I don’t know how it happened and I certainly don’t know when, but however and whenever don’t seem to matter all that much; what matters is how I choose to move forward from this point on. I don’t think I could be more excited than I am at this very moment.
Relationships never really scared me until now. I think that’s because I was always in one or jumping into the next one, each time becoming more disillusioned with every man [boy] that disappointed me. With each failure, I threw on one more layer of armor, one more layer of whatthefuckever, one more layer of fierce independence that I’ve been very apprehensive about shedding — until now.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t feel like I need to know. I just want to be thankful and enjoy the journey that is ahead of me, wherever, whatever it may be.
I’ve always been an independent, ambitious, get-out-of-my-way-or-get-run-down type of girl with little time to spend on romance. As I’ve grown older, the time that some girls spend with their boyfriends, I’ve spent with my friends developing deep, powerful, unbreakable bonds [the kind where you’ll stay up and sing Wicked lyrics to your friend who can’t sleep because her stomach hurts]. I’ve filled the “male space” in my life with other non-romance things. I’ve never actually realized this until very recently through conversations with Whitney and with Laura, tweets on my private twitter account and notes I’ve jotted down in Day One. It’s funny how once something is pointed out to you, you can’t quite comprehend how you were missing it before.
Most of my time is spent doing for other people, loving other people, taking care of other people. I don’t know how to react when someone does these things for me. I don’t know how to rely on other people or ask other people for help. I’m the strong one. I’m the doer. I’m the planner. I’m the one other people rely on. Imagine my surprise [and disgust] when I grasped the fact that I was relying on him to wish me a good night just so I could fall asleep faster. I immediately felt weak, vulnerable and stupid.
Weak. I am the reliable one. How/why am I the person relying on someone else for something so trivial? I’m independent, successful and proud. Waiting around to hear goodnight? Gross.
Vulnerable. Well, shit. If I’m waiting on a greeting that must mean I’ve got it bad, and if I’ve got it bad then that must mean I’m starting to remove all of this armor I’ve worked so hard to build, and that must mean I’m about to get hurt because that’s what men do: they disappoint and they hurt.
Stupid. See vulnerable, but also, who knowingly sets themselves up to have their heart ripped from their chest and thrown on the floor? [Hold please for a George Michael dance party. Gotta have faith. Let’s all take a second to appreciate :26-:35 of this video.]
The push-pull effect. I’ve always been able to be enough for myself. It was only through a conversation with Whit when she told me, “You can be everything you need, but it may not be everything you want” that I realized that maybe I was actually missing something in my life. As any normal girl would, my brain started spinning out of control and doing the girly thing. I got excited, anxious and daydreamy. Then the logical part of my brain would put the kibosh on it and get everything back into place. When I was explaining this weird excited/logical haze to Laura, she called it a push-pull thing. And she’s right: even the way I was describing the balance I have with this guy, I was gesturing my right hand up and my left hand down. I’m super outgoing, he’s less. I take big risks [like physical challenges that require you to sign multiple death waivers before they give you your number], and he doesn’t want any part of that. He’s bloody brilliant, and I’m *ahem* a little less than brilliant. He’s a fantastic musician; I still think Britney Spears is one of the greatest entertainers I’ll ever get to see in my lifetime.
It’s crazy for me to sit back and think about the things we don’t have in common. In a lot of areas we are exact opposites of each other. In the past, chances are that this would throw me way off, but this time there’s this unusual feeling of maturity. These differences feel more like opportunities to learn and grow, which is not something I’ve felt in the past with anyone else. Knowing that I’m slowly beginning to remove pieces of my armor makes me feel vulnerable, yet being with him makes me feel powerful, invincible, unstoppable.
He’s great around my friends, and he met my parents [Don’t gasp – this isn’t some big deal y’all. Everyone in my life meets my parents, and most of them end up loving them more than they love me.], and of course everyone loves him. This is what I’ve heard so far:
“Jack, you’re, like, glowing just even talking about him.”
“Oh Jacklyn, you’ve got it bad.”
“I think he’s your guy.”
[Jokingly] “Well, now that you’ve got a husband…”
I punched the last person in the arm. Everyone who knows me knows better than to use any form of the M-word [or its relatives] around me.
I can’t think of one negative thing to say about this guy. Not one damn thing. I’ve been sitting here waiting for him to fuck up so I can forget about these feelings and go back to being my independent, ambitious, get-out-of-my-way-or-get-run-down self, but he hasn’t. And I don’t think he’s going to. He understands that relationships aren’t easy. Just because he’s got my undivided attention does not mean that it will stay that way, and he goes above and beyond to make sure he doesn’t fuck up. Admirable. Especially to someone like me who strives to do the right thing and be thoughtful in every possible situation and continuously misses the mark just about every time.
He’s supportive, encouraging and thoughtful. He helped me power through speaking at a huge conference in New York City. He puts up with me being lost a lot [all] the time. [By the way, Find My Friends is pretty much the greatest app ever. He helped me find the subway when I got stuck walking in circles in the rain. Who puts up with someone so directionally challenged AND still smiles about it later? THIS GUY.] He doesn’t care that I will fall asleep on him within the first 15 minutes of watching television. My damn-near-daily naps don’t bug him. He’s okay with the fact that more than half of his jokes go flying over my head. He danced with me even though he felt intimidated [super extra special bonus points for doing so in a group of dancers who have been dancing just as long, if not longer, than I have]. He puts up with my taste in music and doesn’t care that I claim two baseball teams. He took out the trash because I was too lazy to walk the ten steps to the trash chute. The most important thing, the most incredible and telling of them all: Autumn loves him, too.
Part of the reason I believe I’ve been so closed off to the idea of love is because I’ve always felt someone else was more deserving of the positive attention, and I’ve never felt worthy of it myself. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough to truly understand it or appreciate it, and that’s why I ended up disappointed or heartbroken. Maybe that ambition, drive and need to feel accomplished was more powerful than my desire for love or to be loved. I don’t know exactly, but I do know there will be no more accepting the love I think I deserve, only accepting, appreciating and enjoying the love he has given and [hopefully] will continue to give.
I wish I could do a better job of articulating how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking, but my vocabulary is far too limited. Or maybe those words don’t even exist. Who knows? This man has completely turned my world upside down in the best possible way. I can’t really be sure about anything I knew to be truth yesterday. The one thing I do know, deep within my soul, is that there is more to life than logic and reason, but I’ve never let myself live it before. So here goes…
…this should prove to be an interesting conversation once he stumbles upon this post, don’t you think?