Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Is the First Day Of My Life

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain
Suddenly everything changed
They're spreadin' blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I Think I was blind before I met you
I don't know where I am
I don't know where I've been
But I know where I want to go
So I thought I'd let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realized that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home

I remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange
You said everything changed
You felt as if you just woke up
And you said,
This is the first day of my life,
I'm Glad I didn't die before I met you
But now I don't care I could go anywhere with you
And I'd probably be happy.

So if you wanna be with me
With these things there's no telling
We'll just have to wait and see
But I'd rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery

Besides maybe this time it's different
I mean I really think you like me...

-This Is the First Day Of My Life, Bright Eyes

The summer of 2005 was the summer that changed my life. I made it through my freshman year of college, but just barely. Having freedom for the first time in my life really turned my life upside down. I went to college, started drinking 4-5 times a week, gained the freshman 15, my in control ED came back in my life in a big way, lost 40 pounds, went into counseling, my parents almost made me drop out of school to go into treatment, and I broke up and got back together with my high school boyfriend (Woo) at least 3 times. When I came home in May 2005, I was totally lost and broken. Woo had been a huge part of my life since I was 14. He saw me through my ED, deaths, high school drama and everything else. I really thought he was it for me. I thought what we had was real love. When it came down to it though, he had his own issues. Severe anxiety disorder, family issues, idiot friends he listened to too much. While he was a support for me at times, he also let me down and broke my heart more than anyone should. I finally decided that I had to get my life in order and broke up with him for good when I came home for the summer. It killed me to do it. I felt (and still feel) responsible for him. I was his rock and his motivator. All this time has past and I still wonder if he is ok without me. He never finished college and I carry guilt for that. I know it is crazy, but I think if we stayed together, he wouldn't have dropped out because I wouldn't have let him. Despite that, I decided that to be healthy, I had to get him out of my life.

After Woo and I broke up, I started seeing an amazing therapist and a pretty cool nutritionist. Between the two of them, my life started to return to normal. I gained back some weight and was hanging out with friends that I had shut out for the past few months. My best friend from high school (M) and I got jobs at the mall. She was working at Eddie Bauer (haha... it was the only place she could find a job) and I worked at American Eagle. She was still with her high school boyfriend at the time. M and I have known each other since we were in pre-school. It is weird to call her my best friend because she is more like my sister. When I say she is my sister, I mean she will always be in my life and I love her, but she drives me crazy and I hate her sometimes too. For better or worse, she is my best friend. Anyway, she is only happy when she is in a relationship. After about a month and a half of me being single she was itching to set me up. She hated that I was alone and couldn't understand why I didn't want to be in another relationship. For the first time in my life, I was learning to be happy alone. I still felt bad about my break-up, but I felt free. I could do what I wanted without worrying about the fall out. By the beginning of July, I was the happiest I could ever remember. That is also when M started telling me about this awesome guy she worked with: Bear. At first I didn't think anything of it. But then she mentioned that she thought that we would be perfect for each other. She told me about how he was tall and really good looking, had a great sense of humor, loved sports, was smart, etc., etc. I think our first conversation about her setting me up went something like this:
M: I think you guys should go out.
me: No.
M: He is amazing! I know you guys would really hit it off.
me: No.
M: Come on, he is a great guy, you will love him. And then we can double date!
me: No way in hell.

So M bugged me about Bear for a while. One day she was over my house and told my mom and little sister about him. They both encouraged me to out with him and I still resisted. For some reason, they all wouldn't let it drop. It was nothing against him specifically. I had seen him one time when I went into M's store and he was really cute. I just didn't want to upset the balance of my new found happiness. One hot July day M, little sis, and I were driving down to Ocean City to visit A, my best friend from college who was on vacation. As I was driving on the way down, my little sis brought up Bear. She asked M when she was going to set us up. She said, "actually..." and pulled out her cell phone. I yelled at her not to, but she called him anyway. I was driving and couldn't stop her even though I was really pissed. It turned out that M had been talking to him about me as well. He saw me when I came in the store and told her that he was definitely interested in going out. She asked him on the phone if he was interested in going on a double date the next night with me and her and her boyfriend and he agreed. We spent that whole day on the beach with me stressing about it and A, M, and little sis convincing me that it was going to be so much fun.

The next night, we were all supposed to meet at M's house at 7 to go miniature golfing. I went to M's house around 6:30 and sat in her bathroom with her while she did her hair. I was totally stressing out and falling apart. Woo and I had been on and off for 5 years. I had casually seen people when we had off periods, but I hadn't been on a date with someone I didn't know well in a very very long time. I was so mad that I was being forced on this date and so nervous that it wouldn't go well. Bear showed up 15 minutes early before M's boyfriend and before M was ready. I was such a little baby that I refused to go downstairs without her and made her go down and let him in and rush to get ready so I could go downstairs with her.

