K and I spent the entire night chatting about nothing and everything. It was never sexual, it was never overly personal, but I remember feeling those butterflies in my stomach. I felt the warmth in my chest that fills you up when you are crushing on someone. That night we exchanged phone numbers.
The next night we talked into the wee hours of the night. I was late to my class the next morning because I had been up too late. We never had any kind of sexual talk, it was never dirty, it was never scary. It just felt right.
I had met a few men online before, but never a woman. We decided to meet the next afternoon. I was scared to death. I had never been on a date with a woman. I had never met a woman with the sole purpose of ‘dating’. This was all very new territory to me. However, when we met for the first time, we clicked. It was perfect.
I still remember her pulling up in her dad’s huge green truck. Coming out of the truck in her black boots, jeans, and red hoodie. I just stood there like a lump – not really sure what to do or say. The first thing she said to me was “Can I have a hug?” She wrapped me up in her arms and it was literally the moment when I knew what true love felt like.
We went out to eat at Applebee’s and had awkward first date conversation. We went back to my dorm room and well, the rest is a fade to black moment. We spent the entire weekend indoors, watching movies, cuddling, hanging out. We ordered in and for once in my life I didn’t have to pay! This was a completely new experience and it was something I was slowly starting to love.
Over the course of two weeks, we spent our time online and on the phone, never too much time apart. We didn’t make anything official until I came home from a party, quite drunk and called her up. I had already puked my guts out in the hallway and she knew I was not quite right. It had been a really long time since I had drank that much alcohol. I asked her to be my girlfriend officially that night.
I’m sure she was skeptical, she was dealing with a drunk, bi-curious girl who didn’t know what she really wanted. Anyway, on May 1, 2013; 10 years ago, we made it official. If you asked me when I was 17 where I would be in 10 years, I would never have said I would be here.
If I hadn’t met K, I may have gone home and lived my life out in the small town I grew up in. With the reputation of slut and whore and been walked all over. I would have consented to having babies and drinking and drugging. Reliving my parents mistakes. If I hadn’t met K, I she hadn’t sent me that simple IM, I could have gone back home and lived my life as a sub-par person with no concept of what love truly is.
But, she did send me that message and she did take a chance on the bi-curious girl with no picture posted. We have been inseparable ever since. We have weathered the good and the bad in the last 10 years. She helped me through the death of Katy, who was in a car accident shortly after K and I started dating. She held me as I cried and cried that my best friend died before I could make up with her. She helped me learn who I truly am. She was patient with me as I tried to figure out where God played a role in this new identity that I had. She was kind when I was not sure I wanted to come out to my family.
She held my hand when my dad condemned me to Hell. She held me as I cried when he told me I made a deal with Satan. I stood outside the locked door as she confined herself during her Great Depression. I watched her deteriorate into mental illness and did what I could to help her. We have gotten through the failed jobs and the ‘woman we don’t name’ and we have come out on the other side.
We have had quite a few trials and tears. We have had a lot of bumps in the road of 10 years, in the end, I have learned that I know what real love is. It’s not sex. It’s not some superficial affection for someone else. It’s a willingness to stick by the person you love. It’s a need to grow with the person you love and not give up on the person you love. It’s accepting the good and the bad, the flaws and the faults.
I’ve learned, in the last 10 years, that love is not rainbows and bunnies. Love is hard work. Love is not kind, it is not patient, it is not easy, but it is unconditional. You can dislike the person you are with, but you will always love them. When you know there is something left fighting for, love is real. When you scrape to the bottom of the barrel of your sanity and your hope and you still find a reason to hold on, that’s love.
Here we are 10 years from now. Happier than we have ever been. We have a daughter whom we love more than anything. People say that children of gay couples are at a disadvantage. Well, I am here to tell them that I have seen what my life could have been in a straight marriage. I know how my kids would have been affected.
Our daughter is better for having two PARENTS who love each other. Who have weathered every storm and come out better for it. I hope to show her that love is real and it is worth waiting for. I hope to build up her confidence and her self-esteem so she doesn’t have to depend on someone else to make her feel some sense of worth. I hope to show her that it’s love that makes a family, not gender, not society’s ideals of normal.
No matter the gender of the parents, if love is the constant, the child will be forever at an advantage. I know she’s going to be more prepared than I was for what life throws at her, because she can see how her mama and I came out – she will know how we thrived in a time when we should have been knocked down, beaten, and torn.
The real purpose of this entry was to show the evolution of how I learned what real love was. K has shown me what it is to love and to be loved. I know now, it’s not easy, but if it’s real, it never is. In the end, happiness finds you, so when I stopped looking, love found me and my happy ending was 10 years in the making.