For months now, I've been quiet. It hasn't been intentional, I assure you. I've lamented to Rango and the Castration Committee that I just haven't had time or energy to write.
That's not entirely true.
I have been extremely busy with school. Between three classes and a very busy internship with the ACLU of Georgia, my time has been mostly filled with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, various petitions for probate, and ongoing discussions with my professors and multiple legislators about the privacy concerns surrounding police use of body cameras.
My regional GOAL interview seemed to go very well, though I won't know how well until next week. The state competition begins on April 22nd here in Atlanta. Finalists will be announced the first night, and they have to be prepared to compete again the next morning. While I had excellent feedback from my judging panel and others at Regionals, it could be that I'm not the right fit for the Technical College System of Georgia. Maybe I'm too opinionated or too loud or too brash. Then again, maybe I am the right fit.
Either way, I won't know for another week.
I've also been making the transition from single mom of two to attached mom of two. While Rango and I would've happily gotten married the weekend we met, we agreed that probably wasn't in the boys' best interest. After nine months of dating and entangling our lives, we sat down with the boys and asked them how they would feel if he moved in with us, making our home into OUR home.
They were agreeable. They were excited. They were ready.
There have been a few bumps here and there, but all in all it's going better than I was willing to allow myself to hope.
With most things, I tend to subscribe to the "Lowered Expectations" philosophy—expect nothing, and you'll never be disappointed. With regard to the GOAL competition, I'm living that mantra every single day. While I may be very well qualified to be the advocate for technical education in Georgia, there's only a 1 in 24 chance that I'm The One. So I don't get my hopes up. I don't plan about what color car I would pick out or which of our cars we would sell to pay the taxes on the new one.
But with Rango, I already have expectation. He has gently guided me to a place where it is okay to believe in someone else, to trust in someone else. And I do. I trust him to do what he tells me he's going to do. I believe that he will love me, actively, and be available for me, forever and always and no matter what.
And that's led me to have expectation for myself. Historically—at least over the last five years—I have hedged my bets. I always had a backup plan or the phone numbers of exes I stayed in contact with, just in case, even when those relationships were toxic for me. Even when those fragile cats would scratch and bite me, running away into the night, and then yowl loudly at my door a few nights later while I was still bleeding from their affront.
Now, there is no bet hedging. I blocked the numbers of my backup plans and made it difficult for them to reach me and vice versa. I took the remnants of old relationships—my wedding dress, the box of Bounder, the last bits of Absolem—and I burned them. I wanted to do something privately ceremonial, like burying the ashes in the backyard, but once the embers faded, I found there was no more energy to give to them. I was tired, and they didn't deserve my reserves.
That's all for Rango now.
He told me over the weekend that, for the first time in his life, he has no backup plan, either. We both always have friends and family we can turn to, but neither of us is propping open the door to possibility of failure. We're not stupid; we've each been divorced and know damn well what could happen.
But we also know now, after years of struggle and growth, what should happen.
We are open and honest, sometimes stupidly so. We are true to ourselves and to each other. We have forged a logistical and emotional partnership that is equal and based on mutual respect and care and love.
We argue sometimes. Sometimes when I'm especially bitchy, he'll just pointedly ask me if I'm going to be okay. He stays calm and lets my storm pass over him until it blows itself out.
At Regionals, the judging panel asked me where I thought I'd be in five years and how I intended to get there.
"I know you want a perfect answer," I replied, "but the honest truth is I don't know and I don't care. What I thought I'd be doing when I started my paralegal studies program is not at all what I'm actually doing a year later. Where I thought I'd be five years ago is nowhere close to where I actually am. So, yes, the answer is still that I don't know, but it's also that I'm excited to find out. I'm excited to explore opportunities and discover new talents and new challenges. I'll let you know where I am in five years."
Even if I don't move on to the next round or win another damn thing ever in my life, I am confident that I will continue to forge my path and make the best of whatever intersects with my journey. I have talent and skill and resourcefulness. I have two amazing sons and a spectacularly supportive life partner. I have loyal, wonderful friends and four warm, snuggly cats.
I don't need another thing.