Category Archives: Love

Ringing

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Bryan and I are getting married.

For most women, newly engaged, that seems a rather subdued statement.

Not even an exclamation point or four.

What you have to understand is that we’ve been talking about it for months. Both as giddy, idiotic lovebirds swooning over each other, completely twitterpated and as mature, forward thinking grown-ups who understand the magnanimity of what we are discussing.

For both of us, marriage is not something to take lightly. I have one behind me already and I’m not eager to watch another one crumble at my feet. He’s thirty and has remained unmarried.  (You should have heard his friends when he said he was getting “hitched”…his words, clearly not mine…you might have been able to castrate each one of them right then and there and they would not have noticed. Apparently I’m engaged to the Lone Fucking Ranger of the dating/marriage world.)

Plus, there’s Abbi and that introduces whole new realms of commitment for both of us. It’s not just entering a marriage, it’s changing the entire family dynamic for all parties involved. Thus, we had discussed it over and over again, dreamily, seriously and all the ranges of emotions that span the gap between the two.

However in discussing came all the glorious bits of planning. The little planning nazi in my head wanted to go ballistic. And she did. Bryan hadn’t even “popped the question” and I was creating Pinterest boards and budget shopping and gathering hot glue & spray paint. One of the ideas we quickly agreed to was the general aversion to spending gobs of money on flowers. After a bit of experimentation I figured out how to make origami flowers with sparkling brooch centers for my bouquet and scrap chiffon flowers with sparkly buttons for centers. (I like sparkly bits.) Having nothing else to quell the bug to start arranging I figured there was no harm in gathering all those sparkly bits I would need.

Abigail helped me shop and was particularly impressed when she got to help choose rings to use for the bouquet from the massive display at the dollar jewelry store. She zipped around the large table, grabbing rings and showing me her discoveries. She was so pleased when I accepted one of her findings and added it to the pile of rings I would wire into the centers of the paper flowers. It was a good day for a five year old.

Shortly after that Bryan took me engagement ring shopping. After a bit of due diligence at various stores and enduring the mild pressure of sales clerks behind the counters, we stumbled upon an emerald setting that we were both drawn to. After we simultaneously go “OOOH! I like THAT one!” and pointed to the same ring, he purchased it then and there. I knew I couldn’t have it as it had to be shipped off to be sized and cleaned. Plus, he had this notion of proposing “the right way.” He wanted the setting and timing and dropping down to one knee; the whole kit and kaboodle. (Don’t get me wrong, the fact that he wanted that for us to share as a memory is one of the most romantic things ever. But I have serious instant gratification issues. I don’t wait well. I did wait. But not well.)

Before turning over my beautiful ring to the clerk, I snapped a picture with my phone. Because that’s what you do. You take pictures of stuff. I sent it to several friends, including my mom who had Abigail with her at that point. My mom showed my daughter a picture of the ring and said “Look at Momma’s pretty ring!” My daughter’s response?

“Is she gonna put it in a flower?”

 

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An Important Discovery

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As with most bloggers, we get caught up in realms of reality and sort of forget to keep posting crap. I’m no different. Life got in the way. As a means of review:

  • I’ve changed jobs. Although it pained me (and pains me still), I chose to leave the museum behind as our vision and ideas for the growth of the museum no longer seemed to converge. (I think that’s the nice way of saying they went full retard. Never go full retard, man.) However it has afforded me a position at an embroidery company in customer training development, marketing and writing.
  • I’ve picked up a contract position as the production director for the local AHL hockey team, the Oklahoma City Barons.
  • I continue to write for Distinctly Oklahoma and am considered expanding my freelance services to other publications.
  • I fell in love.

Funny how that last one is just four words but is perhaps the biggest change in my life.

It’s true though. I have fallen in love and in doing so learned how to love all the more. Of course I always loved my daughter, even before she was born, and heaven knows I’ve been in love with words since I was four and I memorized One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. After a series of sick, unhealthy, draining relationships (including my marriage) had taken their toll on my head and heart I had resigned myself to the life I had and found comfort and contentment in the realization. I really was satisfied with where I was and with the limits that perpetual singleness (both in coupling and parenting) tends to place on one’s life. My heart didn’t need to love anymore. And I was nominally sure it couldn’t be loved back. I was truly content.

