My husband and I just went to Denver for our ten year anniversary. We realized that we had not taken a trip, just the two of us, since our Honeymoon. Life just seemed to get in the way. This needs to be done first. We need to take care of that instead. It seemed like something always came up that needed our immediate attention. Isn't that life though? So, for the first time in ten years, we sat down together. We slept in and we laughed and we talked and we caught up. It has been busy for us over the last ten years. We work so hard to provide the best life for our family. We often sacrifice ourselves so that the other can be comfortable and not worry. There have been times when I have been so exhausted that he has had to pick up the slack, where he has had to be the one keeping us together. And times where I see that he needs to sit down for a minute, to catch his breath so I put the weight of us on my shoulders until he heals because, to us, that is what a relationship, our marriage has always been.
I remember when we first got together. He was this guy that would walk by my coffee shop every day with a grumpy look on his face. I was the girl who came sat at his bar with my bitch face on. He was an adult with the world of his father on his shoulders. I was a single mother just trying to scrape by... but we were both adults. Sometimes people ask me why him and I work so well together. We were both a little older when we met. Neither of us were interested in playing the usual stupid dating games. I didn't really have time to mess around. I had this tiny girl staring up at me, expecting me to protect her. I very rarely mixed my romantic life and my child together unless I thought there was a potential for something wonderful not just for me but for her as well. And then this man came along and took me by surprise. I knew the moment he was for real. It's just a silly moment but, for me, it said so much. We were driving somewhere and I needed to get gas. Before I could get out, he was pumping my gas for me. Yes, such a trivial gesture, but the thing is the only other man in my life who did anything like that was my father. And the general type of men I had been dealing with were not of that caliber. Most men wanted to save me or they wanted an instant family. They had no real interest in me but the man who pumped my gas wanted me, all of me just as I was, just as I am.
The place that we stayed at in Denver was the most adorable little house. We had our own private entrance and this sweet little patio that we could sit together, enjoying the Fall weather and each other's company. I remember sitting across from him and thinking that ten years and he is still sitting there when I only thought my table would only ever be filled with ghosts. I remember thinking that it feels like he has been with me a lifetime and just yesterday he was filling my sanitizer bottle. It's lovely how someone becomes such a sweet part of you. I sat with him and we talked about our right now, our tomorrow. We reflected on how far we had come together, as two separate individuals. Here is the thing. I know at the end of the day if he got up and walked out that door, I would be just fine. It would tear me up but I would be fine. And if I decided that I wanted to walk away, he would be just as fine if not torn up. We both realize that we have to be comfortable with who we are as individuals to be the best we can be together. I am a strong woman who will light this world on fire. And he is the most courageous, kind hearted man I have ever met that could charm a toilet if need be to make it in this world. No matter what life throws at us we figure it out. It's just what we do.
Our trip was simple, not very extravagant. We didn't go to many places. We didn't see a lot of places. We spent most of our time tucked cozy in our little rented house. We ordered our food in and drank our drinks, let ourselves breathe for a few days. I had gone from one job to another with only a day in between. I will be honest my anxiety was starting to take control because I hadn't allowed myself to digest all the changes that were happening. Sometimes I look at my sweet husband and I get taken with such emotion because I know that he has to deal with my demons. I know how unfair that is to him especially when he gets frustrated because he can't defeat them for me. It's not his job to fix me. That's all mine but his presence makes this journey a lot easier. For ten years he has been here with me and honestly I don't know how I got so lucky. Sitting with him this last weekend, spending this precious time with him brought my focus back, reminding me that this foundation we created is unbreakable as long as the love we have for the other is strong. It just seems like with every passing year, we just keep getting better. We talked about the things standing in our way right now of where we want to be. And the most comforting part about that conversation was that even if it falls to pieces, we know that we will figure this all out. We know that no matter what life throws our way, good or bad or indifferent, we will figure this out together. I don't know what is in store for us tomorrow but I am grateful for my every day with this man. He is my favorite human, the man who will fight for my honor, my best friend.
