An Ode to my Wife: Our Epic Love Story

A little over a week ago, my best friend, soul mate and “wife” Bonnie got engaged to the absolute love of her life, Jeff. Their (so far) 6-year story is epic, beautiful, thrilling, nearly tragic, and truly one-of-a-kind. It deserves to be told, but today, I’m going to tell a different love story: the story of Bonnie and I.

I met Bonnie in high school. When I transferred to East Catholic High School in the middle of Sophomore year, I was assigned the locker next to hers. She was friendly, but I had been warned that she was “scary” and “overly opinionated” (all right mean girls, “overly opinionated” I’ll give you, but scary? MY WIFE IS A DAMN SAINT!). I didn’t buy into the hype, but I also didn’t make an effort to befriend her. Despite us having some mutual friends, we ran in different crowds.

That was, until we both got into Fordham University. Initially when I found out Bonnie would be attending Fordham, I was pissed. I had applied for early decision, and had been wearing a Fordham sweatshirt habitually for AT LEAST a year! Fordham was clearly mine, and if Miss Student Council Thang thought we were going to associate there, while I tried to leave my small town past behind me in the wide open big city (yes, I was a walking cliche at 17 — sue me!) she had another thing coming.

When she was placed in my dorm building, Alumni South, I really got huffy.

In August of 2003, our dearest mutual friend, Kristina, insisted we all meet up before heading off to college. We went to Friendly’s — which, good call, I loved me some fat kid super melts at 17 — and had a nice meal, and half-heartedly exchanged numbers. Mostly so Kristina wouldn’t feel bad. But there seemed to be an unspoken agreement between Bonnie and I that we would not reach out. Sure, we’d politely say “hi” on campus because that’s what you do when you’re mannered and from Connecticut. But we weren’t going to actively seek each other out. Why would either of us move all the way to New York City, only to hang out with people we went to high school with — no less, people we weren’t friends with?!

It seemed dead end. But then a twist of fate happened.

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The Early Years: Bonnie, Kristina, myself.

On our first day of Fordham, Bonnie discovered that she’d been placed on a dorm floor with a bunch of religious girls who were awfully sweet, but frankly, not down to party. She texted me, “No one on my floor is going out. What are you doing tonight?”

“Ugh!” I thought, greedily. “ALREADY?! Get your own friends!” But my Connecticut politeness pulled me back in.

“Met some cool girls. Going to a keg party on Hughs. Want to come?”

“Yes!”

That night, I fell in love with her and never looked back. And we’ve been damn near inseparable ever since. We’ve had some ups and downs and fallouts, but we’ve stayed loyal and committed through it all.

She is my everything.

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All in — our Spring Break in the Bahamas in 2007.

I know it seems crazy, but I feel like I can somewhat sincerely say that we’ve been happily married for over ten years.

I’m not sure where the “marriage” thing even came into play, but I think it was somewhere around fall of 2004, when Facebook opened up to Fordham. Back then, it was cool for girl best friends to change their relationship status to “married” to one another. There were no “likes” or comments or even photo albums. But you could declare who your best friend was, make your actual relationship status a mystery to stalkers, AND drive guys nuts with a few clicks of the mouse. It was GLORIOUS.

I know we carried the status on for far too long, to the point where friends and family members were becoming confused as to whether we were actually lesbians/married.

And, fair. We’re adults now. It’s time to put on the big girl pants and stop messing around.

No, we’re not lesbians. No, we’re not ACTUALLY married. No, we don’t “slip up” and hook up once in awhile (stop asking, pervs!). We’re best friends.

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Okay… maybe I can see why people think we’re an actual couple.

But here’s the thing: my relationship with my Bonnie is the realest thing I have ever known. And I still consider it a marriage of sorts.

How else do you characterize consulting one another with major life decisions..?

…Breaking down every interaction that happens with a sour colleague…

…Saying “good luck!” before every event, major or minor that comes about…

…Planning each others’ birthdays…

…Traveling the world together…

…Better yet, making a bucket list together

…Calling each other first when something momentous happens…

…Learning to be patient with each others’ shortcomings…

…Setting aside the one night a week for each other (“wife night”), prioritizing our relationship and never going more than a week living in the same city without seeing one another…

…Sharing calendars so we can always find time for each other…

…Putting our pride aside and admitting our faults…

…Working on our relationship constantly…

What else do you call a commitment that you make — EVERY SINGLE DAY — to communicate openly, even when it’s hard and you’re frustrated and it’s not working right? I call it a friendship marriage.

