I had my 5 year anniversary with POTS this month. It’s really weird because part of me feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been normal. College and before feels like some sort of dream, and I am so conditioned to take care of myself like a POTSie that I don’t think just standing up after lying down feels normal for anyone, and carrying a case of water bottles without pulling something out of a socket or going through excruciating pain is impossible to all human beings. The other part of me feels like I was well just yesterday, and my body misses just living life physically feeling nothing. I’m not used to being in pain so much, and although I am able to feel more optimistic when I do have a stretch of high pain days, I still question how tough I really am and whether I can keep loving my life through all of the intense and nauseating hurt. I can’t describe my pain well. It’s not aching, but it’s what I imagine arthritis feels like, along with a lot of burning, knotted tightness.
It frustrates me that instead of writing about all the joy I’ve had in my life the past few months, and about how the wedding planning process has gone, I just keep going back to writing about this because I can’t sit down and think of anything else when I sit down and focus on the way my body is feeling. The pain is at the forefront of my mind because I can’t just shove it down anymore and try to ignore the 4-6 my body normally rests at. It’s been a blaring 8 for about a week now, and I’m just really worn out at this point.
Through all of this, I am still genuinely happy. Despite feeling heartbroken or frustrated with loss, I don’t feel depressed about my illness, which is kind of shocking when I really think about it. I completely attribute this to God putting a loving hand on my heart, and I am thankful that throughout all of this my mental health has stayed in tact, as that would be a whole other battle in itself. Getting the chances to be so joyful with a chronic illness isn’t necessarily common amongst people who are sick, and I can see why. It’s absolutely exhausting waking up day after day being in pain and having a wide range of symptoms that you just have to deal with while living life.
I am hoping to get a few little updates done about wedding planning, since we have less than a month to go now, but I’m thinking many will come after our big day. I want with all my heart to be writing a lot right now, but it just isn’t realistic with how I have been lately. In the meantime I am trying to enjoy the little things in life like watching Big Brother, talking to good friends on the phone, going for walks, and enjoying the company of loved ones.
My arms are killing me right now. I am beyond exhausted, but I can’t seem to fall asleep. This can be a common problem for people with all sorts of chronic illnesses, or even just regular people with stress. My problem is that I am sometimes worn out from just living day to day life.
I don’t complain to people very much in person because complaining isn’t really my thing. I love being positive, and honestly feel like I am a lot happier when I can look at the bright side of things in life. Sometimes you just fake it till you make it, right? This can be a double-edged sword, though. It’s wonderful because I can keep my relationships light, and add more joy to both my own life and the lives of my loved ones. It’s hard, though, because I feel like the less I talk about my symptoms, the more they are just forgotten.
You can’t see when I’m dizzy or nauseous or in pain. I have said it a million times, and I’m sure I’ll keep chatting about it on here — you cannot see signs of invisible illness. If you look closely, you’ll notice the bags under my eyes have become darker and deeper the past several weeks. I look in the mirror when I take my makeup off and can tell there’s been more wear lately. You can’t see the way my arms feel ropey and knotted, or the fact that my thoracic spine is as stiff as a board, though. I went to a Nationals game a few weeks ago and thought I might faint a few times. I stood and talked candidly about my wedding plans and how I don’t know very much about baseball, but I felt the stadium spinning circles around me as I spoke. It felt like I had left my body and was being twirled around and around on an amusement park ride.
When my POTS acts up it starts by slowly tightening everything in my chest and heating up my face, then moves to what feels like my body overheating and getting ready to shut down. In the same way that Robert’s gaming computer’s fans started whirring frantically when it was overheating, my body goes into panic mode to try to keep myself conscious by either getting into a horizontal position or rushing blood back up to my brain in any way it can. Sometimes that involves fainting to facilitate the blood flow, but luckily I have learned the signs of when I need to sit down.
