I am wildly enamored by hot water and Epsom salts. And I am not ashamed of it. In fact, this combination may be my greatest love. If we’re not talking about children. Or liquids. Wait, that is a liquid. I mean drinkable liquids. And if we are talking drinkable liquids then sparkling water is my greatest love. Followed very closely by iced coffee and IPAs. Any IPA. And margaritas. Good ones. Holy mother of Jesus. I just realized I am totally obsessed with liquids. Both potable and float-able. But the bath. Mmmm. That’s where it’s at. Undeniably perfect.
My friends laugh because I’m so obsessed with my Epsom salts. They call me crunchy. I probably am. But I swear by the health benefits. Never mind the fact that they help to balance the very necessary magnesium and sulfate levels in my body. They also help to lower blood sugar. Soothe tight muscles. Aid in sleep. Calm nerves (I sure as hell need that). And the best part. Like why I really use them. I swear they help me maintain my weight. Especially during Girl Scout cookie season which was particularly bad this year. I killed four boxes of Tagalongs on my own in a few short weeks. And I went back for more. And I’m proud of it. Both for using the baths as vanity and for eating copious amounts of peanut butter and chocolate.
Until today. When I ate the last Tagalong. I’ve been holding onto it for weeks. Knowing it was there in the freezer. Knowing it wasn’t all that good for me. Knowing when I ate it, it would be gone. For at least another year. And I’m gonna be totally honest with you. I almost didn’t eat that damn cookie today. I almost let it just sit there in the freezer. Like I have so many other days. Just so I would know I had one more Tagalong left. A few more bites of my favorite treat. And side note, if you haven’t tried Tagalongs from the freezer, you need to try Tagalongs from the freezer. Like next year. Sooner if you can score a box. Good luck. They’re only on the black market now.
As I sat there eating that cookie today. As I indulged one last time in Girl Scout heaven. I started thinking about why I held onto that cookie for so long. Why I let it sit there in the freezer. Tempting me. Haunting me. Calling my name. And it started to seem so familiar to me. That feeling. And it occurred to me. I leave too many damn Tagalongs in the freezer. I really do. And catch up here, people. I’m not talking about Tagalongs anymore. I’m not talking about peanut butter and chocolate. I’m talking about boys. Boys who taste almost as good as peanut butter and chocolate. Boys who aren’t all that good for me. Boys who, quite frankly, I’m not any good for. Boys who I leave in the freezer long after their expiration date. Because I’m afraid I won’t find another one. For another year. Maybe longer. And damnit for boys. And freezers.
I have a little truth telling to do. I’ve never been good at love. I’m a little naive. A dreamer. A wonderer. Yet, I settle. I hold on too long. I was a lousy wife most days. And I’ve been a shitty girlfriend. I’m not trying to be hard on myself. I’m just being honest. With you. With me. With God. I hear it’s good for you. I’m notorious for telling you one thing. Then doing another. Being totally into you. Then changing gears faster than Dale Jr.. Promising you the world. Then turning my cheek to another. I’m historically fickle. It started when I was 15. When I first found love. Glorious. Delightful. Exhilarating. First love. Until I got bored. Until someone else wanted to kiss me. Until I wanted to kiss them. Until I did.
And I’ve continued that cycle a gazillion times. With a gazillion boys. Ok, maybe not a gazillion. Maybe like eight or nine. Ok, four. Almost five. Peeking over their shoulder. Looking around the restaurant. Even if I’m smitten. Captivated. I’m always within walking distance of the exit. Furiously scanning for the shorter line. Fervently circling to snag the closer parking spot. Because surely, there has to be a better one. And it scares the shit out of me. Terrifies me actually. Because it’s a totally jacked up way of looking at love. It’s like I’m seeing all the relationships I walk into as passing. Ephemeral. Temporary. And I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be. I mean, yes. Many (maybe most) relationships are just that. Here for a time. Gone in another. But the relationship that I’ve craved since I first discovered love. Since my heart turned permanently and irredeemably romantic. The one I’ve always mused over. The one that I perpetually hope will bloom in the freezer. That one. I don’t want it to be fleeting. Or bore me. Or become routine. Or enable me to shift my desire to kissing another. Not that one. Please not that one.
