Newborn Love

Black tie and black tights,
A dark bar on a cold night,
Excitement buzzing like champagne bubbles
as we reminisce about how we got here.

I have always been yours,
before I even knew you, I was yours.

“Happy New Year!”
the confetti rains as 2017 slips away,
and upstairs we run
to dance where we first knew it was right.

* * *

An amazingly packed weekend full of meeting new people and bonding with others, drinking lots of alcohol and falling even more in love.

Realistically, I had to jump start my car twice in the cold weather, got sick from one of the at least five sick people that surrounded me during the holidays, and I have the cold sore to prove it… But regardless I had a great time.

I hate to brag but it really is an incredible feeling to find your soulmate. Just wanting to spend endless days together, waking up together, going to get breakfast, doing menial errands like going to the gym, doing NOTHING on a Saturday as your rest in preparation for the next day’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, playing video games and watching movies together. Being able to talk about anything and everything, never getting bored of it. And being put to sleep as he rubs your head because you’re feeling sick. There’s no better feeling.

* * *

I was never the girl who dreamed of having babies, and when I did they were nightmares. In eighth grade I had a nightmare that I gave birth to twins. Earlier this year I had a work nightmare that I gave birth and my baby was a literal pork chop on a dinner plate… I’ve never wanted kids.

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I decided I wanted kids. Childbirth had always scared the shit out of me – I just wanted to have the baby belly and then suddenly had the baby with no painful moments in between. But whatever omnipotent force is out there has a funny way of guiding you.

For example, there were a lot of eerily timed happenings in my life before I met Andrew. I met him when I was 19, but neither of us were ready at that point. When we met again at Lauren’s birthday party this past April, we hit it off a bit, but I still wasn’t confident (though apparently at the end of the night I sat in the middle of the limo because that’s where he had been and he sat in the back of the limo because that’s where I had been sitting – more evidence of fate in the works). When we really hit it off and started talking in May, I had just graduated college a week before. Both of my cats died before we started talking, and he’s allergic to cats so now I don’t have to decide whether or not to leave my cat behind to move in with him. There are more examples, but those are just a few.

And lo and behold, last year I decided I want kids, in May I met the man of my dreams and I want to have his babies, and what falls into my lap? A birthing center client. At my new job, one of our clients is a new birthing center opening up in the Frederick area, and I swear to god I have never had this much information or this many resources about childbirth and birthing options. I literally got paid to watch a video about a home birth and I didn’t cringe. It looked beautiful. I was reading about baby milestones for the first year of life and I finally for the first time in my life understand why women always get so excited about newborns.

Working with this client has convinced me that I want to try a birth center or a home birth, should I be healthy enough to have one. Fate has given me the resources to finally not be totally terrified of having children.

As I should currently be working, I should wrap things up. I just wanted to share my newfound newborn love. It’s exciting! Finally feeling like you have your life together for a moment (before it’s all inevitably thrown into chaos as you move to a new state, find a new job, make new friends, etc…. But we’ll get to that later.)

 

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PSA for All The Brokenhearted

I’m not typically one for country music all year long, but it’s been one of those years. Everything is happy and light and lovely, and I think that’s why I haven’t had the same hankering for alternative music this fall. Can’t complain!

Lately, one of my friends has been going through a rough time. Her boyfriend treats her pretty horribly. Long story short, he is very disrespectful, doesn’t give her any positive attention, just wants to sweep their problems (a lot of which HE has caused) under the rug. And it was just one of those painfully obvious moments of “I’ve been on the other end of this conversation before.”

I think we’ve all been there. We want to try, we want to make things work, we want things to be as simple and picture perfect as they were in the beginning. And unfortunately sometimes that’s just not the case. Sometimes you can’t work out the kinks – especially if the kinks aren’t your fault. But you think anyways that you can change the person, that things will go back to how they were.

I stood there, telling her everything my mom had once told me. “You don’t deserve it” “you’ll find somebody better who treats you right” “do you really want to raise children with a guy who treats you like this?” “trust what your family has to say about him – they’ll see what you don’t” all of that.

And oh my gosh once you’re on the other side of that conversation, you realize how RIGHT they are! And it suddenly blows your mind that anyone would settle for being treated like shit!

So I’m gonna go on a little rant:

YOU are the only person to blame for someone treating you like shit. Because YOU are allowing that person to treat you that way.

You need to know your worth. And no, no one deserves to be ignored, bullied, manipulated, emotionally or physically abused. Just because you think you love someone or vice versa.

