I don’t know when showing up became so important to me.

I watch your lips moving

I see the words taking shape

But love’s like a language

I cannot translate

I can’t afford to be careless

And let you in

I turn my head for one minute

And lose everything

Maybe it was Bedlam that taught me, Cory and Cass and all our faithful readers waiting to devour the pain and beauty of our words, whispering into the faceless void of the internet, “me too.” Maybe it was Ronne, who never disappeared, in the darkest days and the light filled moments. Maybe it was Micah, through that long hard winter when some days only the candles we lit and constant urgings of “keep walking” stood between us and the abyss. Maybe it was Justin who showed up in my inbox every single day for six months to teach me a piece of who I am. Maybe Kevin with the immediacy of “will you pray for me” and then fourteen paragraph prayers sent five minutes later in response to each other.

Maybe it was my family, Mom and Dad and Michael, who welcomed me with open arms when I walked back in the door late the night before Thanksgiving, fourteen months ago, after an exhausting three day trip all the way across the country. My soul was broken and my body wasn’t much better. They wrapped me in their arms and they loved me back to where I am.

Maybe it was being alone for so long and no one really knowing it. Maybe it was all of those damn closed door rooms with the broken pieces of me I was so afraid to tell anyone about. Maybe that’s the reason showing up has become so important. My tolerance for people who don’t show up is low and my expectation for myself is high. My circle is small. I choose carefully the people I trust with my heart, but once you’re in. You are in. And you get all of me.


Wish I had someone whom I could lean

Cause everybody’s always counting on me

With my hands held real tight

Always ready to fight

For the few pieces of joy I have now

You have turned on a light

And I’ve lost my sight

But my heart still remembers the sound

Of a dream of a love one day found

Of a dream of a love one day found

So don’t let me down

I have been chaos personified this week.

I know you’re here for the stories about love and dating and hilarity. And there are quite a few I could regale you with. I still haven’t told you about the skeletons under the bridge and the mobbed-up comedian. We could talk about “Have You Met Ted?” of the one hour Minneapolis diner date. I could tell you the story of how to a woo a grown-ass woman’s heart with a video of yourself making homemade pasta. From scratch. There’s the sweetness of a missed connection, an almost date which didn’t quite happen with a man who looked as though he would be the one kind of boyfriend; that kind who is probably in possession of crown molding around the edges of his large windowed, well-lit brownstone, an umbrella under the crook of his arm, and a hand on your elbow at the piano bar he has chosen to escort you to while he orders himself a Manhattan and smiles indulgently as you order a bourbon. Neat. And there’s the recent tale of the kindness of a gentle heart whose handsome face I did not leave with a smile. That’s a tiny regret I do carry.

Each of these men opened my heart a little bit more to love. Teaching me to let go and be cared for and laugh. I want to tell you their stories.

But this week, I cannot.

Your past it may be rocky

But your present is clear

My present situation

Is the sum of all my fears

I take responsibility for the few things I done right

But I got so much on my plate

I’m scared to take another bite

Wish I had someone on whom I could lean

Still I don’t want no one’s charity

unnamed-9Even the excitement of a potential date with the delightfully unexpected LumberJake who has captured my attention in an unprecedented way can’t squelch the feelings overwhelming me this week.

Ronne says they aren’t feelings. “It’s more than feelings,” she declares via text me from the terminal at DFW as she prepares to board for her latest trip. This time she is headed to Guatemala for an orphan care organization. She sends a pic of her hand, it’s flashing the “I love you” sign, “It’s something new. It’s something rich. It’s ok.”

I trust her instinct even if I can’t figure out for the life of me why the only time I’ve stopped crying this week is to laugh at the most ridiculous things or to get in yelling fights with Justin which more often than not end with, “F— you,” and middle fingers tossed up. He patiently says, “Follow your heart,” to which I reply, “My heart wants to throat punch you because…” and I listen a dozen reasons that make sense in what is apparently my SOMETHING NEW IS HAPPENING brain. I text him an hour later to say, “I’m sorry. I love you.” He forgives me and tells me he loves me too. He knows something is changing in me. “I’ve felt it too, Melissa,” he tells me, “You opened up.”

With my hands held real tight

Always ready to fight

For the few pieces of joy I have now

You have turned on a light

And I’ve lost my sight

But my heart still remembers the sound

Of a dream of a love one day found

FullSizeRender-7Micah tells me this morning, “As you get closer and closer to great love, you may have to re-visit and re-grieve all the loves along the way that should have been so much greater than they were.”

I thought I had grieved them all and believed the time for grief to be over. “Grief never ends,” he says, “It’s a part of our bodies forever.” My soul rebels against this notion. I fiercely fight the very idea of it and I tell him such, “MY BODY WANTS TO DANCE.” I proclaim. “It is ready to put off sackcloth and ashes. Burn them to the dust and dance naked in the shadows of their blazing bonfire.”

“Yes, it’s time,” he agrees, “You can dance, and you will. But grief will also be there, in the shadows like an old tattoo or that one weird cousin who shows up at your family reunions and hangs around the edges even though nobody really likes him.” I consider this and decide that maybe the reason this week has partially been so chaotic is because I have been fighting grief. “Maybe that’s why I’ve been so awful this week.”

He doesn’t coddle me and tell me it isn’t true that I haven’t been awful. We’re so far beyond that in our friendship. He simply says, “That makes sense.”

Heartbreak and bullets can try

To steal any good from my life

Fathers and lovers have lied

Rivers have flowed from my eyes

Never seen love face to face

Just seen it walking away

Why would you think I would recognize

Something that’s never been mine

I think about each story I have told you. They are so much more than stories.

They are little pieces of my heart which have been sewn back together in ways I never expected, some taking up more real estate than others; The Ginger, JWF, Daniel, Dread Pirate Roberts. Amel Larrieux’s voice weaves all about me as I write and I internalize the lyrics. The light has been turned on inside and I have remembered the sound of a dream I have dreamed my entire life. I even wrote a letter to that dream on Medium the other week. But the most beautiful of all the truths I’m finally learning…my crew, my family…are teaching me some people are here for good.

Some people stay.

Not everyone will leave. I’ve been terrified for so long that I would find great love only to have it disappear — that I wasn’t deserving of something that beautiful. The truth is…I already have something that beautiful. Every single day. Look at my life, people of of the internet. Look at these amazing humans who show up for me everyday. They are brilliant and glorious and flawed and a delight. And they choose me. And keep choosing me. Even on my worst days, when I’m absolutely awful and sitting in my yoga leggings and ripped up t-shirt tank crying and eating pie directly out of a pan while texting swear words at them.

This messy, wild deep life I have rebuilt from the leftover ash of the fire which should have destroyed my soul completely is devastatingly beautiful. It is a life fully and completely lived, which means laughter and tears and arguing and grieving and hope and loss and virtual hugs and holds from other states and sometimes it means pie.

Great love of mine, whoever you are, when you show up in this story…and maybe you already have…you need to know how hella lucky you are to get to be a part of it. You don’t just get me in this deal. You get my crew, my family, and they’re the best. Welcome to my epic love story. It’s already unfolding…

You have turned on a light

And I’ve lost my sight

But my heart still remembers the sound

Of a dream of a love one day found

You’re the dream of a love one day found

And the freedom from what kept me bound

And a promise of staying around

My eyes may not work for me now

But my heart sure remembers the sound

So if you saying it

Please say it loud

And don’t let me down*

*Don’t Let Me Down by Amel Larrieux

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