A Very Special Someone

I am going to end up with someone very special.

Do you want to know why I think this? Because I have a chronic illness, which makes dating me worlds more complicated than the average person.

I have been dumped because of things I can’t control — like my skewy autonomic nervous system, which often makes me feel sick or unable to do normal twentysomething activities. People don’t always sympathize with the struggles I go through every day, and I know it is incredibly difficult to see someone you love hurting.

My guy doesn’t just have to be a physical supporter for me, but he also has to serve as an emotional rock when I get frustrated with life. Some days are more painful and exhausting than others, and sometimes I just can’t think straight through the dizziness and brain fog. I need someone who will be patient with me and remember that I have a good heart.

Some days I will be cranky, but I don’t mean anything by it — I’m just not feeling well. So the last thing I need in a partner is someone who can remember how much I love him, even on the hard days. I need someone who will keep in mind that I’m still the same person, even when I’m incredibly sick and some of my best traits might be hidden behind pain. He will need to be able to remember that I still love him with all my heart, I’m just sometimes too darn tired to show it.

People like this aren’t a dime a dozen. Unconditional love is really difficult to find, and meeting someone who is willing to start a relationship with someone who already has complications isn’t always easy. The people I have met, though, who have been willing to go through the hard stuff in the beginning of our relationship are so incredibly special. These are the people who will be there for better and worse, and this is the kind of guy I eventually want to end up with. I guess in some ways I am lucky that I’m not always the easiest person to love since I have no choice but to weed out people who won’t stick around through tough times. I will end up with a 1 Corinthians 13 man.

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Today’s lesson: Take whatever it is that makes you feel different or unlovable, and realize that you are beautifully unique and you are stronger because of the struggles you have gone through. Realize that not everybody will love you with them, but the right person will absolutely love the entire package you have to offer. Just because you have a disability, baggage from your past, or struggle with something today does not mean you will never find love. It just means you need to wait for someone really, incredibly special to be a good fit for you. People like us kind of lucked out in that regard, I guess, because we can’t settle for an ordinary love. We have to be patient and wait on one that will hold the test of time and make it through the crazy curveballs life throws at us.

Behind The Scenes Vs. Highlight Reels

One of my last posts was all about comparison when it comes to body image, but today I want to talk about comparing your love life to others’. Valentine’s Day was just a few days ago, and I absolutely loved seeing all the posts with pretty things, sweet words, and romantic gestures. I also always look forward to the single posts about treating yourself or having friends as Valentines. It has been my favorite holiday since exchanging little notes and mini candy bars in grade school, and I prepare for the holiday the same way many do for Christmas.

This year Valentine’s Day fell on a really bad day for me. I had a bunch of doctor’s appointments, including an evening one that went until 7:30, and I didn’t have much of an idea of when I would be finished beforehand. Since I knew I would be absolutely exhausted, I told Robert I wanted to keep things low key and that we’d just have to play things by ear the evening of and do something for Valentine’s the following weekend.

As the day went on, though, and I kept seeing how people were celebrating I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Ahhhh, no, I thought. Am I really starting to compare my day to what I am seeing on social media? I’ve always been pretty level-headed when it comes to taking everything I see with a grain of salt, but I guess my deep love for Valentine’s Day was beginning to get to me. It didn’t help that I had gotten bad news in the middle of the day (I have to protect the privacy of the person involved so will not be talking about it), so I was kind of cranky.

Poor Robert, I thought as I realized there wasn’t much of a chance he’d win the day.

