For my husband.

I miss you, my love.
I love you, my love.
I love you more than before.
Before we became parents. 
The greatest thing to ever happen to us.
She’s our Jupiter.
Our Fortress.
Our Queen.

And it’s all been such an adjustment.
The best kind of adjustment.
Her coos, her squeaks, even her cries.
They’re the only sounds we care to hear now.
She’s beautiful beyond what we’ve ever known.
She’s magic and she’s light.

And when I put her down at night,
I wrap myself around your body.
And after I wake up to nurse and you change her diaper and we put her back down to sleep,
I wrap myself around your body.
And when she wakes up again,
and still the moon is shining,
I wrap myself around your body.

Breathless, because we’re so tired.
Breathless, because I’m still so in love with you. 

And while she will forever be our Love,
you’re still my love, 
my Love.
I love you.
I miss you when you’re away.

you're the only one (for me).

You're the one I love when the storm clouds are thick and grey.
You're the one I love when water pours into the boat.
When the waves feel sixty feet high, you're the one I love. You're the one I crave.

You're the only one I want to fall down this mountain with. 
You're the only one I want run across this desert with.

You're the only one who makes my heart beat and fills my lungs with air.
You're my Jupiter up in the sky, and you're my hand to hold at night.

Tangled in blankets, shivering, wrapped around each other, hoping, praying.
"I don't know,"
you say.
"I know,"
I reply.

You're the only one I love amongst so much unknown.

Still, you're the only one who sees the beacon in the distance and rows with all his might.
You're the only one that sees the rain and builds a dam to withhold it.
You're the only one who hears the word no and turns it into a yes. 
You're the only one who keeps his eyes open amongst the hail or  dust.

You're the only one I love. The only one I crave.

The day I met you (four years ago).

aug 30 2013 eric kimberlin sutro baths

I remember this day like yesterday. You picked me up in your friend’s car. I came outside, you got out of the car. You walked around to my side and wrapped your arms around me. But I didn’t know it then. 

 

We drove. The hills were steep, the fog started thick. I was a bit nervous and tried to stay calm. That day was the first day of the rest of my life.

But I didn’t know it back then. 

 

We parked the car. Your hair was crazy. You put your red beanie back on. You still have that blue shirt. I thought I bought you that blue shirt. I wondered who you were.

But I didn’t know you quite then.

 

We walked. We talked. Our conversations were deep. We climbed down the dirt path and into the light. The fog was lifting. The air began to warm. 

And that’s how it all began.

 

I despised the fog, the cold and the gloom, but things always felt brighter when I was next to you.

 

I offered you a piece of fruit, you took it. You ate it. I smiled as I ate mine. The first gift. First exchange. 

 

You handed me seven spoon rings. I didn’t know I was to pick only one. I put them all in my pocket. You smiled and you left. It was late, I went home. You fell asleep sitting on a bench, waiting for the train.

 

Kate asked me how it went. I told her you were nice. I played you off cool, but we never stopped talking after that day.

 

Day after day, you and I have grown together.  

 

We laugh, we laugh a lot. We argue. I guess that’s how it goes. But one thing I know,

is that my love for you grows deeper

and deeper

and deeper 

than I’ve ever known any love to grow.  

 

ek sutrobathsaug302013

I didn’t know when you got out of the car and walked around to my side that I was really holding my husband. I had almost given up on meeting you. 

 

But I remember how your arms felt. They felt like the arms that wrapped around me in a dream I had when I was only 16 or 17. 

And I knew, upon waking from that dream, that though I didn’t know what you looked like, I would always remember how you felt.

 

You still feel the same, my love.

"It's Not About Communicating, It's About Connecting," or, "What 548 Days of Marriage Have Shown Me."

Sometimes I get scared about writing publicly about my marriage (okay well to the maybe two of you who might read my blog, but that’s still a lot to me) because it’s so sacred. Before I was married, I always knew marriage was sacred, and I think I even knew why it was so sacred, but I didn’t fully understand just how sacred it really was, and how much you have to do to protect it. Marriage is both the easiest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Everything is exacerbated in that everything you do affects another human being’s life so intimately and the until death do us part side of things also adds to that intensity. And yet, marriage is so freeing and beautiful, so easy. I am entirely myself with my husband, feel entirely safe next to him and being married to him is simply so much fun.

