My 1/3 Anniversary

Yesterday, on 4/20 (I did that intentionally) I had my third of a year anniversary.

My marriage has been a fairytale. But not the easy Disney kind. More like the Brothers Grimm kind or the Central Europe kind, where people become disfigured or disabled in the quest for true love. What I’m saying is, you get your magical happily ever after, but magic takes manna and happiness requires danger.

Bear and I have been through a lot over the past four months. Most of it has been because of my untreated PTSD that I’m just now getting treated. I sought help throughout my life, but because I had it buried so deep within me it exploded on my wedding night.

Today I performed a literal song and dance number to express to Bear my feelings about our situation. Then I decided he just needed to hear that he was a good husband, to keep trying, as I would keep trying.

On the day of our anniversary I went into our back yard and picked two of our roses. I put them in the cup we painted together on our first valentines day. I hoped the effect was special enough to override any of the bad juju we’d been through.

When I picked the roses, I noticed how soft and velveteen they felt. I grew up in a literal rose garden. My mother’s yellow roses and my grandfather’s red heirloom roses climbed the walls of my childhood home.
Whenever I see a rose, I am reminded of childhood play, happiness, and my mother’s love.

I had quite a garden as a child, and I grew up exploring the plants and little critters that came with it. But there were always the roses climbing the walls and flower beds.

Bear isn’t giving me a rose garden, but he is giving me a pergola covered with climbing roses once the coronapocalypse is over. We’re going on a road trip to the best rose seller in the state, and I will pick out my favorites. I’lll most likely be a kid in a candy store.

Anyways, Bear, life may not be a rose garden, but it will be a rose pergola with you. Happy one third of an anniversary!

My Immunosuppressed Romance: Love In the Time of COVID-19

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With COVID-19 declared a pandemic, I became curious about it today. By curious, I mean panicked.

The reason I had been avoiding reading the news about it was to create an illusion that I’d be okay by creating ignorance. This is because I’m an immunosuppressed person, and have been so for about a year.

As an immunosuppressed person, I am among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 because of my fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. For those who have fibromyalgia and are unaware or unsure that fibromyalgia is immunosuppressed, due to prolonged high levels of inflammation, fibromyalgia does compromise your immune system, per The Fibro Manual by Dr. Ginevra Liptan, MD.

Before COVID-19 became a pandemic, my husband frequently talked about it with me. Today I understood why – mainly because I was reading Dr. Liptan’s book – and joined in on the conversation more. No longer was I joining in on pointing disparaging fingers on social media. I was panicking inside… and a little bit out. However, I was cute about it.

My husband and I have some distance between us, and today he called me on the phone and immediately began talking about COVID-19. He spoke of how depressed he was about it, his fears for me. Then he asked me if I could come home this weekend.

My response?

“You know, with all this pandemic and my being immunosuppressed… at the end of the day I’m supposed to spend my life with somebody and that’s you. If all we have left is a short little while, I’m coming home to you immediately.”

I could hear him smile through the phone.

Earlier he expressed anxiety about my health in the midst of COVID-19, and proceeded to tell me:

“With the virus you’re better off staying in the country in one place hiding out like you’ve been doing. But yes, I do want to see you this weekend.”

Love in the time of cholera?

Try love in the time of COVID-19.

Bear and I are taking COVID-19 very seriously, as we plan to get me back home safely, but the fact that he cares so much makes dealing with the anxiety that much easier. It’s not safe to go alone.

Grace and Gratitude

The Bouquet that started it all.

I never thought I would meet a nice guy. Or a decent guy. A kind guy. Someone who was sweet to his mother and animals. The kind of guy who had interests, passions, and hobbies. A real person that cared about things that mattered, who lived for a cause, and wanted things in the earth to grow.

This is, to many people, the definition of an interesting person. But when my fiancé went out of his way to meet my dog, get to know my roommate, FaceTime my father, all before we became an official couple standing in my doorway with a bouquet of wildflowers, wherein I made the move – I knew he was intentional. Nothing he did was by chance. He saw the world in a grand design of patterns, a graph of charts and maps to set upon to reach a glorious destination. His heart was tender but it’s beat was strong, rhythmic and deep, he was searching for someone with whom it could roam the forests with in the daytime and snuggle up with by the firelight after dark. That heart saw something in mine and it didn’t want to leave.