I regretted my decision to not celebrate on Tuesday, and although I was genuinely happy for my friends who were going on super-fun dates that night, I wished that would be me too. I wished I would have canceled one of my appointments, and I wished I would’ve just chosen to have a normal day of celebrating, rather than feeling sick after my physical therapy appointment. I had become the girl we all giggle at — the one who says not to worry about doing anything, but doesn’t really mean it. Yes, I had meant it at the time, but who would have thought my mind would change so fast?! Oh, that’s right. Anyone who has been in this situation before would have known. Now I know what that “crazy” girl feels like and why people always advise guys to ignore whatever they say. There was a hilarious episode of The Kane Show on Valentine’s Day about guys who listened to their girlfriends about not wanting to celebrate this year, and then regretted it because the girls all of a sudden flipped a switch and wanted to do something. Apparently I was not the only one.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about this because my Valentine’s Day post got over 100 likes (Which is a decent amount for my social media accounts), and everyone knows I have a boyfriend and am not celebrating alone this year. From an outsiders perspective, I have it all going for me, and I was one of the people who had the “perfect Valentine’s Day.”

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The problem with our generation and social media is that we are comparing our own “behind the scenes” moments — hardships included — to other people’s highlight reels.

We have these expectations of life that are completely unrealistic because we are so used to seeing perfection in the online world around us. Life is not perfect, nor is love. They are both beautiful, but a big part of that is learning to love one another through the imperfections and rough patches.

Now, just to be clear, Robert did take me out to dinner and did give me a very sweet Valentine’s Day present. One thing I do really love about him is that he treats me so well every day of the year, so I do think he’s hard to beat for a special occasion. This post isn’t at all bashing the evening we had together, rather I am trying to make a point that you absolutely cannot compare your own very real life to the lives you see crafted online.

Today’s lesson: I said it in my last post, and I’ll say it again. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (–Theodore Roosevelt). The more you can live in the present and focus on yourself, the more you will learn to feel content with what you have, rather than longing for things you do not have.

b l a c k o u t.

Vrrrroosh.

My pulse is racing and I feel the floor beneath my bare feet become colder, harder.


Have you ever fainted before? It’s scary.

I’ve become kind of a pro at passing out, mainly because I have had a lot of close calls, rather than eating the floor on a regular basis. Ever since I got sick with POTS three-and-a-half years ago I’ve learned what it’s like to faint.


My heart can’t stop. It keeps speeding up and feels like I’m going downhill in a car and my brakes just failed. Instead of being able to pull an emergency brake or slow the car’s roll, it speeds up at a terrifyingly alarming speed.

Thudthudthudthud.

Shit. I crouch to the ground as soon as my brain catches up to the rest of my body and realizes that I am going down, whether I want to or not.

This is what I’ve trained for.

My body has been trained for fainting. I have done it so many times that I know how to respond. Everything always happens so fast. Racing. Dizzy. Blackout. Nausea. Sweating. Falling. Ground — always in that order.

Ground.

As soon as I am down on the ground I feel the cold tile behind me. I’m cold and wet, but don’t really notice until my hand slips. The bath was a bad idea. It helps with the pain, but my heart can’t handle the heat. I feel around behind me, blind, just to be sure my head won’t hit the hard floor when I lie down in my postural position. I close my eyes and brace myself. There’s no change in my vision yet, but I hope it comes back soon, as my spatial awareness isn’t so great. This can pose for a dangerous problem when I’m on hard ground. Usually I black out on the plush carpet when I get out of bed too fast, but sometimes it happens in places that are a lot scarier than that.

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This is what blacking out looks like. It starts off looking like a crackly television, then turns to this.


My hands slide slowly behind my body as I sit on the floor and ease the rest of myself to the ground. I close my eyes, praying I won’t vomit and reminding myself to take deep breaths until it’s all over. I don’t know if one ever really throws up when they’re about to faint, as it’s never happened to me, but it always feels like I will.

Ten seconds go by. Twenty. An hour?

It feels like my time on the ground before my vision finally starts turning slightly colorful and blurry again is lasting a lifetime, though I know it couldn’t be more than thirty seconds. First it’s as if I’m wearing high prescription glasses that my 20/20 vision isn’t used to. Then everything gradually comes in to focus. I can finally see again and the blood rushes back to my brain.

