While I was away, traveling around the middle of our beautiful country, I had a guy back home makin googly eyes at me. Don’t get me wrong, who’s not flattered by a sincere, patient, handsome admirer? And in August, I very much was. Hell, I even told my mom about this kid because our story was kinda cute – it was a real-life Jim and Pam situation that I’d become enamored by.
Chris and I first met at work nearly 3 years prior, but we didn’t come together as the timing was always off. During his initial interest in me, I was seriously dating another man (another co-worker). He gave me the space, respected my current relationship, and made no advances. My relationship lasted about a year, and due to its deterioration, I determined to change my career path specifically to get away from my ex.
I took the opportunity to travel to Houston for a launch and help train the associates there. Three things became very clear during that three week assignment:
- Traveling is amazing, I’m an adult, and I should do this more often, wtf.
- Living a life without my ex wasn’t something I wanted, but I did not have the power to change the reality.
- Chris was interested in my, but I was nowhere emotionally stable enough to offer him what he was looking for, but thank you for your kind words.
Once I returned from Houston, lessons 1 & 2 seriously took hold of my heart. In order to pursue the changes I craved, I applied for every available job that sounded remotely like I could complete it, not caring at all where the job was located, so long as it wasn’t my current site.
Through dumb luck, the support of some of my managers, and my naturally wicked people-skills, I landed the promotion. I quickly packed up everything I owned and took my brokenhearted behind up to Detroit. After everything settled, Chris brought himself back onto my radar. By the time he popped back up, I’d “dated” a few local duds and found myself completely underwhelmed by the available population Michigan offered. Although nothing stuck around long enough for a second date, I realized the silver lining: I was moving on emotionally and was willing to try on someone else.
Unfortunately, the distance was too great to sustain, and our conversation tapered off within just a few weeks. “NBD,” I thought, “I can’t take anyone seriously right now anyways.” Frankly, I assumed Chris was no different.
While I was isolated in the grey-white wasteland of the lower peninsula life back home did not cease to develop. Mason continued to grow, my brother proposed to his fiancée, my dad’s health worsened, weekly family dinners continued, and where was I? Missing everything. This weighed heavily on my heart and mind. Homesickness didn’t just settle in me, it shook me down to my toes. Once my best gal-pals, Julie and E, left the Detroit site to pursue other opportunities, absolutely nothing tethered me to Detroit. I set my mind to moving back home.
I found an opportunity in Memphis – perfect. My old stomping grounds from college, I loved the city. It was within driving distance from home, and the stars seemed to align. Unfortunately, those weren’t the stars aligning, it was more like airplanes colliding in the night sky: beautiful, incredibly unlikely, and terrifying. Within three months, I determined the Memphis site was not for me. I had to get away from the toxic environment, and though the distance was manageable, it did nothing to cut out the homesickness in me.
I focused every breath into finding a way back home. Through the grace of the old gods and the new, a position found its way to me. Filled with inexplicable joy at returning home, I reached out to Chris this time. At this time, two years after my terrible break up with Earnest, I was fully prepared to open up to Chris, provide him the stability he needed, and the companionship he desired. We talked daily during the month leading up to my relocation and through the transition itself. This man’s patience was not only remarkable, but it was overwhelmingly endearing how highly he still considered me. Our “relationship” was a stop-go for literal years.
Sharing the same space, however, we were off. Though I was fond of him, I couldn’t quite name my unsettled feelings. Retrospectively, I realized we were just very different personalities. Ironically enough (and I still chuckle about it), it is the most obvious parts of me that eventually broke us irreparably.
During Peak Season, immediately following the launch of my new site in Nashville (basically, I worked 80+ hours a week for nearly 3 months), I expressed my need for a hobby. I needed an activity to break up my 7 days a week work life. I was literally working around the clock at the time, sleeping whenever (and wherever) I could, eating whatever was available (another point about how I’m amazing at work/life balance). It was miserable and without anything to break up the monotony of the work/sleep/work/sleep cycle, it was like I never mentally left the site. I was, in my mind, at work every second of every day.
Chris suggested I sign up for a gym membership twice before when I complained about my hobbiless existence. I understood, I mean, gym life was his thing. But he couldn’t answer how I was supposed to add gym time into my already physically and emotionally exhausting schedule. Seriously, how the fuck did he expect me to find the time or energy to go to the gym in the middle of the highest volume quarter of the year!? Fuck that.
Third time was the charm. He responded, texting me something to the effect of, “I don’t see how a bunch of 70-something year olds can do it, but you won’t even give it a try.”
“This is what I meant about becoming someone’s project,” I explained. “It’s not that I’m totally unwilling, but I can’t promise you some drastic ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos.” That was more or less the end of things. Me not going to the gym, he made it clear was a hard no that he couldn’t get past. Which was fine by me, as I couldn’t simultaneously be “everything [he’s] ever wanted in a partner” while needing to drastically change my physique.
Y’all, I’m fat. There’s no hiding it, though I dress it well and carry it well and confidently love who I am. I’m fat, yo. Anyone who sees me reads that immediately, and anyone willing to date me knows they’re dating a fat girl. What I still can’t understand is when did Chris missed that memo? Haha Again, the whole situation still makes me chuckle.
I’m perfectly fine, though. It’s much easier to move on from someone when you’re angry and convinced of your own righteous anger. Lessons learned:
- At this point in my life, I love myself more than I’m willing to love someone else.
- I’m perfectly content with my body
- I deserve and want someone willing to be vulnerable with me
- I deserve and want someone who actively seeks to spend time with me
Chris gave me this insight and allowed me to learn these lessons. For that, I thank him.
Ironically, my brother, sister-in-law, and I made a bet in January to bench x-many pounds by Dec. 31, 2020. I now go to the gym 3-4 times a week.