Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eight years, news and getting emotional over ice cream (no, I’m not pregnant).

meggabe

I may have told this story here before. There was a moment right before I married this man, eight years ago, when I stood completely alone. All my family, the wedding party, the guests, they had left to make their way to our ceremony site. And there I was, standing outside the suite where I got ready, waiting for the convertible to come back and pick me up. In that moment, without anyone or anything to distract me, I lost it. All the feelings and the nerves that had been building and bubbling up to the surface for the past eleven months burst out of me all at once. I was terrified. This day we had planned for, that in my infinite 22-year-old wisdom, I felt I was completely and totally ready for, was here. I was about to pledge to spend my life with a man who I loved and who loved me, but the full weight of FOREVER came crashing down on me and I couldn’t handle it. Imagine if you will the sweet proprietor of our venue, Cathy, driving back to pick me up and seeing me in the midst of an emotional meltdown. Now I know that she hadn’t hosted many weddings, and the ones she had were mostly for close friends and family. I was basically a stranger to her. But there was something about this woman, who claimed she could see Gabe’s aura the first time she met him, something otherworldly, yet very connected to the earth in this way that’s difficult to describe. At least that’s how it felt at that moment, when, upon finding me in my, uh, state, she knew exactly what to say. Honestly, I think she’s just one of those intuitive, wise, good-with-people people. But on that day, she seriously felt like an honest-to-God angel.

She got out of the car and hugged me and I apologized for sobbing all over her, and she told me something that I’ll never forget. Something I come back to time and time again when I think about that day when I made the decision to hitch my wagon to Gabe’s forever. She told me that I loved him. That I knew that to be true. She said that when I stood at the top of that aisle and saw him at the end of it, I would know that everything would be ok. And she was right, of course. I saw him waiting for me to join him and everything else didn’t really matter anymore. The wedding of it all, if you will. Being with him, that’s what mattered.

The reason I come back to that is because good LORD you have to. This business of being married is not easy. I find tremendous comfort in the fact that even though we have done a lot of changing over the past eight years (mostly for the better), underneath it all, we’re still those same kids, one of us not even old enough to drink, who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Regardless of whatever life throws at us, or whatever we throw at each other, at the very heart of this life we’re sharing is the truth that we chose each other that hot, August day in the middle of the plains of Minnesota, and together we can do anything.

And do anything we will, because finally, after eight years of plans almost coming to fruition and then falling apart at the last minute, we are leaving this place where our life together began and heading east. To Charleston, S.C.

This fall, on our own accord (looking at you, New York), we are packing up our Minneapolis life and driving toward the ocean until we can’t go any further. We’re starting again, for no other reason than that we can. And even though it is a frightening thing to move your life to a place where you don’t know anyone, we’ll be ok. Because, as Gabe reminds me over and over when I start to head into meltdown territory yet again, we’ll be together. And who knows, after talking about moving for so long, we could actually do it and then hate it. But we are so much stronger now than we were after one year of marriage when we thought we’d move to Raleigh, N.C. and put Gabe in school with no reciprocity. And we’re even stronger still than we were after 5 years of marriage, when we had a life in New York completely planned out and got the news that, we’re sorry, we cannot accept you at this time. Those dashed hopes have forged something greater, a better and more solid foundation on which our marriage is built. We’ve continued to come together when we could have fallen apart and I’m proud of the hard work we’ve put into our relationship thus far. Even if it doesn’t turn out like we hope, we’ll be alright. We’ll look forward to the next thing together, whatever that is.

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This is a very dark picture of the skyline.

 

Last Friday, I went over to the downtown Izzy’s to pick up a few pints because Lemon Basil Sorbet and Chocolate Cheesecake don’t come around nearly often enough in my opinion. Little did I know it was also their 16th birthday, and everyone got a free extra Izzy scoop, so naturally I couldn’t leave without eating some there and then. While I ate my ice cream, I walked up to that random hill in Gold Medal Park and sat and stared at my favorite view of the Minneapolis skyline. The Guthrie, the Gold Medal Flour sign, the Stone Arch Bridge. My relationship with Minnesota has been pretty complicated, as I’ve written about here before, but it hit me right then (maybe it’s because I was eating the new flavor, Dessa’s Existential Crunch?) that without even trying, and despite my yearly winter grouchiness, Minneapolis has become home. Without a trace of irony or reservation, I can say that I truly love this place. I love the people in it and I love what it has come to mean to me. There I was, sitting on that hill, getting ready to cry into my ice cream (crap, this post has just become a series of stories about times when I cried, hasn’t it? oh well, my name is Megan and I cry a lot.) because I finally got it. The point of all those times things didn’t work out and the reason why we’re ready to make it work now. Minnesota and I had to work out our shit. I had to tear down the walls I had built up around my heart and let it in. So I sent out my silent prayer of thanks to the Mississippi River and to Izzy’s Ice Cream, to the Riverview theater, to the countless nights spent running and walking around our amazing neighborhood, to Minnehaha Falls, to summer days spent on lakes and at cabins, to the snow and the cold and how it makes the warmth even sweeter, to Hola Arepa and the best cocktails around, to the beautiful souls that have come into my life because of this place, and to Owatonna, because without it, I wouldn’t have Gabe. I ate my ice cream, I let a few tears fall down my face and I sent out my love for this place into the ether. I thanked Minnesota for who it has made me.

