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.

Falling in Love, Being in Love, and Loving Someone

For some people, the three things mentioned in my title are the same. For others- myself included- each one is different. The following words, sentences, and paragraphs are completely my opinions, nothing more. I’m not here to debate or fight. Feel free to discuss your own thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Falling in love, for me, is the scariest one. It’s new, it’s exciting, and it’s intimidating. Your feelings start doing things you can’t control and you start to think about things that were irrelevant 1 month prior. Again, for me, falling in love is tricky. You overanalyze EVERYTHING about this person, as well as your own behavior when you are with them. There’s a lot of second guessing involved here. Falling in love can border and mingle with infatuation and feelings of lust, so it’s sometimes hard to distinguish what’s actually happening inside your brain and heart.

So, how do you know that you’re in love with someone? The trick here is to not confuse it with the previous statement of being in lust with someone. Are you attracted to who they are or who you want them to be? Are you seeing them entirely as they are or are you filtering out the parts you don’t find desirable? Are you imagining what dating them would be like if only they didn’t do these particular things? Are you excited to introduce them to friends and family? Do you like the things that make them unique and different and quirky? Are you comfortable being yourself around them? Do you feel like you have filter what you say? Can you confide in them without fear of being judged or made fun of? Do you feel like they make you a better version of yourself? Do you get excited to talk with them? Are you just as attracted to them now as you were in the first few weeks/months of you dating?

Now, loving someone can be in a family sense, a platonic sense, or a romantic sense. Obviously, for the sake of this post, I will be focusing predominantly on the romantic sense.

Telling your partner you love them might be the most nerve wracking thing you do other than the initial asking them out ordeal, perhaps. Sometimes, I feel that there is too much weight put on those three words; however, on the other hand, there should be some weight on them. People overuse “I love you” and I think it’s important to only say it when you truly mean it. I try to refrain from saying it to friends and family when I hang up the phone or in text (unless we rarely speak anyway). I don’t always return the words if they are said to me too frequently because then it becomes a habit and loses it’s impact.

“I love you.”

So, what does that even mean? To me, loving someone means wanting joy and happiness for them. It means not always agreeing, but supporting them as people and as “family” anyway. To love someone is to respect them and appreciate the time they spend with you. It means being there for them when shit hits the fan. It means going the extra mile for them. It means that they make your life somehow richer, even if it’s in the form of a different perspective.

How do I know that I love someone? Honestly, there’s no single moment sometimes. Other times, there is. I fall in love quickly. I think I’m pretty good at detecting when I’m in love. I can’t give advice on “how you know”.

Well, these are my $0.02, what’s yours?

I’m really happy with her.

Tomorrow I will have known her for 1 month. I’ve learned a lot since our first meeting. I can honestly and genuinely say that I enjoy her company and conversation. I really appreciate her efforts and I can tell that she is also serious about getting to know each other.

I made a previous post about how I felt overwhelmed with the strong emotions I’m having despite only having known her for a short time. I am still adjusting, but I’ve come to a conclusion:

I don’t want to date anymore. I don’t want to search anymore. i don’t want to “prove myself” via texts and dating apps anymore. I don’t want to be another person’s coming out story. I don’t want to help anyone deal with middle school issues. I don’t want to play therapist. I want a partner in life that I can trust and rely on. I want equality. I want open communication. I want compromise. I want unconditional love. I want healthy pushes to think about things differently. I want to feel supported. I want someone who’s got my back.

I feel like that’s asking a lot.

It doesn’t really matter, though. I have been through some very questionable things and I’m just so tired and exhausted. I let many past relationships preside over my own physical and mental wellbeing. While trying to be everything for my partners I was doing some serious damage to myself. Well, I’m taking care of myself now and it’s going really great.

Since meeting this woman (I know I created a name for her, but it escapes me), I want this to be it so badly. I don’t care that I’m young- I’m not even pushing for marriage or an immediate future together. I just want to be done with the bullshit. And she feels like the complete opposite of bullshit.