Emotionally, I can feel drained with all of this. The more I write the more I expect people to understand. The less I feel understood, the more I want to scream. “I know I am the exact same person in your mind because I look normal, but how the heck would you feel if you woke up tomorrow and had to give up your job, your independence, your financial stability, and your working body?!” What frustrates me the most is how hard it is to wrap your mind around what life must be like as a young person who is sick. It kills me that I can’t go out with friends and family on long hikes, and that I don’t have the option to turn down camping just because it’s too hot out and I don’t feel like getting sweaty. I miss running, I miss going out dancing until the wee hours of the morning, and I miss competing. I absolutely hate not being able to compete in any kind of sport anymore, which is why I have opted for being a cutthroat board game player instead. It often doesn’t feel fair that other twenty-somethings take their bodies for granted or understand just how lucky they are to go to work every day and walk around pain-free.
I will keep writing because I want so badly for you to understand. I want you to love your own body fiercely for the things it can do, and I want you to realize that just because I am not playing volleyball or tagging along on your wilderness hikes doesn’t mean I don’t want to — it just means I either physically can’t, or it’s not worth how many days I know I will pay for the fun after the fact. I remember when I graduated from college and a friend began having severe chronic pain. I felt terrible for her, but I also didn’t get that her life would be changed forever with her new fibromyalgia diagnosis. It’s easy to move on with your day and forget about how other people are feeling when you don’t understand their journey, but it becomes a whole new ballgame when you meet someone who is struggling with something that you have already been through. Next week I am going to talk some about empathy versus sympathy. I have learned how to be empathetic to others the hard way, but I also think it is one of the most beautiful characteristics I own now. You don’t always have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes for your heart to really understand what they are going through.
To say I’m not self-conscious about my chronic illness would be like saying I didn’t care what other people thought of me when I was in high school. Neither is true, but high school was a lot easier because at least everyone else felt the exact same way — and I knew it. Despite feeling self-conscious about the shape of my body or being worried about my future, I knew all of my classmates felt the same way I did. That brought a little glimmer of comfort even in all the confusion.
What’s frustrating about POTS now is that I feel so alone in it. I don’t have a close knit group of friends who are chronically ill, and frankly, that sounds exhausting. We would never be able to make plans with each other because one of us would always be feeling sick, and it would be a whole lot more difficult getting from point “A” to point “B” without having someone who could carry two water bottles or still think clearly even if it gets really hot outside. If I had known in college that one day I wouldn’t be able to carry a Smart Water bottle around for myself I would have been terrified for what my life was going to become.
I freaking hate having a chronic illness. I hate how it makes me feel, I hate that it’s so unpredictable, and perhaps most of all, I hate that I ever have to rely on other people to take care of me. I have always been super-independent, and despite being sick for almost five years now I am nowhere close to being used to all of this. Let that sink in. I have been sick for almost 1/5 of my life now, and I am still not even close to being used to it.
Every morning I wake up and want to be able to do everything for myself. I want to cook, then clean up the mess in one sitting. I want to be able to drive to meet my friends for lunch without worrying about where they want to go geographically because my arms might hurt terribly from driving too far. I want to have enough energy and strength to go to work, think straight with no interruptions from dizziness or brain fog, and get through an entire day without hurting and becoming stiff — then do it all over again five days in a row. I don’t understand why all of these things that feel like very basic human rights have been taken away from me.
I miss my independence so much I want to scream. I push myself to limits that I know are going to hurt me because I don’t feel like asking for help with little tasks. In my mind, people are going to get annoyed if I keep asking for help with so many seemingly easy things, and it’s not worth losing all of my relationships to feel decent. My brain understands that the people who love me are happy to take care of me, but my heart feels heavy and tight with frustration. I often feel like a burden — not because anyone has told me that I’m one, but because I can’t take care of myself the way I used to. I want to be the one to take care of my parents and repay them for taking care of me for more than just the 18 years they expected to. I want to be able to support myself financially, and I want to feel like I can give acts of service to my loved ones more than I am able to. I want my friends to understand the way that I feel and to know what it’s like to lose every sense of normalcy your body has grown accustomed to — but only for a day so that they can know what my every day is like and why I’m often so tired. I want people be able to feel my frustration so they can really understand how much small things impact me in my day-to-day.
