DISCLAIMER - THE CONTENTS OF THIS NEXT POST WILL BE SAPPY, CRINGE WORTHY, AND DOWN RIGHT TRUTHFUL TO SOME WHO TEND TO CONTINUE TO JUDGE MY CHOICES IN THE LOVE DEPARTMENT. IF YOU SUFFER FROM A GAG REFLEX WHEN EXPOSED TO LOVE OR OTHER VARIOUS HAPPY FEELINGS, TURN AWAY NOW.
OKAY, I WARNED YOU. LETS GO.
Out of all things I write about, this will be by far the hardest. It will not be the hardest because it is painful or embarrassing for me to share. It will be difficult because there is no way to ever put into words and clearly convey the love and admiration I feel for the person I plan to talk about. I could spend a life time doing so and yet, those pages will still not be enough to measure up to the amount of love he fills my soul with. I am clearly referring to the HMBB or Shea as he will be referred to this time out of respect. Sorry for the disappointment if you were hoping I was going to gush about my fantasy relationships I have with most of Hollywood’s leading men right now. I know everyone wants to read my fan fiction on those dudes, but this time it’s all about Mr. Shea and his ability to keep me entertained even after 6 years.
Nearly six years ago now, I was faced with a very hard decision. My life in Chicago was in shambles, the great crash of 2009 hit my ego hard and I was unable to recover on my own. I was faced with the uncertainty of the future and the thought of moving back home felt like failure. I was terrified to face my family, who has always been quick to judge my not so societal standard way of life, even to this day. I needed to escape another failed relationship I stayed in too long for the sake of not being alone. I had given everything to the man in question and he gave me nothing in return but a dwindling self worth and enough emotional and physical scars to last a lifetime. It was the obvious decision to move back home but I was still torn. I had tried very hard to make a life for myself in the big city, securing a job, being involved in the ever expansive cycling community and feeling like I was apart of something bigger than myself. When I broke down and finally made the correct decision to move back home, I was faced with starting over and knew I needed to try and hold on to what little life I had left in Chicago, in Michigan. Six months prior to my departure for the mitten state my Chicago bike group held an event for all Midwest riders. Avid bike enthusiast came from all over the Midwest to participate in the event including a few members of the group DPH (Detroit Pedal Heads) from my home town of Detroit Michigan. This would have been the night I SHOULD have met Shea for the first time, but alas he was doing what he was actually supposed to be doing at the event, riding his bike. Luckily for me, one of his members was far more interested in the female population at the event than bikes so the first connection was made. This gentlemen and I exchanged information and within a few weeks I had added both him and Shea on Facebook. Little did I know, I had a fan club in Michigan and it had one member, Shea. Truth be told, he pretty much internet stalked me for the next six months and was completely enamored. He later told me he thought I was the most beautiful girl he has ever met (still thinks that, thank you very much!). So of course, when I first reached out to him about joining his group once I moved home he was more than welcoming!
I don’t think I will ever forget the first time I met Shea in person. I can remember it so vividly in my head, even now. I felt an instant connection with a guy I hardly knew, it was electric. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up the first time we hugged. It was for real yo. That night I also met Kristen who instantly became my best friend. We gravitated to each other from across the room and to this day are still attached at the hip (so much so, we live together and act like a married couple). Something insanely special happened that night which I was unaware of. I began a new exciting chapter to my life which I am still living to this day, adding more pages along the way.
I wish I could tell you everything has been rainbows, puppies and kittens since that day and we have been utterly encompassed in each other’s love for the last six years but then this open ended love letter to the man I am madly in love with wouldn’t mean nearly as much. The road to happiness has not been paved smoothly by any means. We have had quite our fair share of bumps in the road to be completely honest. We both have done some downright nasty things to one another and both paid dearly for them within ourselves and our peers. Most of the experiences we have been through would have been enough for any couples our age to call it quits, which we have on several occasions. There have been times when Shea and I weren’t always together over our six year journey but those times we spent a part don’t define who we are as a couple, they help us break the mold of what society expects from us. This is where I intend to set the record straight about it all. There are still plenty of people in our lives that do not think we should be together, mainly people in Shea’s life who might not be his close friends but people who he associates with whether at work or through social circles. These people have a preconceived notion of who they think I am, and who they think Shea and I are as a couple. I have spent years avoiding certain aspects of Shea’s life so I would never have to be face to face with some of them. This is where this stops. Although their opinions of me might never change, it’s how Shea and I have decided to rise above the hate and opinions of certain individuals and stay true to who we are as a couple. We have come to terms with what our relationship once was and what it has turned into. This is our journey and we will fuck up, break up, fight, make up, yell, make memories, have extraordinary adventures as much as we like. It is our job to figure out what is right for our relationship not someone else. If there is a mold of how a relationship is supposed to be, how it’s supposed to progress or look, then we most definitely want to break it. Our trials and tribulations have only made us stronger individuals and stronger has a couple. We both know without a doubt we can withstand the test of time and any circumstance thrown our way because of the situations we have already been through. We are both extremely confident our love will surpass others expectations and last well into the future.