Edit: I have discovered that the name I gave her is Chelsea. Woohoo!

Therapy 8.8.19

The duality of myself was the topic of discussion this session. I updated him on my most recent panic attack and how I handled it. He said he was proud of me. We then did an exercise where he acted as the part of me that is more guarded and I acted as the part of me that wants to be more vulnerable. Those two parts of me battle it out daily, so it was nice to get it out of my head.

The whole exercise and conversation was prompted by me explaining how I felt that my feelings towards the new woman I’m seeing were moving too fast for my comfort level; however, maybe it’s not “bad”, just unknown territory for me.

A little backstory: due to how I grew up, how I was raised, and the very long string of bad luck regarding my romantic relationships, my default is to put a very tall and thick wall between myself and potential romantic partners. I thought it was interesting to note that I can’t say the same for platonic friendships.

Anyway when I returned from my federal volunteer program, my anxiety hit me harder than I had experienced it in years and my therapist’s theory is that my suppression tactics were starting to wear off. Since then (May) I have cried more than I have in years, I have been more open with my family and friends, and I have started to not only take down the wall I put up between myself and love, but also the wall between those two parts of me I referenced above.

I understand that I create these boundaries and deadlines in my head to protect myself, my heart, and my emotions; however, I feel like I’m missing out on the love I could be experiencing, and, to be quite frank, it is VERY exhausting to always have that front. I’d much rather just be me.

So, here I am. I am rediscovering who I am and who I want to be. I now know that I am naturally a very loving person. I care about people. I care about my family and my friends. I am loyal to a fault. I will move mountains for those I hold dearest to me. I will run myself down to nothing if it means that the people I love will be okay. I know that this isn’t completely healthy, and luckily it doesn’t happen often because #selfcare. Seriously, though, I think that being more expressive about my love for people should include myself and that means setting new kinds of boundaries.

Instead of setting up boundaries to protect from inevitable pain from situations that haven’t even happened yet, I need to start setting boundaries for the sake of not wearing myself out. I want to continue to be there for people as much as I can, but I can’t be there fully if I’m only half aware/present.

Thanks for reading my rambles. I hope you all are having a lovely day! What are some boundaries that you have to set in order to keep yourself in a healthy mindset?

Miss Me More

If you don’t know this song, you should:

When this song came out, I was no longer in a toxic relationship, but the after effects were still very much with me. I was learning how to navigate making my own decisions again without having to consider how my partner would react or belittle me later because of them.

It took me 6-8 months longer than I would have liked to get out of that relationship. The ultimate reason I decided to leave was because I didn’t like who I had become.

I have always been confident and sure of myself when it comes to my academic ability and even my physical appearance. This partner made me feel stupid and like I couldn’t do anything right. There was so much manipulation and guilt-tripping and a loss of identity within myself.

I think to my friends and family I probably acted “normal”, but so did my partner. They never acted questionably around anyone but me. That’s why it was so hard to tell people how they had been treating me. My family genuinely liked them. They didn’t see what I saw. Even afterwards. It took a few years for them to stop referring to them. I made it clear that I didn’t want to hear their name or know about any run ins they had with them in town.

Kelsea Ballerini came out with this song and took the words right out of my heart. I missed myself and who I was before shit hit the fan. I forgot that I was capable of going places alone, making decisions alone, going to see MY friends, etc.

The song does trigger those memories, but it also makes me feel empowered.

The Thing About Airplanes

When I was younger, my mother and sister and I would fly to Germany once per year, during the summer, to visit our grandmother. We stayed at her house for an entire month. We went swimming, hiking, traveling, and also did very normal everyday things like grocery shopping, visiting the city, and hanging out with our friends there.

As an adult, when I look up at the sky and see an airplane, I feel this pain in my chest, a type of longing, even. I wish I was on that plane going wherever it was going. I think I associate airplanes with the extremely happy memories that I have from going to Germany for all those years.

