26 days…

Wow! The countdown from one month has begun…

What a journey this has been. Over the past 2 weeks, we have been slowly but surely filling our little bungalow to the point where it almost livable.

That’s right, WE have a HOUSE.

That’s right, the gypsy girl who has moved more times than the number of years she’s been alive, has signed a ONE YEAR LEASE to live in this house with a MAN.

Maybe that’s why it doesn’t quite feel real yet. It’s getting there, but sometimes I have to shake myself and go, “Is this actually happening? Any minute now, something’s going to come along and *eff* this all up, right?”

But today, I was in the house by myself for a couple of hours and I pumped up the music while I did a bunch of firsts:

– cleaned my toilet.
– put my books and DVDs on the shelves.
– washed all my brand new dishes before they get used.
– danced around my living room.
– sat on the couch and read a book when I was done.

Kind of how I’ve always done it when I was single and moving into a new place, so it felt good and comfortable – but in the back of my mind, I knew things were going to be different this time. (Believe me, if Steven wasn’t at work, he would have been there the whole time helping me do everything. The man actually enjoys washing dishes and tidying things up. He calls it teamwork; I call it getting the gold star of manliness.)

There are still times when I freak out, when I want to run, when I can only concentrate on my failures, when I believe that I’ll never be as good at being a wife as “all those other people I know.”  When I think of how much easier it might be if I were still footloose and fancy free. No accountability. Nobody else to take care of. No mistakes that might affect someone else.

No hugs. No kisses. No laughter over the silliest things. No help. No eyes that say “I love you” even after I’ve been totally undeserving of it. No togetherness.

Yeah. That would suck.

I remember how I felt a few Christmases ago, when I was house-sitting. I sat on the couch in my fat pants, eating a pot of Kraft Dinner while intermittently watching House and the flickering lights on the tree.

I cried myself to sleep that night, believing that this was my future. Fat pants, alone, Kraft Dinner and TV on Christmas Eve, guarding a home full of presents that didn’t belong to me.

And guess what? As long as I have Steven, that is never going to happen again.

Well, I mean, if I wanted to, I could still be in my fat pants and watching TV while I eat Kraft Dinner on Christmas Eve, but he’ll be there to do it with me.

Call it silly, but I find such security in that.

So, to sum it up, in preparation for getting married, I am not only pledging my life and heart to him, I am pledging to make a choice every day.

I can dig a hole called self-pity and bury my head in it, or I can try again.
I can decide to not say something I feel strongly about and then stew over the yucky feeling of not being true to my heart, or I can communicate.
I can compare myself and my relationship to what I perceive as all the other adorable, quirky, 24/7 photogenic people out there (whether televised or in the flesh) or I can realize that I have been given something truly special and flawed in its own beautiful way.

And finally, I choose to realize that being married won’t magically take away all of my insecurities and issues and struggles. I am not a half-person who is about to be completed. And neither is he.
But what we ARE about to do is enter a three-legged race: at first, it’s tough because two separate people have made their own pace for so long, and now to be tied to someone else has a chafing nature. Maybe they walk slower or faster than you do. Maybe they walk too straight or wouldn’t know a straight line if it smacked them in the face. But if you keep walking, you will learn to make your own new path.

Baby steps to the altar! Baby steps to the whole losing-your-virginity thing! Baby steps to the living together, every day, in and out, no matter what happens. Baby steps to the future.

And before you know it, you’re off and running. =)

44 days…

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That ain’t no Cracker Jack toy!

Well, there it is, in all its blazing glory. Proof that, yes, I am indeed getting married in 44 days, to a man who cares about me very, very much.

Of course, the way I’ve been acting lately, you’d think that it wasn’t true. You’d think that I had returned to my 18 year old self, the one that constantly needed affirmation because she was constantly doubting every move she made. The self-proclaimed fatherless child who thought she’d never be anything other than just that.

Wait a second. Are we talking about the same girl? The one who has a small crowd of closet stalkers on her Facebook because she appears to always be so happy and laughing and cutely content with her man?

Steven could tell you a different story, but he wouldn’t. So I’ll tell it instead.

Yes, I will admit that we have a pretty doggone cute public relationship – and fully aware that we are the cause of at least one person vomiting a day. But what we are learning (and what we don’t always show people) is that I occasionally suffer from a disease.

It’s called Not-Good-Enough syndrome. Root word from Latin is pronounced Liesfromhell.

This syndrome creeps up on me when I least expect it, and it actually is not related in any way to the symptoms of Aunt Flow. (Although Aunt Flow does like to take this disease and escalate it into a battle worthy of Helm’s Deep.)

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This is me.

Did you know that there is a difference between a tire and wheel, but that a wheel and a rim are the same thing? Before yesterday, I sure didn’t. And apparently, this lack of knowledge was enough to send me into tears and exclamations of, “You deserve someone who knows and cares about what the hell a car is made of! Why do you want to marry me if I’m just going to end up disappointing you?”

This is just one example of the disease. Many days I have wasted time crying in his arms because I can’t believe that I am good enough for someone like him. That he might have fallen in love with me months ago, but that was when I had a job and could support myself. After 4 months of unemployment…do you love me now? (Thankfully, that has come to an end and I’m starting to get back on my feet financially.)  Five months ago when we started our journey, I weighed 15 pounds less…do you love me now? Even just in the last month, I have lost friends and gained new ones…do you love me now? I have challenged his integrity and distrusted his judgment and played hide-and-seek with his heart…do you love me now?

Is this what for better or for worse feels like?
Is this what being chosen feels like?

It’s so scary. I thought not being chosen was one of my worst fears, but now I find that actually being chosen scares me more. At least with not being chosen, there’s no one who could choose to leave me once I’ve failed one too many times to be that Proverbs 31 wife that he deserves.

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Easy, right?

But last night, after crying for what seemed like hours, Steven told me something shocking.

“I don’t want a Proverbs 31 woman, I just want you. All of you. The good and bad, up and down, for better or for worse. Will you share your life with me, just being you? I don’t want perfection, because you, Carly, are perfect to me.”

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My face.

Um, essscuse me?

Well. I guess those are standards I can meet.

So today, in this moment, I choose to say:

Money, I don’t serve you.

Weight, you don’t define me.

Disease, you are not the truth.

Love, you are going to shape me.

Patience, I’m going to require you.

Kindness, I need another serving.

Perfection, thanks for playing.

And if by chance you are the praying type, think of Steven. He’s going to need it. 🙂