I could write a book on all the things I miss that are really normal. I miss being able to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch all by myself, and I miss doing my own laundry (Seriously!). I miss going shopping without eventually feeling nauseous and dizzy. I think what I miss most is going places by myself. Whether it’s being able to drive into the city to walk around and explore by myself, or taking a mini road trip to see a friend, I wish I could drive myself around without having to rely on loved ones to chauffeur me around. I am 27 years old and want nothing more than to be able to sit in traffic by myself to see my best friend just one a state away whenever I want. I either have to wait until someone can drive me, or have her make the hour-and-a-half trip by herself to come and see me. Both the little and big things about being sick bother me, and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever fully be used to being different this way. I hate asking people for help, and haven’t gotten a lot better at it over the years. POTS has made me realize that it isn’t always a person who can break your heart. There are other things in life that can take a little piece of it away, too.
131. That’s how many pieces I have written and that are waiting to be posted, but I just can’t find the heart to share. Most of my writing is really pretty simple. I write about dating when a friend comes and asks for advice, because I love giving it and trying to help other people feel confident and secure in the dating world. I write about POTS when I am having a particularly bad — or sometimes good — day, and I write about the way other people treat me with this problem that is so misunderstood. Then, I have a couple deeper posts that I am just waiting to work up the guts to publish.
Part of the problem is going back and editing through everything. Several of my entries have general ideas and thoughts in them, but aren’t completed. They are skeletons of blog posts, and need some meat on their bones to help them make sense and tell a story. Others just feel hollow and my heart doesn’t feel up to working on them. Two, though, pierce deep down into my heart and make it beat fast when I think about opening up. Using the words that are deep down in your soul can be scary because they expose your darkest secrets or insecurities people would never guess you are dealing with. Luckily, I don’t have that many “secrets,” as I am a pretty open book, and there isn’t a lot of darkness in my life, so I’d file my posts under “Insecurities” in the glaringly obvious ways I am different.
Today, though, I’m tired. I still don’t feel like working on my writing, and I have been so wrapped up in wedding planning and health stuff lately that I have only posted on here two times this month. I want to write and share every single detail of the little and big things that happen in my day-to-day, but I’ve also seen the dangers of speaking loudly for all to hear online. Tonight I am going to work on a post about POTS that I drafted a few weeks ago after a Taylor Swift concert. I’ll share something that can be really hard on my heart, because I think so many people with all kinds of disabilities will be able to relate. Sometimes the most meaningful thing in the world is to feel like you are actually understood — and that you aren’t alone. As much as it sucks sometimes, the Internet is really cool because you can always find someone with the exact same things you struggle with. I still think writing is something I am meant to do, so I’ll stop being selfish and start sharing again, even if I’m feeling worn out. I think today I just needed to write and feel like I am creating again, even if it’s a silly, rambly blog post.
Happy Wednesday! It always amazes me when I take a little hiatus in my writing and I sign back on here and see that you have been coming back every single day looking at my posts, even though there isn’t anything new. It makes my heart warm and want to keep coming back to have conversations with you all.
Life has been a little crazy lately. POTS has been a wide range of up and down with the summer heat, and my arms hurt more than usual this week. I went to see Taylor Swift and wrote all about it, so will be chatting about that on here and more about my health. I’ve been wrapped up with wedding planning and getting lost in daydreams, so love has been on my mind a lot.
I’m so excited for September, but I also want to thoroughly enjoy the few short months I have left of being engaged. I promise I will write more this week, but in the meantime The Mighty posted one of my older articles about using a handicapped parking pass with an invisible illness again, so check it out if you’re bored and want a little throwback while I create new content.
My life hasn’t been normal for a twenty-something living in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Just 18 months after I could legally drink, I found myself stripped of all the independence I had spent time gathering while traveling across Europe for a summer program, working and taking care of myself at college, and moving to New York City even though I didn’t know anyone there. Instead of gathering more life experiences that would shape me into who I was becoming after school, I was thrown into learning the importance of appreciating even little moments in difficult days, and I was facing health issues that most people twice my age hadn’t even begun to deal with yet.