We’ve been married for exactly a year and a half, to the day. That is such a crazy thought to me! I spent 27 years of my life unmarried, and now here I am married and it’s only the beginning and yet it already feels like I’ve known my husband forever. How did that happen?

I’m a huge self-help book junkie, so much so that in the past month I’ve had two individuals come up to me and ask if I could specifically recommend some self-help books to them (ha!). The one I’m reading right now is called “Keep Your Love On!” by Danny Silk and both the title and the cover image are uber cheesy but this book is incredible. It’s a religious one, but not overly religious and I would recommend it to anyone whether they’re religious or not. There’s so much you can learn from it. The part I’ve been thinking about this past week went something like this:

1. It’s my job to control myself. I do not get to control other people.

2. My number-one goal and priority in relationships is building and protecting connection. 

My husband and I are really great at fighting, and I share this while laughing at the same time, because one, it’s true, and two, I never thought it would be true and yet here we are. The thing that’s great about fighting is that it means two people are standing up for themselves and what they believe in, even if it’s hard. In my past relationships, my exes and I didn’t fight at all and guess what? It’s because I never stood up for myself and was always lying about how I felt. It ended up making things worse and thus we broke up. With my husband, we are entirely ourselves, 100% of the time, and while this is one of those freeing aspects I described above, somedays it can make things hard, causing us to get into arguments. 

I’ve read it over and over again, communication is the key to lasting relationships, but I don’t entirely agree. It doesn’t matter how great you are at communicating, life is still going to happen and things are going to come up that cause tension. The key to getting through hard times isn’t about proper communication, the key is about remembering your connection, and that means letting stuff go, even without a resolution.

This means that my love for my husband and my priority of connecting with my husband are more important than who is right and who is wrong. It means connecting with my husband and protecting our love and connection is more important than coming to a conclusion or settling a matter. It most definitely means that we will probably agree to disagree (and not with pride but with acceptance!), because often it’s not about what the issue is, it’s about how we will choose to get through the issue together. That how being us choosing to connect, rather than continuing to debate an issue. 

Pride so often gets in the way and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been arguing when we both realize we don’t even know why we are arguing, we’re just being stubborn and prideful. This pride often blocks my ability to love my husband and show him that he is my priority, not the dishes, or bills, or health concerns, or whatever. It’s him and I, together, that matter. One night, instead of continuing to argue, I told my husband that building and protecting our connection is more important to me (cheesy, I know, but you should have seen his face light up). He’s told me the same thing a few times during heated discussions. Almost instantly, the problem dissolves and we’re back to focusing on what really matters: our love and connection.

This part of the book was so beautiful, too:

Each display of love, no matter how seemingly small, is a powerful act of spiritual warfare that removes anxiety from the environment, replaces it with freedom and safety, and invites each person to bring his or her best self forward in a relationship.

Religious or not, I really do believe that love is a spiritual connection. It’s something that we cannot necessarily see but instead, we feel it intensely. Love is sometimes not even something we feel, but something we choose, much like faith. It binds people together with a belief in something greater, Love. I’m reminded of all the times my husband has shown me small bits of love, and how much they’ve meant to me. The big bits of love obviously mean a lot, but the small bits are almost more meaningful. They show me that he cares despite everything else going on. He remembers me. He chooses me. He loves me. I’m reminded of how those tiny acts of love and kindness have drowned out my self-doubt or insecurities. It doesn’t take much to fill someone’s cup. It can be small, but the consistency of these small amounts of love add up.

So that is that. I cannot control my husband, or anyone else, but I can control myself and how I react, and I can choose to react in protecting and building my connection with my husband, and those else around me. 

The past 548 days of marriage have been the best days of my entire life (even the feminist side of me agrees). I have learned so much in the past year and a half and I just feel so grateful for it all. I know life is a rollercoaster and we’ve barely dipped our toes into marriage. Thus, I don’t have a conclusion, just snippets of what I’ve learned through this journey so far. A journey I am so blessed and excited to be on. 

to jupiter and back.

you’re just my husband, and i don’t mean that you’re just my husband, but that to me, 
it doesn’t matter so much if you sing nostalgic songs or take mystical photos or fold steel upon itself to make knives (i mean yes, i love these things about you, of course, i do), but to me i love you because

you’re just my husband.
and being just my husband also means
you’re my weird human, silly human, playful human, serious human, diligent human, my do life on a day to day basis human. 
my normal human.

