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!