I posted a photo last night.
Evidence that Matt not only exists but is willing to make stupid faces at a camera, which he knows I will broadcast across social media.
This is a first.
I’m 31 years old and have never had a relationship where it was natural to be seen together, let alone documented. When I took last night’s photo I was surprised by how easy it was. We were sitting at the table, surrounded by our softball teammates and pitchers of Coors Light (gross). I didn’t say a word, just held my phone in my hand, arm extended. Matt leaned in without hesitation and “click”.
When I showed him the photo his only comment was “Damn, I have a big nose.” (my nose is actually bigger, we measured). To Matt, the moment was no big deal. He didn’t ask my motives or the destination of the photo. There was no worried crease in his brow, no sign of embarrassment over the portrayal of an “us”.
We were in a movie theater 9 months ago (I can’t remember the movie) when he pulled out his phone and updated his Facebook relationship status without skipping a beat. He was ready to put it out there for the world to see and judge. I, on the other hand, waited an additional 7 months to update my status.
I’m an enormous jerk.
My hesitation (more like panic attack) was rooted in many things. A history of heartbreak, destruction, running away, vulnerability, nothing to do with Matt and everything to do with shadowed corners I had not yet confronted.
I needed time to accept that this was what good looked like. I needed time to trust that he was genuine. I also needed to trust myself; that I was not wholly damaged, that I could be comfortable with, nay, I could DO healthy.
I’m still getting used to the idea that he wants to be an “us” and I’m learning (with the occasional freak out) how to be a person intimately connected to another person. The first step was photos of him, then photos together, a relationship status change, a digital breadcrumb trail left for anyone to follow.
The real life we are cultivating, though, is much more than that. It’s good.