you’re the human whose strange spots matched my strange spots and whose lows met my lows and highs met my highs.

you’re not some on again off again, you’re my forever human. but on the off days, being with you is better than anything i have ever known before. and on the on days, being with you is like,
okay, is this even real?

i don’t know all the lyrics and i don’t all the songs and you never told me you were in a band when we first met and thank you for not telling me you were in a band when we first met because to me, you became,

just my best friend. just this (yes, obviously dreamy) guy whom i could have conversations with that went as deep as the lowest ocean floor and when i found out about our nerdy jupiter obsession, well, next our conversations went as high as there and back (and again and again).

to me, 
i don’t so much care about what they see because,
to me,
i see the very core of you.

the center of the earth is where you and i meet. 
my center. your center. the shared center we have found within each other because before things felt a little lopsided,
and not that things can’t be lopsided and maybe we’re still a little lopsided together, but
we can roll to the other side if we need to, together,

because to me,
you’re just my husband.

you’re more than the just and more than the my and more than the husband.

but to me, 
i get the just and my and husband 

and to me, 
that’s just perfect.
that’s just more than enough, you know.

6 things 6 months of marriage has taught me.

It's a day shy of our six month wedding anniversary and oh my, does time ever fly. We're getting way better at this marriage thing, and each day I can honestly say I wake up more in love with him and more excited for a lifetime together. But, I will say, there have been difficult moments. Here are six things I've learned through six months of marriage.

1. Marriage shows you your selfishness. 

    I never thought of myself as a selfish person, in fact, pardon me for saying this but I always thought I was a very selfLESS person. But no, marriage has shown me how selfish I am, which is actually a really great thing, because selfishness is a horrible trait to have. Marriage is not about you, it’s about the person you’re married to.

2. Marriage is really fun.

    Obviously, duh, but I had some fears about the whole marriage thing, and the stats aren’t great. So far, every one of my fears has been proven wrong. Marriage is fun for a million and a half reasons, and more. So much of marriage is how you react to one another. You can choose to respond in frustration when you are really tired, or you can choose to respond in laughter and silliness when you’re really tired. 

3. Find your “thing” together.

    Life happens really quickly, and it’s been so healthy for us to find our “thing” together. Now we have certain days where we do certain things, and they are something that, each week, we look forward to. For example, Sunday afternoon sushi dates, or evening walks in the park. Being able to share our traditions together, and make new ones, allows us to reconnect, no matter how busy the week has been. 

4. Protect your marriage.

    If you don’t protect your marriage, it’s easy to let things come in the way of it, and I’m not talking about the big things (like cheating or affairs), I’m talking about the little things. The little things where you don’t realize at first how detrimental something may be. Whether it’s comparing your marriage to other people’s marriages in a negative way, or keeping white lies from one another, or showing contempt to one another, these are all things that can cause great damage over time. So protect your marriage. Get rid of anything toxic, including toxic thoughts.

5. Marriage is like surfing.

    I’ve only ever surfed once and it was really, really hard, so perhaps this is a bad analogy, but marriage is like surfing in that marriage comes in waves. There are hard times, there are happy times, there are boring times, there are exciting times, there are all of the times that are going to happen in life and that therefore happen in your marriage. You just have to ride it out. Ride out the hard times, whether it’s something you’re dealing with, your spouse is dealing with, or you’re dealing with together. Ride the waves. Things get better. 

6. Marriage is about embracing one another’s differences. 

    I remember one day telling my husband that I wanted him to make the bed a certain way. It was probably after I had told him that I liked the kitchen a certain way, the living room a certain way, the bathroom a certain way, and the car parked a certain way. Instead of being annoyed at me, he replied, in all of his gentleness, “ya know, I think you’re more type A, but I’m more type LMNOP.” Recognizing our differences as a good thing, and embracing the other person’s differences, has only strengthened our marriage (and allowed me to have a lot more fun, too). 

Married (a week later).

There are so many different thoughts and memories I have from our wedding. We were married a week ago to this day. I’ve been patiently waiting for a moment to write about the day, knowing that thoughts, feelings and memories would eventually slip away, and I don’t want to forget a single moment from that day. Photographs tell a huge story, and I am SO excited to get our wedding photos and video back and relive our wedding day, but words, words for me are equally as important, and so today, I have found time to write. 

