There's no way to wrap this one in a bow.
the good, the bad, and the ugly (not the movie, but life)
Let me take you back to when we met -
August 2008 - we meet on the dance floor at a gay club in Sacramento (shoutout to Badlands, which is still one of my favorite places in town). I couldn't remember his name but I let him take down my phone on my "dinosaur phone" as he called it. It was the kind of phone that didn't have a proper keyboard for texting, so I'd have to number out my letters. After he texted, I put his name as "11 to 4" in my phone which was code for 11pm to 4am.
You know what I'm talkin' about.
I had just moved back home from San Diego after a breakup. It was one of those breakups where you swear you'd be single for....life. I came back home to find a job to get over the breakup and my life down south.
Steve was knocked-down and out by his last relationship. He had a place in midtown (a few blocks from Badlands).
He caught my eye because he was the tallest person in the dance floor and giving me the eye.
That look. We are animals.
I didn't go home with him that night.
The following day, I was at brunch with friends, tossing back endless mimosas when my friend, Kevin, asks me "about that guy from last night." I said, "what about that guy? I have his number but I'm not going to call him."
I was such an asshole.
Kev, being the best gay-husband ever (whom I've known since we were asshole tweens. He is actually one of my exes too, but that's a totally different story) rips my phone away to search out Steve (ahem, 11 to 4). I let him find him under the usual.
A few taps of numbers and a couple hours later, that "11 to 4" guy walked through the door meeting us back at Badlands.
It was daytime.
He was as handsome as I remembered in my wobbly boots from the night before.
I ditched Kev at the bar later that night.
Kev and I are asshole friends that way.
And he repaid me by ditching me at Rainbow Fest in the middle of the night a few weeks later.
Which reminds me that I paid two strangers exactly $1 to drive me home at 2am.
As the months went on, Steve and I spent a lot of time making noise and not being interested in a relationship with each other.
It was strictly fun.
And strictly brown-chicken-brown-cow.
We gave each other space and were magnetically drawn to each other at the same time.
I got a studio in midtown. And would you know, I never spent an entire night in my own damn apartment. Talk about a pricey closet!
I moved in with him a year-ish later. Unofficially-official. Our relationship would be the one to bring this man back to life. He would say, "you saved me."
We are virtually opposites and we've got a ten year age gap between us. The things I love most about him are the very things that annoy me most about him. And I am sure Tiller would say the same about me.
We are really good together. He calls me on my bluff and I get him to lighten up. We are two people that really go together.
Not in that cheesy google-eyes kinda way. But in the way where I get to be the annoying blanket hog and he spends the night trying to pull it back over him. In the way that showering together was better for the sake of the planet. In the way that the first person to wake up is the one who delivers coffee in bed (I swear I didn't deliver coffee in bed until like two years ago).
It just felt right without feeling like too much.
Things got pretty serious when I found out I was pregnant the following year. If you remember, I wrote about not wanting to be a mom in a recent email. It was quite the shocker, to say the least.
Two weeks prior to peeing on a stick, I was partially laid off from my job and been taken off their insurance plan. The usual "cut-backs" scenario happening to a lot of people during that time.
I hated that job.
My boss was such a dildo. The kind of D that thought and talked about how women were beneath him.
I worked my pregnant ass all the way up to my due date and never went back.
In-part, I couldn't afford to go back after B was born. My income would've gone straight to childcare.
While I was pregnant, I encouraged Steve to jump into his dream of making furniture for a living.
(When I met him, he was bartending and taking on random jobs. The year before we met, he had one of those life-bring-you-to-your-knees kind of years. Lost his contracting business and then-some)
In 2011, he (we -- same-difference) took the leap and started his furniture business.
And many people thought we were crazy.
Looking back, I guess we were.
And we've been through the trenches with that business.
The first year in business, we were barely making it. We had a major break-in and theft that left us in red.
Around this time, I was no longer able to breastfeed our son. The stress literally halted my milk production.
My depression hits. Maybe it was a slow lull to this point. It's really hard for me to remember.
Smiling for the camera and making a social media post is never the whole.
But things got bad here.
If you've never experienced or know someone with depression, it's very hard to explain. There are no words.
I know this: I didn't shower, eat, move, and do a whole lot. I know that I barely took care of my son. I know I neglected him. I know I did things that I am glad he won't remember and I will never forget.
How do I describe what it's like having thoughts like, "I hope I die today."
The head is not right when hope to die.
Steve threatens hospital. There were pleads and begs. Shakes.
Sometimes I don't want to remember this ugly.
And we decided that I'd return to yoga.
(It was around tax day, I think. We were able to afford that yoga pass because the local studio was having an insane deal, like $49 unlimited/month)
(I'll talk more about yoga and depression another time)
Our son turned one in June.
We were bone-dry financially.
I had to give my car back to the bank.
We lost our house.
We sold everything we could.
And we moved in with a friend.
(A saving grace, this woman)
We slowly got back on our feet.
And we began again.
And we've been moving forward ever since.
We are full of trial and error. Ups and downs. After having B, our times as a couple were pretty rocky. Having a child does change everything, but we are totally in it. He's a really great dad. He's the one that remains calm, while I flail and freakout. It's a good balance.
We fight. We kiss. We makeup. He knows me better than me, sometimes. He'll be the first to take me off a ledge when I drop into depression. And it's not in a weird, co-dependency way. It just is. We push each other to be better, not for each other, but for ourselves. Because we both know that being good to ourselves is good for each other.
We are riding this love rollercoaster.
And there's plenty of stories to fill in the gaps.