Come, and Be my Baby
The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lies around a cocktail glass
And you sit wondering
where you’re going to turn
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
Some prophets say the world is gonna end tomorrow
But others say we’ve got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
What you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.
– Maya Angelou
His hands were cold. The dewy springtime grass tickled the back of my legs as we looked up at the stars. Our hands were intertwined, pulling us closer as we strained our eyes to make out the constellations. Our cheeks touched and he kissed my nose. My heart and hormones started to race all the while whispering,” This is love.”
I put my head on his chest and could have sworn our hearts fell into a rhythm that I could feel all the way down to my toes. A few months shy of sixteen years old, I was certain that he was the one. Like a typical teenager, I had planned the rest of our lives in my head over and over.
Until it was over.
Hell hath no fury as a broken hearted teenage girl. I needed someone, anyone, to love me. I had already spent years staring into the mirror hating the face looking back at me. The storm inside of me that I wasn’t good enough and would never be good enough, spun me like a tornado, leaving me with the aftermath and debris The wreckage I created pushed those I loved away.
You are pathetic.
You are dramatic.
You should have known better.
Time passed as it always does, and I found another boy to replace the last. That was my solution for poor self-esteem and body dysmorphia. A newbie. When that solution ended I bounced around to the next- eating disorders and alcohol. If my body was smaller, I thought it might be easier to love. When that didn’t work I decided to shut my brain off whatever liquor I could steal from my parents.
My mind and heart became quiet as I lost myself.
It hurt too much to think, and it hurt even more to not.
My feelings didn’t change, they stayed right there in my teenage dream. It was comfortably painful, but familiar. The thought of self-love was foreign and impossible. Life kept chugging along. I found a new blue eyed boy and kept my fingers crossed as we exchanged vows. I would stare into them like the ocean, trying to find a pigment of truth I could hold on to. I loved him, but I kept looking for someone who wasn’t there. I laid on the grass by myself from time to time. I looked up to the sky, hoping I would find him. I felt stupid. I kept repeating the memories over and over. In the quiet of the night after my kids fell asleep I would lay in my own bed and feel the tears streaming down the sides of my face. There was a man right next to me, but he wasn’t him. I never felt settled or safe. Something was missing.
I was certain that he wasn’t thinking of me during all this. I would vaguely replay our last text or email, long deleted, and probably pieced together by me in a drunken fit. But- what if he was?
“Don’t be stupid.”
” You haven’t spoken to him in almost fifteen years, you’re insane.”
” He’s probably married and you look pathetic.”
I spent some of those years in a complete black out. The empty spot inside of me was once filled with joy, was now full of Pinot Grigio. Eventually, that stopped working too. Something clicked, the light bulb turned back on. I dove head first into a new life where self-love was a possibility. I couldn’t find it the bottle or prescription, it was inside of me. No more numbing myself, no more doubts. Sobriety changed the way I viewed the world completely- except for this one thing…
He just kept popping up in my head. My brain had left the fog of addiction, and the freedom and happiness from the steps I took to find myself. Surely, in sobriety I would have been able to remove the constant cycle of thoughts about him.
Nope. Still there.
I felt crazy. Who the hell holds onto the the thoughts of a first love from decades ago? Grow up. I shoved all of this under the rug and started to look at things differently. I didn’t need a mind altering substance anymore.I felt free- and in that freedom that I found for myself, I planted a tiny seed of self-love. Tiny, but mighty. Divorce pushed me into a life where I spent a lot of time alone. In that quiet space, that tiny seed I planted started to grow.
My mind was quiet and I started to let people in who could relate. They told me about their experiences and how they handled the challenges life throws at us. It was beautiful. In a moment of complete clarity I decided it was time to let him go. I didn’t need someone to love me, I had started to love myself. I didn’t need someone to hold my hand, I faced my fears. I didn’t have to carry the burden anymore. I did it. I let him go.
God has a sense of humor, because pretty quickly after that…
He came back.
Opening yourself up to love again after heartache is an act of bravery. Sharing past hurt, working through tough emotions and circumstances, loosing the life you thought you wanted, letting go of blame, grieving the relationship you once put your faith in and finally forgiving yourself and others…
Forgivness- The key that opens your heart. It sounds like subtext of a screenplay created by Lifetime Movies. There is no space in your heart for anyone or anything when you have filled yourself with anger and disappointment. You start to drown. There are no life vests, just life. You have to swim through it to reach the other side, and when you do, you learn to breathe again. I always looked at divorce as a failure. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. For me, divorce was a lesson in patience, honesty, acceptance, humility, love and accountability . I needed to be broken before I could put it all back together.
Kind of like Humpty Dumpty. There was no bottle of wine, dating app, gym membership, or self help book that could do that for me. I had to get on my knees and pray for the chance to turn it over and heal the broken pieces. Slowly, I let it go. The wreckage of my broken past poured out of my hands like ashes. I watched as it blew away into the distance. blew into the distance until I could no longer see them. I had a moment of grace. Maybe even a moment of gratitude for finally understanding the lesson in front of me.
I had no idea that the reward from this lesson would be him. I couldn’t have imagined that the boy who told me he loved me when I was only fifteen would be the man who told me he loved me and had always loved me after all these years. I had no way of knowing that the would embrace my children, my sobriety and my past. His hands felt the same, his laugh still left an echo in my heart, his eyes stared straight into mine and I was home.
He is my home.
It’s a home we built together on our own separate journey throughout the years. It’s a foundation built on something we can’t explain, the feelings we can’t put words to, the mystery of how we ended up back in each others lives. It’s sturdy and strong, even though we started it separately. It came together just as it was supposed to. The walls are covered in memories from being a teenager, traveling the world, seeing and experiencing things without each other, moments of happiness and also moments of sadness. The roof gets direct sunlight all day long as it’s layered with every new memory we make.
The path that we each took to get here is nothing but extraordinary , and we hold those steps close. Mindful of where our feet are and staying grounded in the moments with each other.
This is my love letter to you.