I would switch around a few of these. For example, I think taking a shower and shaving or washing my hair takes more than 2 spoons, but going shopping only takes 3, depending on the task (as long as I don’t have to push a cart or carry a lot). I have always been a really big fan of a nice, hot shower, but I honestly don’t even remember my pre-POTS showers. I don’t remember what it’s like turning the dial to the “H” without knowing that my heart is about to start racing like I’m running a marathon, and allotting some time to lie down after I’m done shampooing. I do remember the days I couldn’t wash my own hair, though. I remember first getting sick and not being able to stand in the shower because I would pass out. I remember sitting down in the bathtub in my pink paisley bikini so my mom could shampoo and condition my hair for me since the room was always spinning around me and I couldn’t stand by myself for more than a few minutes. In hindsight, the way my hair was washed is really similar to the way my dog, Macy, gets her hair washed now. We both just sat there and let someone else do a task we are less than thrilled about, but need to have done. I was 22 years old, had just graduated from college, and could not take care of even my most basic needs.
Despite making slow improvements with POTS, I still always look fine, so people usually cannot tell if I’m having a “good day” or “bad day” just by looking at me. Nobody else can see the way my vision blacks out whenever I stand up too quickly, or when my pain is acting up. Whenever I see someone pop right out of bed when they wake up on television I laugh to myself and think, “That’s so unrealistic!” then I quickly realize that it’s actually most people’s reality. Most people can jump right up from laying down to a standing position and not feel repercussions from their body. I don’t remember ever being able to do that, but logically I know that five years ago I would have been able to. Actually, come to think of it, it probably would have really freaked me out if I couldn’t pop right out of bed all of a sudden!
There are many things that I don’t remember from my pre-POTS life. I don’t remember what it’s like living with a “0” on the pain scale, I don’t remember being able to be low maintenance when traveling or going out with friends, and I don’t remember what it’s like feeling like you’re in the same boat with all your peers. College is so great because even though you are all doing such different things, you are all working toward some sort of career goal. I get sick of explaining what POTS is over and over again, and I hate the look of pity in someone’s eyes after I get done telling them about how even though I am still young, I ended up with a life-changing health condition at the very beginning of my twenties.
There are a lot of things I do remember so well from my old life, though. I remember going outside and finding out it was a beautiful day, so going for a long run. I remember deciding on a whim to train for a half marathon, and bumping up my mileage with ease. My brain remembers going to work and sitting at a computer all day long and all of the projects that I did, but I don’t really remember how it felt. I think about it now and wonder how I was able to do all of that without feeling stiff as a board and paying for it for the rest of the week. I have no idea how I ever survived without a foam roller or physical therapy. Did my body really once not hurt? Why didn’t I take advantage of that more?
I have been blessed, though. The crazy thing about POTS is there isn’t a lot of treatment that helps you get better, other than hard work in the gym (Which is done on the recumbent bike and with tiny hand weights), a good diet, and a great deal of luck. Getting sick has made me learn that there is no doubt in my mind that God does exist, and He has so much power and love to give. I still can’t believe how much more clearly I can think without all of the dizziness and brain fog, and I feel blessed to have good days mixed in with the bad. I actually think that most of the time I am probably on the higher end of the “happy scale” than a lot of twenty-somethings because I have learned to find the joy in the little things in life. I feel happy when I get to meet a new dog, I love being able to go outside for long and leisurely walks, and I really feel at peace every night when I look up at the stars. It’s really amazing to realize that even with so many planets and heavenly bodies so far away, my Creator still loves and cares about me. I always feel small when I think about how far away the stars are and how many other people there are in the world, but it really is amazing that God has a plan for each and every one of our intricately detailed lives.
I still don’t know why I got POTS or what my life is going to look like with it moving forward, but I am going to continue to share my journey and what I’ve learned with people, and I am going to keep working toward a more normal life. I’ve used a few spoons writing this and am getting dizzy because I really need a salty lunch, but I will be writing about The Spoon Theory again on my blog in the next week or so. I want you all to know what I use my spoons on, and how stealing a spoon from another day can be great because I am able to enjoy outings with friends, but it makes playing catch-up difficult the very next day. I, as well as all my other spoonie friends, just want to feel like everyone in life just gets it. That won’t happen unless we begin speaking out about our chronic illnesses, though, so I am going to continue being vocal about what life looks like on the inside for someone with a chronic illness.
