challenge accepted

The man asleep in my bed knows I'm awake. He's getting used to the routine. We go to sleep together, but only one of us actually gets there. The other one lays quietly for a couple of hours, restless and thinking. Reading on her phone. Mulling over potential blog posts. Sometimes she gets up and writes them.

The man in my bed has inspired a lot of writing lately, not all of which has been good, I know. Believe me. These haven't been my finest hours, as a blogger. In my defense, it's been like trying to pull solid, coherent strands of thought from a brain swirling with molten caramel. It's a big, hot, sticky sweet mess up there. I'm trying to find ways to express my experience that are relatable, or at least entertaining. But I know I don't always hit either of those marks. I get it. I'm the girl who uses tortured metaphors as a category, after all (also stream of stupidness, navel-gazing, and self-pity). Who titles posts "Schmooping," because she knows that is precisely what she's doing.

Further in my defense? The man asleep in my bed is the first person I've met in a long, long, long time who has said, in no uncertain terms, that he's not going anywhere. That I am safe to fall as deeply in love with him as I dare, because he's got my back (his phrase). "I'm in this," he likes to say.

When I buried my dad last year (so to speak, anyway), along with him went the last permanent relationship I knew. That was it. I have no other family. My mom died a few years before that. Sandwiched between those two losses was my divorce - another loss. A huge one, really, in terms of emotional stability, and what one thinks one has to rely on, for the rest of one's life. So it is really exciting to me, to have found what my instincts are telling me is someone I can count on to be a part of my life for a good while, and in a really healthy way for a change.

Ah, fuck it. If you haven't figured it out already, this post is a no-longer-veiled reaction to some criticism I came across, about how one-note and teenage I've sounded lately. And please, seriously, this is not a rallying cry for support. I've got an embarrassment of riches, as far as support and positive feedback goes. This is just me feeling stupid trying to write some generalized-yet-pointed thoughts, realizing it just sounds defensive and weird.

So yeah. I'll just directly address the critic who feels that I'm being a broken record, about my new relationship. And in addition to what I've already said above (which I hope reads as one part mea culpa, because I know the writing hasn't been tight, and one part sincere plea for understanding), I'll just say this: Yes, I know about hormones. I know about all the wonderful chemicals my body is being flooded with these days. Neurotransmitters. Absolutely. But the man asleep in my bed isn't just another wrong-for-me dude that I'm mooning over, because I want someone to love. There've been a series of those over the past year or so. The man asleep in my bed doesn't tell me, like all those other dudes, that he just wants to "keep it casual", and then back up those lovely words by being unavailable, inconsiderate, and disrespectful - by treating me like an option.

The man asleep in my bed is sleeping there because almost every night - and it would be every night if I allowed it - he circles the streets near my building, looking for a parking meter that he can only use until seven a.m., meaning that he has on average six or seven hours to sleep before having to get up in the cold and the dark, to either go feed the meter, move the car to a paid garage, or head home/to work. I think I mangled that attempt to explain: the man in my bed greatly inconveniences himself, on an almost daily basis, just to spend time with me. And rather than complain, ever, about the shitty parking situation that comes with dating me, he rather expresses gratitude for getting to see me.

The man asleep in my bed took me to a concert tonight, despite looking at an exhausting day of travel and work tomorrow. (This isn't surprising or out of character for him. He often squeezes in time with me on days when he has multiple work commitments, even if they're spread across different parts of town.) During one of my favorite songs, standing in the packed orchestra pit of a massive auditorium filled with ecstatically dancing, singing, costumed attendees, he put his forehead gently against mine and held me. He closed his eyes and stopped moving, so I did the same. And for a minute, we just stood like that, stock still, just feeling the vibrations of thousands of people around us, listening to music being played feet from where we stood. He just pulled us away like that, like magic, because it was a moment he wanted to make with me.

So sure. I'm old enough to recognize the symptoms of infatuation, as you wrote. But I'm also old enough to recognize loving behavior, being demonstrated regularly, by someone who wants to make me feel cared for. And that shit is fucking awesome and exciting and what I have been dreaming of for a long, long time, so yeah, I want to talk about it.

All this being said - I am grateful for the kick in the pants, where my writing is concerned. I know I'm not always at the top of my game, and it's good to be nudged by someone willing to call that out. How else am I going to improve? So I will try to vary my subjects more, in spite of feeling very excited about what's happening in my love life. And I'll try to sharpen it up, when I do write about it.

Challenge accepted.

p.s. For the record: he found me. All the credit goes to him; all the dumb luck, to me.