Thursday, June 19, 2008

Long, Strange Trip

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been...
~Grateful Dead

It's been a weird few days for me. In my mind, anyway. My heart, too, I suppose. I write of a good weirdness, though. Closure. Finality. The end. A happy ending. Happily ever after for everyone.

I should rewind a bit, since I'm pretty sure I haven't blogged specifically about it.

Jolyon moved in with me at the end of April. Change that. The plan was for him to move in slowly throughout the month of May, and then be officially living with me as of June 1st. However, thanks to the idiocy of Brighthouse Networks and their inability to follow simple "cancel cable/internet on specific date" instructions, Jolyon was left without cable and internet access several weeks before he'd planned, which, naturally, meant he had to expedite what we fondly refer to as the "merger." (I would also like to thank Brighthouse. Seriously. I love you guys.)

I must note that the merger has provided many unpredicted benefits. A generous supply of 'delux' mac & cheese, courtesy of Jolyon's preffered shopping Kitchen trash bags for the next three years. Chocolate PopTarts-- in bulk, of course. A working printer. An additional fire extinguisher (in case one of my 20 candles goes awry).

I digress.

Despite my poking fun at my beloved for his numerous idiosyncrasies (believe me-- he gives it right back to me, whether it's pointing out that I sleep with my mouth open or that I "run like a goalkeeper"), it has been--at the risk of not finding the perfect adjective-- fantastic. We're learning more about each other every day, creating a secret world that usually involves the two of us tangled up in each other, laughing hysterically over one of many inside jokes.

We had joked, back in September, about his moving in with me. We were mere friends at that point, though an infatuation had been brewing since the end of August. Our conversations were full of crazy ideas throughout the fall-- one of which involved quitting our jobs and jetting off to New Zealand, where we would become kiwi farmers and eat Hokey Pokey icecream. We spoke mainly in jest, of course. But the underlying truth: we were crazy about one another.

There was, of course, one problem with our developing adoration: I was involved with someone and was already living with him. Luke suspected that there might be something more than simple friendship developing between Jolyon and myself. But Luke never questioned my decision to hang out with Jolyon and our mutual volleyball/softball friends on the weekends rather than with him. Luke was always invited... and he always declined.

In my heart, I knew I had to make a decision. I knew what I wanted. It just took my head 7 months to listen.

But I learned a lot about myself in those 7 months. And I learned that karma actually does exist. And now that I've realized that, I know that being open and honest is always the better option... even if it means inflicting pain, or going back on my word. Had I been upfront and honest with Luke the moment I started having feelings for another man, I would have discovered that he, too, had doubts about our future, and whether we were truly right for each other. I would have discovered that he, too, was silently interested in someone else.

We both could have started our new lives a lot sooner, and we both would have been much happier a lot quicker. But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Jolyon is incredibly patient with me, as I strive each day to honestly express myself and my needs. It's a terrible inner-struggle for me to vocalize myself when I'm upset and actually make a confrontation. But I get better every day. (Thank you, Jolyon.)

As for the good weirdness I alluded to earlier, I had a final necessary encounter with Luke two days ago during my lunch break at work. He stopped by to sign a Change of Residency form to relinquish his rights to the apartment, effectively signing Jolyon onto the lease with me. After we handled the business matters, we chatted for the remainder of my break.

He revealed the details of his girlfriend, who sounds perfect for him. She works in his line of business, as well. His face was aglow with happiness as he spoke about her, which made my eyes tear up... it truly warmed my heart to realize that he had found that 'perfect' someone, too.

I told him that Jolyon had moved in with me. He gave me his "I-saw-that-one-coming" laugh, and we continued to muse about how we were both dating younger people and going to the gym.

We bantered light-heartedly about our jobs, my cats, his school goals. We joked about some former mutual friends, laughing as we acknowledged that "some things never change."

As I handed Luke the last bag of his belongings-- some mail pieces, his softball glove, and some random photos I had found of him and his best friend, Charlie-- we exchanged a big smile. Relief. Peace. Contentment. We didn't need to say it, but we both knew that our story had ended a long time ago... and both of us had new chapters waiting to be written.

Indeed. What a long, strange trip it's been.

