Posts in m
Eleven Years Together

I don't know if most people still celebrate their dating anniversary once they are married, but any time I can find an occasion to celebrate the person I love, I take it. Here's my Four Years Post, Five Years Seven Years Video, and last year, as we celebrated ten years of loving one another, I wrote this, and I still mean all of it today and more.

Michelle, 

I don't know that I can say anything better, or differently than I've already expressed. When I say that loving you is the easiest promise I keep, it isn't because love is easy, or because it is simple, but rather that with you in my life, with you at my side and in my heart, anything is possible. Loving you is easy because you are my compass, my anchor, the other half of me, my better, kinder half. The love I feel for you is just there, perched on my heart, whispering in my ear. I love you because of all the quirks and qualities that make up who you are. I love the way your eyes light up when you're about to smile. I love the way you see the world, how you make sense of it as I complicate it. 

I love the muscles in your back, how you shoulder the burdens of us, of others. I love that you love so deeply and fiercely. I love how you sleep, the sounds of your breaths, the curl of your body. 

*I can only begin to count (but never complete) all the ways I love you, the happiness I feel when we're driving in the car and your hand slips into mine, or how you make me laugh so hard that I can barely breathe. I love that you sing the absolute wrong words to songs and that you do not care. I love how little you know, or care to know about pop culture. I love that you can pack for a weekend in under 5 minutes while I obsess for at least 20 minutes, wondering if I have the right kind of shoes. I am glad we have geeky things in common, but I also appreciate all the ways you are different from me and all the ways you make me a kinder, more considerate person. 

In the years we have spent together we have shared heartache, loss, grief, distance, but we have also shared adventure, amazing food, great conversations, success, and lots of laughter. I remind you that life is messy and chaotic, and you show me that it's also beautiful and kind. I love the way that both big and small moments with you feel important. What I love most in the undercurrent of our lives is the shared language, sideways glances, the way you fit into my arms. No matter what is going on, the frustrations of my day, or how tired I feel, I know you are there. Even when you are not with me, you are in texts or chats, phone calls or just a feeling I get that you are in the world, doing whatever you are doing and also loving me. To be loved by you is a magnificent joy.

You are my great love. Every day I'm impressed by your toughness, your strength, your passion. You do not do things half-way but with your whole, full heart. You are my best everything, my favorite confidante, my best friend, my secret keeper, my source of comfort, and of understanding.

You are home.

All of me loves all of you. Every 2 seconds.

*from last year's letter

#reverb15: love is strange

What characteristic or habit of yours is so odd, you'd be mortified if your partner ever discovered it? Alternatively, what makes you a total goober and your other half still loves you for it?  I feel that the work of relationships is partly learning how to navigate each other's weirdness, the irrational things we're afraid of, our behaviours that make no real sense. There are things I do, things I did that I am not sure I knew were odd until someone else pointed them out. Over the years, I have had many friends point out my silly superstitions, that I hold my fork strangely, or find my use of rubber bands extreme. Rubber bands are so useful! They can hold your chip bags when you can't find a clip to do it. They're great for holding together groups of markers or pens or pencils, and for keeping wires untangled. My grandfather used to melt rubber bands and use them kind of like glue. You can use them as grippers or so things like remotes don't scratch your table. See, useful.

But when you've known someone for a very long time, when you are in a relationship for over a decade, there isn't much weirdness to hide, at least not for me. It's honestly tough to think of something that would be embarrassing to me if M discovered it. I mean, she knows sometimes (especially if we're on a road trip) that I count the time it takes me to pee. She knows I eat mushrooms out of a jar, even as I try to pretend I'm a kind of foodie. She knows that I talk out loud to remind myself of things when no one is around. She knows how often I wash my jeans, and that sweatpants with pockets are my favorite, besides yoga/workout pants. She knows how many pajama pants I own. She's walked in on my spontaneous dancing while cooking. She knows that my neck and shoulders are my erogenous zones, that I like the smell of her sweat, and what my fantasies are. She puts up with my loud snoring, and the grinding of my teeth in times of stress.

We have different senses of humor. She told me other day that once every few months I will say something that is funny to her. I find myself hilarious.

Some annoying habits I have that are M's pet peeves:

Leaving lights turned on.

Not placing toilet paper back on the roll "correctly". (I have no idea why this matters).

Not placing the toothpaste (or shampoo) so that it pools down to the bottom and thus comes out easier. (That makes a kind of logical sense).

Not locking the car twice so it beeps. (It's a security blanket).

And she annoys me with her fart jokes, her general 12 year old sense of humor, her need to push the envelope, to see how inappropriate she can be. I get so irritated when she won't take a photo with me seriously. But I also love her zest for life and sense of adventure and part of what makes me crazy about her is also what sometimes irritates me. I know I can be too serious and so M's energy balances me out. She pushes me to lighten up and relax, and makes it okay for me to accept childlike joy at seeing manatees, for example, or watching fireworks. I love good fireworks.

Above all, we understand one another. We embrace and sometimes suffer through one another's quirks. We're weirdos and somehow, we make sense together. There's no one else I want to be on this strange and wonderful ride with, even when she's a goof during selfies.

#reverb14: gorgeous

Gorgeous: When did you feel beautiful this year? Why? I don't wear makeup every day, and I haven't for some time. But I do enjoy pulling myself together for a fun night out every once in a while. Since I'm growing out my hair, I've been experimenting with different styles of flipping it out and curling it, which I really love doing. As much as I am a jeans and t-shirt girl, there's something fun about being a bit sparkly every now and then.

In October, M and I were in Louisville for an academic conference that coincided with our 3rd wedding anniversary. We planned an awesome dinner out. M surprised me with a beautiful necklace with a diamond in the middle that is designed so move so that it looks like a heartbeat. I wore it that night and felt incredibly loved. When M looks at me sometimes my breath catches in my throat. She says I'm beautiful. I try to believe her. Sometimes it works.

It did that night in October.

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books that got their hooks in

On Facebook I was nominated by my friend, Tam to list 10 books that "got their hooks into my soul". I've written before about "books that changed my life," in my Ph.D., M.A., undergrad, adolescence, and girlhood . When I first starting writing these lists in 2008, I defined the criteria for my lists based partly on Kevin Kelly's (of Wired) definition, "“books that altered your behavior, changed your mind, redirected the course of your life. Books as levers.” What a great way to think about writing: as a lever. But a book that gets its hooks in might be a different experience altogether. It also gives me a chance to update things I've read lately. So I'm going to define "getting hooks in" as a book you can't stop thinking about, where the characters live with you, where when it is over, you are sad to be out of that world, and the books you keep recommending to friends.

In no particular order:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Last Night on Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson

Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

The Dream Sequence by Kate Hunter

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

What about you? What books hooked you, changed you somehow, acted as levers for you?

books, list, mDevon RalstonComment