All my life, I have been a romantic. Not in the “love” sense, but in the way I expect big moments to be. I want everything to be artistic, I want everything to be exquisite. Like walking onto the cold Oregon Coast sand, taking pause right before jumping into the icy water. Like looking out as far as my eyes can see, and feeling the waves of wonder pushing against my body. Or like hiking through an untouched forest, waiting for the fairies to begin playing with my hair. I spent a lot of time alone as a child, building up my imagination as my best friend. I guess maybe that’s why I have an amorous expectation of the world, hoping that when a big moment happens, I will know it’s right by the way my body tingles.
But that’s not really how it always works. Sometimes, the big moments are terribly intimidating. Sometimes, the right answer doesn’t beat in our hearts. Our minds go to war; they draw up their swords, build up the walls, and await battle. Sometimes, time doesn’t stop. Sometimes, it speeds up so fast that we feel our bodies being shaken under the pressure, and all we can do is grab onto something and hope for a moment to breathe. And for a romantic, this doesn’t really sit well.
Marrying my husband was probably the biggest, most important battle I had to win with myself. It was upon meeting him that I realized just how closed off I had become. I remember our walks around the waterfront every night would force me to stand agianst the bridge, bracing for the haunting thoughts that were sure to flood out at any moment. All I had ever wanted was to find my “one,” and yet, when I found him, all I wanted to do was flee.
The passion between us crashed our bodies like the waves of the ocean. Each kiss, each embrace, washed the grime away from my soul. I became cleansed. It was like stepping onto the beach with bare feet. I sunk into the sand of a timeless trance, feeling the wind of his breath on my neck, and my body trembled. I was afraid, but his finger tracing down my back brought me home. We would stare into each others eyes, caring not if the ocean came up and swallowed us whole.
But passion was not enough, not enough to stay. I needed that moment, the moment where the planets aligned just the right way. I waited, and waited, and waited for the without-a-doubt moment to let me know that marrying him was right. And if I had kept waiting, I would have never said “I do.”
As it turns out, the scary moments were the ones that made me say yes. It was the fights we had, the times we walked out on each other. It was the yelling and screaming, and the fear of the other leaving for good. I guess it was the bad things that made me ultimately know that I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life … which really doesn’t make any sense for someone like me. I mean, shouldn’t I have waited for perfection? Shouldn’t I have waited for someone that never disagreed with anything I said? Shouldn’t I have waited for that holy-grail relationship where fights are almost unheard of? What the hell was I thinking?
But it was in those moments where I was sobbing on the floor, as he had just walked out of the door, that I realized just how much I needed this man. It was the embrace after the storm, the kisses and the hugs and the apologies, that were my clarity. It was in the way that each fight became less and less intense. The weeks and months that we proved to each other that change, though inducing terrifying vulnerability, was our ultimate goal. It was not only watching him make the decision to never walk out on me again, but seeing myself no longer walking out on him. It was learning to believe that no matter how much I pushed this guy away, he was always going to come back. And that right there, is the lesson I needed to learn most of all.
Like I said, if I had waited for that big AHA moment, I would have been waiting forever. If I had waited for perfection, I would have grown old alone. “Romantic Me” had to learn that the charm was in the little, vulnerable moments … not in the grandiose ones. My body & mind do not tingle with sureness every day. And sometimes, during our arguments, I still wonder if I made the right decision. There is no absolute surety here, there is only the little beat of my heart that beats only for him. And as I listen to that rhythm, I know that this is where I belong.