I was in the same boat. I dated guys who didn’t want to talk to me, I wouldn’t hear from them for weeks because, rather than having a “I’m not feeling this anymore” conversation, they just figured if they stopped I’d go away. I dated guys who used me, from the bedroom to running errands for them. I tried to make things work for another year with someone who CHEATED on me. I tried convincing myself that I didn’t want a relationship just to appease these guys who couldn’t handle a commitment. I thought it was too much drama. It gave me anxiety to even think about being in a relationship again, because all I knew was heartache, jealousy, and disappointment.

And then I met Andrew, and in the first few months I wanted to cry at how well he treated me. He has never said a bad thing about me, to me or his coworkers. He is always willing to communicate with me if we have any issues. He is a selfless boyfriend and lover, and I’ve never felt closer to anyone in my life. We joke that I am the female version of him. He’s met my entire family and they all love him, I’ve met most of his family and they all love me. He is everything I could’ve ever asked for in a relationship, and he loves every little thing about me, and he tells me that every day. For christ’s sake, I’ve written enough blogs about the man!

Please for the love of God, take my advice: Don’t fucking do it. You are worth more than you think. You will meet someone who will love every goddamn thing about you if you are just patient enough to wait for them. Love yourself, be kind to yourself, and be patient. And maybe then you’ll be on the other side of the conversation, wondering how any of your friends could ever settle for garbage. Learn to let go gracefully. If they don’t fight for you, fuck them, they don’t deserve you anyway. You will be treated like the queen/king you are. And you will forever be grateful to that person for loving you every day and showing you how much you should have loved yourself in the first place.

 

I Will Try

It’s strange when it hits me.

When I roll over in the middle of the night and lay a hand on your chest. When I blow you a kiss as you drive off in the middle of a rainy Sunday evening. When I scroll through my own social media posts. And it happened today.

It’s strange to me just how much I love you sometimes.

I’ve been in relationships before, said “I love you” to people and thought I meant it. In some ways I had to realize what true love really is, what it means. Maybe it’s different for other people.

For me, true love is making goofy faces as you walk past each other at the gym. It’s crying in the car because you’re both laughing so hard at something the other said. It’s driving 4.5 hours to a wedding you couldn’t get into just to make sure they stay awake for the drive, then driving his hungover butt home the next day.

It’s waking up in the morning to a million kisses on my cheeks, nose, mouth, and forehead. It’s waking up in the middle of the night to apologize and cuddle after an argument. It’s knowing you can, without a doubt, trust the other person when he’s on his phone, because he makes sure you know how much you mean to him and how he would never do anything to lose you. It’s hearing the hurt in his own voice when I’m on the phone crying about some work stress. It’s rolling over in the middle of the night just to fall asleep in his arms again. It’s falling asleep as he strokes your hair, because he knows it will put you right to sleep.

It’s feeling safe in his arms, knowing he won’t let go. Knowing that when he says he won’t hurt you, he means it. It’s being respected in every aspect, and it’s feeling saved. It’s feeling whole.

As I scrolled through my instagram today, I was hit with a wave of gratitude and appreciation. In my mind, the difference is night and day between my life before I met you and after. I think back to what I was going through, what I was doing, how I felt. I was numb. I was empty. I was desperate to be loved by someone who was only using me because I thought that I loved him. I was hurt, but I wasn’t even helping myself. I was doing things I knew in my heart I didn’t want to do because I thought those were the sacrifices I had to make to be with someone.

It was all bullshit. And thank god I see that now.

My life changed the day I met you. I’d never really believed in soul mates before, but I know now that you’re mine. We’re too alike, right down to June 20, 1987, the anniversary that both of our parents share.

I didn’t know it yet, but I met my future husband back when I was 19. And when I met him again when I was 22, I was finally ready for him. I was ready to appreciate all that he is, all that he does. His heart of gold just waiting to be loved.

The other day I remembered that, as I flirted with him the night of my sister’s engagement bar crawl, I took a snapchat of the two of us. I jokingly captioned it “my future husband” and put it on my story. Little did I know how right I was.

We’ve been talking since May (officially dating since August), and we’re already talking about moving in together when his lease is up. Some people may think we’re moving too fast, and while I want to enjoy the moments as they come, I’ve never felt surer of a person. I told him I loved him while I was drunk in his car just three weeks after making it official, and I don’t regret it. He later told me he knew he loved me on August 13th – just two days after our first date. It’s right. Even Nana told me that she and my grandfather got married just six months after knowing each other. “When you know, you know.”

And I know. This is the man I want to be with for the rest of my life. Waking up in his arms, his soft breath at my back, on a lazy Sunday morning and not having to say goodbye just a few hours later.