The date went surprisingly well. Bear is the kind of person that can talk to absolutely anyone. The conversation never got awkward and we all had a really fun time. After golfing we all went back to my house for food and he met my family. When everyone left, he gave me a hug goodbye and didn't ask for my number. I was glad it was over and thought he was a nice and good-looking guy, but I didn't really care if I saw him again or not. He ended up calling M and asking for my number to ask me out on another date. This time we went by ourselves to dinner and a movie. He was so nervous! He blushed a lot and was visibly apprehensive. I think I fell for him when I saw his hands shaking as he tried to unlock and open my car door for me. As weird as it seems, his nervousness put me at ease. He was so adorable and we had such a good time. When he walked me to the door at the end of the night, his nervousness was at an all time high. I knew I had to take charge so I kissed him goodbye. Just a small peck, but I saw stars. I remember running up to my little sister's room from the front door, jumping on her bed, and telling her that I was in love. It was crazy how one date was all it took.

He called me the next day to set up another time to see each other. We went out a few times after that and he came into American Eagle almost every time I had a shift. Bear gradually relaxed around me, but was still nervous. His nervous tick was saying "it's all good." haha It was so funny and cute and my family teased me by saying it all the time. It took him 4 dates to really kiss me. We were sitting on the couch at his parents house watching "Without a Paddle." He kissed me and I literally felt dizzy. He put his hand on my hip and his hand touched a little sliver of skin that was there where my shirt had ridden up and I swear it was like sparks were flying off my skin. We were only seeing each other for a month when we both had to go back to school. I promised myself that I was going to wait until he brought up how we were going to handle being at schools 3.5 hours apart and if we were even going to be talking after we went away. Clearly I did not keep this promise to myself and I asked him about it. He just laughed and told me that of course we would make it work and see each other during the school year. Saying goodbye to him the night before I went to school was really hard because I had no idea what was going to happen next. I made him pinky promise me at my front door that he would keep calling me. He laughed. I didn't care if I seemed desperate or clingy; I was totally head over heels.

My first few days at school for my sophomore year we talked every day on the phone. I drunk dialed him and told him how much I liked him. He called me every morning to make sure I was getting up on time even if he didn't have to be awake. We put a label on our relationship through on of our daily morning conversations. We were talking about presents and how I love shopping for people.
Bear: Don't worry, I buy my girlfriends awesome gifts.
Me: What?
Bear: I just mean, you are going to love the gifts I get you.
Me: I am your girlfriend?
Bear: Umm, yeah. I mean only if you want to be.
Me: I want to be.
Bear: Good, cause you already are.

Bear left for school a few days after me. We had only been apart a week when one late night we were texting as I fell asleep. I sent him one that said "if you left now, you could be here by morning." He called me at 8am the next morning to tell me he was 15 minutes away. We spent the day with me showing him around my college and the surrounding town, snuggling in bed, and taking our physical relationship slowly inches forward. He could only stay one night but it was the best night of my life up until that point. When he was leaving, he hugged me and whispered in my ear, "I will miss you. Take care of the girl I love." I didn't know what to say. We had only know each other a month. How could we love each other already? The only other person I loved was Woo, and it took us a really long time to say those words to each other. I called M totally stressed and scared and told her. She calmed me and told me to stop trying to overthink everything and that no one can control how fast or slow they fall in love. She told me that she had never seen me so happy or at peace and to allow myself to feel whatever it was that was in my heart. The next morning as we were hanging up the phone Bear told me he loved me, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to say. I told him I loved him to. His response? "You do?" "Yeah, I do." "Good. Have a great day baby."

Since that summer, Bear and I have been through it all. Good times and bad. Days where we were so in love I felt like my heart would burst open and days when we screamed so loudly at each other that I would have a panic attack. He makes me so happy and so crazy at the same time. No matter what we are going through though, I have never once doubted that he is it for me. No matter how much either of us screws up, we are still us. I can't believe I ever though I experienced love before him. The love we have not a small girlfriend/boyfriend love. He completes me and centers me in every way possible. I have total trust in him to be there for me in absolutely any situation. Before him, I did not know what it was like to have someone stick around, even when you piss them off. I know that even when things are bad, if I needed him, he would be there no questions asked. I trust him more than anyone. He is the only person I want to be with, no matter what the circumstances. He is my partner, my confidante, my soulmate; as corny as that might sound. Sometimes I sit and wonder how I got so lucky to find someone so perfect for me. Little things like the way he looked at me last night as we said good night, how he kissed my forehead, how he worries if I had dinner, make me count my lucky stars and thank God. I don't know what I did to deserve him, but I will never let him go.

Sorry for the sap. I sometimes disgust even my sister with how in love I am. One of my favorite parts about my relationship is that we don't have to brag about our love; it is just there and apparent in the way we treat each other. I just couldn't hold it in today. <3

Stay strong,

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