I've always been a softy when it comes to love and romance. When people ask me what kind of movies I like, I usually respond romantic comedies (sometimes I get laughed at.) But really, I enjoy anything that involves a love story. It usually takes me forever to finish a book, but not when it comes to Nicholas Sparks. Yes, I'll admit it. I love the notebook.
I wanted to find love like I saw in the movies and like what I read about in my books. Maybe that's why I was in denial for so long about being gay, being the love story is almost always between a man and woman.
After I gave up on dating people for 8 years that I didn't have genuine feelings or attraction for, (sorry ex boyfriends) I became a little bit too excited, maybe even desperate, to find love. Now that I knew it was an option for me, to actually be in a real relationship with a girl, with mutual shared feelings, it was all I could think about.
I dated and searched, on dating sites and in bars. Most of my dating experiences turned into friendships, which was definitely something I needed at the time. I experienced two different dating situations that were significant to me, one where I liked someone and was attached to someone that didn't equally feel the same way. And another, where I fell in love (or thought I did) but whenever I got too much attention, I was scared away. Everyday was different. I was inconsistent and drove both of us crazy. This back and forth went on for a while until I decided it was time for me to do some self-work.
When I went away to Iowa, I had realized that although I had found my voice and came out, I had still did myself a lot of damage by hiding inside for so long. I was still lacking in self-love, a positive mindset, and a connection to a higher power. A connection to a higher power, which I do call God, is not something I knew I was looking for. It's just something that happened. Something that appeared to me. Something that I felt one day. It happened kind of the same way love did.
Last September I took a trip to California for an ending weekend to my life coach training class, and decided to stay a week and explore a bit. About 6 months prior to me visiting, my good friend Missy had moved to LA, so I made sure to get a chance to see her while I was there.
One of the days I was there, Missy asked if I'd like to go to a a bar called The Abbey in West Hollywood, where her friend Lori was hosting an event. Being that I had not been to a gay bar in probably the same amount of time since I've seen Missy last, I was excited to get out and do something different from my usual day to day life.
I was still in the same mindset, focusing on myself, letting go of the search for love and just going with the flow. I didn't have any goals of the night to meet anyone, I just was thinking id dance with my friend Missy. I was across the country from my home anyway, so looking for someone was extra out of the question this night.
But then I met her. Lori. Love. It just happened. It was the most unexpected, wonderful surprise I've ever received.
In the past, I suppose I was never ready to let love in. I was always able to give it, but something I needed to improve on was my sense of deserving to receive it. I needed to go on my own internal journey to discover and heal past wounds, I needed to give myself lots of self-compassion. I needed to be patient with the process. I needed to let go and trust something higher than whatever my mind was desiring or searching for.
I've heard the line "love comes in many forms," but what I've discovered is that it doesn't. It actually doesn't even have a form, real love that is. If you look at our human bodies, we all have different shapes, sizes, and colors. But in our deepest essence, were all the same. There's only one truth, and it connects us all, and it's wind. It's love. It exist within us all and it blows and it lands on the skin of someone your meant to walk through the journey of life with, when the timing is right. It can't be found. It can't be searched for. It just happens when it happens. It happens when you're heart is open enough to let it in. To accept it. To know that you deserve it.
What I discovered when I met Lori, however, is that the healing process never really ends. It's part of evolving as a human, or as a soul that is. I met her because I was ready to experience more of the "being" part of "human being," I was ready to open my heart more and more. Everything I've spent giving to myself the past year before meeting her, the year I took to myself, I was ready to give to someone equally deserving, and I was ready to accept and let it the beautiful love that she comes with.
One of the best parts about our relationship is that we share passions and dreams, but we also support each other other on our own individual journeys. We understand each other's differences and let it be. We support each other, learn from one another, and help each grow. It is harmonious and healthy, as every relationship should be.
To show my support on her 30th birthday, I want to post an awesome project she has been working on, which is a parody of the show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you can watch the first episode here at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk4bm4FBCnk as well as follow her journey on Instagram @unbreakable_mandl
As I mentioned yesterday, we both wrote a letter to our past selves, with the words we wish we had heard during troubling times.
Here is her letter:
Beauty. We see and hear this word all the time. It conjures up images, but it's important to focus on the feeling. What does it mean to you to feel beautiful? What does it mean to exhibit beauty? To me now, it has nothing to do with the physical, but rather a more spiritual, a feeling, a sense. Beauty is charisma, confidence, helpfulness, and an ability to make others feel beauty internally. I see people for who they are, their ambitions, hopes, dreams, accomplishments, and attitude.
We truly can be anything we want to be. Only you can be the narrator of your own story, writer of your own destiny. If you dream big, then you are already one step closer to making your future that way. Keep believing in yourself, stay positive, and focus on your goals. You will be rewarded for staying on track. You will learn from your mistakes and failures, and they will guide you toward the way. We cannot avoid negativity- for you must have darkness to have light. Be the light. Do not harp on your faults or flaws. Let them teach you and go easy on yourself. You are only human after all. Be the best you that you can be, be kind to others, and let your heart guide you. Love, in the end, love is all you need.
Happy 30th birthday to my love and best friend.
You are the greatest gift.