Please take a minute to read this article by Christine Miserando about how she created The Spoon Theory. It is explained so darn well here, and I — along with every other person with a chronic illness — would give anything for people in my life to actually understand what it means to use spoons throughout the day.
Who all remembers when I had my “Chronically POTSitive” blog?
I initially created it for a class I was taking for my Master’s, but it was also a really fun way to start blogging and connecting to others with chronic illnesses. I have long given up writing on that — this blog is where my heart lies — but I have kept the mindset of being chronically positive. I’m not going to link any of that content because I wrote much of it lying dizzily on our living room couch so I’m a bit afraid of the errors that are surely scattered throughout my posts, but that is what initially made my heart feel open to the world and to share so much of my journey with others.
There are a few reasons I choose to be an optimist, and always try to look at the glass as being half full, rather than half empty. First, I’ve found that it’s actually a lot easier living as an optimist. Knowing that life is going to get better, even if it’s not necessarily there yet is such a powerful thing. I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking, and I think dreamers often get some of their wildest desires by putting them out into the world and fighting for what they want. Second, it is far less exhausting to be excited about the future than dreading it. Whether it’s with a job, dating, health, or anything that affects your quality of life, it’s always a lot easier getting through a bad day knowing that things will eventually take a turn for the better — even if it’s not that same week or year.
I got sick with POTS almost 5 years ago now, and I still remember my parents telling me every single day that I was going to get better and I would be able to walk around without fainting again, spend time out with friends, and live a beautifully joyful life. My dad told me that things would get better every single day when he drove me to the gym to do my 20 minutes on the recumbent bike after his long work day in the city. My mom hugged me while I cried on the bedroom floor because I was tired of not being able to stand on my own or go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without calling to wake someone up because I might pass out on my way there. We played “Would You Rather” late into the night when I couldn’t sleep because of my heart palpitations and chest pain. I looked forward to our little games despite the circumstances, and we always made it a point to laugh every day, even when I felt like the world was crashing and burning around me. I got sick with POTS overnight with no warning, but despite being bedridden and feeling sick 24/7, we still managed to find joy in my life.
Glasses are used to be filled and emptied. You end some days with a completely dry glass, but remembering that you can still fill it with something even better is so important to continue moving forward. Let’s say you have a full glass of lukewarm water that gets knocked over and empties completely on the floor. It sucks that you don’t have a drink anymore, but now you have room to fill it with something better — like chocolate milk or iced tea. Getting rid of the water made room for an upgrade. Sometimes life isn’t fair and doesn’t go the way you hope it will. Your heart gets broken by the wrong guy and it feels like the end of the world until you learn you’re better off without him. Then you meet the love of your life, and you realize that getting dumped was actually the best thing that ever happened to you, even though your heart hurt terribly at the time, because it allowed you to find the one person you never want to live without.
POTS was heartbreaking, scary, and life-changing. My arms hurt while I am writing this, and I wish I could sit at my computer and pour out my heart on paper all day long. I want to travel without feeling like I’m high-maintenance, I want to run again, and I want to chase the dreams I had in college still without having to change them because of my illness. If I hadn’t gotten sick with POTS, though, there’s no way I would have really met Robert. I would have moved to New York City and continued to write for a magazine, and I wouldn’t have been in the area before he went on his deployment. I would have missed out on so many great memories with my family, and I would never have seen just how many people love and care about me. My heart may not work like a normal one anymore, but it’s grown several sizes larger to hold all the love that is in my life. People are absolutely the most important thing to me, and getting to hold so many hearts close to mine means infinitely more to me than any job or amount of money ever could.
God works in mysterious ways, and although I am not sure why He hasn’t decided to give me back the body I used to have, I still have faith that I will have a joyful and fulfilling life. As my sweet friend Sophia often said, “The best is yet to come.”
