Love in a Time of Mass Shootings

Before I get into my exciting love affair with Mark, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t pass along info I found about protecting yourself during a mass shooting. When I was little we had tornado drills, and when my parents were kids they had Civil Defense drills  because everyone thought there would be a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, which we were still afraid of when I was a little kid in the 80s. There’s so much violence and fear in our society today, I’m honestly afraid to go to any large public gathering, which is okay because I don’t like big crowds, but people can’t even send their kids to school, go to concerts, or go to church without fear of being mowed down by some psycho gunman. These are times we need a higher power, which I call God, the most.

It feels weird to follow that up with what’s going on in my little life but that’s what I’m going to do. I’m an everyday American having an everyday life, so far without any mass shootings in my personal experience, thank God. I’ll have to make this a short post because I need to get ready for work, so I’ll get right to the point: I’ve fallen for Mark, he’s my boyfriend now, and I see a future with him. It’s unwise to project too far into the future but I’d be lying if I didn’t say in my mind I’ve already married him and had his babies. That’s just what infatuation does to us; it’s human.

Here’s the thing about Mark: he’s incredibly sweet, he makes time for his friends and family, he loves his life, he likes his job, and he treats me well. Because I don’t just want someone who treats me well, which is a given, but I want someone who has their own life, and appreciates what they have. I just like him. He’s adorable, in whatever way a gigantic, six foot six man can be adorable. He’s honest about what he thinks and feels. When I think about him, I just want to hug him. And kiss him and make passionate love to him. In short, I’m done y’all.

So it’s time to find a new routine, and look for Zumba classes near his house (as if I didn’t already do that weeks ago) and AA meetings near him that I can go to in order to stay on top of my sobriety/spiritual life/social life. Because that’s what AA does for me: provides me with a spiritual way of life that keeps me on track, and I make friends there. One thing I’ve learned about myself is just how important having a social life is to me, so much that I may be one of those extroverted introverts, when I thought for years I was strictly an introvert. My friends mean the world to me, and I don’t feel that I get to see them enough. If I have a week in which I don’t get to talk to them, I feel lonely and sad. It makes me realize that when I was growing up, in my teenage years, I bet I’d have been a lot happier if I’d had more friends rather than isolating myself and getting caught up in drugs and alcohol. These are the kinds of things that make me worry for my niece and nephew for example. Mostly my nephew because my niece is a social butterfly. They’re 12 years old now (twins), and I feel nervous knowing they’ll be teenagers soon, dealing with all the effed up shit the world throws at you when you’re a teenager. Maybe I’m projecting my own effed up teenage years onto them, but at the same time, now they have the added pressure of social media and fear of mass shootings and a mentally ill narcissist for a president… Anyway, more on that later for another blog post.

At first I was stressed, worrying about how I’d balance everything and Mark too, but now I’m seeing it more easily. He helped me study for my quiz (which I made a 100 on—first and only time that’s happened so far), and he actually enjoys helping me study. He loves trivia and he likes reading my handouts that I have to make for class, handouts that we’d make for a potential client on what nutrients and lifestyle factors they should take into account based on their life stage. Mark loves being healthy, and although his idea of being healthy is different from mine, eg, he follows the conventional/popular way of eating, he’s interested and open to learning more. He seems to listen to what I have to say and he’s not a know-it-all about everything. Not that I push my dietary or lifestyle beliefs on him or anyone else—people will do what they want to do when they want to do it, but it’s nice when someone asks or is interested and willing to make changes for the better. It’s nice when someone respects what you have to say. I try not to make comparisons to my ex, but I think it’s probably only natural. What I realize more and more is what an asshole he was to me at times, and how I didn’t even fully realize it. Yes, he was also very sweet to me, and great when times were good, but when times were bad, they were the worst. Time will tell what will happen when I have conflict with Mark. That will be the real acid test.

Time to get ready for work and hopefully I’ll make it to meditation tonight given all the homework I have to do, and I work late tomorrow and Friday. I want to send some prayers up for my friend whose dad just had a massive heart attack and sounds like he may not survive, and for my friend’s aunt who got diagnosed with cancer recently. And for the loved ones of those who died in the most recent mass shooting that seems to be everyday news now. I’ll leave you with this beautiful talk from Tara Brach, the meditation teacher I like to see on Wednesdays here in the DC/Maryland area.

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