She was the one who was by my side at the hospital advocating for me in the wake of my rape, who helped me find the courage when I finally came out publicly with my story, and who crossed state lines to be by my side when my mother had her stroke, and weeks later when she died, and nearly every day in between…

She has been there, supporting me through every failure, triumph, heartbreak, move, fallout, sickness, job change, mistake, growth, reflection, depression, struggle and windfall.

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My law school graduation… guess who was there?

Most of my life, I was a victim: I couldn’t count on men, and I wasn’t in a place to be with someone. I spent most of my formative years in varying states of self-imposed celibacy. Sure, I dated around, hoping for something different — we both did — but college and young twenty-something relationships usually weren’t serious. They were messy and alcohol-and-mistake fueled and it was impossible to connect on any real level. That was not for damaged me — that was for the normals.

Through all of the aching loneliness and longing, Bonnie was my significant other. She was my person. I did learn many lessons from the various guys I dated over the years, but everything I know about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, I learned from her.

She was my guiding light, my rock, my driving force, and the one who consistently believed in me — that I could be better, that I could heal and find happiness, and that I didn’t have to be broken in a society that didn’t want to deal with my “mess.”

I used to worry I’d be forever alone. I feared that I’d never find romantic love, and even if I did, it couldn’t last; that it always fades with time, and that all we can do is hope to treat each other with a little bit of respect, and live out our years in quiet companionship.

But my relationship with Bonnie has proved that that’s simply not true. I am NEVER alone as long as I have her. And after over ten years, I love her more every day. I STILL miss her when she’s away. I never get enough time with her, no matter how many wife nights, wife weekends, or trips we take together. I never tire of her or run out of things to say… my love just grows and grows…

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Still in love after all these years.

Not too long ago, when I finally came out of my healing process, and became a survivor, ready to love, I worried that my lack of experience with men and relationships would hold me back. I was scared to love someone that wasn’t Bonnie.

In fact, a mere 6 hours before I met Dave, my wonderful beau of nearly two years, I saw a couple on the beach together, and said to my friend Laura, “I just can’t imagine sharing my life with someone who isn’t Bonnie. I would rather be at the beach with her than with anyone else. That scares me.”

Little did I know, I didn’t need to be afraid. When things finally fell into place with Dave, it felt right. It was natural, and communicating with him felt easy. I imposed every lesson I learned from my relationship with Bonnie on my relationship with him, and guess what? We work like a charm. We’re pretty damn near perfect… or, at least as perfect as a relationship can be. It turns out, I’m pretty functional after all.

Meanwhile, she has built a fortress of a bond with Jeff that only grows stronger; a relationship that has challenged her, transformed her, and filled her up to the brim with happiness. She is her best self with him, plain and simple.

Lucky for us, it seems that loving two incredible men has only made our friendship stronger. And I think loving each other has made us far better lovers, listeners, friends, sisters, daughters and humans.

As she moves forward into her new life with Jeff, I feel nothing but solemn gratitude and pure joyfulness that the most important, formative person who ever entered my life has found a partner worthy of her forever.

I hope that they have a long, happy life together. But I don’t need to hope.

If our “marriage” is any indicator, I think they’re going to be just fine.

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Congratulations to my best friend, Bonnie and her amazing fiancé, Jeff — I could not be happier for you. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for your “new” marriage. I love you both so much! 

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Romance beyond compare — Jeff and Bonnie’s engagement at the top of Croagh Patrick in Ireland. ❤

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Why I Hid Over 100 People from my Facebook Newsfeed

I’ve never been one to defriend people on Facebook. It seems so final; so cruel. “You didn’t make the cut.” Although, every couple of months, I see someone on my feed dramatically announcing that it’s time to cut back: “Spring cleaning,” they say. “Time to get rid of the deadweight,” they say. “See those of you who matter on the other side!”

All of this hoopla is inevitably followed up with a “Congratulations for still being my Facebook friend!” a day later, as though we were ever really worried. As though we feel deserving of a congratulations for still having the privilege of being included in their apparently miserable newsfeed. (Side note: I can’t help but notice that these same people, going off about being SO-DONE-WASTING-THEIR-TIME-WITH-THE-BULLSHIT, are also most likely to post meaningless drivel. And partake in vaguebooking — they LOVE them some vaguebooking, right? Sigh. I digress.)

