back at me, and said, “Good luck with your decision.” I said thank you and laughed because I hadn’t mentioned anything about me struggling to make a decision.

An Update

Approximately 10 days ago I told Chelsea that the next time I introduce her to someone, I would like to use the word “girlfriend”. It went over well- not that I thought it wouldn’t.

To say that I really like this woman is an understatement and it still freaks me out that my emotional attachment has grown to this extremity this rapidly. It also comforts me, though.

When I am with her, I feel at home. I feel calm. I feel content. I feel happy.

While I sit in the whirlwind that is my life as of current, I can look at her and feel grounded. I know it’s early, but as I look at the chaos that will inevitably continue to ensue, I still see her in that future.

I have a difficult time believing in fate and destiny. I also have a difficult time in the whole “meant to be” concept. I am a strong believer in making your own luck. Well, it seems that all of those things combined themselves 2 months ago. A few weeks before meeting Chelsea, I was doing extensive research on the Law of Attraction. I have friends who swear by it and there are plenty of people online who vouch for it as well. It seemed silly to me. However, I felt that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I chose a mantra, if you will, and repeated it every morning for 60 seconds for just a few days. I don’t remember the exact words, but I know that it involved attracting good people and good energy. At this time, I was also in the middle of therapy, which was going well. I had a new mindset on life in general as well as on my own life and was ready to introduce something good into my life.

And then I met Chelsea.

And then I fell in love.

And now I’m sharing this story with you.

Easy to Get, Hard to Keep

The title of this post is one of the ways of how I would describe myself in romantic relationships/interactions. I have a long history of being the heartbreaker in relationships even if I was the one who initially sought out the other person.

I don’t know if there is one specific reason as to why I always am the person who ends things. Without insulting the people that I have been with, I think that maybe I got bored. I also know that I oftentimes got annoyed.

I have always felt like I was the more “mentally stable” person in the relationship. The first few people I dated has issues they did not want to address. The last person I dated took an initiative to better themselves for themselves. In both instances, I did feel like I was emotionally supporting both myself and the person I was dating. It was very draining.

This post isn’t meant to diss the people I’ve dated. I think it’s my fault for 1. getting involved and 2. letting things go as far as they did before I ended it. I also don’t wish to erase all the wonderful moments that happened in those previous relationships. While they were very complex, they all had simple moments of joy and love scattered throughout.

The main difference I have noticed within myself now and the me from back then is a willingness to be more vulnerable because it feels safe to do so. Because the woman that I am currently dating is in a mentally secure place, I feel okay to voice even the most minuscule of complaints or concerns. Before, I felt like I couldn’t mention any sort of “hardship” to my partner because it was always so incomparable to what they were experiencing.

I normally feel the urge to end things rather quickly in relationships, but I suppress the action and stay for the sake of being loyal and giving the whole thing a true try. So far, I have not felt this with Chelsea. I don’t want our time to end. I don’t want to run from this.

So, in conclusion, I feel that I have entered a very healthy relationship and I look forward to seeing how it continues on.

What’s the “right amount of time” anyway?

Many articles, people, and even licensed therapists recommend to wait at least 3 months after meeting/dating someone to put a label on the relationship. I, too, have followed this rule in my previous relationships, but this one feels quite different.

After having only known her for 3 weeks, I was ready to call her mine. I’m not normally so bold, but this just felt SO different and so right.

Well, it’s been 6 weeks now, and I have restrained myself from bringing up the conversation. I’ve decided to wait another 2 weeks. Maybe 3. My heart is sure, but my mind is still cautious. I also want to be respectful and cautious of her emotions and feelings towards that.

I had a long conversation with a friend about what I’m currently feeling towards Chelsea and she told me to “jump in”. She knows how cautious and how guarded I normally am, so my enthusiasm and quick attraction/attachment to this person was quite out of the ordinary for me.

As you all know, I have also been in therapy and that has also given me the courage to live my life more vulnerably- especially when it comes to love. I haven’t had the best examples of romantic love (my parents and my own relationships were not ideal exemplifications). When I met Chelsea, everything about her felt so foreign (in only the best of ways), it was like a lightbulb went off, “Oh, THIS is what it’s supposed to feel like!”

So, currently, things are still going really great. I’m so incredibly happy when Chelsea and I spend time together. I feel like I’m being 100% my authentic self and I don’t have to “act” or fake anything. It’s truly fantastic.

I Don’t Know What a Soulmate is, However…

I don’t believe that there is one single person for every one single person. I believe that we are all compatible with many people, and they are all scattered across this world. Anyway, if I ever thought I met one of mine, I think I was wrong. I feel like Chelsea might be one of mine.

