Settling in, but not settling down

It’s exciting, yet strange to be living in a home again, with a partner. Someone to come home to, someone to cuddle with before going to sleep. Someone to cook with, laugh with, share TV shows together.

In some ways, it can be a test of two people’s bonds. You become a witness to each other’s habits and daily routines on an intimate level. It’s why society pleads for couples not to rush moving in together.

Humanity’s greatest evolutionary mechanism is the mistake. With the power of the mistake, we are free to be unburdened by expectations. Holding oneself accountable equals learning from one’s error, instead of paralyzing fear.

I have often pushed myself to fail and fail hard, especially when dealing with anxiety and agoraphobia. Usually, it came down to not giving myself a way out and experiencing how it all plays out, all the while keeping in mind that I have the power to choose how I perceive. I can be content, possibly even happy, or I can want to be miserable.

As for the impact you shall have on other people, aim to be gentle, intend to be kind. You’re going to fuck up; others will too; because of the only constant in life, is change.

For everything else, there’s Gigabit fiber here. In the country. Astounding.

When Manda met Lola

As a parent, there’s a special feeling you get when you introduce your child to your partner. It’s not something to be taken lightly, it’s the grand assumption that this person will be in your life for the foreseeable future.

The event shouldn’t be something that is overly stressful that one partner pushes for, while the other is hesitant about the situation. First meetings are awkward enough.

There’s a difference between attachment and love. Co-dependency and healthy independence. There’s love languages to be aware of, infatuation to wane. You have to really ask yourself if you are with this person for wholesome reasons, to love them as a separate entity, the other, instead of the desire to be taken care of as a child. You have to ask yourself if you are with this person simply because you don’t want to be alone.

When I met Amanda, actually our first communication was a question, “What are your greatest challenges and how do you work towards growing?”, “What are your short and long-term goals?”, “How do you approach problem-solving.”

Question after question. It was strange to lead with such things. Most people introduce themselves to each other with a funny pickup line, or a rather lame, “hey.” I went through quite a many interested people and told many people no.

Amanda and I approached things differently. We began with the real questions, followed up with a love languages quiz, finished things off with a Briggs-Meyers personality test. INFJs with much of the same love languages, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch. Although, I always tend to be more extroverted than your garden variety INFJs.

We both had our doses of poor relationships. Heck, she too knows what it feels like to go through a divorce. We both wanted something real and knew all too well what fire feels like.

We talk about our previous relationship experiences, to learn where things went sour, to grow, in all brutally honest detail. Our infidelities, our darkest moments.

Things just feel different. You think you know what love is, but then you meet someone and find that it shouldn’t be a compromise. You find that love is hard work and sweat. Love is what you can do for your partner, but they have to be willing to do the same. It’s trust, it’s friendship. It’s being able to have the hard discussions, yet laughing until you can’t breathe.

Love is vulnerability. Mutual vulnerability. The ultimate vulnerability.

Yet, most people aren’t willing to be vulnerable enough to experience something real.

“Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.”

Nayyirah Waheed

First weekend trip with Manda and RVLyfe update

We started out the weekend by replicating much of our first date in the RV. We baked Vegan Sweet Potatoes.

We loaded up and headed to Lafayette, IN to work on the old place. My friend Travis whom I met on Facebook Marketplace, of all places, offered for us to park the rig in his backyard. He owns a gorgeous property!

Campsite setup!
Luke going for a morning walk

I found that the replacement for the bus, a Ford F250 with a 6.2L V8 to be more than adequate for pulling the ~8,000Lbs trailer. We averaged 8MPG with mostly highway driving. Compared to the overtaxed 5.4L Triton on the aerodynamic brick of the E350 bus, it was a confidence inspiring experience.

Saturday night we headed to Logansport, IN to see family in celebration of my mother’s and brother’s birthday. A cookout and bonfire out in the country. We finished out the night stargazing.

Kevin swinging. Happy Birthday!
Hanging out in the “introvert trailer.” Family time is excellent, with some quiet time
Manda and I on the swingset.
There was no setup. We merely connected power and slid out the slides
Taking a ride with Silverbell to pick up birthday presents

RVLyfe, minimalism, anxiety, and agoraphobia

I find that while the novelty has worn off, I remain excited to experience independence and exploration. There is and always will be more minimalism and organization to achieve. After all, everything I own resides in this rig.

