A few weeks ago, before the leaves changed colors and fell (cause it's Fall) I had the privilege of hiking on the Appalachian Trail with Benjamin. I say privilege because with every step, I felt lucky - lucky that I found him, lucky that I had the opportunity and ability to hike up to a beautiful vista with him and share this experience. I was relaxed and very happy. Everything just felt right.
By now you know that I have a set of purported rules that are supposed to prevent me from making impulsive decisions And by now, you probably also know that I have been breaking these rules with some regularity. It's a vicious cycle.
However, I have discovered that I am not actually impulsive. Rather, I am instinctual. I tend to act with my gut rather than my logical brain. I analyze, but I don't overanalyze, initially anyway. Often, I make a decision with very little information because my gut tells me it's the right thing to do. And often, after I learn more information, my instinct is correct. I don't always trust my gut or listen to my instincts, but then I have a moment where down the line, I realize I should have. We probably have all had a similar moment. "I knew there was something weird about her..."
Malcolm Gladwell told us in his book, Blink, that people make decisions about others in essentially the blink of an eye. In seconds, they have decided whether they like you or not, whether they trust you, whether you're smart, and who you are as a person. I suppose this is why we're told first impressions are everything. People draw upon their past experiences to pass judgment on a person in seconds. And that first "blink," whether 100% accurate or not, can be a person's lasting opinion of you.
Of course, that concept is a little disconcerting if you're the kind of person who needs to warm up among new people. I raise this idea because I believe that I have seen my future in one of these "blinks." Sounds nuts, I know. (have you met me? Maybe not, but you're reading this, so you know me a little anyway.) And this is where my instinct v. impulse comes into play. I'll explain.
If I was truly impulsive, I would be living for the present moment. All my decisions would concern what is in front of me right now, more or less. I wouldn't care so much about what comes tomorrow and I am a planner as most people know. I try to live in the moment and enjoy the moment, but at the end of the day, I am looking into my future. And to do that, I'm drawing on my gut feelings, past experiences and current desires.
Now, here comes the rule breaking. My rules set time limits for certain important relationship milestones. And without getting overly specific, I can report that because my gut feeling is so incredibly strong in an incredibly good way...well...I might as well not have any rules at all. I just want to slap myself in the face! Or make myself sit in the time out chair and think about what I'm doing.
But that's just it; I have thought about what I'm doing. Over and over and over again, which is why my gut and my instincts are allowing me to give in to what the Universe is offering. And what am I waiting for? Because I had created some arbitrary rule when I was 28 years old, I have to work along some "reasonable," arbitrary time line? My gut is saying, "this is all good, let go and trust me. You're fine. This is right." And despite all the best logic in my brain, despite every good reason to pull the emergency brake, I'm following my gut. For the first time in a long time, I think my gut got it right.
Terrifying! Absolutely terrifying! But at the same time exhilarating. I've glimpsed my future and it looks glorious. When I consider my options, and I do have a lot of options ultimately, there is no place I'd rather be than where I am. So as terrifying as all of this is, it's also calming to know that my gut is ultimately leading me home. For me, home isn't a place, it's a person. My person.
I've admittedly had a very rough, emotional couple of weeks. Probably the worst weeks in years as far as emotional distress is concerned. I'm in the midst of life changes - moving into an apartment, considering professional opportunities. And through this s*#t storm, I'm trying to be a positive and meaningful part of a relationship with someone who is always positive and thoughtful and kind to me when I am literally falling to pieces every time I can't find something I must have packed away. (I still can't find my "good" scissors!!)
I am stressed beyond any stress I have felt in decades and I am just at my breaking point with everything and everyone. I'm skipping out on events, appointments, even potentially fun things because I just can't bring myself to an emotionally stable place. It's frightening, really and to some degree humiliating. I don't like my daughter to see me cry over all of this. I don't want to feel like I won't make it to the end, to reach my amazing future, because I am so frozen with anxiety. But I have felt like this. Luckily, with the support of friends and certain family members, and above anyone else, Benjamin, I'm pulling through all the nonsense and the noise.
