In the summer of 2015, I met a man.
This man (let’s call him the Brit) checked a lot of boxes for me. He loved Shakespeare, knew who Mr. Darcy was, loved the Marvel movies and the Walking Dead, was taller than I was, had blue eyes – and he had an accent. Swoon! We clicked on our first date, and it was one of the only first dates where I actually let him walk me to my door, and kiss me goodnight. Maybe it was the posh British accent, or maybe it was the radical similarities, but I immediately liked him. For the first time in a very long time, I had the butterflies. I couldn’t wait to see the Brit again, and the feeling was reciprocated.
True to form, though, I was wrong. Despite checking the boxes of being handsome, nerdy, and a good kisser, the Brit had a secret. I knew he had been married, but during our second (or third) date, he told me the extent of his relationship. He wasn’t divorced – in truth, he couldn’t even leave their house, because they were going for permanent residency and needed to share a residence until they received their PR status. Oh, and his children were two years old, and two months old but he was sleeping on the couch. So. Married. Living with his wife. And did I want to be his girlfriend anyways?
That was a rough truth bomb. I appreciated the strength it must have taken to be that honest, but holy crap. My butterflies died almost instantly, and then died a little harder any time that he would text me after that (especially when it was a “let’s be friends” and I started getting messages about his very public, very kinky sexual escapades). Since then, as documented, I don’t get the butterflies. I get the creeps, and the stalkers, and the looney bins. Sometimes I get twidderpated (like the time I had a crush on a local MMA fighter. I don’t even like MMA.) or attracted. But not the butterflies.
For me, butterflies equates being vulnerable. And, anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m not a fan of being vulnerable.
Oh, if I know you, there are glimpses of it. You’ll see pieces, maybe I’ll choke up telling you a sad tale. Maybe you’ll hear me rave about Ford Canada and how much I HATE FORD CANADA. But the real parts? The parts where I cry, or tell you that I’m angry or hurting, or confess that I’m anxious and close to having a breakdown – those are rare. And, with the butterflies especially, I find I have to be in a good place about myself before I can let that guard down. I met the Brit following my yoga challenge – I was in a very good place.
I’m finding, though, that this theme – the theme of vulnerability, and trusting yourself to be vulnerable – is popping up in my life in a major way. Dear Sugar is back with a podcast (and I’m so happy – both Sugars, no longer anonymous, but Sugar nevertheless) and the theme of being vulnerable is major. You need to trust the people around you, and yourself, to be this way. In order to foster true intimacy and trust, be vulnerable. Since I’ve made no secret about being a major Sugar fan, I’m trying to take this advice. Not well, mind you. I handle vulnerable the same way that Kylo Ren handles anger – poorly. But, I’m trying. That’s the key, right?
So, with that, let’s get open, shall we?
It’s lots of good things in my life right now – it feels like there was a massive cleansing in my life, like a river in spring washing away the last of winter’s ice. The New Job, that I loved so much, that was full of amazing smart creative people, took a fast turn into Hell Job. Literally, almost overnight it went from being my dream to my nightmare. It became full of drama and backstabbing and fear – I had (and still have) my core group of humans there, but I hated every single day I had to get out of bed. I started flirting with the idea of leaving, and all of a sudden, my dream job slipped into my lap. Out of nowhere, I hadn’t applied for it or anything like it, and I had the opportunity to step out of hell overnight.
So, New Job is no longer a thing. I miss my New Job humans all of the time – I found amazing friends there. There is D, who teaches me every time that I see her that faith is such a key thing – her faith intimidates and inspires me, and every visit with her makes my faith in God and people stronger. There is BS, and his wife AH – nerds to the core, but patient, powerful, intelligent humans, and amazing party planners. A, who lets me be me and loves me for it – whether I’m being a yogi or dancing around my kitchen with wine. My curling team – R, RB (and his amazing other half JO), and M, who cheer me on and laugh with/at me, and who embrace the power of education. G, who is everyone’s mom, whether you want it or not – someone who supports you when you can’t support yourself. I miss them all every day.
Dream Job is the biggest thing at the moment. Dream Job is busy and intensely complicated – I have to learn a brand new structure and this structure, lemme tell you, is a beast. I have to learn the ropes, and I have to be present in every moment. I have 12 months’ worth of probation, and I’ve been assured that I’m going to feel dumb every single day for that year. There are moments, even a month in, where I’m convinced that they have made a mistake. They wanted an expert, somehow they hired me – I’m convinced that someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say “Sorry, we made a mistake. We need you to go now. Good luck!” But, then, I’ll be in a meeting and be asked about a communications strategy – and when I open my mouth, the expert is in the room. It’s been stressful and busy and oh-so-damn-amazing. What’s even cooler about this place is that we are asked to be vulnerable – we are asked to be open with things, and taught to trust our colleagues to be vulnerable too. I’m actually taking a course about it – it’s so amazing.
Pulling this all back to the Brit and the butterflies – I have, as documented, been trying to date for about 3 years on and off. I’ve been very single for that amount of time, with one ironworker mistake (that Facebook is bringing up in my memories right now, ugh), and I’ve laid out my struggles with it – whether it’s games, sexism, or just plain balance. I went through a point where I was trying too hard, and I complained to my mom. My mother is a force to be reckoned with, and when I complained to her about the car being broken and my job sucking and being single, she constantly reassured me that it would all work out, and likely within a short time frame. She always kept this up – through my struggle with my vehicle, through the switching of jobs – and when I bought my new condo, I told her that I was lonely.
“He’s coming”, she’d assure me. “Stop worrying, and be you. Just keep moving forward.” And I have. I have (mostly) overcome the loneliness – now, I find myself relieved that I have the place to myself, that I can take my shoes off where I please, and make coffee in my Batman pajamas without judgement (not that my roomie would have judged me at all). I have a life that I’m in love with – one full of a Board I’m crazy about (hello, Shakespeare!), a yoga practice that is strong, one full of friendships that I am proud of, one where my family is so supportive, one where I love my job and my home, one where I’m finally starting my novel – and I’m constantly busy with my loved ones – friends and family. I have wine and piecaken dates, board game dates, curling bonspiels, wedding websites, walks, laughs, drinks, and movies. This life I have is one that I am proud of. I’m proud to stand in front of it, I’m proud to have it, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. As the wise philosopher Drake once said – we started from the bottom, now we here.
And now, as I’m standing here with this life, a life full of people I love enough to be vulnerable with, and I’m finally allowing that vulnerability to shine through… the butterflies have returned….