I feel like I spent the first 20-something years of my life waiting. Waiting and trying to be okay.
A little bit like last year when we went on that 80 mile bike ride and it started storming on the way back.We biked to the nearest shelter and hid under the picnic shelter at a park along the way. The wind blew the rain in sideways and we got wet but at least I wasn't trying to bike with water all over my glasses. We waited out the rain but it kept coming. When it slowed we knew we had to move on. We couldn't stay there.
A little bit like hiding in my bedroom while my parents screamed and threw things. You can't sleep when they scream. You just wait and hope it will be over soon.
A little bit like when I wanted to have weight loss surgery and it was canceled and I thought my world was crashing down. Like when he moved away and I didn't know what to do with the new hole in my life. Like when I watched her vital signs drop and wondered if the drugs were really killing her this time. Like when we didn't have running water or electricity and Dad said he would pay the bill tomorrow and then tomorrow and then tomorrow. Like watching the black smoke curl around the edges of the blinds and fill the windows wondering if the flames or the fire trucks would win the race while I stood there completely alone in my pajamas with no one to hold my hand.
A little bit like that.
But I've spent the last three years or so finally experiencing the things I've been waiting for.
I don't know how to shake this feeling of disbelief. I don't know how to stop bracing myself for the blow.
I thought I got used to this feeling after the weight loss. The feeling of every day being better than it was before. And then again with moving out of from my parents. The feeling of being safe. The feeling of consistency.
And now there are two new things at the same time. What is this magic?!
I have my own apartment now. I keep expecting that some horrible unnamed terror about living alone will occur to me that I never anticipated before. Perhaps I'll realize that I can't handle living alone. Or the noises at night will scare me. Or something. But so far it is wonderful. The feeling of control. Of being comfortable. Of feeling at home. I love it when I'm there by myself and no one else is with me. I love it when people come over and I don't have to worry about if that will inconvenience my roommate or if they make a mess or anything. It's all my space and my guests and my schedule. I love it so much.
And I'm dating someone now. I have a boyfriend. I'm a girlfriend. This is so freaking new. I've been on a lot of dates, but nothing long enough to call a relationship. I've had dates with people where I thought things like: I can't do this, I'm not sure about this, WTF?, etc. People that seem normal and then all of a sudden go strange on me. Guys that are at the very edge of what I can tolerate. Guys that treat me with varying degrees of respect. But John isn't like those guys. This is completely different. What is this?
It's so many kinds of refreshing, exciting, nice, and all those other positive words that I can't even say. But there is still a part of me that is waiting for the blow. Is he just super-better at hiding the crazy than the other guys? I've had friends date guys that seem wonderful until they start hitting. Guys that all of a sudden cheat or leave or change personalities. I know ladies do that too. I just mean that it takes a great deal of trust to open up your life and let someone in. To give up degrees of self-hood to become a couple.
Nika told me once that she thought my greatest problem in a relationship would be learning to give up some of my independence and learn how to let myself need someone. Learn how to rearrange my schedule and make compromises and such. I think she's right. Because as much as I loathe the idea of needing anyone for anything, I know that part of the satisfaction in a fulfilling relationship is being wanted and needed. And that has to go both ways.
I suppose I keep feeling like my relationship with John is one of those fake scratch-off lottery tickets people give you at Christmas. You won a million dollars! (It isn't real.) I can't flip it over and read the fine print on the back side. I have to just keep taking steps forward and learn to replace my natural caution with trust and bravery.
I can't tell you how many times I stood in line for roller coasters and then left line at the last moment, too afraid to ride. And then one day I did it. I rode all of the roller coasters at Kings Island. And I didn't like a lot of them. But the feeling of walking away without knowing is so much worse than the couple minutes I might spend on the ride. I'm pressing on.