Oh, Golly G-Whiz.
A year ago marks the date that a juggler came into town and took me on a date.
Like many modern romances...I was courted via Facebook.
He 'friended' me after seeing me at a party with a few too many beers and/or glasses of wine in my system and a belief that I owned the dance floor and pretty much anyone who came within an arms reach.
As is Facebook custom, I did a little bit of stalking.
He's a handsome fella with big brown eyes, a bright smile, black rimmed glasses AND a very respectable beard.
I was also pretty sure he had a girlfriend.
A super cute girlfriend, too.
So...I did my thing and tried to figure out the 'dating scene' of Tucson.
I had no clue.
How do I ask a guy out?
Do I dress like I want to get busy or do I try to look casual?
Do I wear short skirts or jeans?
Should I mention I am recently divorced?
My experience was all High School.
The Men of Tucson became fair game for my journey into love, dating and just being awkward.
I spent a lot of time hitting on my friends, having lots of bashful moments and just being a single woman for the 1st time in 16 years.
Oh...what a fantastically frightful time that was but also sweet...yes?
I think, it was sweet.
A few months after 'the friending' I began to notice that this pretty bearded man was 'liking' my posts...
The posts about my child, about teaching yoga and all the other mundane things we share in a virtual world that somehow appeases the loneliness that happens now that we all work too much, have less time but still yearn to share our little part of this human experience.
I started to pay a bit more attention.
It turned out he didn't even live here anymore and the cutie pie girlfriend I was so sure of was actually his ex-girlfriend.
So, who was he?
Does he just 'friend' single moms everywhere because he is secretly a psychopath?
Regardless...I didn't mind too much.
Somewhere in the daily scans of status updates...
I mentioned that my son was sick and he sent me a message of well wishes for my sweet boy.
I was smitten.
He said he was coming to town and he asked me out on a date.
I was excited.
He had a plan.
A Sunset hike and dinner.
Who does that?
I'd never been properly taken out so I was kind of dumbfounded and nervous.
Like studdering and clammy hands nervous.
I knew I was in trouble from the beginning.
I won't get too detailed about all the happenings of the date but I will say that things went well.
A few days later...he went to The Grand Canyon to raft The Colorado River and for the first time in a long time, I truly missed someone and not because I was lonely or needy but because I just liked the obnoxious amount of bawdy laughs that seemed to escape when he was around.
He returned from his trek down the river but soon he had to return back to Bend, Oregon.
A long distance relationship started.
Despite working tons and a weird schedule, we managed to keep in touch and talk daily.
I left Tucson to meet him.
At first, after getting off the plane, I had a panic moment.
Oh Dear Lord...
What was I doing?
I left my son at home to roam around the Pacific Northwest with a guy I just met.
A guy who is 4 years younger than me, as well?
What the Hell happened to me?
He took me around town, drove me to Portland, Oregon to see and meet my friends, we camped at Mt.Hood, his Van died, (Yes, I said "Van." It was an awesome Van.) , we floated down The Deschutes River and fell in love!
Ughhh...my eyelids still twitch just a little whenever I gush...it's a little awkward for me, to be honest.
I'm all for LOVE but being IN Love?
I was sooooo not ready, was I?
I left him in tears, counting the days apart and wondering if I had made it all up in my head.
Then he moved back to Tucson and my life got turned upside down.
Me + him + my son + my dog + his dog + a full time job, a very grumpy ex-husband and total fear that I was going to lose my independence was thrust into my world, all at once.
Huge fears welled up, grabbed hold and very soon after his arrival we had our first fight.
Now, here is the backstory of me:
When I fight, I fight like a wounded animal...fear, insecurity and pain are shielded by blind rage and I become badger-mean.
I kicked him out of my life.
Truthfully, I can't even remember but it felt awful and we talked.
He wrote me a love letter.
It wasn't the first, either.
He has sent me handwritten love letters since the beginning.
I've never been so sincerely romanced in all of my life.
I always thought I was the type of girl who didn't need to be wooed.
It turns out I don't NEED it but I do like it.
It's beautiful and loving, as is he.
I still continue to panic.
I feel old, not 'arty' enough, tired, unappreciated and just scared out of my mind because not only do I love him but so does my son.
Atticus calls Zack his best friend.
All 5 of Us.
It is ridiculously terrifying for some reason.
Today it's been a year and within that time period we have moved in together.
He wanted it sooner than I did and it took time for me to adjust to living with someone who wants to spend time with me and be my partner.
I feel like a child sometimes, not sure how to do this...the goofy-in-love-couple thing.
My childhood was full of love but also lots of abuse and death so at a very young age I learned to shut down, close off and put up walls.
It was my habit to validate bad behavior, distrust kindness and try not to become too attached to anyone.
So being 'in love' was always something that others did but not me until Zack came into my life.
He inspires me to open my heart.
He makes me laugh.
He may not always understand the foundation of many of the dramas that sometimes pull me away from being grateful for the present moment but he tries as best as he can to be there for me.
As I move into my 40s, I am learning to truly love and listen and it's been really hard, to be honest.
I've been messy and chaotic.
EVERY time I feel my heart strings start to wonder too far from my control I retract in fear and look for reasons to escape.
To be alone.
Sometimes, I worry that being in a committed relationship means that I have to be perfect and I can't make mistakes.
In my past relation, I walked on egg shells for much of it, so I don't always know how to relax, breathe and recognize that this man actually loves me.
All of me.
He loves me when I'm hilarious, passionate and sassy.
He loves me when I've become too tired, too hungry or too overwhelmed to function in a rational way.
He always lends his heart, his head and his hand when I need it.
Slowly...I'm learning to let him take my hand without hesitation and I'm glad about it.
I love him.
And he loves me...crazy sexy, bossy, controlling and brilliant me.
We are in love and I think it's awesome.