My guy and I went out of town to Santa Barbara a couple of weekends ago. One of the highlights of our trip wasn't a planned excursion. We were both hungry and driving in circles, not really knowing what restaurants were near us. We happened upon a small eatery with several tables outside and warming lamps.
I was in my converse high-tops and a fleece sweatshirt. The entire crowd was dressed Santa Barbara casual....which is fancier than your normal casual. I felt so underdressed and uncomfortable. But being hungry over shadowed being properly attired. I was positive the hostess was trying to find a way to hide us at the back bar, when miraculously a front table opened up. My fleece sweater was first and foremost the thing that each new diner was able to see.
And I'm sure my fleece sweater and converse made a huge impression on Carol Burnett, who was sitting at the table to our right. I did my best to not loudly hum songs from Annie or the theme song to The Carol Burnett Show.
But the presence of a great female comedian/performer was not the moment that makes me smile.
To our left was another older couple. The gentleman leaned over and said to Jesse, "You seem like a nice, polite young man and yet these tattoos you have speak of a much harsher experience. Would you mind telling me their story?"
Jesse opened up and explained how his tattoos evolved from a poorly chosen wedding band tattoo and how they had grown from that one mistake into a beautiful and strong piece of body art, that is still in the creation process. The couple were enamored by the story and we ended up conversing through the whole meal.
We found out that the husband of the couple was none other than, Mark Singer, the inventor of Gorilla Glue and that he sold his company several years ago. He now gets to focus on his love of designing and building modern wood furniture. You can see his story with Giati Furniture here: http://www.giati.com/about-giati/designer.php
Our quickly approaching marriage became a subject of conversation. Mark asked Jesse and me, "What makes you think it will work this time?" And I chose to respond with, "Well, we have both failed at marriage before. We know what makes it not work and what is truly important to making it work."
Mark asked what I felt had made my marriage not work. And I explained that I worried more about other people's happiness than my own. I said, "I didn't speak my mind about how I truly felt. I shoved it down, in an effort to be pleasing and perfect....and 7 years later, when I am in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer and wishing that I could change it all, I saw just how much damage my reluctance to be honest had taken."
My first marriage was to a person who took full advantage of my people-pleasing personality and there was no honesty between us At the end, there was just his expectations and me submissively fulfilling them. Anger, resentment and self-loathing had taken center stage in our marriage, which led him to infidelity and our final separation.
I further went on to explain that Jesse had shown me that he could love me, knowing my story, knowing my pitfalls, my failures, my experiences...the lump sum that equates my existence....he knows and he loves, whether he understands or not. He loves me. And we are moving in the same direction, towards the same goals in life, family and work. I have a partner, not a boss. We are complimentary towards each other. And that relationship, with continual work, honest communication and trust, equals success. I have no doubt.
It was that moment, which makes me smile and makes my stomach flutter. I have no doubt that I know this is the romance and the love I was meant for....this is the love that people wish and pray for. And I'm worth receiving it. I had to live out my life to get to a point where I could be ok with being loved, truly.
And this is it.