Happy Anniversary, you idiot <3
This week I started a new job, a new chapter in my life. I wasn't necessarily unhappy where I was. I just knew that it was time for me to move on. I came home feeling more frustrated than fulfilled. To me, that was a sign that I needed to change something in my life. And let;s be real right now, I'm not getting any younger. The restaurant industry is a young person's game if you're not interested in managing or owning a place. I joked that I was going to be hobbling behind that bar with a cane. The image makes me smile but there is a reality that it was time for me to go. One of the girls said that I was like a mom to them. She's right. I was for a long time but years have gone by and I've watched all of them grow, bloom, figure out their path. I realized over the last year that they didn't need me like that anymore. It's been a strange journey watching my own daughter at the beginning of her journey and these beautiful people around me taking flight on their own. I suppose I liked being needed like that and it's probably why I held on to that place as long as I did. It was for these bright faces that looked to me when they needed me and I won't lie. I loved that feeling of being needed, of being important but we outgrow the things we lean on after awhile. We realize we have our own two feet and those two feet can take us anywhere. No cane needed.
I started this new job this week. I left the place that I had been for five years with people I had grown to love, to respect, to adore to start something new. I can sit here all day and say those wonderful people needed me and that's why I held on but it wouldn't be the full truth. I needed them, too. There was a beauty about the relationships that bloomed. There was this support, this unyielding support for each other. I guess I was afraid out of sight, out of mind. That we would somehow lose the connections that we made because I wasn't right there in front of them. And let's be very real I'm a homebody. I tend not to go out very often. I hide in coffee shop corners behind these words and that's just me. Somewhere in this last year, I started to feel my feet twitch. I started feeling restless. I wanted more, more for me. I didn't want to just sit in the corner anymore and pick up other people's crumbs off the floor. I ran into a guy I went to high school at my new job. Out of 74 people in my graduating class, I work with a classmate. Considering how small my high school was? Yeah, that's pretty bananas. I remember driving home after that first day and thinking about the me of back then and wondered if I turned out how he thought I would but then I laughed. I didn't turn out the way I thought I would. In the twitching of my feet, somehow I woke up that girl. I felt her in the words that I started writing again, in the lines I started drawing again, in the dreams I let myself dream again. I realized this new chapter wasn't because I was angry where I was or frustrated where I am or even sad about the places I will never go. It wasn't for my husband or my daughter or anyone else. This new chapter is for that girl I used to be, the one in the corner with ink stained fingers.
I haven't talked much about my new job. In a way I guess I thought it would somehow be pulled out from underneath me and then what? So, I kept it to only a few friends until it was time to share it, allowing myself time to digest all these changes. I know my blogs in the past have talked about how rough the restaurant industry is and believe you me I am not exaggerating. People can be horrible but as horrible as they can be, they can be the kindest, too. While I will miss a good number of customers, I can honestly say that it's been nice this week being away from it, too. You know I didn't get this job because I was angry. I went after this opportunity because it was time I grew up. If I am being honest, it was time I finally did the work to do what I really wanted to do, who I really wanted to be. I was damn good at serving and bar tending but it was not my destiny. I just let it be enough for too long. I realized over the last year that I could tell myself over and over again that I would just do my writing and art on the side, that it would be good enough to just dabble but when I really took a look? I understood if I didn't take a leap, I was never going to jump. I wanted a career, a career that fulfilled me and provided others joy. I wanted my work to be shared with the world, big or small. I wanted to be more than just that girl with the tattoos behind the bar, hiding the girl forever sitting in the corner. I've become someone in between those two and it's time I give me a chance. This week has been wonderful and terrifying and enlightening. I've had my moments of maybe I can't do this. I've had my triumphs of I got this. I've laid my head down at night with a peace that I haven't felt in years. I won't be needing that cane. These two feet will do just fine.