“When it’s right…you just know.” ~ Janet Heffernan (King of Queens)

Dear Bill,

So, I know you aren’t going to mind me writing this to you in my public blawg because you are so supportive of all that I do; plus, you also don’t mind being in the limelight…after all, you were in show choir in high school (I just don’t understand why I wasn’t asked to audition…you know how well I sing 🙄).

Anyhoot, you are on a plane to Sarasota to visit your son and I know how excited you are to do this. You guys are going to have so much fun and I simply can’t wait to open up all of the souvenirs you are going to bring to me (cough…cough…🤨) but I already miss you. I know…how sappy can you get? Well…knowing me…a lot more, dude.

When we got together a couple of months ago, I was so scared. You knew I had come out of a very toxic and often abusive relationship and I knew you had left someone who had often been cold and distant with you. It was like we were both sponges…needing to soak up all the other had to offer. We both needed to be reassured we had worth, value. Remember our first hug? It was like I had been in a desolate, empty space and just needed to absorb your warmth to make me feel right again.

Why is that a bad thing? You know, the “You should feel good about yourself…no one can give that to you.” I disagree…to a degree (I’m a poet and don’t even know it 🙄). I do feel good about myself. It took me a year to realize I am capable and strong and deserving…I started feeling good about myself and that has kept growing day by day. But I was still lonely. Being lonely doesn’t mean you aren’t happy with who you are…but it does mean you are missing a piece in your life that would complete the picture of why you are. Why are people so quick to say “You shouldn’t have to have someone to be OK.”? I thought humans were supposed to connect. Love. Experience things together…especially 2 by 2 (thanks for that lesson, Noah 🤨). I don’t know how many times I heard people say: “Kristi, if you don’t find someone, you’ll be fine being alone for the rest of your life.” Yep. I woulda been fine. But fine isn’t happy or content or satisfied. It’s just…well…fine.

I didn’t know what to expect when me met up for the first time since our senior year. Yes, you knew I had a crush on you in high school. Why the hell did you think I loaned you so many pencils or always went to the garbage can in homeroom and walked by your desk even though it was a row out of the way? Hello??!! How much more obvious could I be? 😐

But it wasn’t meant to be for us then, was it? You needed to have other relationships and your kids and experience life in the way that you have. And ditto for me. My sonshine wouldn’t be who he is if I hadn’t been with his dad…and he’s a perfect son for me (don’t tell him that…he’ll get a big head 😁) .

After the relationship with J, I didn’t think I’d be able to love again. I also didn’t think I’d be loveable. You see, he made me feel so fucking (sorry, ma 😳) loved at first but then slowly, methodically destroyed it…and me…over the next 3 years. Not only did I feel like a failure because I couldn’t make him happy or fix in him what was broken, I got broken too. As silly as it might sound to others, after an abusive relationship, you feel different about yourself. Damaged. Used. Like you were a shiny new diamond at first but are now a little piece of powdery coal. It changes you.

But knowing this doesn’t keep it from happening. Knowing a snake isn’t venomous doesn’t mean I won’t scream in terror and run (just ask my neighbor…she’ll tell you 😐), and knowing I was jaded and confused and distraught, etc. didn’t mean I could patch it up right away. Understanding is one thing. Being able to mend it is something else entirely.

See, I knew I loved you not long after we got together. Yep, it was fast. But I’ve known you most of my life and it just seemed easy with us…natural…right. In past relationships, I sometimes had to ask others “How do you know when you are in love with someone?” Almost like I needed some kind of litmus test to determine if I was actually ‘loving’ or just wanting to love so much I sorta talked myself into it. And I have to admit that I still had some doubts about you, even after I said those 3 words you like to hear (no…not “You are right”…the other ones 😛). That is, until the other day when I looked at you and said (quite spontaneously I might add) “I’d go through these last few years again and again if they brought me to you.” I knew then that this was real for me. And I meant…and mean…those words completely (much like I tell O I would go through labor again and again if I had too for him while he rolls his eyes at me ❤).

But, even though I’m sure of myself, I was still questioning you. It’s not your fault because you were doing everything ‘right’. But in the beginning, J did too. If anyone would have asked me then if I thought he was capable of ever hurting me, I would have laughed and said a vehement NO! I can understand where my doubts came from.

So, I came to see you these past couple of days before your trip and really tested you, didn’t I? Anything I could think of I threw up in your face and acted like a complete ass-wipe. I was daring you to walk away. Daring you to say: “Get the fuck out!” Daring you to say: “You are crazy…”. Daring you to say: “This isn’t going to work.” The whole time I was doing it, I was hating myself but I couldn’t stop myself. Something inside of me took over and I didn’t fight it. Maybe I was just giving you an ‘out’ that you could take now…instead of later.

But you didn’t, did you? You didn’t shout back. You didn’t walk away. You didn’t push me out the door. Nope. You did something else: you cried. You cried and said that you loved me and understood me and knew how scared I was to be vulnerable with a man again. Then you hugged me and told me that you loved me and wanted me and that you needed me in your life. That’s when I knew this was real for you too. I saw it in your eyes: compassion for me even though I was putting you through a test you certainly didn’t deserve.

I can’t believe what those actions and words from you did for me…it’s like years of weight slipped off my shoulders and I could breathe again. I didn’t have to walk on eggs. I didn’t have to fake a mood to make you happy. I didn’t have to pretend to be perfect. I didn’t have to hide who I was. You accept all of me and that’s something I’ve never…ever…experienced before. Thank you so much for that. And Bill? I accept you for you too. You can always be just ‘Bill’ around me. Sweet or grumpy. Happy or sad. Confident or frustrated. It doesn’t matter. I’m here for you.

Anyhoot, I just wanted to tell you how special you are. How sweet you are. How smart you are. How funny you are. And how loved you are. God put us together for a reason and honey, I thank him every night for that.

Kristi xoxo