After I wrote this post I happened to stumble upon this article by Forbes. Optimism is a life changer. Create it one step at a time and I promise you won’t be sorry.
Robert doesn’t know it (Until now; thanks for being my #1 reader!), but this weekend was one of the best I’ve had. Not for any reason in particular, other than the fact that we got to spend it together. Something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that the very most valuable and wonderful thing I have in my life is time. I honestly could be doing nothing special at home, but as long as I’m with loved ones I am happy. I’ve learned that “simple” doesn’t equate to “boring,” and that contentment is just as great as joy because it can really last for the long haul.
This weekend we just hung around the house and played games, ordered takeout, and took the dogs out for a few walks, but it was really great getting to catch up some after what has been a tiring couple of weeks. I loved getting to chat instead of watching a ton of mindless television, and we even went on a few mini adventures around town — my favorite being our outing to the restaurant where we celebrated our anniversary back in October. No matter how long we are together I always want to have regular date nights, because I think they’re so great for the heart.
At this point I’m really excited for our wedding still, but I am much more stoked for the entire lifetime of memories and love that is going to come after. Despite getting sick with POTS and having pain be a regular guest in my body, I am overall even more joyful now than I was before I got sick. I think this has to do greatly with recognizing all of the love and amazing people I have surrounding me. I feel so blessed that the everyday beauty in my life does not go unnoticed, and that my heart is content with all of the love that fuels it. All the adventures we have ahead of us are going to be a blast (I am particularly excited for our honeymoon!), but I am also so excited for the countless game nights and dinner dates we have in store for us. I feel so darn lucky to have this life, and I am working to appreciate every gift — big and small — that God has given me.
Robert and I have been meaning to update our wedding website for awhile now, as we wanted everyone attending to know a little about each of us since there will be people on both sides who don’t know us as a couple.
We talked about what we wanted to include — how we met, when we knew we wanted to marry each other, and what we want our future to look like — but after that we each went to our own computers and wrote. It was kind of hilarious to see how similar each of our answers were, so I am going to keep all of the content, even though it’s a bit redundant.
Whether you are a guest who is here for the first time to see who we are as a team, or you’ve been a reader since my Single in The Suburbs days, I hope you enjoy!
How We Met
Krista and I originally set our first date for a Friday evening. Unfortunately on the Friday that we had our date planned, I found out that I had been selected for a deployment I volunteered for. In addition to this, I was ordered to go on active duty immediately in Staunton, Virginia to help prepare the unit for the deployment.
Because of these life-changing circumstances and the fact I would be relocating immediately, I sadly canceled the date and went out for a last celebration with co-workers.
About two weeks later, there was an issue with funding my position and I had to return to Northern Virginia until the situation was resolved. I texted Krista that I would be home for a couple weeks and that I had been regretting not meeting her the first time. For whatever reason, Krista decided to give me another chance at a date.
We finally met at Ozzie’s Italian restaurant. I will always remember the moment I met her. I walked up to Krista (she was petting somebody’s dog), and I said hello to her. She looked up at me, said “hi!”, and immediately returned to petting the dog.
After finally accomplishing one of the hardest missions of my life –pulling Krista away from the dog — we had dinner. We shared a bunch of stories, had a lot of laughs, and then we went on a walk around the shopping center. I still remember the things we laughed at along the walk that probably wouldn’t make sense to anybody besides the two of us. We had an instant connection.
As those last couple weeks in Northern Virginia passed, Krista and I went on a number of other dates. Our connection got stronger every day, and all of a sudden I found myself wondering how I could get out of the move to Staunton (about two and a half hours from where Krista lived). I didn’t, but came back to NOVA every weekend, and my first stop was always Krista’s house. We spent the majority of every weekend together until I was deployed.
Robert and I were supposed to go out to dinner for our first date, but a few hours before we were going to meet up he sent me a text saying that his friends surprised him for his last day of work with a cocktail hour. I was actually relieved because I got to stay home and eat pizza with my family instead of making a bunch of smalltalk with a guy.
