All of my life I have met boys and men. Each of them starting from boyfriend number one all the way down to my most amazing Joseph has taught me something.
Boyfriend number one: Nelson
This boyfriend lasted throughout years of learning. I was twelve when he was my boyfriend the first time and after he broke up with me and I moved to another state I spent 3.5 years blowing out of proportion how amazing he was. What I learned the first time? I learned that when your twelve things can hurt like you are grown. I learned that loss is loss no matter your age and I hope to hold onto that so I know when my kids are hurting over things that seem small to grown ups to remember that they are big to them.
So when I re-met Nelson later in life when I was almost 16 he had a girlfriend. I learned it sucks that the person you “think” you want and they are with someone else. Years later I learn it is a blessing not to always get what you want. And through 2 more years I learned that if someone wants you or loves you they will try for you. They won’t string you along, they won’t cheat on you. They will just love you. They won’t manipulate you either.
So now I am almost 18. I have had a few little boyfriends in these times and I can say they left no significant mark. When I met my now X-Husband John I was a still very sheltered girl who had not yet had a responsible boyfriend. So he looked so responsible, with his job and his apartment. The lessons that I had to learn from this relationship took 15 years. And most of them I didn’t figure out until the end.
I learned the love a man should have for his wife comes before the love he has for himself. I never felt that kind of love before now. So not ever having known what that was like I feel like I was certainly relationship lost. I learned how to be alone. I was a bit codependent when I moved in with John. And I trailed along behind him, going wherever he wanted to, doing whatever he asked. Not knowing that it was not the way it should have been. I sacrificed everything and gained nothing. I learned that love is a two way street. You can’t be in a meaningful relationship that is full of love and support when you look next to you and find that you have been walking all alone for ten years. Long years. The good news and the lesson that I got out of that part? Once I had realized how long I had been being married alone, it was easy to leave and go forth and actually be in a place alone. I learned what love doesn’t look like. I believe fully that is one of the best lessons I gained. He showed me so many different ways not to be loved by someone that when it was all done. I now know what love doesn’t look like.
My emotional affair. Richard was the man who saved me from my x-husband. He pulled me from the depths of darkness and showed me the light. And all from a distance that kept me from getting into physical trouble. And there is plenty of posts on here if you wanted to see the mess that was. What did I learn? To love again, to feel alive. To be hurt in a way that left me unable to eat. The good news? I needed that love and that heartache. It helped me remember that I wasn’t a robot. I was alive. I had been going through the motions of life for so long that I found myself just existing in the most basic way. The only love I had felt was that of my children and close family. That love kept me going, Richard taught me to breathe again. I am truly grateful for the love he and I shared long distance. It truly did save me. It readied me for the moments that followed. The heartache that I felt when he found real love in his now wife. The pain was terrible, it was a lot to bear and it took a very long time for the sting to go away. But it did. Which brings me to life lesson Carlos.
The worst thing you can do is fall for a crazy persons X husband. I did just that. The lessons I learned from that mess. Listen to God. If he tells you not to get attached, that you are not going to be together and that you will find yourself in a world of hurt. Listen. He knows better. I learned to feel feel. Like physically. Richard brought me out of the coma, and Carlos remind me how life lived felt. Over the course of a year we laughed loved, broke up like 3 or 4 times and then it was truly over. I learned that some people never get over their exes. HIs Ex will always love him, and always think of him as hers. And when battling that kind of crazy if you don’t do that battle right you lose. You lose big. You lose friends, and loves. You lose respect for yourself when you realize that you lied too, and you didn’t do what you could have. And then you realize something else. That none of those things, the pain you suffered, the drama that happened would have been possible had you listened to God in the first place. Point taken Lord. Thanks for the lesson. (Thats not sarcasm) I am glad for the lesson, I am glad that I learned what it felt like to be loved, in person, in the real world despite the ending. He and I chat occasionally, and I am glad that we made it this far. I know that life is a hard lesson. And some hurt more than others. I am glad some of these lessons came with him as the side kick instead of some other jackass who may have been less than sympathetic.
The lessons that I have learned from my Joseph. Still in progress of course seeing how I still have him and I pray daily I get to keep him for the duration of my life left lived on this planet. I learned that some things are unexpected. Joseph and I did not intend to fall in love. My tiny apartment and 3 little girls scared him to death. In fact, after an evening of Archer and laughs and some tequila he left to go home. He sent me a text moments after he walked out my door. I remember it exactly:
In another life, at a different time, I think you and I would really hit it off and be perfect together.
The thought made me smile. I enjoyed hanging out with Joseph, and laughing and just being there. I learned that things are not always what they seem.He was cool and aloof at work, just a little distant when we hung out. And I know why now, but then I just thought that maybe he wasn’t interested. Now I know he was just worried and scared of me and the girls. We are a huge undertaking. I have also learned that a man can be greater than you think. He has fallen in love with not just me but with my girls. I learned that someone can love kids that aren’t theirs and love them as if they were. I have learned that love really does know no bounds. It can be larger than life. I learned that love doesn’t get boring. The real kind is still exciting a year and a half later. It is still wonderful to see his car parked in the parking lot when I get home. I am still sad if I didn’t get to see him. (like today) I learned that kissing and hand holding and spending quality time together is important. My ex husband never invested his time in me or our marriage. I was a worker bee all alone. And after doing it alone for so long I didn’t want to work anymore. Now the work of maintaining this relationship is fun, and wonderful. It inspires me, it makes me glow and watching Joseph with my daughters they way I had never seen them with their own father gives me a joy that only a single mother can describe.
Jada Pinket Smith posted an image on her facebook. It was a picture of Will and one of their kids. The child was asleep on their daddy, and he was looking out an airplane window. She said something that is as close to my heart as it is to hers. She said,
“As a fatherless daughter, it is moments like these that mean the most to me”
I know what she means. I live it with every hug that he gives my girls, with every I love you. And even with every reprimand of what is usually my four year old acting ornery. Because she is four and that is how she is right now. Testing the boundaries of everyones patience.
Life is a rough ride. There is more to learn for all of us, and hard lessons most of us would skip. There are several painful lessons up in that 1500 words. I cried, a lot. I laughed and loved and learned. I learned that the people you love will hurt you. The one who love you through and through will stick around through the pain that they cause and the pain that you cause and they will be stronger and so will you. You will look at the tiny fires and dramas and be grateful for the lessons and the scars. Every painful moment above I would do over again. I learned who I was through all of this. I learned what I love, what I don’t, what I am will to put up with and what I will fight for. I learned how no matter what you can’t change people. You can’t make them what you want.
The real lesson, the most important one that I learned after all the tears and pain and loneliness is that if you love someone, You love them because at the moment that you love them, they are already what you want. No change needed. Then you can live life together and learn new things, change as life changes you together.
Remember that love and loving with all of your heart is a choice. Don’t hold back. Even if the pain and the cost to your heart is high. Because how do you know if it will work out and how much love you can experience and how much you can live if you only give half of you and reserve the other half for later? You can’t. You will always leave a question in there.
What if I had loved all the way?
What if I hadn’t held back in fear?
What would I have?
How would that feel?
Don’t leave yourself with questions like these. Live like tomorrow isn’t there. It isn’t a guarantee anyway. Love like today is your last.
I love you already. I don’t know you. But to all of you that read this, if you learn anything know that I love you because you are made by a big GOD who doesn’t make junk.
All my love always,
Tiarra aka Lady X