I hate dragging others into my life problems. It's one of the reasons I don't ask for help when I know I need it. But I have discovered who my truest friends are through all of this. I have discovered who my truest love is as well; the person who will be my true partner (at least I hope) someday. And I have discovered that admitting you need help isn't so much a sign of weakness, but of strength. It has taken every bit of guts to admit I need help.
Instincts have brought me here, to the border between past and future. I trust what feels right. I trust that I'm ultimately doing the right thing. I trust that this is all going to get better for me. And I trust that my gut has led me to the person who will help me stand even when I don't think I can. He has already helped me climb a mountain. I don't think he even realized I have been trying to climb it for years, quietly, alone. He has shown me what personal strength means and he has also proven that trusting my gut is the only way to live.
I think we have well established that I am a chronic over-sharer. Not in every instance or to every person, but I fit well into the category, generally. More specifically, I have a difficult time not sharing what I am feeling and that can lead to some uncomfortable moments.
There was a time that I tried to adhere to the appropriate timeline for expressing feelings of love - I said I tried. The fact is, I have never followed those rules. 1) I don't believe in postponing joy. Christmas and birthday gifts are often given well ahead of the holiday because I am too excited to wait to give a particular gift. 2) I've come to realize that the "right" time to tell someone how I feel may never come. Why not just tell them? What are we waiting for?
A lot of the time, I blurt it out at the most inopportune moments - at the airport on my way overseas, on line at Starbucks, while I'm getting the "it's not you, it's me speech..." (But I love you...yeah, it's definitely me).
And while it may seem I'm always in love, I'm not. I enter into a whole lot of like with a lot of really nice people. For me, I feel love. Often it is a rapid and almost overwhelming sensation - it is a gasp and a quick breath - "oh." I am one of those people who feel love deeply and if I don't, then I don't stick around. I suppose the reason for this is I have always wanted and needed love. "Like" and friendship is nice, but love is what it's all about for me. And I'm also one of those people who needs to be reassured not just by words, but by deeds, by the "look of love."
Ahhh, that look. No words (except usually me asking: "what? Why are you looking at me like that?" Because I just assume I have food on my face or a bat in the cave or something.), just a smile. THAT melts my heart (once I am assured that I don't have something on my face.) I'm fairly good at reading people and when I can see that someone loves me, I'm a sappy, mushy puddle.
Once the love stuff is established on both sides, I have the overwhelming need to share. And thank God for social media, right? Now all 1200 of my closest friends can know all about my new relationship status all at once. Aren't they so lucky?
And that's the problem for a girl like me; drawing the line between being open and honest about how I feel and TMI. So when I am feeling particularly lovey dovey because Pinterest has shared a particularly apropos quote about love with me, I have to share it with my cyber world. Not always, but sometimes I have post-post regrets. I begin to think perhaps this one was "too much," that this one crossed the city limits into "Enough is Enough-ville."
Benjamin comments on my posts sometimes, usually privately. He understands my compulsion to overshare, or at least he lovingly accepts and tolerates it (for now anyway). And I have offered to delete posts - "Too much? Should I take it down?" He has yet to make such a request, which I appreciate more than he knows. He gets me.
My whole life, I have sought people who understand and accept me and who don't attempt to change me. I know who I am and what sort of insane baggage I bring into a relationship or friendship He is one of those people who accepts me and can handle the Lauren bags (definitely a "Deal Maker" attribute.). So I have to thank him for just being who he is - basically perfect (God, I kind of hate him! Just kidding). At any rate, perfect for me.
Love is finding someone who just gets you and is all right with each layer of crazy. Someone who looks at you when you have dinner on your face and for no reason at all, and smiles. Someone who can hold his own in a political debate or a debate about the value of useless organs.
So there's your TMI. Happy post-election. I hope this particular post Trumps all the negativity out there (get it...).