A few weeks later he messaged me to see if he could have a second shot at a date. I don’t know why I said yes to going out with someone who was getting ready to leave the country and had flaked on me once before, but it is one of the two most important times I’ve said “yes” to something. My third will be in September.
Our first date was the best first date I’ve ever been on. We went to Ozzie’s Italian restaurant, and I remember getting a text from Robert saying that he would be an hour late because of traffic. I was still at home, so I got to watch another episode of The Office before getting ready to go, but in hindsight this is hilarious because since then the tables have turned and I’m the one who is chronically late. You set the bar low, Robert!
Anyway, when I finally got there, I found a cute dog sitting underneath a bench right outside the restaurant. I was excited that Robert still wasn’t there because I got to play with the little fella! I was unintentionally a bit rude at our introduction — not because I wasn’t happy to meet Robert — but because the dog under the bench was irresistibly adorable. To this day he still sends me pictures of puppies when he sees them, and knows that by saying, “look, a dog!” I will always squeal in excitement.
We exchanged funny dating stories and learned more about each other, and by the time we finished dinner I didn’t want the date to end. We took a short stroll outside, and I was surprisingly disappointed when he dropped me off at my car to go home. It didn’t take long, though, for Robert to text me that he had a nice time, and my heart felt warm and full. Little did I know the guy I went with on my best first date with would turn into the man I would one day marry.
When We Knew
I remember the moment I first knew I loved Robert. It was when he was in Staunton, and we had been talking on the phone for a few hours after work — as usual. I had such a hard time not saying those three little words to him before we hung up the phone that night. I resolved to tell him the next time I saw him in person, but it didn’t quite work out that way. That is one of the stories I have chosen not to share, though, and is still one of the most heartwarming moments I’ve had.
I’ve had lots of moments throughout our relationship where I’ve felt like Robert was the one for me, so I can’t pinpoint an exact day or time. Once would have been realizing how much I missed him while he was on his deployment. An earlier moment was when he told me to listen to the song She’s Everythingby Brad Paisley. He told me that the song reminded him of me, and I forever have a beautiful love song that feels like it was written just for me. We were recently apart for a few weeks because Robert had military training to attend, and I played the song for my family when they were asking about our mutual love of Brad. I realized my mistake quickly as I started tearing up in front of everyone. A tear slipped down my cheek and onto the floor, and my heart missed the guy who has become everything to me, even though we were only apart for a short time.
Little moments that made me love Robert more than I could have ever imagined have happened when we were playing Super Smash Brothers in his Arlington apartment, the time I surprised him with a prank “birthday party” in November (his birthday is in March) and all he could do was turn red and take it while I laughed, when he reviewed a date with me for my blog, and every single trip we took together in his blue Ford F-150. I loved him more when he tried to win a Minion toy from the movie theater claw game, when he got Junior Mints stuck to his jeans from my movie candy stash and walked around the parking lot looking like a crazy person, and every time he cooked me dinner or sent a little green text. Robert is kind, thoughtful, caring, and absolutely hilarious. I knew my single life was short-lived after a few dates with Robert, and even though the timing wasn’t what I felt like I wanted, I quickly became grateful for every extra day I got to spend with Robert because I met him when I did. I wouldn’t trade any day I spent with him for the world, and feel so blessed that we found each other.
One of my favorite memories with Krista was the first time I told her I loved her. It was in-between her birthday and Christmas. We were hanging out in my apartment in Arlington, and I could tell that there was something on her mind. As she fumbled through her words, I could see where her conversation was headed, and I wanted her to know that I felt the same way. I told her I loved her and from that day, I was sure that she was the one for me.
During the entire time of us getting to know each other and beginning dating, the looming deployment was always on both of our minds. It sucked. It was something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but I kept feeling that the timing couldn’t be worse. However, I had an obligation, and I was going to do what I signed up for.
Krista was the most amazing girlfriend a soldier could have on a deployment. We talked at every opportunity we had, she sent a ton of care packages, and she was always there to chat when things were stressful. She kept me sane, excited, and happy for the duration of my 9+ months overseas, and I could not have done it without her. By the end of the deployment, I realized it actually could not have come at a better time. Our relationship somehow grew stronger, and there was no question that we were meant for each other.
