Last Week #25 | One of Those Girls

First things first, I have a few questions for you. How the HELL do I write about being in a relationship for a year? How do I write about the fact that this time last year I hated two dates on the calendar, and now they are some of the most positive ones (while also retaining some of that sad nostalgia).

No answer? Okay then, let’s get on with this. Last week, I posted a really angsty blog post about my birthday, because I didn’t really know what to say about it yet but I had to say something. Now, I will say something better. My birthday has always felt like a letdown, because I had it in my head that it was supposed to be this perfect day. But now I think I’ve figured out what it is to me. It’s my New Year's. It’s the day where I have a total reset, where I celebrate the change and growth of the past year of my life, look forward to the next, and eat cake. That’s what my birthday was this year. And it was nice. I’ve decided it doesn’t have to be great, because like, that’s not what New Year’s is. New Year’s is where someone always cries about their life, make resolutions for the next year of it, and drink a lot.

Eli was an integral part of making my birthday a day of celebration and light and love. He literally showered me with gifts, and it's the only time I've ever felt like an actual birthday princess. The big one (which was actually an anniversary gift) was tickets to see Conor Oberst, the lead singer of my favorite band, Bright Eyes, in concert at Carnegie Hall the day before Thanksgiving. I cried. 

In fact, that's probably the theme of this week. Tears in the face of extraordinary joy. On Saturday the 24th, on our anniversary of a year of dating, after a night of birthday shenanigans, the sadness crept in to the bright edges of our celebratory day. All day as I fought the tears, I kept trying to remember, hold in my head, that you have to be sad to be happy sometimes. Not because of those bullshit sayings like “there’s no sun without the rain.” (Bullshit. That’s just scientifically and meteorologically incorrect.) But like, in the Inside Out way. Where sometimes happiness is a little bit sad. 

The day was sad because we knew we had to bring him to the airport for a family vacation in 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 hours. The day was sad because it had been such an overwhelmingly blissful 24 hours. The day was sad because honestly, it's sad to remember how sad you were before all of the happiness came. And even though you're happy now, you still feel sad for past you. September 24th, 2013 is the day I got into the car accident that changed my life. So before I met Eli, it was a REALLY shitty day. September 24th, 2015 is the day Eli and I agreed that if dating is watching The X-Files and eating Panera together, we wanted to do that. Stat. 

I obviously didn't know when we started dating how much of a responsibility love is. Taking someone's heart in your hands and promising you won't squeeze too hard and break it is an unimaginable undertaking. One that I didn't quite understand the enormity of when we first began. We've both learned so much about that over the past year, and not always the easy way. But we've also learned the positive aspects that we never could have imagined. I think what I've learned, and this is hard for me to admit, being the extraordinarily feminist human being that I am, is that he's made my life better. He's made it brighter. He's enriched it in ways I could never have fathomed. And I don't like to admit that because I like to think of myself as someone who can do it all on her own. Who can be strong and independent and smart and get where she's going entirely on her own. To be clear, I can. And I have. But I've learned that I don't need to. Having someone by your side as you do it all doesn't mean you couldn't do it all on your own. It just means you are lucky enough to have someone by your side, cheering you on. I get scared sometimes by how much I love Eli. I get scared that I love him too much, that I'm putting too much of myself into this relationship, that I'm one of those girls who gets in a relationship and loses perspective on everything. I want to be one of those girls who works and has a career and makes awesome art and reads intelligent literature and watches inspiring indie films and has great friends and IS a great friend. And I also want to love. I know that's a lot to ask of myself. I know I do that a lot. I expressed this fear to one of my friends the other week, and she just absolutely went off on me, as only a great friend can. No. You guys are great. You love each other, but you build each other up with that love. You're helping each other grow. (That's the gist of what she said. I can't remember precisely.)

Something I realized on Saturday, as I showed him the video I made him and we went to visit our friends at their coffee shop and we talked about religion and raising families and the best way to do it all and we said I love you and sobbed and held each other like we were afraid to let go, is that I am doing all of those things that one of those girls does. I'm doing it with him, and I'm doing it alone. To quote one of the comments on my anniversary video that my beautiful, lovely, wonderful friend Jean left, "Beautiful! The two of you, separately and together." I'm going to humor myself and hope that she's right.