Let me start by saying that I am not really a wedding person. I’ve never been the type of person to plan my wedding since I was a kid, know the colors of my wedding, etc., etc.. Plus, I’m a feminist, and not that feminists don’t dream about their weddings, but I’ll admit it’s always been more of a back burner item for me. And so, I will also admit, that our wedding day was beyond magical. It was more than I could have ever imagined and it was genuinely the best day of my entire life. I’m still in (joyful) shock from it all. 

Eric and I eloped in what was probably the most planned elopement of all time. What I mean by this is that it was most definitely planned (the location, time, day, and what not), but we tried to keep it a secret and to keep the expectation of the day low. It’s not that we didn’t want the day to be important or monumental, it’s simply that we are both introverts and both hate being the center of attention. Anything big, crowded, overly decorated and filled with traditional expectations is not our style (but seriously, props to all of those who can pull off a big, decorate, traditional and fun wedding because oh my gosh, planning a super small elopement was enough work in itself). We celebrated the day with our immediate family and a few of our closest friends and I cannot tell you how special this was to me (well, to both of us, but I’m speaking from my perspective). Being able to share the day with such a small group allowed me to actually focus on the ones I love and be present during the entire day. It's a good thing, too, because from the moment people started to arrive until the end of the day, everything went into tunnel vision. It’s so strange… I’m a big picture person and Eric is a details person, but I could not see any of what was going on throughout the day except what was in my immediate line of vision. Everything else became a blur and went by so incredibly fast. And so, the intimacy of it was very needed and gave me the space to see everyone, interact with everyone and laugh with everyone. 

Our ceremony took place on a ferry boat that took us all to Orcas Island. No one knew about the ceremony and so to see everyone’s faces light up as they realized the ceremony was happening at that very second and on the ferry is such a cherished memory and something I’ll never forget. I remember peeking through the door and seeing everyone sitting on the wind protected deck, eagerly waiting to see what was going on. I remember sitting down to wait and the man sitting across from me reading his newspaper. With his eyes glued to his newspaper and without looking up at me once, he asked me if I was actually about to get married right now.

“Yes, I am! No one out there knows either, so I’m really excited!”

“Wow. In my 27 years of taking this ferry, I’ve never seen anyone get married on a ferry.”

He smiled, wished me luck, and continued on reading. Why did we get married on the ferry? Well, nothing was working out with our original wedding plans and we were both exhausted from trying to make a more traditional wedding work. And so it just kind of happened. The idea came into our heads and I was reminded of the spoon ring Eric originally proposed with, and on the ring, the image of two little people standing on a boat in the ocean. It just made sense, and so we canceled the original wedding and decided to elope instead. 

My dad couldn’t stop laughing, asking me if this was actually happening, and if the wedding was actually taking place on the ferry. He knew we were getting married that day and that he was to officiate our wedding, but I didn’t tell him anything else about how the day would go. With huge grins on both of our faces, we walked out onto the deck as Eric’s best man played the guitar. I’ve always had huge anxiety about this moment, this moment being walking down the aisle. I’ve walked down two other aisles before for my two best friends' weddings, and each time I almost passed out from nerves (and I was only a bridesmaid). The anxiety stems from the fear of walking down the aisle and in the back of my head knowing I was marrying the wrong person (because I've heard that story happen). Instead, I remember turning the corner and seeing Eric standing there and I’ve never felt so much happiness, joy and certainty than at that very moment. In fact, that is probably my favorite moment from the day: walking with my dad down the aisle towards Eric, his big, brown eyes beaming and his soft, gentle smile waiting. I could relive this moment over and over again, and I know I always will. I never really believed in the saying of “when you know, you know” (when it comes to finding the right person), but I sincerely knew walking down that aisle that Eric is everything I could have ever imagined and more. He’s my human.

I remember the sway of the ferry as it rocked back and forth in the water. I remember having to hold onto my dad's arm during the ceremony so I wouldn’t fall over from nervous excitement and the swaying boat. When my dad started to cry, I remember quietly saying to him “mawwiage,” the way they do in The Princess Bride, to help him laugh and continue on with the ceremony. I remember watching Eric’s face as he intensely focused on every single word my dad was saying to us. I remember saying our vows, I remember looking out at everyone who was there with us and seeing a few crew members who stopped to join us, I remember seeing my sister standing behind Eric in her coat with a huge smile on her face, I remember our mothers sitting together, I remember seeing my two best friend’s faces and being eternally grateful for all the years we have shared together, I remember everyone laughing when the ceremony was interrupted at a few different times because of an intercom message saying that “the car alarm of the vehicle with the British Columbia license plate is still going off,” I remember putting our rings on one another, and I remember my dad pausing before saying “you may kiss the bride” and finally being able to kiss (and kiss again). The ceremony was my favorite part of the day, and I’ll never forget those twenty minutes. 