The deployment was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in life, but it was also so worthwhile. I love that we only got closer during that time, and that Robert still prioritized our relationship while he was 6,500 miles away. If you follow my blog you have probably seen the dozens of posts I wrote about him while he was away, and I have even more thoughts scribbled throughout letters and journals.
Our Future Together
I am so excited about our future together. One thing I love about us is that “quality time” is both of our top love language. This means we enjoy going grocery shopping and running errands together, and always make spending time together a priority. Whether we are enjoying a Blue Apron meal and watching Big Brother and The King of Queens, or going on a little adventure out of town, our hearts feel full at the end of the day because we spent it together. I can’t wait to move in to Robert’s home and make it just a little more girly. I think married life is going to give me a lot to write about, and I am ready to take the next step together hand in hand. Robert is my best friend, my partner in crime, and always makes me laugh — no matter what else is going on in life. If I listed every single thing I was excited for, I would have to write an entire book, but what I’m most excited about is having the other half of my heart by my side for the rest of my life. I know there are so many great adventures in store for us, and I cannot wait to see where our next step takes us.
I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together. There are so many things I’m looking forward to, it’s hard to come up with a list. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is all the small things that add up into one great thing. Cooking together, going on walks, going to the movies, etc. Then there are the larger things, like the many dogs she continues to tell me that we will have one day.
Krista is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I look forward to the many decades we will spend together.
I have a lot of new followers in this space, so I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself to anyone who is new to my blog, and share a few of my favorite posts for “Flashback Friday.”
First, this used to be called Single in The Suburbs, but now that I am engaged I finally changed the URL to reflect just me. This blog will always have some sort of dating and relationship aspect to it — because let’s face it, dating and love are my favorite things in the world to write about– but instead of sharing silly dating stories I’ll be chatting about a wider range of topics, with the occasional flashback or two.
My favorite things in the world are dogs, chocolate, the beach, my friends and family, and New York City. I like wearing soft T-shirts and sweats, but can’t help but love diamonds now, too. Current obsessions are The King of Queens, Fortnite, and Chipotle queso, but a few months ago I would have said Stranger Things, Mario Kart, and GF pizza, so things definitely change around a little. The Office is a constant in my life, as are chocolate waffle dates with my best friend. I love playing sports more than anything, but since I can’t be that active without passing out now, I enjoy watching other people have fun playing sports on TV. Robert is from Massachusetts, so I officially root for the New England Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins, but I think my fantasy basketball team made me confused as to who I want to root for. I still am not obsessed with watching sports, though, and can really only handle a lot if I am fed good dessert and given the chance to talk a lot.
Now, on to my favorite blog posts.
Robert and I met six months before he was deployed for ten. This is the most vivid moment I remember from the deployment. To this day I can tell you exactly how my heart felt while he was gone, and how excited I was when he came back. This is one of my favorite posts I wrote about him after we had been dating a little while. Pieces like this still give me butterflies, and I feel so blessed to have written so much about the guy I have decided to spend forever with.
I am an ENFP on the Myers Briggs test, which means I love feelings, and I love writing about them. I think people who are creative sometimes don’t get enough credit for doing meaningful work, too, but if we didn’t have right-brained people, we wouldn’t have great television shows like Seinfeld and Friends!
This is the most descriptive thing I’ve written about pain. It was real, raw, and this is a day I will never forget. I don’t have as many terrible pain days anymore, and luckily when one does come my way I’m not as claustrophobic, because I know that my body can feel better again.
Lastly, I want to continue writing for my single readers, and this is my favorite piece of advice for dealing with a breakup. I don’t believe it’s typically healthy to stay friends with an ex, and I do think it’s important to move on so you can find the right person. An ex isn’t your #1 anymore for a reason, and until you find that person focus on your friends and family who all love you very much.
That’s all I have for y’all today, and I have a lot of catching up to do on here. Hopefully this gave you some sort of new material to read, and I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!