Many years ago I was driving through Georgia; I pulled off 95 South to use the restroom and grab sustenance. I was not in the most populated area, but it did not seem like I was entering the plot of a horror movie either. [A common rule to determine ones safety.] I entered the “ladies” room and immediately noticed the strong stench of bleach. My initial thought was, awesome, I found the one gas station bathroom they actually clean! I noticed the sink was shiny, the mirror sparkling – SCORE! As I walked toward the stall, the smell grew stronger, except now it was mixed with another smell…something horrible. I entered the stall, as I turned toward the toilet I realized I was in a horror movie, my nightmare. A brown liquid substance covered the stall walls, filled the mini trash can and splattered all porcelain surfaces. As I fumbled for the lock, I did my best to not bring any additional damage to this restroom. If this was Georgia’s idea of a “ladies” room, I needed to vomit elsewhere.
Once I was back on the freeway I consulted my phone list. I had made a check list of people to call to keep me awake or entertained as I drove seventeen hours south. Someone I only recently met was next on the list, some guy named Micky. Welp, this is as good a time as any to break the ice. I dialed his number and began the conversation with my recent introduction to Georgia bathrooms. I do not want to put words his mouth, but I am pretty sure this is when he fell in love with me.
As Micky and I embark on our seventh year together, I look back at our humble beginnings. Even before we met – we had both been through so much change and hopeless moments. Together we have now faced tragedy, but it never feels difficult to love him; it is the most natural thing in the world. If I only knew at fifteen, eighteen, twenty, twenty-four – this is what I should strive to achieve, this is love. Love and marriage do not mean finding someone who can provide financial security. Love is not meant to be out of control and dysfunctional – those highs and lows – although seemingly romantic at times – will not get you through the dredges life inevitably throws. Love is courage, it means fighting for something despite our insecurities. You can love someone, and with everything inside yourself know they are your soul mate, but if you’re a coward, it is likely you will lose them. If your insecurities rule you, how much can you offer another person. Love is sacrifice, it means letting go of self, pride, expectation, and giving yourself in every way to someone else. It is honest, sharing even the ugly parts, because if you’re fighting the same fight, those ugly parts will become beautiful. No one does it perfectly, every one of us is flawed, but when you have someone with whom you are courageous, sacrificial and honest – exceptional things await. Remember, my first adult conversation with my now husband was about explosive diarrhea…I clearly know what I’m talking about.