On being open to the future.
It sometimes seems surreal to imagine that on July 15, 2012 I could be sitting here on my couch chatting with my dad, but here a year later, I will never be able to have a conversation with him again. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November of 2011, I was told he would have three months. It was amazing that he almost lived for a whole year after that diagnosis, and even more amazing that I was blessed with 21 wonderful years with him. This is not to say that it wasn’t hard to deal with his illness and death - it was. After the fact, I found myself feeling like a huge door had been shut on what had been my life before September 23, 2012 - it was like every day that passed was another 24 hours separating me from the part of my life when I’d had a father who was alive. However, I always felt that the situation, one which seemed so different than a lot of the stresses that the average junior in college has, would end up teaching me something about life. One of those lessons was to continue to remember the beauty of what the future can hold.
At a point where what I wanted most was to keep my personal burden from being anyone else’s responsibility, I also deeply longed for someone to step in to comfort me, something I knew wasn’t easy to ask of another. I knew that anyone who might be even remotely interested in pursuing me romantically might shy away because of my personal life - after all, not every twenty-something year old guy is prepared to date someone who has just lost a parent. The same situation that I felt might be an obstacle to someone wanting to be with me ended up acting as a filter, through which I found someone who was more than willing to help me bear my burden, someone who has been more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.
I know that not everyone supports the idea of a “great plan” or “destiny,” but I can’t pretend like I don’t believe that sometimes things happen for a reason. I definitely don’t think my dad’s sickness “happened” so I could find someone I loved, but I do think it prepared me to recognize someone who was willing to take me seriously from the very beginning of our relationship, someone worthy of that love. Falling in love with the man who is now my boyfriend helped the future become a time I could look forward to rather than a a passage of time that separated me from the first man I ever loved. For that, fate or not, I couldn’t be more grateful.
You know what’s weird?
I’m an ocean person. I’m an ocean person in the die-hard, beach chairs in my car long past the point of sensibility, swimming in September seems like a great idea, sigh of relief when my toes hit a beach kind of way. If I somehow found a career that let me spend the rest of my life being around the water, it would be a perfect match. I’d sign on the dotted line for that, no questions asked. I revel in waves and salt and dunes. My favorite smell is found when you bury your face in a towel after a long day: a combination of ocean, sunscreen, and the way it smells when fabric has been dried by the sun. So far, I have yet to reveal the weird part of this scenario.
Here it is: I date a mountain person. As in, my boyfriend is someone who describes his dream vacation home as being a beautiful cabin up north. He likes fresh powder and sunsets seen through pine-dotted peaks. Being a few yards away from a moose in Jackson Hole this December made his day. Seeing his breath swirl into the air in a spiral of chilly fog probably brings a smile to his face, and he doesn’t wear a jacket outside as often as he should.
If a person’s favorite habitat were a measure of their compatibility with another, it would seem like we might be utterly doomed. In my idealistic mind, I always pictured myself with a fellow ocean lover, someone whose stomach flipped over a beautiful sunset/waves picture the way mine does. However, I’ve come to accept that maybe it’s better this way, with us each having a unique preference. He teaches me to love more than I did previously. He challenges me to appreciate different kinds of beauty. Together, we both love the ocean and the mountains and each other. And that’s just perfect.
My lovely cousin has a tablet for her Mac (because she’s incredibly talented and will some day be a famous graphic designer) that she was kind enough to let me play with one Friday evening last summer, which resulted in this little design. I was obviously waiting for the appropriate time to post it. Happy Love Day.
At least she's right.
CMQ (regarding my senior portrait):It's very cold here. I'm going to look blotchy.
AMQ:They have filters.
Parties of one.
I certainly have no objection to movies and books set in the halls of high schools - my Netflix account shamlessly reveals my tastes for “High School TV Dramas” or “Teen TV” and admittedly I have a soft spot for books whose characters are navigating the hallowed halls of fictional prep schools, whose greatest drama involves prom or getting into college. However, I like happy high school stories. When I was recently convinced to watch "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" it was only after a certain amount of protesting that I agreed. I don’t like watching people be sad or lonely, certainly not voluntarily. The part where he eats lunch alone in the cafeteria? Heartbreaking.
Strange that it breaks my heart to see someone dining solo in a movie, but in real life I really enjoy the occasional lunch alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to offer the cliché, “We should totally get lunch!” line to someone and I like the company — but I also really enjoy cozying up in a booth by myself for a few hours to read, write and carry out the phone calls I should have made days ago. Maybe it’s because it’s voluntary solitude? Perhaps it’s because in college company is easier to come by and time alone is what tends to take planning? Either way, as long as the food is worthwhile and the location is right, I enjoy my own company. (#thingsonlychildrensay)
There comes a time when it becomes blatantly obvious that there’s no such thing as “having a type” - not really at least. No one simply likes any old blonde or brunette, and just because you like someone’s height or eye color doesn’t mean you’ll like the rest of them. I’d propose that it’s instead more about the total package - the essence of the person, their character coupled with their looks and feel. I don’t have a type, but I definitely have a genre.
Genres are three-dimensional; they have depth and emotions like silly, responsible, and confident. I like someone who evokes salt air and crashing waves, someone who encompasses the smell of fresh laundry, dune grass, and Ralph Lauren Blue. Men who are as comfortable with themselves as I will be in their favorite white linen oxford shirt. I like ones that open doors and put their hand on the small of my back at the right times, the ones that laugh and sparkle with life like the reflections of Fourth of July fireworks on the water.
To say a gentleman enjoys a good sunset, can pick me up, and loves the ocean is far more tangible than a simple description of his style. The kinds of boys for me are the ones who would appreciate a needlepoint belt that I stitched myself, who will lend me a sweater that they’ve had for years and hand me the right drink without having to ask. They’re cool and sweet, sarcastic and calm, the sound of the bell on top of a buoy, a black sky sharp with stars.