...But I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wonderfully Mindblowing Sensation

I need to share an exerpt from Robin's recent blog, in which she describes my evolving relationship with Jolyon:

My best friend is in love. Sweet, spinning, skipping, spooning, never-let-me-go, kind of love. I am so happy to see her...this happy. I remember what it's like to be cherished to my bones and cared for so strongly and I am tickled to know that she has found the reflection of her soul's beauty in another to this magnitude. It is quite special to have been involved in the process of watching two people find each other when the odds were stacked against them from the beginning. To realize that when two beings have the desire to be together, nothing will stand in their way is jolting and refreshing.

We are all made for this kind of loving. Sadly, I believe some people will never experience it or will only find it fleetingly in their lives. People are afraid to really open their hearts to another person. But when you do, you will find the most beautiful and fulfilling feelings you've ever known. I am thankful to have felt loved and to have been allowed to give my love so deeply to another and I look forward to future love as it awaits somewhere out there for me. In the meantime, I will keep watching an exquiste love story unfold in my own backyard. Cheers, my good friends.

I could write pages about being in the kind of love that Robin is witnessing and describing, because it's true-- it truly is an I-can-do-anything, wonderfully mindblowing sensation to find the person who enhances your life on every possible level. We went from strangers, to teammates, to aquaintances, to friends, to best friends, to intimate friends, to exclusivity... with a rollercoaster of emotions and road-blocking external factors weaving through each stage.

I hope everyone out there finds this kind of love.... because it will change your world. If you've got it, hold onto it. If you're looking for it, be patient. And if you've spotted it, pursue it. (Trust me, it will be worth the risk.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Volunteer Appreciation

Today I had the opportunity to attend the annual VoluntEAR Appreciation and Recognition breakfast, held at Epcot's World Showplace Pavilion. Each year, Disney honors and recognizes those Cast Members who dedicate personal hours to their community. While my volunteer work was certainly not as extensive as some of the other attendees, I felt privaledged and proud to be part of this event.

I attended with fellow coworkers David, Brian, and Natasha. The event took place in an ornately decorated pavillion. We found our table number without a problem, and I was immediately impressed with the table's decor, particularly the welcoming strawberry smoothies in wine glasses at each plate.

As I was glancing through the informational booklet found on each chair, and I was surprised to see my name listed as one of the "Ears To You" Grant recipients. I received a 100.00 check to put towards the organization of my choice. Very cool way to start the day.

The breakfast was amazing, and our guest gpeaker--Meg Crofton, the President of Walt Disney World-- spoke volumes of praise to the 400 or so Cast Members in attendance. According to the statistics we heard this morning, Disney's voluntEARs contributed over 3.5 million dollars in volunteer hours to the Central Florida community.

It's mornings like today that remind me why I love working for Disney... and in the day-to-day routine of writing technical documents, sometimes we all need that little extra splash of pixie dust.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Healthy Relationship?

I came across this article online and found myself silently answering the questions that Margaret Paul asks the reader. Whether you're in a relationship, looking for companionship, or simply content with a single life, you may find some of the questions interesting.


“My parents had a very good relationship,” I often hear my clients say.
“What do you mean by good?” I ask.
“They didn’t fight. They spent a lot of time with each other.”

That may have been the definition of a good relationship years ago, but now most people want more. Following are ten signs of a healthy relationship.

Is kindness more important to each of you than having your way, being in control, or being right? Do you each receive joy out of being kind to each other? Being kind rather than controlling with each other is essential for a healthy relationship.

Spontaneous Warmth and Affection
Do you and your partner well up with warmth and fullness of heart for each other and express it with affection? Are you each able to see the beautiful essence within each other, rather than just the faults? Are you able to get beyond the outer to the unique inner Self of each other? Do you enjoy sharing affection? Warmth and affection are vital for a healthy relationship.

Laughter and Fun

Can the two of you laugh and play together? Do you appreciate and enjoy each other’s sense of humor? In the midst of difficulties, can you help each other to lighten up with humor? Can you let down and be playful with each other, letting yourselves be like kids together? Laughter and fun play a huge role in a healthy relationship.