It’s not about our similarities or differences. It’s not about our hobbies. It’s not even about her personality or her [amazing!] sense of humor. It’s the way I feel around her- the way I immediately relax into her being, her energy, her essence.

Silences between conversations and kiss aren’t awkward. There is an equally comfortable silent understanding between us, I think, that I don’t know how to define after difficult stories or touchy topics. Things that feel hard to say become easy.

I think we’re compatible. I think we have a great time. I want to travel with her. I want to experience life with her. I want to protect her. I want to support her. I want to be protected and supported by her. These are HUGE things. Like REALLY HUGE.

I’ve known her for 6 weeks. That’s not a long time, I know. I’m just as baffled as you are, trust me. I’m just trying to go with the flow and follow my heart-something I have never been good at. 2019 might be my most productive year yet between AmeriCorps, new friends, moving out, new job, tackling anxiety with therapy (FINALLY!), starting the first of my last three semesters of university, and, of course, meeting this incredible human.

Woohoo!

So She’s Meeting My Mom

Trust me, we didn’t plan for her to meet my mother this soon; however, there is an event we are attending in the town my mother lives in, so it only makes sense to crash at her house and not drive the hour back home at 11pm.

I am not nervous. I can’t say the same for Chelsea, though. I understand her nerves; my mother and I are close and my mother’s opinion of my partners is very important to me and Chelsea has come to know that.

I think my mother is mostly excited and curious. I don’t think she has any expectations.

I don’t have any expectations. I think it will be fine, truly. I will, of course, keep you all updated.

Currently, I am at Chelsea’s house. I have work tomorrow, but it’s just as far away as my house is at 6am in the morning. As you can probably tell, I have fully given in to my feelings and emotions and I am not holding anything back with her.

She has also been very open with me, thankfully, and it seems that we are on the same page. We both recognize that things are moving quite quickly (emotionally) and it terrifies us, but we also don’t want to slow down. She makes me happy. It is what it is.

I have never been this forward with my feelings.

I decided to take a leap yesterday and tell Chelsea that I felt myself falling for her much quicker than I thought I would. I told her that I normally keep those more intense feelings to myself for at least 2-3 months, but that I couldn’t and just didn’t want to do that with her.

Luckily, her response was not a terrified one.

I met her friends on Saturday. They were great to be around. We went to one of their apartment complexes which had a pool. We floated, we ate, we mingled, and we left. Apparently, one friend referred to me as Chelsea’s girlfriend (a conversation we have not had) and I totally missed it, but Chelsea definitely heard it and internally freaked a little bit because of the fact that it hadn’t been discussed yet.

Chelsea and I spent over 30 hours together this weekend. That’s insane. I haven’t done that with someone since being in AmeriCorps and having to spend every waking hour with 7 other people.

We also had another important conversation. I told her that I was doing my best to see her for who she was presenting herself to be towards me instead of me seeing her through “rose colored lenses”. I have fallen so quickly and I want to be certain that the person I am falling for actually exists and is not this person I’ve created in my mind by ignoring certain parts of her.

I don’t think I’ve failed to see her as she is, but your brain can do some crazy things- especially in the first few months. So, I told her I really like her, but I am also keeping in mind the “honeymoon” phase of new relationships.

That is all.

An Important Conversation

Chelsea (the woman I have been dating for a month) came over after work yesterday. The traffic-filled drive from her place of work to my house is absolutely godawful, so I really appreciate her making the trek.

We had a very healthy and vulnerable conversation yesterday. It concerned something along the lines of investing everything into something that might blow up in our faces. In other words, she (and I) are taking personal risks by emotionally investing in each other and the relationship we are building as humans; there is a fear there of it not working out, obviously. Then, all the risk and vulnerability would be “for nothing”.

I don’t think it would be for nothing. I don’t know how she would feel about that. I think that all of my experiences, good and bad, resulted in me becoming somehow wiser, more informed, and a little richer in life experiences. So, at the end of the day (or at the end of a relationship), I don’t think anything was “for nothing”.

Anyway, I could see how difficult some of that conversation was for her, so I’m really grateful that we were able to have it.

After I confessed that I was surprised by how quickly I started to feel attracted towards her, she confessed a similar statement. We talked about how easy it felt to talk to one another.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with her, my own insecurities and fears occasionally crept through my mind: what if I feel like this is it for me, but this is just the beginning of her experiences? I think it’s too soon to think that way, but that’s my brain. You’re welcome.