Friday, December 13, 2013

Modern Romance

When I was sixteen I believed in a certain kind of romance. Not having very many relationships (read: none) my ideas of romance consisted of what I think is best summed up in a scene in High Fidelity-

Barry: I wanna date a musician.
Rob Gordon: I wanna live with a musician. She'd write songs at home and ask me what I thought of them, and maybe even include one of our little private jokes in the liner notes.
Barry: Maybe a little picture of me in the liner notes.
Dick: Just in the background somewhere.

When I was nineteen my life took a different turn. An unplanned pregnancy, an engagement, in-laws, jobs- suddenly Little Girl Lost turned into Little Girl Better Get Your Shit Together, Fast. Romance took a backseat to reality. 

My first marriage didn't work out. Two people going through different sets of growing pains that turned them into strangers with different outlooks on separate paths- things got loud, then they got silent. The type of atrophy where you look across the dinner table and wait for the other person, with just as much sadness in their eyes, to announce the time of death. We only knew each other through our son. And in wanting to keep things happy for him, we severed our own animosity and forged new lives with the same goal- become better people for him. 

When I unloaded the bags of clothing and belongings, weighed more heavy by disappointment, by feelings of failure, into the empty room that I currently live in (although the scenery has changed drastically) I swore I'd never go through that again. I'd never marry again. And what's more- I'd probably never really trust the workings of love or relationships. The inner cynic had proof now and it became my cross to bare. 

One windy and overcast day in November 2011, my best friend/roommate and I went out to lunch at Bumsted's and began our usual lunch discussions. At that point I was fed up with my call center job that left me a silent ball of disenchantment at the end of every workday and Colleen, picking up the nuances in my behavior the way one will when you live with them for a bit, asked me if I considered just changing it up.

"Have you served before?"
"Yeah, kind of. It was alright."
"Why don't you apply here?!"
"Okay. Why not..."

I filled out an impromptu application on a piece of yellow legal paper and left it with our server. Colleen texted Bethany, former roommate and current bartender at Bumsted's, and asked a favor and a week later I had an interview. 

I walked in and asked the bartender about my impending interview, not realizing who I was talking to would become one of the most important people in my life. 

I got the job. 

I met Zack.

We hustled through a busy season together. Making small talk and jokes in between putting in orders and bussing tables. The small talk turned into hours long post-work conversations with him behind the bar and me becoming more loose lipped with each vodka gimlet until suddenly the stranger I saw the day of my interview turned into a friend and then...something. 

I walked home one day after a deeper post-work conversation. The kind where somehow you've etched out a place of comfort and camaraderie in a person. It was a brisk winter afternoon and as I walked I felt weightless and then something heavy settled into my chest (and has since never left)- I have strong feelings for this person. Me. The chick that hates everything and everybody. The chick that doesn't believe in most things, especially the fickleness of feelings. Suddenly, my body met the ghost of my former self.

"I'm catching feelings, as the kids say, for him," I confessed to Bethany one day after work. And her face lit up because she had been privy to information I hadn't- he had too. 

For weeks after that we did a lockstepped dance- the I Really, Really Fucking Like You But I'm Too Chickenshit To Say or Do Anything About It So Please Notice These Subtle Moves Dance. At this point we had talked until our heads turned blue. We had hung out. I asked for rides home from work even though I lived a distance close enough to even necessitate them (and had previously been walking to and from work every day) just so I could be in a small space, alone, with him. And I lingered before the exit thinking "now! Yes, now! Say it! Do it!"

"Okay, see ya tomorrow."
"Goodbye, Amanda."

The height of this dance came in March, where I couldn't handle it anymore and finally, in a sloppy text, confessed my feelings. Oh, modernity. 

We took a trip to Bisbee and everything came out on the way home and we returned from highway 80 a couple. 

It'll be two years in April. He's watched me struggle through a lot of shit. He's navigated through the process of becoming a step-father to my son. We've grown and bonded more and more every day.

I'm twenty-five. I'll be twenty-six in March. And now romance means something different than my previous teenage notions. 

Romance means not giving up.
Romance is finding pieces of yourself that you thought were dead in somebody else. 
Romance is greeting the ebbs and flows with grace and tenderness. 
Romance is picking up the kids or making dinner or bringing by a snack because you're TOO FUCKING TIRED FOR THIS SHIT!
Romance is greeting the ugliness with open eyes and acceptance. 
Romance is a second chance.

We picked out an older ring at Copper Country. A small, delicate thing that I looked at fondly for what it represented- taking something old and giving it a new life. 

That is romance to me now.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Body Love

 If you haven't caught wind of her on the internet yet, Jes M. Baker of The Militant Baker has been making a splash in the world of body positivity. Currently, my roommate is working together with her and a team of incredible women on the first Body Love Conference, aimed to promote body acceptance and positivity in a supportive community. In a world where society seems to hold vicious views and standards on women's (and men's) bodies thus having a negative affect on their lives, this cause is breath the fresh air. To be content, to be HAPPY, with oneself is thing we cannot lose sight of.

But movements like this have to gain traction, and events like this do cost money to put on. Although the outcome is priceless. So I'm asking you for help. Please help us get this conference off the ground and start a movement towards love- of each other and ourselves.

The Body Love Conference fundrazr can be found HERE.
AND if you'd like to attend this spectacular event, you can purchase tickets HERE.