Enjoying Time Together and Time Apart

Are you both each other’s favorite person to spend time with? Are you motivated to set aside time just to be together? Do both of you have friends and interests that you enjoy doing? Are both of you fine when you are not together? Some couples spend a lot of time together because they really enjoy it, while others spend a lot of time together out of fear of being alone. It is important for a healthy relationship for each person to have friends and interests, so that they are not dependent on each other. Dependency is not healthy in a relationship, particularly emotional dependency.

A Method for Conflict Resolution

All relationships have some conflict. It is not the conflict that is the issue, but how you deal with it. Do you have a method for resolving conflict, or do the issues just keep getting swept aside? If fighting is part of how you deal with conflict, do you fight fair, or are you hurtful when you fight?

Letting Go of Anger

If one or both of you get angry, do you hang on to it, punishing your partner with it, or can you easily let it go? In healthy relationships, both partners are able to quickly move on, back into kindness and affection.

Trust in Your Love for Each Other

Do you each trust that the love is solid, even in very difficult times between you? Do you each know that you can mess up, fail, disappoint the other, emotionally hurt the other – and the love will still be there? Do you each know that the love is about who you are, not what you do? This level of trust is essential for a healthy relationship.

Listening, Understanding, Accepting and Learning

Do you each feel heard, understood and accepted? Can you share your secrets with your partner without fearing being judged? Are you each more interested in learning about yourselves and each other than you are in controlling each other? Is listening to each other with an open heart and a desire to understand more important than judging each other or defending yourselves?

Is your sexual relationship warm and caring? Can you be sexually spontaneous? Can you talk with each other about what brings pleasure to each of you?

Freedom to Be Yourself

Do you each feel free to be all that you are? Do you each feel supported in pursuing what brings you joy? Does your partner feel joy for your joy? While some people may naturally be open, kind, affectionate, accepting, and emotionally responsible for themselves, most people need to heal the fears and false beliefs they learned in their families. Healthy relationships evolve as each person evolves in his or her ability to be loving to themselves and each other.

Courtesy of Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lazy Sunday

It's been a marvelous lazy Sunday. Jolyon wandered into the bedroom a few hours ago for a nap, and James has ventured to WalMart for a few groceries. The cats are sleeping soundly in various locations, thus leaving me with a quiet apartment to spend how I wish.

It's strange to have a Sunday with nothing planned. No errands that need to get done today. No planned day trips. No out-of-town visitors. Just me, some laundry, a few books, some catch-up emailing, and the couch.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Because I Knew You

Sometimes, a song sums up everything. (Thank you, Robin.)

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good...
It well may be
That we may never meet again in this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Places, New Faces

And I'm back. It's been a busy past few weeks, but I'm back.

I took off on an extended weekend vacation with Robin to her hometown of West Chester, PA, though we crashed at her parents' house in Deptford, NJ. It's always interesting and thought-provoking to visit the place where a person grew up.

I experienced the small wonder of "Wawa" a local mini-mart that featured the most delicious veggie sandwich and soft pretzels. I met the cutest three-year old child, who affectionately referred to me as "JellyFish." I ate at the "Pita Pit" at 2am with Robin and her long-time friend, Jason. I attended my first bridal shower, in which one of the entertainment items was a psychic reader (I was promised a long, happy future, but warned never to visit Miami). I basked in the warm sun and cool breeze on the Jersey Shore. And I witnessed too many freakish devices in the adult-themed stores on South Street in Philadelphia.

It was a wonderful trip. I've written about her before, but I don't think I will truly ever be able to express how blessed I am to have Robin as a friend, or "sister," as we have deemed one another. I witnessed first-hand some of the more difficult aspects of her family's life, and while I remained a silent observer for the majority of the weekend, I was also silently amazed and inspired by how much Robin has been through in her short 26 years. She pushes through the adversity with a cute, school-girl's giggle and a cheerful smile. Behind closed doors, she has the emotional intensity of a woman with years of challenges... but in the open, she is an innocent firefly, ready to embrace her next adventure.

During the weekend away, my sister told me that she may be making some big changes in her life in the near future. I espressed my most sincere opinions--revolving around her need for new locations and new people--I understand that a change would be in her best interest. I won't hide that I'd be devastated if the big change led her away from Orlando, but I also understand the need for a life makeover. I will probably always be her biggest fan, no matter how many miles come between us.