Ryan and I are getting married next Saturday. In 6 short days, I will be his wife, and he will be my husband. That blows my whole mind to pieces! I never thought this day would come, not because of Ryan, but because of me. Loving myself enough to let someone else love me was not an easy thing to tackle, but I did it. I taught myself how to not only open up but to also truly embrace the fact that I am worthy of this type of love. Love finding me sparked a different kind of commitment that I wasn't necessarily looking for, and that is normally how things seem to transpire in my life.
When I first connected with Ryan, the last thought to cross my mind was being his woman. I had worked so hard to become the person I wanted to be that I wasn't willing to open my heart up romantically to anyone, yet. Plus, he lived 3,500 miles away, and I didn't have an ounce of time for that; or so I thought. However, I did know that I wanted to know him and be his friend. So, we started there, and now we are here, over three years later.
No one taught me how to love. I didn't have great examples of fostering relationships, nurturing connections, being present and showing up romantically, or platonically for that matter. And for a long time, I didn't love anyone, not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't know how. It wasn't until I had my daughter that I honestly started to know love. While giving birth was my first teacher in experiencing unconditional love taking me over and under, I couldn't fathom ever loving a man, or him loving me. For years, I thought that I didn't need a man, directly or intimately, to give me anything, not even children. I had started to grow and unfold into who I was very vividly and proudly, and from what I knew of my intimate connections with men, they were no good for my evolution. Once my daughter turned three, I knew that I would eventually want more kids. I had every intention of having them on my own, too. Without an intimate relationship with a man and no hassle. Arrogantly, I felt that I wanted to take on this part of life on my own. Yes, I was considering going to a sperm bank and having my children unconventionally. And yes, I was OK with that, or at least that's what I told myself. In all honesty, at the time, I felt empowered by having the option to do something like that on my own. Plus, I didn't see romantic partnership anywhere in my life. I didn't see marriage, at all. I couldn't wrap my mind around forever with someone. Perhaps that is because forever always seemed to translate as temporary for me. Or maybe I was jaded because there weren't many examples of happy togetherness in my life.
During my journey, I feel like I have bloomed and withered countless times. Through all of my failures and successes, through all of the learning and unlearning, the dating and disappointment, the growing in and out of people, places, and things--this is the first time in my life that I feel like I am finally arriving and settling in. There was so much work that had to be done on myself and on my heart. I can't imagine not having Ryan in me and my daughter's world, I can't fathom journeying through life alone, and now that I look back, I am not sure how I could even feel like I wanted to do this without a partner as wonderful and pure hearted as Ryan. There was a lot that I had to learn and shift before colliding into true authentic love. There was a lot that I had to question and revise when Ryan and I started drifting into love with each other. I am grateful for it all. And now, I am proud to say that I never want to journey through life without him. Every step of the way I want him by my side, and in every capacity his presence fills me to the brim with certainty and joy.
I am so excited for our life together, for our friendship, and companionship. The love we have grown has taken time, patience, and unwavering togetherness. While I may not have had the best examples of love, I know for a fact that Ryan and I will be sure to be the best examples that we can for our children. I am starting a new cycle. I have redefined what love is to me and what it looks like in my life. Sometimes, we are our best teacher, and most times it takes a lot of unknowing before you figure out what it truly is.