A lot has happened to me in the past few days.
I adopted 2 pet rats and I named them Rey and Jyn respectively (they’re both girls, obviously). And also adopted a dwarf rabbit that my ex-coworker wanted to take to the shelter, that I named Poe. I went from being all by myself to having 3 animals in my 400-sq feet room! Now their section of the room is constantly messy because the ratties like to throw their bedding out from their cage, while Poe likes to pretend like he’s digging into the ground so his back legs kick out a lot of his bedding too.
I haven’t yet felt that the animals are doing me any good – but I’ve only had them for a couple of days. The ratties are still skittish and wouldn’t let me pet them while the rabbit seem to be sick (he keeps sneezing and coughing, the poor baby) so he has been nippy. I hope that once they warm up to me, I’ll be able to have a better time with them.
I think I’m heading out of my rut – at least where my divorce is concerned – because I was able to spend time with the ex and his wife without feeling too overwhelmed by bitterness, or grief, or anything like that. In fact, I was fine when I left – sure I did feel a twinge of the pain of loneliness as I walked out the door, but I was generally okay. Compared to how I was the last time, this time was definitely an improvement!
Besides that, I have also been quite fortunate in the relationship department. Though I was technically on dating sites, I wasn’t really seriously looking. I’d also been “ghosted” by the last person I had talked to so I was a little reluctant to put myself out there again. So when I received a message saying “Hi” on Sunday, I didn’t expect it. To be honest, I wasn’t going to respond. But somehow, I did.
And that turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made because not only is the woman who messaged me beautiful, she’s also pretty damn intelligent (she’s a graduate student of theology), funny, caring, understanding, and also patient! Everything about her was attractive to me. I’m going to refer to her as “Chérie” because she’s mon chérie (French: My darling).
Our conversation started innocently enough. We talked about pets, mental health advocacy (she told me she liked my semi colon tattoo), nerdy interests, Netflix shows, and then for some reason, I started revealing more about my mental struggles – particularly my conflicting views of my faith and my sexual orientation.
That was when I started getting really attracted to Chérie. She told me that she was studying theology a couple of states away – I was bummed because after our deep conversation about really important topics (theology being one of them), I was smitten and I wanted so badly to meet this amazing woman. Our conversation was so effortless and everything we talked about was interesting to me. We would switch from a serious topic to a more light hearted one. Then we would discuss profound things and talk about our expectations.
We were up until 4am (I think it was either 4 or 4.30am) because we couldn’t stop talking to each other. In less than 24 hours, I learned a lot about Chérie. It was all at once, a lot but also not enough. I learned what she wanted to do in life, the kinds of things that she thinks about, the principles she lived by, her beliefs, and her convictions. I was head over heels by 4am.
The next day, we talked some more. We talked off and on, all day. All day.
I have poor memory so I can’t say for sure if this next thing I’m going to say is true or not but I don’t think I’ve ever felt with anyone else the way I have with Chérie. I had loved my Ex dearly but I don’t think it was ever the same kind of love. This feeling I had for Chérie was foreign enough to sweep me off my feet.
Our attraction was mutual and we started to discuss things that I’d never even dreamed of ever being able to discuss! After we both established our mutual interest in one another, we started laying down boundaries and “rules” so to speak. We started talking about what we expected from one another, what is too much, or what is too little, our future goals to see if they were in line with each other, some of our habits, some likes and dislikes, and we also laid some ground rules on intimacy. Chérie felt that it was important that our relationship began on a strong foundation that is not just rooted in hormonal lust. I agreed with her and in fact, she had taken the words right out of my mouth. As we communicated more, I started to realize that this woman is so similar to me that it’s uncanny! We have similar beliefs, the same principles, the same ideas about marriage and children, the same direction in terms of our future plans, and so on. We always speak about the same things at the same exact moments – we often have to tell each other that we’ve jinxed each other.
Chérie was also very sweet and kind when she learned of my past traumas and how much I’ve suffered through my life. She wanted to be clear with me that under no circumstances will she break the boundaries because she cares for me too much to hurt me. I was touched by her kindness and concern. I was so touched by her unselfish and sacrificial nature. It was refreshing!