I still cannot believe it has been almost 6 years. In the grand scheme of things, 6 years is nothing, but in retrospect where in the hell did that time actually go? As I stated above those years have gone a multitude of different ways and fortunately we have had many more good years than bad and we couldn’t be more thankful for that. I have had the distinct pleasure of watching a boy grow into a very strong loving man. I think we have both taught each other how to grow in ways neither of us thought were possible. I cannot even recognize the person I was six years ago and I definitely cannot recognize Shea. Let’s just say he used to wear pastel color pants, listened to Blink 182 and had the emotions of a 14 year old girl just starting her period and that is just scratching the surface here guys. When I first met Shea I didn’t know how to be a human, he so affectionately now calls who I was back then a “Cyborg”. I was completely stripped of all human emotions. I had gone through the ringer with my last boyfriend and he made it very clear he didn’t want me to come out of it being a human. I have spent most of my life being in fear of men, what they have thought of me and their ultimate grip on my life. It wasn’t until I met Shea that I understood what it was like to be really loved by a man. Shea has over the last six years helped guide me from being a “Cyborg” to being an emotional functioning member of society again. Granted, perhaps a little TOO emotional, I cry during commercials these days (Thanks a lot Shea! GOSH!). It has taken several years for me to accept his love with open arms because quite frankly that type of emotion is kind of scary. It is a type of deep rooted insecurity I struggle with everyday and luckily I have a very understanding and patient man who understands my needs and sometimes irrational fears of air planes, and that he might die at any moment so I should brace myself for the worst complexes. I can tell without a doubt he loves every part of who I am inside and out just by the way he looks at me. He makes me feel more beautiful than words can express and has unknowingly helped me become a very strong confident independent woman. I would like to think I taught him a few things or two about life, the universe and everything but I guess you might have to ask him about all of those cosmic things. What is in store for us next? Marriage and babies you ask? Sorry, we can’t grant that typical request. This entire journey we have embarked on helped us realize a few key points about life. We don’t have to be a part of the societal norm, we really want to make up our own rules for our relationship. The moment I stopped yearning to be like all the other women on my Facebook page who were getting married and having babies was the moment our real relationship began. Just because everyone else is having babies and getting married doesn’t mean Shea and I should jump on the bandwagon. We both march to the beat of our own drums and we will get there, in our own time at our own pace if it is what is right for us. We definitely do not know if we will be together forever and for once we are not dwelling on that uncertainty. We used to dwell on that daunting thought and it was ruining what could have been happening right in front of us, in the now. None of us know what the future will hold, the only thing we can control is what is happening right here and now. So, that is our plan. We will keep doing what we are doing, being together, caring for our adorable dog Digit, creating art together and separately, supporting one another in all decisions as a couple and as individuals and if the timing is right we will take it from there. Marriage to us is just a piece of paper; the relationship is what really matters. So much so, I am willing to recite vows of my own making to the man I love on the internet just to prove once and for all we are not like other couples and we never will be. Shea nor I have ever done anything normally, so why would we ever have thought a relationship would be any different! So here it goes, for you my love!
My dearest Shea,
I never knew true love until I met you. The instant we met, I knew without a doubt there was something about you. I was immediately comfortable with your presence and knew I could be myself without any doubts. I have waited my entire life to find someone who truly understands every part of exactly who I am and who will love me without judgment. I vow to love you for better or worse, through sickness and in health. I vow to argue with you over whether or not you should eat that plate of ranch dressing, or who was the bigger baby in Disney World. I vow to not get angry when Digit and you both snore in unison EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I vow to support your endeavors big or small, and always stick by your side. The last six years have completely changed my life and I cannot wait to have another six, to infinity and beyond my darling, nerds for life.