I thought I was whole. I thought I loved myself. He shows me so much more. He completes me. And I’ll never be able to show him how grateful I am to have him, but I will try my hardest. As long as I live, I will try.

shawcaps

Love

And I Can’t Help

Your arms around me,
security, not a cage.
With your sleepy sigh at my back, I smile.
I know you will wake as soon as I touch my phone.
And you will pull me closer to you,
hot skin warming my everything.

*   *   *

Our mornings and nights we spend wrapped around each other, and our days we spend roaming your city. There are a million places you want to show me, and I can hear the disappointment in your voice every time I say that I’ve been there before with my sister. You want to be my first for everything, to show me why I should love your town as much as I love my own.

The thing is, I don’t always love new surroundings. I love familiarity. So being in this town that boarders both new and familiar, with my hand firmly in yours, or your arm draped around me, it makes me love the place more than I ever did.

You cater to my every need with a playful smile and a happy heart. We hop from place to place, just enjoying each other’s company. The playful flick of my toes against your shin, your goofy grin as you hold my hand in yours on the bar top, the sweet cheek kisses as we make harmless jokes at each other’s expense. It’s the same scene at every bar, champagne bubbles caressing my lips as we remain mentally wrapped up in nothing and no one but each other.

Your love and support astounds me. You haven’t said it yet, but I can feel it. I wiped a lash off your cheek and told you to make a wish, and you looked at me before you blew it away. I asked what you wished for, and you refused to tell me. “I want this one to come true,” you smiled. And I smiled back, my eyes falling to the floor as I blushed. I feel it.

And your support… you’ve never even thought of knocking me down. And every time I say something about myself, you correct me in a loving way. You have no idea how I haven’t been snatched up by someone else before you, why others would pass on such a soul. That’s how I know it’s right. From playing video games in your messy apartment on a Friday night, to teeing it up at a driving range for the first time, you have never laughed at me for trying new things. You have always been on my side. I want you on my team forever.

At the end of the day, after we’ve made a simple dinner, had a few beers, and watched an episode of our favorite show, I’m in your bed again, head on your chest, falling asleep as you stroke my head. And with each sleepy twitch and each deep breath, I realize I’m falling more than just asleep.

First Dates and Second Weddings

It took all of my focus to keep my hands from shaking every time I took a sip from my glass. I sat there, cross-legged, waiting for your arrival.

Nervous shakes grew into playful banter and genuine laughter. I glanced at you and was overcome with this urge to kiss you right then and there, but I knew if I did we wouldn’t even make it out of your apartment.

So I waited. And in the morning I woke up in your arms, to the soft, melodic sound of your breathing, fast asleep. And I smiled.

* * *

The shakes came back as I stood in a wine red dress in a room full of strangers, sipping my cocktail as fast as I could. You disappeared in this sea of strangers, but I found I wasn’t drowning just yet.

A fake proposal and real tears around the room, the buzz finally started to hit me. With your knee touching mine, you made sure I was having fun and I made sure you knew I was, that you would be too, as you grabbed your napkin.

And I grabbed your hand and led you to the dance floor, where I could see in your eyes that you were entirely too nervous about how you would look.

As the night drew on and the collection of stirring straws grew larger and larger, I could see the light in your eyes. You felt comfortable finally, in your own skin as I tugged at your tie, the smile on your face as wide as your heart. You pulled me into a slow dance, prince and princess at our own private ball, your lips sugar against my ear.

Up in arms and hand in hand, the wind toyed with our hair the whole ride home, the fresh air cool against my skin. Your head against the seat, your cool blue eyes finding me when it wasn’t, your sweet words floated in the breeze.

We trudged up to our room, lying against each other as I started to drift off, feeling at home in this foreign room, in this strange town, with nothing and no one but you. Once again, I awoke with your arms around me, a love song in my head, and your sigh at my back. Your soft murmurs became a new song that I love to sing as you traced my back with your fingertips.

***

This time you had the shakes as we drove through the rolling green hills I call home. It was your turn to sink or swim in a sea of strangers. You floated.

Your blue eyes sunk into me, butterflies zooming through my belly, and you smiled when I hadn’t made a joke.

“I’m just happy.”

Me too.

 

 

Strapped

I’ve finally found a moment to sit and write, and even now I’m distracted by this boy blowing up my phone. But it’s okay, I really like him.

It’s the boy I casually mentioned last time, my sister’s fiance’s friend. He’s a really sweet guy, and I’m excited to see him soon. We couldn’t find any time to get together before I went on my trip, so our first date is the 11th of August and he’s taking me to a wedding the 12th. He stuck with me through my entire trip, always eager to know what I was doing, never happy when I lost service at the campgrounds. Very sweet and charming and respectful. Talk about a breath of fresh air.