Then came a moment of weakness. I knew I didn’t need love, but any woman needs a bit of attention now and again. I wanted to go on a few dates, have a bit of fun and then wander back into my working solitude. I revived an old account on an online dating site. (Ironically the one that I met CS Jameson so many years ago.) A few updates to the profile and a handful of new quiz questions later, I was presented with a fine selection of individuals desperately seeking either companionship, genuine love, a quick fuck, a soul mate, or just a bit of positive attention. Whatever their reason, I just wanted a bit of attention. I started messaging potential matches left and right.

When I came across one profile in particular, I’ll admit that while his profile piqued my attention for its wit, he wasn’t necessarily a man I would have ordinarily have messaged. His style and pictures and likes weren’t typically on my radar. A year prior to that I would have nodded and clicked on, not because he was awful but because he simply wasn’t “my type.” But I remember thinking “Well, thus far your ‘type’ has really sucked. Seriously, they were all awful for you and to you. So maybe you picked the wrong ‘type’.” My conscience winning out the argument, I messaged user profile GreaseMunkey, closed my laptop and went to bed.

I remember as I drifted to sleep a building hope that this scruffy, bearded GreaseMunkey dude messaged me back. Of all the messages I had sent out, I really didn’t want to endure that silent, undefined rejection of not receiving a message from him. I didn’t know why but I really wanted to hear from him. I wanted to know more. He did respond. And off we went.

Six months have elapsed now, a record relationship for me. Well of the healthy variety anyway. I was with my ex for longer but looking back it had begun to fall apart long before it ever really got started. Of course there’s hope in all things. After all, without that I wouldn’t have Abigail. I wouldn’t have started down the long, hard path of self discovery (Though I wish it hadn’t taken 27 years to get there…)

I’ve learned that though I am not wise I do have moments of clarity. In order to love, you have to allow yourself to be loved. That’s harder than it sounds. I have a tendency toward developing complexes about insignificant things. I’m bull-headed and argumentative and controlling in any given circumstance. Those things don’t make me unlovable. They make me…well, me. And it turns out me is quite lovable. As Bryan and  my relationship grows and our families are woven into the mix, I find that it isn’t just one man who can love me as I am. His family has taken to me like no other. And mine to him. He bolsters my confidence and makes me feel beautiful, talented, strong and independent. I knew I was all those things and said so, but I had never felt quite so grounded in the ideas until Bryan saw those traits in me as well. I had worked hard to discover who I am and what I like and why I believe what I believe in prior to meeting this man who would slip into my soul and fix himself a home in my heart without ever really trying.

Mostly without the up and downs and rejections and failures of my past, I wouldn’t fully appreciate what Bryan and I are managing through the challenges of offset work schedules, lives fully developed independent of one another and general demands of being adults. I still have much to learn and many more mistakes to make. But there is less fear of it all now. It may be that I’ve grown. It may be that Bryan supports and loves me in such a way that I feel a confidence in the process. It may be all of it and it doesn’t really matter.

Until three years ago, when I screwed up the courage to walk out on a man who resented me , I had no idea who I was. Thus I thought to be loved I had to become what was wanted or what I perceived was needed. I’d spent my life wearing the masks handed to me by others. I still wear masks, at work and in public, but now they are of my own creation. And with Bryan I can safely leave them all aside. He loves that I find joy in stupid things like sharpies and sparkly dangles and amassing a mental database of useless facts.

In him I see a strength and determination I’ve never seen before. In anyone. He honestly wants to better himself, not just for his family but because he needs it for himself. He is grounded and stable and cheerful and compassionate. Unafraid of judgement, he holds nothing of himself back. He dances like an idiot and has fun doing it. He creates as his heart directs and seeks nothing more than the satisfaction of creating it. He doesn’t need constant approval though I earnestly seek to bolster him as much as he bolsters me. I still wear masks but he gave his up years ago. I envy him that ability. He asks questions and honestly seeks to learn. He has flaws and admits to them openly and unabashedly. Altogether he understands how to be himself, thus leaving his heart open to being loved. And I do love him.

My blog is titled See Jenn Live on purpose. While I can’t promise I won’t make more sappy, soggy, lovey posts, I can say I’ll keep them to a minimum. I’m living for the first time in my life. I’m learning and loving and listening and making an attempt at translating all that into writing. It’s working so far I suppose. I’ve found the difference between content and happy. I’m happy. I’ve been told so by my close friends and family even if I didn’t know it myself.