We stopped going as a family because we got older and had school obligations as well as jobs. My mother’s job also won’t let her take a lot of vacation. We mostly go separately now. My sister went while I was in high school for a few months. I studied there for 6 months my sophomore year of college. My mother goes when she can, but it’s not often or for very long.

My grandmother used to fly to us when we had a break in school, but there’s not much incentive to fly here now since we all have jobs and limited time. It makes me sad, but I still hold on very dearly to all of those years we spent over there.

Sitting in a Starbucks

I’m currently sitting in a squishy chair on the back wall of a Starbucks in Atlanta, GA. Across the room is what seems to be a mother and her child. The mom looks to be in her late 20s and her daughter can’t be older than 8.

Mom is wearing a light grey maxi dress and her hair is long and shiny. Her daughter is wearing a pink camo romper and a cat ear headband. They’re both sipping drinks. Mom is working on her computer and daughter is putting together what looks to be a puzzle.

An upbeat song comes on and the daughter begins dancing in her seat. Mom looks up, smiles, and joins her in her dancing.

Before you call me a complete creep, let me explain why I felt the need to write about this:

There is a very specific list of things that make me cry. Seemingly loving and healthy family relationships are one of them.

I’m not hinting that I had an undesirable childhood. My mom may not have danced in Starbucks with me, but we did many other lovely things together. My dad and I also didn’t have a difficult time when I was younger. I enjoyed most of childhood very much. However, I know so many people who’s childhoods were so fucked up and when I see people so simply involved with their children, it makes me so happy.

Slowing Down

I know that oxytocin is a big part of my feelings and thoughts right now, but I can’t ignore them regardless. I have to keep repeating the fact that I have only known her for 3 weeks because it feels like so much longer. The way I act around her is SO different from the way I acted around previous partners, but it’s almost exactly how I act when no one else is there. There’s no “act”. It’s a little overwhelming.

I had a little bit of a “freak out” yesterday after she left. It concerned my life’s purpose, family relationships, and just general anxiety about work and school. However, it also involved my current [very strong] feelings and emotions towards this new human in my life. My friend suggested I hold off on introducing her to more friends or family so that their opinions and thoughts (even if they’re positive) wouldn’t interfere with my own “getting to know her” time. I think that’s a good idea.

I’m not quick to refer to people as my romantic partner or share that with everyone in my life, but I do disclose when I’m seeing/getting to know someone new rather quickly. I don’t do this because I want to, but it either comes up in conversation or I start putting my time towards the new person and away from my previous “plans” or “normal schedule” and then people start asking questions.

This just feels different for me. We’ll see.

Finding Balance

As someone who is newly seeing someone, I am struggling to balance my obsession with wanting to be around this human 24/7 and still taking time for the things I was doing before I met them.

I can’t help it, my oxytocin is going crazy and I want nothing more than to spend all of my time getting to know this new woman. I also know that I need to spend time with myself and make time to do normal things like grocery shopping and laundry. Yesterday was me trying to do that. I had time to spend with her, but I chose to watch The Notebook, bake brownies, and “re-start” a puzzle. I went to bed, slept really well, and here I am at work the next day.

I have a schedule for each week. I am a planner and I own many a calendar to record my events for each month. Weekly, I work Monday through Friday, roughly 7am to 1pm, give or take. Thursdays I spend with my grandma, 3pm to 7pm. Friday and Saturday I am normally in my mom’s town after work. Occasionally I would stay through Sunday, but I think that was too much. So, currently, my available days to see this new human are Monday-Wednesday after work and Saturday and Sunday (given I am back in Atlanta at a decent time [on Saturday]).

So, where is the time I schedule for myself? I don’t know. That is the answer. I guess it might fall on Thursday nights and maybe one afternoon M-W? I’m not sure yet. I also don’t know if I can keep to a schedule concerning that need. Also, isn’t allowing myself to see and get to know this new person partially self-care? I’m not drained by being around her. Now, that’s how you know they’re a potential keeper.

Long story short, I’m figuring this out. If I figure out a system, great. If not, great. I’ve been winging it all these years anyway, so why stop now?