My trip itself was fantastic. I was terrified of seeing bears, but I think I handled it really well for being my first time camping ever, let alone for two weeks straight. We survived a 5.8 earthquake that hit Montana, we swam in glacial waters of  Lake McDonald, we slept outside during a thunderstorm in Yellowstone, we heard wolves/coyotes howl just over the mountain ridge, we woke up early in search of bears and other wildlife, and we went to bed late, usually with some kind of alcohol in our systems. We climbed a 10,000 foot peak, and I got a tattoo in Denver. My only regret is that I forgot a notebook, because I’ve since forgotten so many of the inspired thoughts I had while on the journey.

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But the MOUNTAINS. The mountains were just more beautiful and magnificent than I could have ever expected. It felt a little strange coming back home, seeing my mountains and thinking of just how small they were in comparison. I’m hoping they don’t disappoint me…

Phoebe and I had plenty of great conversations, but the one that stuck with me the most was just eye opening to me. It was something that I’ve always kind of known in the back of my mind, but that I hadn’t really had to process it before.

You can’t love someone wholeheartedly if there is no trust. I remember the days of anxiety, the edge of suspicion to every text message and every name that came in the aftermath of being cheated on. I remember the knots in my stomach, the sleepless nights, and the pure worry, even when he and I were trying to work things out. Even when it seemed like we had, I was still always wary, ready to jump to the worst conclusion, because I had learned that the worst conclusion isn’t always wrong.

I remember enduring the same storm with Adam, with girls he told me not to worry about, who he then had to own up to. “Nothing happened, but…” Everything before “but” is bullshit. Something happened, and I was back in that hole, empty and broken at the bottom. Somehow he got mad at me for all of it, and my lack of trust was supposedly why he dumped me so harshly. Even though I was walking on glass, dancing around my own feelings to spare his, to ensure that he still loved me, that he still thought I was “cool.” I’ll tell you what, he didn’t, but I still get texts from him whenever he’s drunk and horny. To that I say, fuck you.

I say that you can’t love someone if you can’t trust them. You can’t wholeheartedly be your best self. You’re always being careful, always watching your back or barking at others to stay away. If there is no trust, there is nothing. I understand why it’s hard to trust, but you have to give that new person a chance. If nothing else, you’ve made it through heartache before and you will again, but it’s important to love as if you’ve never had a broken heart. I’m still trying to incorporate that into this new relationship, and he has been very understanding of the times I haven’t been able to.

I was telling Mom the other day how I’m just so sick of the dating scene nowadays. Everyone’s excuse is that they’ve been hurt before, so they’re “not looking for anything serious.” So when they do find someone they’re interested in, they refuse to put labels to anything. Because if there are no labels, it doesn’t hurt so much when someone gets hurt, right? We never made anything official, so she can’t be mad that I’m on a date with someone else. She’s not really my girlfriend, so I shouldn’t invite her to family events. I’m losing interest, I should just stop talking to her and she’ll get the point. If she says anything, she’s totally crazy because we aren’t anything and I told her I wasn’t looking for anything serious…

It’s all bullshit, and it’s all the same. Maybe if we as a species all grew a pair and gave it another shot, picked ourselves off and dusted ourselves off when we got hurt, we wouldn’t end up hurting so many people. We would love others instead of playing mind games. We would respect one another, and if we fell in love, we fell in love. Perfect world, right?

Spread some love and have some hope.

Dani

 

Summer Rain

To set the mood: it’s a arid, rainy night, the rain sloughing off the humidity. Lightning flashes silently, its applause so far off I can’t hear it. Listening to something I recently discovered thanks to Spotify.

Life moves on. It keeps rolling with no intention of stopping, neither for the good nor the bad. Life continues.

For me, it has meant a lot. I’ve graduated. It doesn’t feel like it yet, but maybe it’ll hit me in August when I’m not packing up to go anywhere. My grandparents are still in the hospital, and I am adjusting to life back home.

Exciting things happen! Last weekend my sister got engaged! It was a beautiful, magical moment, and we both cried tears of joy. I think for her it seemed like the end of a long battle between her heart and her anxiety. For me it was a mix. I was so happy for her, but some part of me felt like I was losing my sister. I know it’s not true, I’m really just gaining a brother who is pretty much me in male form.