“You've got green ocean eyes
I've got dreams as the crow flies
I've got cold
I've got clean midwestern sunlight
I found peace in my heart
you burn like a fire in the dark
I've got heat, I've got embers
I've got sparks"
Almost 2 months ago I was brave enough to share with the world an endeavor I planned on exploring in hopes to find a physical distraction for my anxiety. This brave new experiment was taking a Modern Contemporary dance class at The Visceral Dance Center in the Logan Square neighborhood here in Chicago. My teacher was Phillip Elson and let me tell you, he was beyond fantastic, but we will get into more of that in a few. In a recent post after my first class, I stated I felt defeated and had no idea if I could go back and try again. Past dance experiences filled my mind and my anxiety went into overdrive, making concentrating on what I was learning in the first class almost impossible to comprehend. If any of you are friends with me on the FB, you know this is all hearsay at this point because I did go back and made that dance floor my bitch in a big bad way.
My experience with dance this time around has been nothing short of legendary in regards to who I am as a person and what I have been silently struggling with over the last couple of years. Now that I have completed my first set of classes I can honestly say I found something which could help me in more ways than just exercise. Each week my teacher Phillip pushed me out of my comfort zone with dignity and respect which in turn caused me to blossom like the flower we all know I can be. As the weeks went on I found something in myself I didn't think existed anymore. This amazing inner confidence started to beam out from within me. I honestly thought I lost that spark somewhere in my mid 20s around the time of the great crash of 2009. I am certainly glad now that I didn't and something as simple as taking a dance class and pushing myself out of my anxiety comfort zone helped pull it back out of me. Needless to say, this experience has been transformative and I couldn't thank the studio, my teacher and other class mates for the pleasant, welcoming environment and I am more than excited to continue this endeavor with an open mind and heart.
The second to last class I had, Phillip let the HMBB (Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend - for those just joining us on this adventure) attend to photograph the class for this piece. I was so nervous to have him in class with me that day. He has never seen me dance before. Sure, I have done a few of my sweet moves I have learned around the house but that was nothing in comparison to having him sit and watch me intently as I learned new content etc. He has seen me booty dancing at the clubs before but none of that type of dancing I take seriously, it's all in good fun and I look like a complete idiot while doing it. This class has been very special to me, thus why I have worked so hard to keep up and do all the moves as correctly as possible. I can be serious when I really want something and this experience has been no different. So, yeah I was incredibly nervous at first when the HMBB came but after a few minutes it was kind of empowering having him present. I wanted to show off for him and let him be a part of something that was changing who I was as a person. I would glance over at him from time to time in-between dance sequences and he was just smiling, beaming even, from ear to ear. My heart was just exploding for him in those moments. I was so happy to share this experience with him and having him there just pushed my confidence even higher than before.
I guess the point of all of this is to realize it is never too late to try something new. You are never too old, and there is never a better time more than the present to seek out and accomplish things you might think you cannot do. I waited for years to do something like this because I was afraid of something that happened a long time ago. I am glad that I finally stopped living in the past and started living in the present. It is a liberating experience to say the very least to do something like this. I am pretty excited to see where the next chapter in this saga will lead me and how I will overcome the next set of obstacles laid in front of me. After this experience I have been given a little more confidence to not be so afraid of change, or trying new things. As long as I put my heart into something and try 100% without giving up the end result is going to be rewarding regardless if I am a naturally gifted dancer, writer, photographer, crafter or whatever else I have on my plate at the time or not. The lesson is to never give up on something you are passionate about even when the odds are stacked against you and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light is there, and it is waiting for you when you're ready at your own time and pace.
I want to give a large shout out to the Visceral Dance Center, my teacher Phillip Elson and the community within those walls. They are strong, unique individuals who create beautiful works of art through dance and are gracious enough to share those teachings with people like me who don't have a clue in the world what they are doing, but try really hard. Also a big shout out to the founder and director Nick Pupillo for starting this amazing center and letting us all be a part of your vision.
I would also like to say a very large THANK YOU to all of my friends and readers who have been so supportive during this 6 week journey. The outpour of support whether it be on here or on my personal FB has been overwhelming and inspiring. I could not begin to thank each and every one of you enough for the constant encouraging words and the personal stories you have also shared with me. They really have affected me in the best possible way. Your support means the world to me.
Below are photos the HMBB (Shea Hardacre) took in the fifth week of the beginners Modern Contemporary class at the Visceral Dance Center with teacher Phillip Elson. I edited all the photos the best I could - they aren't the best but HMBB tried his best with the 5 minute photography lesson I gave him before class started. The center was founded and directed by Nick Pupillo. Interested in classes? Check them out on their website www.visceraldance.com for more information.