I used to think that I was all I that needed to get by.
This belief came from years of watching the women in my life — from my mother and aunts to my older cousins — make their way without the support of men, who may have passed away; left after a divorce; or just turned out to be useless as providers, fathers, and men in general.
These women showed a strength and courage that I admired and yearned to possess. In my eyes, my mother was superwoman. When my dad died (when I was 15 and my brother was 10) my mother whipped off her cape and used it to cover the gaping emptiness in our lives. She guided us across the chasm and ensured that we had solid ground beneath our feet before letting us walk forward on our own.
She never remarried. I never saw her date or have a love interest. She was stoic and alone, and she seemed perfectly fine with that.
When I realized that my marriage had reached a point of no return, I assumed my path would be similar to my mother’s. That I would spend the rest of my days alone, laying out a legacy for my children and enjoying my solitude. I would live in and expand onto my mother’s house, garden her land, take up a few hobbies, get some chickens (for eggs), buy a couple of goats (for mowing the grass), and raise a miniature pig (for being awesome!). And there I would be: content, alone, and the most countrified city girl you ever met.
A woman on her own was the norm in my eyes. Picking up the slack where men are not present and forging ahead on her own terms. She raises children, changes car batteries, and secures a solid future with scrimped-together savings and carefully manged affairs so her jaded and foolish daughter has something the fall back on in her old age.
That’s simply how it was done.
NEEDING a partner? That was foreign to me. Who NEEDS someone? Who even has the time for all that?
What do I know? At 44, I’m still learning that I don’t know much. But in my own defense…
No one ever told me that it was possible to want someone in your life, not because you couldn’t stand to be alone, but because you couldn’t stand to be without them.
I was never informed that someone else could fill me up with so much love that I would wonder if it was possible to burst from joy.
That a kiss could ignite a fire in my soul.
That a look from across the room could release an explosion of butterflies that left my grown woman knees quivering like a shy teenager.
Who knew that I could yearn — from the depths of my being — to wrap myself in the comfort of arms designed just for me?
That I could ache, with a physical pain when she was far away, and I would need…yes, NEED to have her closer to me very, very soon, or I might lose my rabbit-ass mind.
To breathe her in because her very essence is oxygen.
To taste her skin because it’s nourishing and life-sustaining.
To watch her chest rise and fall as she sleeps, because each breath carries whispers of ancient knowledge that confirm the secrets many suspect, but I know to be true…
YES. It’s real.
YES. It’s amazing.
YES. I can be strong and stoic and even more empowered by love.
Just ask my smiling heart, my sparkling eyes, and the buzzing molecules of my being … newly awoken, energized, and adorned with the flourish of her name.