So we decided that we were going to commit to each other – that we both felt so strongly for each other that it just made sense. Besides, I wouldn’t have liked it if she were to flirt with anyone else or be with anyone else. I wanted her so bad. I shut down all of my dating sites and told her that I wanted her to be a part of my life. She told me that she wanted the same.
We’re both in our 30’s so our mutual understanding and consideration were mature and I felt like we were both grounded enough to want this to work. She also made sure to tell me that she wants us to be individuals first, and then a couple – she didn’t want either of us to be codependent on the other.
I was flummoxed by the things that this woman had considered because it was so rare to find someone who is so aware of themselves to know what they wanted or not. This woman knew what she wanted and she wanted us to be able to function successfully by ourselves as well as when we’re together. I was impressed – this was all the stuff that I was taught about healthy relationships during my Peer Educators’ retreat!
I was actually practicing what I’ve learned! I was ecstatic because I felt that I had a breakthrough. I not only let go of my past relationship but I was also able to start a new one without the sense of desperation that I used to have with my previous relationship. I want things to work yes, but I’m also not acting like a creepy stalked the way I usually do when I’m smitten. I am letting things run their course. Allowing myself the permission to enjoy myself.
Tonight, Chérie proved to me that she was definitely a keeper. Due to a myriad of conflicting events that I’d experience, I nearly built up to a panic attack. Chérie managed to catch me at the cusp of one and she talked me down from it. She calmed me down with some simple questions that hit the core of my fears and anxiety. It was amazing – she reminded me of S because in the same calm manner, she asked me some questions to things that she knew I’d know. They were all knowledge that I already had but since I wasn’t focusing on those truths, I was slipping into the whirlpool of despair. She soothed me and comforted me, asking me what else she could do for me as I breathed and slowed down my thoughts. She told me how harshly I criticized myself, and how I don’t deserve to feel so awful all the time. Her words were powerful because I was able to calm down and switch gears back into normal mode.
Chérie then reminded me of how strong and resilient I am. She also stated that most people are not cognizant enough to know that their moods are being altered and that they’re being triggered into a panic attack. She reminded me of how far I’ve come as a person and how much progress I’ve done in my mental health recovery. She is right. I have come a long way and there will definitely be times when I’ll be weak, but for now, I realize that I am strong enough to withstand a lot of things.
I am blessed to have Chérie in my life. In just 2 days, she changed a lot of my perspectives and had helped me finally get back on my feet. She tells me in a very soothing manner that in the future, there might be times when I get knocked back down again but that it isn’t a sign of failure or of weakness but rather that I allowed myself to feel.
I’d never met anyone in my life who would be so supportive of my recovery. I was definitely happy this morning when I saw that she had changed her Facebook relationship status and had tagged me in it.
Besides that huge life change, I also went on an interview with Apple. I can’t believe that they actually selected me for an interview out of 12 other candidates that had attended the hiring event a few weeks ago.
I was very nervous when I went in. Apple is a name-brand that is so popular globally that it’s hard not to feel like I’m under-qualified for the jobs – even if they were merely retail positions that were somewhat entry level. In order to boost my confidence, I had gone out and bought a vest for the occasion. My friend, El, commented that I look so good in a vest and noted that not everyone can successfully pull off wearing a vest.
So being well dressed upped my confidence and I went in with all smiles. The interview lasted maybe 30 minutes and through it all, I spoke confidently and never faltered even once. I, myself, could hear the passion in my voice as I spoke.
I think part of the reason I was so excited was just the fact that I had just gotten together with a gorgeous woman, so that added a tinge of happiness to my tone of voice and demeanor.
So this week had turned around from my initial low – I had a walk-in on Friday, remember? – to a decent high. I can’t wait to talk to S tomorrow because I think he’ll be proud to hear of the things I was able to say and do. Heck, I’m proud of myself!
It’s been a very very long time, but I think I can now say that I’m actually feeling happy – f0r the first time in 10 months, I feel happy. I am still slightly wary of the feeling because I don’t want the rug pulled out from under me but at the moment, I’m cautiously optimistic!