And now I’m ready to let it go. Maybe not forever. Who knows? But I’m ready to find out who I am, who Gabe and I are together, somewhere new.

Here goes nothing.

xo, M

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to be thankful.

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So we host this small group on Monday nights at our place. It’s led by two very capable and awesome people that are not me, but Gabe and I provide the spot. After redoing our living room this year, I’m actually pretty jazzed to be in it and invite others into it as well, so three cheers for making your space feel more like your own (and for me that means three cheers for West Elm). This week the ladies in the group were chatting about life and naturally we caught each other up on our plans for tomorrow, which for Gabe and I includes our first attempt at hosting the biggest food holiday of the year. I’m going to get sidetracked here for just a second, but how do people do it? Make ALL of the food AND host AND decorate AND have houseguests staying overnight on top of it? I mean, I thankfully have a lot of willing extra hands who are helping me with side dishes and desserts and things (Gabe is manning the turkey, Godspeed), so I feel like even though we are hosting, we’re not really doing that much. Master hosts and hostesses of the world, I salute you.

I digress.

One of the women in our group brought up the fact that there would probably come a time during dinner in which she would be asked to name something she is thankful for, and that’s when I remembered that I would probably have to do the same.

Digression #2: Let me just get the FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS out of the way now because I know that a lot of what I am about to say is going to sound really stupid when you compare it to all the absolute SHIT going on in the world (some of it inexplicably happening in my own backyard). I get that. I can only talk about what I know, and my personal experience is what I know. That doesn’t mean, however, that I forget to be thankful on a daily basis for the basic needs and comforts that I don’t have to worry about, especially when so many others do. I realize that I don’t really have to worry about being shot while I’m just walking down the street and keeping to myself. The fact that people do have to worry about this, and the fact that the reason they have to is because of their race, absolutely boggles my mind. One, that obviously should never have been nor continue to be a thing someone has to worry about, and, two, IT IS 2015 FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Excuse the language, but it’s my blog and I can do what I want. Listen, I could share my opinion about the state of the world, but that’s another post for another day and something I don’t want to get into right now. I think we can all readily agree that it is bleak. Just wanted to put that out there. And now back to my narrow worldview.

I feel worn out lately. Winter is setting in quickly around here, with temps dropping by the day, and so I know that SAD is around the corner too. Plus, it’s the holidays. Happy and yet always tinged with sadness. Here’s another Thanksgiving taking me further away from all the Thanksgivings that included my grandmother. And here’s the first one where my brother will be away from us, celebrating on the opposite side of the country, and I miss him. I miss his fiancée Emily, too. Daytime work is busy, after hours work is busy (I’ve been in an editing cave), sleep is short. Life can really overwhelm you if you let it, you know?

I want to be snarky about this. I want to talk about how pointless it is that we are celebrating a holiday by gluttonously overeating and then trying to murder each other for electronics the next day, although that’s fitting considering that this holiday wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of the indigenous Americans we eventually slaughtered. However, the historical significance (or lack thereof) of this holiday aside, sharing a meal with people you love and potentially discussing what makes you grateful is a good thing. It’s a really wonderful thing, in fact. So I am not letting life overwhelm me and I’m reconsidering the awesomeness and beauty that it has to offer.

I wrote a not-exactly-well-worded Instagram post a month ago (hey! kind of like this blog post!), after returning from a trip to Madison, and I thought about it again on Monday. Because although my words came out in a confusing jumble, the sentiment still stands true. I always feel the most thankful when I am paying attention to how great the world looks when I see it through and alongside the people I love. When I can watch my niece’s fascination with the tiniest things because she is 1 and everything is astounding when you’re seeing it for the first time. When I can spend time with two people in love and think about how their relationship started and how they came to find each other and how it’s pretty miraculous that any of us can find people in this world who will tolerate our shenanigans. When I can hear a new baby’s voice and see his smile for the first time. When I get to take pictures of clients as their lives grow and change and realize how incredible it is that they choose me, that they trust me, to capture the biggest days and moments of their lives, sometimes more than once. When I am able to share a meal with any number of friends or family and see them laughing together and enjoying each other’s company…honestly I think that’s one of the most beautiful things there is in life. When I embrace someone that I haven’t seen in ages and I think about how perfect it is just to be able to look at and talk to that person’s face instead of reading their text messages or emails. Basically what I mean is this: people make life worth living. And although that is not news to anyone, it amazes me how easy it is to forget sometimes.

So this is my answer. What am I thankful for? I’m looking around the proverbial Thanksgiving table and saying, over the din of political arguments and discussions about how work is going, “all of you.” Also, green bean casserole. Thank you for making life beautiful for me, for the people you love and for those who love you. I want to join hands with all of you and sing along to Adele.

xo, M.

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