Anyway, I’ve always seen defriending is a callous act. Like saying, “I no longer choose to be connected with you, even in a superficial way.” Because, let’s face it, most of our Facebook friendships are NOT meaningful. We’re holding on to a memory of a person that maybe once meant something to us, or maybe didn’t. We’re being polite. We’re “friends” because we’re obligated to be; there’s a social contract in place. We’re “friends” because we grew up together. We worked together. We played basketball together. We had peripheral friend groups in college and kind of hated each other, but didn’t want our beef to blow up into a massive group-fued. Plus, hello, stalking?!

We all have our reasons.

Perhaps I don’t defriend as a policy because the ONE time I ever did, that person happened to see me out running errands and MOTHERFUCKING CONFRONTED ME. I kid you not. And speaking of social contracts, somebody needs to tell homegirl that when you’re defriended and you see that person out on the streets, you save face by deflecting eye contact and getting the fuck out of there! Have some pride, woman! Instead, Ms. Ex-Friend waltzed right up to me and said, “why did you defriend me on Facebook? You have like, over 1,000 friends. Do you hate me that much?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that, while I don’t hate her as a person, I do hate everything she stands for. And seeing her spew not-so-thinly-veiled hate on my feed is just not what I’m about. It kills my morning mojo and leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t tell her this, of course, because SOME OF US actually abide by unwritten social contracts ahemmm. I apologized to her, and said it must have been a clerical error. Thankfully, she didn’t know what that meant (and good thing too, because frankly, that was a terrible excuse), and she blindly accepted my half-assed excuse.

That day, I vowed to stop defriending people, because I couldn’t stand the fact that I had hurt someone with the stupid click of a button.

Also, because I’m a sucker with too many feels, who honestly believes that people can change any time. I always, always see the best in people, and think their brightest day is just around the corner. “Maybe she’ll come to her senses and realize that racism is a real thing that she’s perpetuating and stop posting these hateful memes.” (Yes. I truly believe this after school special shit. Who’s the REAL idiot in the scenario? I’ll let you be the judge.)

After that confrontation, I tightened up my privacy settings, created a “limited profile” group, wherein folks couldn’t see my statuses and I couldn’t see their stupidity clogging up my feed. It was a win-win.

But I’ve been noticing recently that my feed is a verifiable circus of idiocy, ignorance, misogyny, racism, and overall hate. And the worst part is that all of it is masked in “humor.” And I’m using “humor” very lightly, because what these people post is generally not fucking funny at all. Inappropriate, offensive and subversive views CAN be funny, sure. But if you’re going to express those views, they better be hella funny. Louis CK-level funny. Pineapple Express-level funny. Exposing-a-layer-of-irony-I-never-even-knew-existed-level funny.

Instead, I get THIS on my newsfeed:

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Good one! Domestic violence is SUPER funny.
When do you take this show on the road?!

Not to mention the truly trashy drama/airing of dirty laundry, the bitching, the vaguebooking, the bragging, the image crafting, the ignorant political posts, the oversharing. The memes. Every 5 minutes with the memes.

And the worst part is that I found myself swept up in it all. I became part of their drama. I was gossiping to my real life friends (mutual “friends,” of course) about my fake Facebook friends. Like THAT was deserving of our time. It became like my own sick reality TV show. I couldn’t stand these people, but I couldn’t look away.

Last week, I was talking with an old, dear friend about my fascination/anger with so many on my newsfeed. I finally acknowledged, for the first time, how much time and energy I was wasting paying attention to and arguing with these people, or… abstaining from arguing with them (which for me, can sometimes be even more of an energy suck). Then, my friend said the words that changed my view of my Facebook feed forever:

“The worst part is that every bit of energy spent on them is taking away from other things.”

Other things, like: being a good friend/family member, socializing, reading, exercising, playing banjo, writing, making the most of the incredible city around me,  or even just… I don’t know, actually relaxing without mindlessly scrolling.

I was letting their hate and their unhappiness (or excessive happiness) with their own lives drag mine down.

I hid over 100 people from my feed the next day. I’m continuing to hide folks on a daily basis. What’s left? A much shorter, and more pleasant newsfeed. My sanity. Just a little more time in my day.

I’m happier and less stressed, and those who truly matter to me (or at the very least, are a value-add to my Newsfeed) are still there. And I’m rooting for them, for real. Plus, I don’t feel like I’m missing one thing.

I highly recommend lightening your load by hiding, not defriending, the deadweight on your feed. Your body and mind will both thank you as your cortisol levels simmer down, and you remind yourself of what’s important.

And on the off chance one of those hidden should ever confront you for “never liking their posts” on the ‘book?

There’s always the old clerical error excuse.