Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Celebrating Valentines and Love

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers. I spent this year's holiday in San Diego with my best friend and her family. You may not know this, but her little family of three has grown to a family of four. Last year on March 21st I spent 2 weeks in San Diego helping her family when she gave birth to a baby girl. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of, and now in addition to my wonderfully brilliant 3 year old nephew, I have a little 11 month old niece who is the sweetest little ball of sunshine.

So this Valentine’s Day I could think of no better way to spend the day than with the people, and the kids, that love me totally for who I am. I am so grateful for not just them, but for my own family and closest friends as well, because they show me over and over again that I am loved not just in spite of my quirks but because of them. They laugh at my stupid jokes, the things that I question, and the things that I don't. They love me for all the neurotic things I do and for all the ways I make them laugh. And I'm the same way with them. We accept each other. We love each other.

As I thought about this on my way to California, I thought about one of the last fights I had with my current ex. It revolved around my unwillingness to temporarily move in with him for about six months while subletting my apartment. This was going to be an effort to save money on my part after racking up a shockingly large vet bill when my beloved cat, you knew him as Scrambles, was very sick over the course of five months and then eventually, and heartbreakingly, passed away.

A month after Scrambles passed away, I started to think about how I would deal with the debt that I took on to care for my little man in the last months of his life, and so I came up with an idea to move in with my then-boyfriend (who I had been with for 16 months at this point) and sublet my own place for about six months so my rent could be taken care of and I would be free to make a dent in my mounting stack of bills. We both liked the idea and I set our plan into action. After about two weeks I began to think more about it. You see, we really only had about two consistent months up to this point where we were happy, getting along, and not fighting about anything at all. Things were going great in those two months, and that’s why I had the faith to come up with this plan. But after a week or two with this idea, I re-thought it and realized that that two recently good months were just not enough to prove to me that we could handle living together albeit temporarily and I started to feel like we needed more good months before living together. I also wasn't honestly ready to give up my home for half a year.

For those of you that don’t know me, I love my home. It’s my happy place. After sharing a home with a boyfriend for years, and then to move to my own home that was all mine was an incredible thing for me. Thinking about leaving it was making me very nervous, and not just leaving it but doing the following things, a) moving in with not just my boyfriend but his two other roommates (I haven't had a roommate, besides living with a boyfriend, in 10 years), b) giving up any semblance of privacy for six whole months and sharing a very small bedroom with my boyfriend whom I had almost left a few months prior, c) moving in with him for the reason of solving a money problem, and d) giving up my almost nightly ritual of taking a hot bath and reading a book (his tub was well…unbatheable, and I wouldn't have been able to do this), which is a tradition I started when I first started living alone and one which I now still love. And those are just the high-points of why it wasn't going to work out. With all this in mind, I found myself an alternative. I researched taking out a loan through my company and this was ultimately the best solution for me and one I am so grateful for. Parents, friends, and co-workers all supported the choice. When I explained all this to my ex I expected to hear the following:
I understand. Moving into my place isn't the best thing for you. I know you and I love you and I know that you won’t be comfortable at my place for that long no matter how we try to fix it up for you. It sounds like you've found another way to save money and when the time is right we’ll move in together and start our life together right, not because of an answer to a money issue but because we are going to build a new home for us. And I agree, let's have some more time together before we make this big step.
That did not in any way happen. Quite the opposite, Dear Readers. Instead I was faced with a full-on assault of unbelievable bullshit that shook me from whatever high I was on during the two months we were doing great and plummeted me to the ground, hard. He, over the course of maybe a week, told me that I was more interested in my own comfort than any other person he had ever known, I was allowing my fear of losing my privacy and the fear that the strain of living together in this situation would further weaken our unsteady relationship to stop me from doing something positive for myself (saving money... in a way he thought was better than a loan), and ultimately the fact that I was not willing to sacrifice my personal comfort and privacy in an effort to save money (not just for myself but for us, since if we eventually married my debt would be “our” problem) meant to him that I was not a person that was capable of self-sacrifice and because of this I would not ultimately make a good wife.

Yeah, that really happened. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. You might want to go back and re-read it.

Ready? Ok, let’s move on.

To think that I am a person who would do or think any of those things is to not know me at all. And that's the kicker really. He couldn't accept that I wasn't ready for the commitment or ready to give up my home. He couldn't accept that I needed  more time to be in the relationship with him and that I wanted to wait until we were both ready and not just rush in to solve a money problem. He couldn't accept that my home, my privacy, and my daily rituals are all a part of the glue that fuses me together in this neat little package that is me. Nope, instead he did what he always did when faced with something about me he didn't understand or like, he attacked me. He probably did this out of fear or discomfort, and I don't think he realized he was doing it really. He wasn't a bad person, it's just how (I believe) he dealt with people or situations he didn't agree with, and as we all know, that didn't fly. A few weeks later, we broke up.

Ask someone who loves me and they’ll tell you that one of my qualities is my usual non-judgmental and accepting nature. In fact, just ask my best friend, she gave her daughter a middle name that sounds just like my middle name for this very reason. She admires this about me so much that she hopes her daughter grows up to have these same qualities.

I don’t want to get into every detail of this relationship for the interest of his privacy and my sanity. Just typing up that story right now and re-reading it pisses me off to a serious degree and I don’t care to reiterate every fight. I'm moving on with my life and not re-living the past here. But I do think it’s fair to tell you some of the story so you get a better sense of what happened.

But here’s the punch line.

A few weeks after the break-up I stumbled upon a rerun of Fraiser and found myself laughing out loud and then having a full-on deep revelation about myself and my relationship. (Yes, late-night sitcoms really do help us with our lives.) There was this episode where Fraiser secretly helps Daphne throw a dinner party with Niles. She insisted that instead of the tradition where Fraiser and Niles throw dinner parties together, that her and Niles would throw one instead. But of course she needed help but didn’t want to admit this to Niles, and so Fraiser comes to their home to save the day and hi-jinks ensue while he repeatedly has to hide in the kitchen pantry while frantically making his “signature sauce.” In this one scene, Fraiser hurriedly asks Daphne for a set of ramekins for the table, she pulls out a few but some are mismatched, he huffs and insists that this simply cannot do and frantically calls his father to gather up his complete set from home and rush them over.

For some reason this cracked me up and I instant messaged my best friend, relaying the scene to her. Then she wrote, “You know why you find this so funny, right? You’re Fraiser!” I laughed so hard because well… I kinda am. I love my things, I love setting the proper table, I love my collection of kitchenwares and if I had to set a table with a mismatched set of ramekins for a dinner party I sure as shit would make someone go get me a set.

A week later, as I was going through tumblr, I found this image.

For this reason, the people that love me, love me because of this, and although it’s not ideal, no one should ever want to change that about me or make me feel bad about it. In the end, I'm grateful for the barrage of bullshit that toppled over me in the last month we were together because it helped shake some sense into me and finally brake apart two people who should not have been together.

I have to believe that if someone loves you, they are going to accept your quirks, will love you for them, and will absolutely not make you feel bad about anything that you either believe, want, or need. This, my Dear Readers, is the absolute biggest thing that has come out of this break-up for me and one that I'm finding myself writing about more and more as I start to share this story. So stay tuned please. More to come.

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