It turns out that I had to get over my petty bullshit first. I had to stop checking boxes. I had to stop looking out and comparing myself to somebody else, and compare me to me. I had to evaluate whether I was fundamentally happy, secure, and unconditionally accepting; not whether he was. I had to let God do what God always does – take time. Time required for me to get right with me.
I had to be with Alison. I had to sink in and wait. I had to get over the things that really don’t matter and discover the ones that do. I had to let go of the idea that I was supposed to be anything, or anyone, or anywhere other than exactly as I was right now. 36 ½ and “single”. 36 ½ and taking birth control religiously. 36 ½ and super secure, financially independent, confident in my own skin, and very aware of exactly who I am (most of the time).
Matt had to die for me to get really clear. Matt had to leave in order for me to take true stock of what matters, and although I’ve shifted seismically over the years to more quality relationships, love, and unconditional acceptance, I wasn’t quite there yet. Especially at home.
I was scared. I was scared that I wasn’t worthy and because that fear was mostly dormant, it was still occasionally seeping out in ways I didn’t like. I was letting my numeric age and the “supposed to’s by this time” get in the way of reality, which boldly states that my life is perfect for me right now, exactly as it’s supposed to be.
Mike and I are partners. We have been partners for many years. Frankly, I think we were partners from day 1. We built our relationship on honesty, which built a level of intimacy, safety, and trust that I had not yet experienced. We built our relationship on showing up and communicating. We built our relationship around our already full lives, not in place of. We maintained ourselves and interwove at the same time. We still are.
We’ve been through some really hard shit from the beginning. He was getting himself back together, and I was realizing I hadn’t been with anyone near my equal yet. That took leveling of my pride and ego and anybody that has either, knows that’s not easy. I was very much still on my competitive bandwagon and he traveled with me for some of it. I was newer in my food recovery and still unsure of what that would look like for me. He supported me. I was not used to sharing myself, or my life, and I was willing to do both with him – in time.
I broke my leg and he had to help me – a lot. It was my first recovered experience with powerlessness over my body, as my concussions and other injuries came at a time when I was slightly less than spiritually grounded. I didn’t let him sleep in my bed for many months once he moved in, and it took me time to realize that I was keeping us apart by doing so. I would learn to sleep with him, only if I let him sleep with me! And I didn’t need a roommate. Can you believe he stayed for that? I couldn’t see it now, but the morning before he proposed that fact was seared into my brain. He’s here. For me. Nobody else.
Then Mike bought his practice. Then COVID. (Still COVID). Then Mike went through some stuff, and despite the stress it caused us both, I knew in my heart then that he was my guy, and that I was his partner. I wanted to get closer and to support him, not run away. I wanted to be available, not disconnected. Then we lost Matt and I know he felt the same, because never had we been more intimate and vulnerably exposed on a daily basis. He did so much for my family and for me. Not once did he leave my side at the service or try to get me to be anywhere but where I was. Then his grandmother died, and I am sure we have mountains and valleys to traverse together in the years to come.
We’ve done a lot of cool shit, too. We’ve rucked overnight together and ran some races. He’s supported my efforts and I’ve cheered for his. We are both successful in our careers and share business strategies, insights, and horrors. We’ve gotten on many planes and traveled a lot, by ourselves and with others. We’ve hiked and rafted, camped and ran. We’ve hosted parties and attended them, played games and cards. We share a home and two fur kids. We share recovery and our version of God.
The point is that I know I was meant to wait this long for Mike. Because Mike isn’t a box to check. Mike isn’t some guy I ran into and it just made sense after a little while to do something I envision as permanent. No, Mike is my guy. Mike is my partner. Mike is someone I’m comfortable talking money with, showing my accounts, sharing my bed every night and taking care of our dogs for. Mike is my kids’ future dad. Mike is my parents’ future son; one they can rely on fully. Mike is going to be there, for all of us, forever.
And I wouldn’t know that to be true if God didn’t make me wait and get my petty shit out of the way first, over time. Over a few years. And I wouldn’t know that if I hurried along or left before the miracle happened. Marriage is a big deal! That I had no idea was really. I have been up and down and all over the place busy with some deep pockets of sad, but ultimately so extremely calm, centered, and grateful.
This big deal is exactly what I’ve been preparing for, and waiting for, and not knowing was as big of a deal as it is. God knew, but I didn’t. I just thought I was missing out on a thing on my finger (that is gorgeous, by the way), and missed the boat when it comes to the reality of committing your life to someone else as your shoulder to lean on, hand to hold, spirit to sing alongside and heart to treat tenderly.
Thanks for coming along on this ride with me – I’d say it’s been a lot of fun, but I’d definitely be lying. It has been everything one can feel and experience – period. And that’s just it; it’s been an experience; one that I would not miss.