Something my daughter said still reverberates in my head, that I’m “running away from my problems.” She is nine years old. Let’s explore that a bit as it’s been bothering me. Maybe she will read this one day.

I could see that within a society which idealizes home ownership, consumerism, “settling down” and judging personal happiness on the quest of acquiring material goods – that my chosen path may seem unusual.

There could be other reasons, such as living in Lafayette for the better half of five years, most of that time spent while I was with Elaine. Lafayette may represent “home” for her.

Regardless of the reason, I have to say that, instead, I’m running head-on into my problems. Do you have any idea how terrifying this life I have chosen can be to someone who has agoraphobia and anxiety?

A few years ago I couldn’t drive a block away to the store by myself.  If I got stopped at a red light, I started panicking, turned around and drove home as quickly as I could. I felt trapped and in extreme danger.

A few years before that, I stopped eating solid food for fear of choking. I was so hyped up that I’d gag and end up choking. This went on for a few months until I became so miserable that I wanted to choke on food and die. DIY exposure therapy, I began eating again once the pain of remaining the same became more than the pain of change.

I remember going to the Chinese Buffet, preparing an enormous plate of food that I can muster, and screamed to myself, “You are going to choke and die on this.” It became more comfortable, and more natural until I had sufficient exposure to normalize eating again.

Last December, when my life fell apart, I was at a rather dark place. Up until that point in my life, I spent my life in the pursuit of being a people pleaser. I was co-dependent and changed myself to appease others. I stayed in relationships far past their sell-by date in fear of not being able to exist alone. I was a fraud.

I have no greater fear than vomiting and this catalyst for change is much like vomiting for me. One time I consumed a large bag of spoiled pistachios. I became ill, yet through some extreme meditation, I managed to hold it in for a few days. I was more than miserable, the contents of my stomach were poison.

But I’ll never forget the moment that I chose that enough was enough. I went to the bathroom in terror, yet with the sheer determination that if vomiting would kill me, I invited it. I then proceeded to projectile vomit everywhere, all over everything. The feeling of relief was so thick that it was spiritual. I felt like I was born again.

Through sheer determination, I began driving alone. I started traveling. I severed connections to the possessions that I found the illusion of comfort in, distractions. Escapes from my problems. I cut everything and everyone out of my life that tried forcing an identity upon me. I let go.

At that critical juncture of my life, where I could choose to keep holding it in like I did for so many years, meditations to distract me from my problems. Relationships, possessions, hobbies, time wasters. I chose instead to engage in the terrifying thing that I could imagine: An independent lifestyle of travel, as a minimalist.

#RVLyfe for me isn’t a hashtag Instagram curated life. It’s the willful exposure to discomfort, challenge for continued growth and achievement. I often go to bed emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted, but with a humbling feeling of accomplishment and growth.

As for Manda? I’ve accepted that for myself; life is more fulfilling spent with a partner. We have more than adequate communication, problem-solving skills. We share more intimacy and vulnerability than I’ve ever experienced before in a relationship. There will undoubtedly come times in which we will need to support each other when we are weak.

But I think that we both have had our fill of emotionally unavailable, co-dependent relationships to not slip into toxicity. It’s easy, yet challenging enough to continue inspiring growth for the both of us, just as it should be.

She makes me feel extensional, in all of the right ways

Queer, Vegan, Feminist. Three words, three labels that I was unsure of. Such words invoke a sense of intensity. Feminism, such a label I was unsure of within myself.

Vulnerability. Creativity. Hugs/Physicality. Best friends. Intimacy. Stories. Radical notions. Openness. Meditation. Vulnerability. Tacos.
The queer label is a misnomer. A label to end all labels. Contradiction. A writer. A poet. I was interested.Eye contact. The first thing I noticed. So much intensity. So much vulnerability. So much was left unsaid. Empath. Reading between the lines.

There is something to be said about someone that you can feel instantly comfortable around. Someone who transcends through your barriers, your walls so easily as if they weren’t even there.

I see you in your queer sexy masculinity paired with feminine feelings and movements and that you hug me small and in all your vulnerability.

Communication. So. Much. Communication. Intensity, but in all of the right ways. Boundaries. Healthy independence.

 

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