Slowly, Then All At Once

Slowly, Then All At OnceLast spring, I saw “The Fault In Our Stars”. I haven’t read the book yet because frankly I haven’t been able to bring myself to do so. The movie made me cry so hard that I am not sure I can handle the protracted experience of reading the book – though I imagine at some point in the near future, I will take the leap. I’ll just make sure I have a big box of tissues next to me when I do.

I am in a relatively new relationship. It’s a few months old. And it’s really like no other relationship I have been in. And I don’t think that is just because the cast of characters is different. Sure, it’s a different guy and in many, many ways I am not the woman I have been in previous relationships but I don’t think that is the only thing making this different. I think it is a lot about how our relationship has progressed. There are a few reasons that perhaps neither he nor I should be here and yet, we find ourselves here and while there has been a bit of resistance from both of us at various times, we seem to be moving forward. Together.

In December, I was laid off from work, so for the first three months of the year, I have had a large amount of flexibility in my schedule and that has allowed the two of us to spend time together that wouldn’t have worked had I had a job to report to daily. And most of that time has been on weekday mornings. And these mornings have become my most favorite of the time we spend together. I am often not the world’s greatest sleeper and there are times when I wake in the middle of the night for a few hours. I don’t want to leave his bed – it’s way too warm and snuggly and I certainly don’t want to leave him so I have found a solution. My Kindle. I set it to the lowest light level and I read while he sleeps beside me. I’ve gotten busted doing this a few times but it seems to work for us.

How does all of this relate to “The Fault In Our Stars” you may be asking? Recently, I was reading around 4 am. Philadelphia had just started what would be an almost full day of constant snow fall and I was going back and forth between watching the snow fall and reading and the following quote popped into my head:

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

I had to look it up in the book because I wanted to make sure I had gotten it right and I sighed when I realized I had. There are days when my memory just rocks! And I teared up when I realized that was just how I felt. I had fallen in love slowly over the last few months but in many ways, it happened all at once. It happened when he first kissed me at the end of our first date. It happened in the moment when I woke up next to him for the first time. It happened during a dinner party with some of my dearest friends. It happened in the moment when I first told him I loved him in one of the most botched attempts at such a thing. It happened when he told me we could talk about anything, always. And it happened ever so slowly over hours of talking and spending time together. It happened over hoppy beers and cuddling on the couch watching TV. I fell in love with him slowly over time and in many ways all at once.

If I wasn’t me, I could just accept this happiness I feel and not look at it deeper but I am, in fact, me, which means I need to examine the hell out of it all. What it means for me is that I am opening myself up in ways I never have been willing to do before. It means I know with all of my heart, that if my heart gets broken, I will be okay. It means that for years I have been saying that what I want more than anything is for someone to know me truly and love me and since I have been saying it, I have to be willing to do it. Not glossing over things. Answering the tough questions, telling the tough stories. Being real and honest about how I feel – even when it is scary as hell. Being willing to say “I love you” first when every cell of my body wouldn’t let me not say it anymore. Being willing to be seen and risk him not loving me back. And knowing that if he doesn’t love me back when I show all of myself to him- it only means that he isn’t the right guy for me and has nothing to do with whether or not I am good enough or worthy of being loved.

There are moments when this shift terrifies me. There are times when I worry about falling too hard, caring too much and scaring him away. But I know that the only way to find real and lasting love is to be open to this level of vulnerability. To trust that the man I have chosen will treasure my vulnerability and be willing to be vulnerable himself and trust that I will treasure his as well. But no matter how scared I get, I also know that we’re walking this path together and that makes me happier than I have ever been.

Photo Credit: Wonderlane via cc

Amanda Lipnack

If you truly want to curl my toes, give me a chance to make a difference - for you, for the community, for the world.Few things make me happier than supporting the folks around me to be the best and happiest people they can be.This, of course, winds up taking on a multitude of flavors but generally comes through by being a good friend, a good coach and an excellent paint color picker.

I'm a single lady living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with 2 cats named Leo and Toby (after characters on "The West Wing" - one day I will have the ability to recite the entire series by heart.That's a noble goal, yes?).

I've had a varied career doing a bunch of technical stuff that isn't that interesting to folks who aren't doing it but my real passion is writing.I also get the fabulous pleasure of coaching people from time to time and that brings me amazing joy and energy.

If you want to hang with me there are things you should know:I curse.A lot.I like hoppy beer.A lot.I like big and deep red wines. A lot. I adore my friends.A lot, a lot.I am passionate about politics (or a big geek about them - you choose).I'm an accidental but rather passionate Unitarian and few things make me happier than my dining room table surrounded by people I love.And picking paint colors, let's not forget that. Find me online here.

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