Friday, February 14, 2014

Anyone remember Joel before Brook... oh boy... I do.

When I was 21 I disconnected myself from most of my friends.  By the time of my 21st birthday I had discovered that I needed around 1/3 of my income to barely survive, and I began spending the rest of it on frivolous things.  As I was single and had nobody to shower with gifts, I simply spent the money on things for my civic or alcohol.  I wasn't happy, pure and simple.  I was downright miserable.  At that point in my life I valued myself based on how many people loved me, or more specifically how much the woman I was with loved me.  I didn't have a whole lot of self worth is what I'm saying.  

I found myself spending upwards of $1,000 per month on alcohol for my "friends" and I and anyone who happened to come around.  Any time that I wasn't working I was drinking.  I drank more alcohol between January and May of that year than I have in the rest of my life hands down.

I kept hoping that in the right setting I would find the "girl of my dreams" and she would make it all better.    I kept trying to change the world around me.  Maybe in the right circumstances I could find her.  Maybe if I try really hard She would just appear.  

In April I started attending a class that opened my eyes a little bit, and it helped me to see that the problem was with me.  I was broken.  I didn't love myself.  I couldn't let go of hate.  Even after knowing all of this, I couldn't find the strength or the courage to open myself up and forgive myself and move on.

It all began to fall apart in May.  My two roommates started bringing weed into the house (Something I said would cause me to have to move) and my  heart began to feel heavier and heavier with guilt and shame.  Even now I can feel the weight of all of it in my chest, so many years later.  
One day, drunk out of my mind, I began to cry.  Nothing spurred it on.  I just couldn't take the weight of all of my self loathing and self destruction.  I remember waking up the next day and talking to God for the first time in a long time.  I sat on the sofa, alone in the house and told God what I needed.  I apologized and admitted my weakness.  I cried more, and finally I asked for one "simple" thing: Somebody to love.  
I even went on to list qualities that to some seem frivolous, but were important..  It went something like this:
She should be shorter than me, with dark hair and light eyes.  She should have an amazing sense of humor.  She can't struggle with addictions because I have an amazing ability to fall into vices and I couldn't succeed in life if she does too.  She has to understand that pizza making was more than a job to me.  She has to be on board with the idea of me being around.  a lot.  She has to be forgiving because I'm sure to make mistakes.  She Must be Sarcastic like me, and completely get my type of jokes.  She has to be into cars and hopefully has a nice car that we can hang out and talk about(Yeah I know).  Oh, and God... if she has a kid that wouldn't bother me in the least... you know I've always wanted kids...
I didn't ask for her simply to make me happy, but also because I wanted to make her happy.  I wanted to see the joy on someone's face when I made their day.

The next day at work I was introduced to our new assistant manager, Brook.  We started talking about life and where we came from.  I don't remember much, but I do remember going home and telling my roommate's girlfriend that I met a girl who was "Perfect" and that I was going to marry her.  

As we got to know each other better Brook told me that she wasn't interested in a relationship or guys in general right now because she was still working on her.  I respected that...sort of.  I wanted to show her how awesome we could be together so I came up with an elaborate scheme... I'll invite her to Taco Bell after close.  But wait... that's a lame date.  Instead of that, how about I make it a group thing.  So we started going to taco bell after close and eating sitting on the hood of someone's car.  Eventually (And as expected) we became the only two nuts to go out there.  

Every Friday night after close we would go to taco bell and hang out.  Just the two of us.  On nights that we didn't go to Taco Bell we texted or talked on the phone... all night.  Some days I wouldn't text her or call her, you know just to not seem overzealous.  On those nights she would message me on yahoo messenger. 

Eventually she went to work for another Store and we began to talk on the phone a lot more.  We still hung out on Fridays and even after she wrecked her car I would go pick her up and bring her to taco bell so we could hang out.  I stopped drinking and moved in with my sister.  

Finally I asked her on a date.  We had known each other for a good while and I figured that if I was to avoid the friend zone I only had another month or two at best.  I asked her to go see Harry Potter with me.  When I got there, she was already in the theater and had bought her own ticket...Obviously this was not a date.  

So I tried again.  I believe it was IHOP.  I got her to come hang out and eat a breakfast for dinner meal with me.  When the server brought the check she asked for it to be separate.... Obviously not a date.  

On the way home from that trip I figured I might as well spill the beans and tell her I had a thing for her. I waited for her response, and I began to run through how to react to rejection... 
Then she said that she had a thing for me too...
So I asked why she kept not letting these outings be dates and she simply said that she didn't know that they were supposed to be dates....
Not long after we were a couple.
Soon we were engaged.
Before you know it we were married.
I thought I knew what I wanted when I asked for her.
but no list that I ever could have put together could have sent me a more perfect woman.  

My Wife.
My lovely wife.
How would I get through this life without you?
You've given me so much more than you could ever know.
Because I know you, every thing in my life is better.
Today I remember how I changed not for you, or because of you, but simply by being around you.
You've shown me how to be a better person.
You've shared in this adventure called parenting that basically consumes my every thought.
I'm more proud of our accomplishments so far as parents than any other achievement in my life.
You've tolerated my hobbies, and even when they almost drove you nuts.
You've held me when I hurt inside, and you are one of the only people to have seen me at my weakest moments. 

You are patient and kind and forgiving.
You never give up on me and you are always there to help me.
I have come so far because of your love.
I love you in a way that I never thought I could love another.
I asked God for a miracle
and he sent me you.
Happy Valentine's Day Brook. the way I didn't spend money on a card this year :)