When the spark wanes, I hold on just a wee bit longer. When he’s given me the clearest signal that our time is done, I continue to go back for more. Always just a little more. When my gut (God) yells, “not him!” I pull him in closer. And I can’t figure out why I do this to myself. To them. Why I won’t just eat the damn cookie and move on. Why I relentlessly hold onto it fearing there won’t be another. Or convincing myself that today’s just not the day to let it all go. I continue to let my heart break. Break others. Build the walls around my heart. Keeping it all boxed up. When really. Really. All I want to do is let it fly. Let it love. And so things have to change. They really do. I have to quit blowing it for myself. Closing myself off. Abusing my heart. I must begin to listen. I must begin to enjoy it for the time. Savor it’s deliciousness. And when it’s done. When it’s over. When I’m positive it’s not the last Tagalong. It’s time to empty the box. Let it go. Open my heart. I think what I’m trying to say. The vice I’m trying to kick. The habit I need to break. I’m sick of being fickle. Holding on. Using the freezer. I want more.
I hate when people tell me to stop looking. To be content with my single hood. To quit obsessing over it. Because that’s when I’ll find it. The one. When I’m happy being alone. When I least expect it. And you know what. I call bullshit. I don’t know anyone who is perfectly content being alone. Maybe there are people are out there. I just haven’t met them. Who doesn’t intensely wonder about finding the one? Who doesn’t wish to have the love of their dreams? Isn’t that’s why millions of people spend their hard-earned time and money on dating sites. Multiple ones. I mean, really. Who would choose to scroll through picture after picture. Profile after profile. Date on their back porch with a cocktail in one hand and their phone in the other. Get to know someone via texts. Blindly meet in a noisy restaurant. If they weren’t so frustrated. If they weren’t so enveloped in the pursuit. If they didn’t believe in that chance at love. The unicorn. My guess is no one.
And listen, people. Don’t freak out on me. I am ok. I love Jesus. I love myself. I love my girl. I love my family. My friends. My life. And I am happy. Grateful. Full. But I want love. Big love. And I’m tired of being ashamed of this desire. Of pretending I’m cool being single. I’m not ashamed that I wistfully daydream about the feeling. Create visions in my mind. Ponder whys. And whens. And whos. And sometimes I cry about it. I do. I cry when it doesn’t work out. I cry for what I’m missing. I cry for what I know I’ll find. But don’t feel sorry for me. You cry about things, too. My cries are no bigger or smaller than yours. They’re just different. Or maybe they’re not.
The reality is that togetherness is inherent in us. It’s why God made us. He didn’t create us for ourselves. He created us for each other. The Bible tells us that. It says something like, when one falls down in her heels when she’s trying to be sexy, the other one will be there to lovingly laugh and pick her up. Or maybe it’s when one has no more energy left in his body to open the front door, she will be there in her apron, holding a sign that reads pizza and beer this way. Wait. I’m sorry. I’m really horrible at Bible verses. What it actually says is that when one feels like the whole world has crashed down on her, he will be there. Sitting on the edge of the tub. Holding a bag of Epsom salts in one hand and a carton of Tagalongs in the other. Because he saved a box this year. For a day just as this.
That’s why God created love. And damnit, I won’t stop hoping. Or praying. Or wishing. Or wanting. Until I find that kind of love. In the meantime. While I wait for him. I think I’ll get rid of my freezer. I think I’ll focus on fresh. Never frozen. I think I’ll listen for when it’s time to let go. When it’s time to walk away. When it’s time to open my heart again. He’ll find me. I’m certain. And I’ll find him, too. The one that knows when to fill the tub with hot water, throw in some Epsom salts, and leave me with my liquids.