I love the taste of cold, filtered water but not enough to ever fill up my Brita. The thing sits in my fridge, dry as can be, for months on end until my thirsty mother comes over and fills it. After she leaves I feast on crisp, clean water but as soon as the Brita is empty again, I return to gulping the tepid water of my tap, air bubbles included.
Lucky for me, almost two months ago, I stumbled upon a suitor so fine that he not only fills my Brita with water, but my moments with meaning, my heart with hope, my days with joy and my life with soul shine.
On what I now regard as a fateful day but was actually just a Tuesday, I received a text from my very own Yente of Anatevka; she asked permission to matchmake on my behalf. When I declined on the basis of my very, very recent open heart surgery, this modern day shadchan insisted she had a good feeling.
I agreed with hesitance; I did not expect to hear from a total stranger.
I also did not expect that the total stranger would be the best thing to happen to me in all of my days.
We met for our first date after one 25 minute phone conversation. It was a date as blind as they come. Casual drinks turned into pinball at the arcade turned into sushi dinner turned into talking until sunrise turned into a giggly breakfast at a shitty diner. And that was just our first date.
I am madly in love. And for the first time it seems that I am madly in love with someone who is equally madly in love with me back. For years I have complained about the perils of modern dating, insistent that I simply wanted to find a kind and decent man. I spent so much time lamenting that I never considered what it might actually be like to find such a man.
And it is even more wonderful and terrifying than I could have imagined.
Every day I spend with James feels like an adventure. He is sweet, smart, considerate, thoughtful, hilarious, genuine, creative, adorable and quirky. He has a way of making me feel like the most important person in a room. He is open, honest, loving, romantic, loyal, affectionate and committed. With him I feel secure, respected, supported and fulfilled. He inspires me to adapt and grow.
He is why it never worked out with anyone else.
And amidst my bliss is worry—that I will get hurt, that I will fuck it up, that I will lose the man I love and the romance I desire. These thoughts are mostly fleeting and sometimes all-consuming but luckily I am engaged in a romance where radical honesty abounds. I communicate my anxieties without fear of judgement and I am grateful for all the pain and heartache that led me to this place.
I am more grateful still that I did not allow my previous romantic failures to foil me forever. But to fall in deep, pure and true love with another, I first had to fall in love with myself. I spent most of my 20’s in a frenzied state of self-criticism, feeling defeated and unworthy.
Yet self-criticism is nothing but fear, and defeat is where resilience is born. I am worthy. We all are. We only must believe it.
Now I must be off; I have some purified water to drink.