There were also times that I felt a little hollow during the celebration. My family was saying “Oh you’re next!” And the smile just couldn’t reach my eyes. How can I even entertain that idea when I don’t have anyone? The only person I was interested in clearly was not interested in me. I had a few small flashes of loneliness, but they were quickly swallowed by my happiness for my sister and her now-fiance. He’s a great man, and I’m happy to welcome him to the family.

As it turns out, things may have stirred somewhere else, a friend of my new soon-to-be brother-in-law. But I’ll wait to delve into that until there’s more to talk about.

I have noticed I am more open this time around. Recently, my social anxiety has gotten the best of any semblance of love interests. It scared me whenever they were flirty or wanted to see me. I felt awkward when they showed any emotion, and I refused to show any back. I’m not sure what it meant, whether it was my intuition protecting me or just succumbing to social anxiety, but either way this time is a little different. My emotions are still dulled at this point. I wish I remembered what it felt like to wholeheartedly be excited at the start of a new romance, but it’s been a while, and I’m scared of overwhelming anything. Both because it may scare off the other person and it may hurt me in the end. But I hold on to the hope that this one may be different, and that in itself is something I haven’t felt in a while.

So we’ll see how things play out. Until then, I will be working and hiking (drinking).

Love

 

 

Mortality

My grandfather is in the hospital. Yes, the one that lives with us, the one who has just been an asshole of a human being to my mother and father, the one that I just kept hoping would die.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little happy when he went to the hospital with pneumonia, something very strange to catch at this time of year. I was. It was almost a relief, that maybe we were finally nearing the end. Of an endless stream of nurses, of my father muttering under his breath every time the nurses had to move my grandfather, of my mother having to sacrifice her weekends to care for a man who was entirely ungrateful for her help.

And so, he is in the hospital, nearing the end. He chose hospice care. We think that after years of fighting so hard to hang on to life, he has finally accepted that he is going to die, in his own cynical way. For a psychiatrist, it’s weird to me that he has such a hard time processing his own feelings and emotions, but maybe that’s not too unusual with psychologists and psychiatrists. My mom and I are only able to guess at what he’s feeling, but we we think he has finally come to accept his own death.

So Mom asked my sister and I to visit him in the hospital, just in case he doesn’t come home. I walked in there, slightly annoyed, afraid, and hungover from celebrating my graduation. I have no connection with this man and I’m terrified of hospitals, so my own feelings manifested in annoyance. Just one more thing this man will put us through.

What I was surprised to find was how I actually felt sad when I saw him. Not pity, but sad. I won’t miss the man, but there’s something so haunting about seeing someone who is, for all intents and purposes, dying. Leaning across the bed, eyes closed, a once towering man now shriveled and deflated, struggling to breathe easily. At the end of his life, despite how hard he has clung to this world.

Mom and I wonder why he has clung so tightly. He claims to be a good Catholic, so shouldn’t he be excited for heaven? We think he is still fighting his own demons. Maybe he realizes he wasn’t the best person while on this earth, and he is afraid of judgement, should it come, should it be real. It just makes you wonder.

It was the first time I had been in a hospital for someone who is dying. I have been when my sister got cleated during the only softball game I went to, I’ve been to Hershey Medical Center when my cousin was hit by a truck, I have been for my own personal health issues, but never for a dying person. There’s something so private, that silence just hanging in the air. No one knows what to do or say, because what else can you talk about? You try to make everything seem normal to give that dying person a sense of peace and, well, normalcy. But that elephant in the room is there, clear as day, as obvious as the IV in his arm.

I do not have any strong feelings towards my grandfather (not positive ones, anyway). But you never want to see someone suffering, someone miserable, someone who is clearly afraid of the next adventure. It’s sad, seeing someone who is at the end of his life. It is.

At first, it was strange to me that these emotions were even touched when I have harbored such negative feelings for him all these years, but the more I think about it, the more I understand it’s normal.

Despite the fact that I don’t like my grandfather, I would have to be heartless not to feel something at the sight of a dying man. It is the first time I have ever really seen him any kind of emotionally vulnerable. And it’s tough to face death. It’s hard to face your own mortality. To think that one day I will be on my deathbed too, and what will I have made of my life then? What relationships will I have sown? What memories, should I still be lucky enough to have them, will I reflect on? Will I be able to let go of my life with grace, or will I be just as afraid?

I can’t quite put words to what seeing him today has brought me, but I think I needed it. In a way, I feel I have come to peace with my feelings towards my grandfather. And I didn’t know I needed that, but I did.

Until that moment comes, I will be there for my mom as she processes her own confused feelings for what will inevitably be the death of her father. I will sow my relationships, thankful that I have been blessed with so many loving people.

Thank you. Love.