If I seem like I romanticize him here it is in part true. He deserves it because of what I’ve put him through, and the path that he’s chosen that I’ve so often warned him about: a life married to someone coming to grips with chronic pain.

Very often I flip flop between positivity and deep negativity on this blog. It’s hard to remain objective at age 27, engaged and not used to parts of yourself you didn’t know exist emerging in pain on random days of the week. My fiancé has been a real trooper in that he miraculously understands that when I try to rain on his parade, it’s my physical pain talking. This is why he is my Bear. He is strong and elusive, yet fuzzy, warm and a great comfort.

A few weeks ago I wrote Bear a letter and asked him to put it on the wall, somewhere he could easily see it, in case my pain took over and I didn’t behave how I wanted. In the letter I put a piece of myself that was still gentle and loving and would give him a kiss when he needed it if he would only look at it.

Maybe that’s marriage insurance, but I can only do so much for my dear Bear right now.

To my Bear, I give you all the tenderness in the world and I thank you for sticking by me through all my inexplicable suffering. I’m glad you’re the team optimist. Let’s make it to the wedding day.

My Busband, My Husband

Photo credit: Tauni Joy photography

My fiancé came over to comfort me, as is his good fiancé custom. He truly is a blessing. When it comes to words I can only say that I am the luckiest.

We are two quiet, nerdy people, who enjoy art, animals, and nature. Together we sit and play with the dog, each knowing that the other is there, and even though there is not a fire burning in the fireplace we feel a warmth. This is love.

Love found me at the strangest of times. It found me when all the mom advice and rom coms in the world would tell me it shouldn’t. I was not at the top of my game. Not crushing it at work. I was entering into my health crisis and the fight of my life when I met my fiancé.

When I first met him at a vegan burger stand, I had been throwing up every night for two months and generally feeling a malaise. I hadn’t wanted to come to the date. He was an internet stranger from a dating app. I was nauseous with a fever and hadn’t slept for a few weeks from vomiting all night. In order to meet him we had to go to a halfway point that was 20 minutes away and I was driving a 25 year old car. Before I had bought a new car after graduating college, but that had been totaled 6 months prior.

Instead of cancelling, I changed into grey leggings, a knit coral V neck and my nice grey winter jacket. It was raining and I had just gotten my hair done earlier that day. I tossed on a beret and eased my way down my apartment stairs.

When I got there, I saw a nervous looking dude in thrifted khakis and a polo beneath a street light. He was curled up against a pillar and it looked like he was soaked from the rain. The light made him glow a strange jaundice yellow, and when I approached him there was fear in his eyes with a gentle sadness. Trepidation, a fear of a repeat date. Being that guy again.

I took it as extreme shyness and smiled my biggest smile. At that moment I decided I was going to make him feel comfortable, no matter how silly I looked. Now I am extremely shy, horrible at conversation, but I decided to find a common subject and talk on it. He revealed he went to church, so we talked about Christianity. I know, I know. Bad move. But he apparently liked it.

We went to an art supply store next. I pointed out some tools I used in art school, which brands I thought were best, and we had an intelligent conversation. There I noticed something remarkable. The yellow light was gone, and he was glowing white as a lion’s star, like the beacon of happiness had landed on him. He had a gentle essence about him, and I knew this meant he was a good, kind person. Call it stupidity or call it intuition. I will call it intuition, because he has been nothing but kind to me.

We decided to go shopping at the mall, but on our way to our cars, I began to feel as if I would vomit. I was almost afraid I would not be able to drive home and would need to call an Uber. Apologetically I turned to him and explained I was sick, and that I liked our date. I asked him to text me when he got home, and to be safe driving. He smiled, and said he would in a triumphant yet sad voice.

I drove home, feeling miserable, anxious about the wet roads and my nausea. When I got home, I noticed I had a notification. This man had actually texted me that he had arrived home.

What.

Me, pessimist that I am, figured he thought I was trying to get out of a bad date, which I wasn’t. He had some form of hope that I was not and believed I actually was ill. Our first trust fall was our first date. This is how it began, and this is how it is.

Now, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: people who say you have to have your life together to find a good person or love are flat out wrong. You are deserving of love even if your ducks in a row are a bunch of angry geese.

Pocket full of darkness: expect to be judged for your angry geese.