But I’ll also never forget getting to Orcas Island and having a few minutes to go back to our room together and be alone, because after a whirlwind of a day, finally we could just sit there and say hi. Hi, husband! Hi, wife! We’re married! Oh my gosh we really are! The day was a beautiful blur, almost like a painting, and it was in those few minutes where we could finally take a breath and realize everything that had just happened. 

The rest of the night was filled with food, games, laughter and dancing. I ripped my dress but it didn’t matter at all because the only thing I cared about was being there with Eric and those who have been our greatest supports. 

Someone later asked us (jokingly) if it felt any different being married, and how it was sort of like turning a new age where it doesn’t really feel different, but it happened. I agreed, although, now I would have to disagree.

Being married does feel different. I don’t exactly know why, because I still feel like me, we still feel like we and life will continue in a similar way to how it was before we were married, but still, something does feel different.

Permanency feels different. There is a new sense of love that comes with permanency, that I could have never felt before. There’s the I’m in love with you feeling and the I love you feeling, but then there’s also this new feeling of love that comes when you realize that being married means we are permanent. I can’t describe it beyond that. It’s a type of love I’ve never felt and it’s a type of love I can’t imagine having for anyone else in this world, because it’s our marriage (and our commitment to our marriage) that is the permanent love. It’s being a unit together, no matter what comes our way. Somehow, this permanency allows us to know one another more intimately than anyone else will ever know us. It’s the good and most definitely the bad and ugly. It’s everything from here to the sun, and it’s ours, together, to figure out.

I’ll admit that already in our first week of marriage we had a decent sized disagreement that had us both frustrated beyond belief. As the fight was happening, I kept getting sadder and sadder realizing, oh no, we can’t undo this, we can’t undo the fact that we fought during out first week of marriage. But then I realized I had some weird expectation in my head that everything had to be perfect (beyond just this first week). The truth is, Eric and I have never been perfect, but we’ve always been willing to work it out, or agree to disagree and put love first. That’s what marriage is, it’s putting love first, and putting the other person first. It gave me such a sense of joy to remind myself of this, when during this disagreement I realized that our issue wasn’t even what really mattered, what mattered was Eric and our marriage, and knowing that what mattered to him was me and our marriage. Again, this permanency was what allowed me to love him a new way, and to quickly forget, forgive, and also say sorry myself. As our marriage therapist also has said, “When a couple walks into my office and I ask them what they fight about, if they say that they don’t fight, the first thing I ask them is, ‘so which one of you is lying?’” In past relationships, it’s always been me who was lying, hence the lack of any fights or disagreements. But finally, finally, I have someone that I don’t have to lie with. I have someone who I can completely be myself with (and vice versa), even when it causes us tension or disagreements. And so, our fight during our first week of marriage, I suppose it’s perfectly normal, and I know as we continue to learn and grow together, we’ll get better at understanding one another’s cores, and we won’t have to fight. 

I love Eric so much. It’s weird (okay, well not really), but I didn’t think I could possibly love him more than the day we were married, but every single day, my love for him grows deeper. I know that one day we’ll leave the honeymoon phase and some days it will be hard to love one another, but I know that he’s the only human I would ever risk marrying, if that makes sense. Everyone I’ve known has said that marriage is hard work, and with the divorce stats, it’s even risky, but as I said in my vows to him,

We’ve already been through a lot together, both good and bad, and as much as I’ve hated the bad, it’s shown me that there’s no one else in this entire world I’d rather experience the bad with than you. I know there’ll be hard times and I know there’ll be amazing times and I know there’ll be all of those mundane things in the middle. Today, through all of those moments, and the moments to come, I promise to be by your side through this adventure we call life. 

Marrying Eric is the best thing I have ever done. I remember, too, when we had our “first look” photos. The moment I saw him standing in the field with his back to me, I couldn’t walk, I had to run to him, because finally, the day was there, and we were finally making it (legally) permanent. I am so excited to do life with him, permanently him.