Stupid, stupid, I think to myself as I realize what I had done. The water in the bathtub was too warm for a POTS patient, and I stood up way too quickly when I made my move to get a razor. I had hurt myself on accident by taking a high risk for a minimal reward. I hate not being able to shave my legs in the shower (because of the postural change that occurs when I do), and all I wanted was to have a smooth finish after my bath. I should have known better than to stand up quickly from a warm bath, but I want so badly to be normal again and not to think about every little move I make and how it’s going to affect me for the rest of the week.


Sleep.

Any time I have a close call with my heart acting up it makes me incredibly tired.

As soon as I gather the right amount of energy to safely stand up, I shut my eyes tightly and push lightly with my hands to lift the rest of my body up. I throw on a robe — not bothering to dry off — and walk with a blank mind and body into my bedroom and ease into my warm, soft bed.

Soon I am out again, but this time the darkness isn’t scary — it’s peaceful. My brain feels like it can’t function again because it needs rest, but that’s okay. I’m finally safe; I’m in the least likely place for my body to attack itself again.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s my favorite day of the year! This Valentine’s Day has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. I had a hard time sleeping last night, and this morning when Macy came over to wake me up it took a lot longer than normal for me to wake up and get out of bed. When you have POTS you really have to take your time getting up and out of bed, especially when you haven’t had a lot of sodium, as your vision blacks out and there’s always a chance of fainting.

Anyway, I had my normal breakfast and then hurried off to physical therapy, which was quite a bit more difficult than normal. I feel so exhausted and my shoulders and arms hurt more than usual again.

Enough complaining, though! The best parts of today so far have been getting treated to a molten lava hot chocolate, getting home and having the best lunch (an enormous salad), homemade chocolate strawberries, and watching my favorite Valentine’s Day episode of The Office  (Season 2 where Phyllis gets a million things from Bob Vance, lmao!) before going over to watch my neighbors’ kids. I also got some really sweet Valentine’s Day cards in the mail and was lucky enough for my ipsy box to come today… Hooray!

The thing I really love most about Valentine’s Day is seeing how happy all of my friends and family are. I love love, and although every couple has their ups and downs it’s great to see people spending time with those who really do mean the world to them. Even when I’m single it brings me great joy to see others happy. This year I do have a romantic Valentine, though, as well as a few dates with my girl friends this week. I am not one to make a huge deal about my own birthday by having a “birthday week” or “birthday month,” however I totally milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth and am planning on celebrating several times this week.

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One of the happiest days.

Today wasn’t the best day ever since I had a lot going on (For once I’m not going to write every single thing on my blog — but y’all aren’t missing anything interesting, I promise!), but I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of this week.

Love you all so much, and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Valentine’s Day With A Player

As I’ve mentioned before Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. I’ve been prepping for the big day for weeks now. I made a million cards and heavily assisted in keeping the USPS in business this year. Sadly I gave Robert his present early — a New England Patriots jacket — as I felt like he needed as much gear for the Super Bowl as possible, but I’m still going to give out a few presents and cards on Tuesday. My boyfriend is always my official Valentine, but I usually have a dozen others (I bully my friends into saying they’ll be my Valentine); and my mom is always my #1!

Since I’ve been slacking a little on posting lately I decided to do a kind of different pre-Valentine’s Day post. I chatted some with one of my good friends, Will, as he has a great head on his shoulders when it comes to love and dating, but is also kind of hilarious. As much as he talks the talk about being a player, he is actually one of the sweetest guys I know, and I kind of can’t wait for him to eventually get a girlfriend, as I know he’ll treat her really well (Yes, ladies, he is currently single!). Read more to get the scoop on what basketball superstar “Will The Thrill” is up to tomorrow.

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Single In The Suburbs:
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Will The Thrill:
Well I’m taking out a lucky lady after work, then quickly dropping her off so I can take out another girl I’m talking to.

SITS:
How many girls will you take out?

WTT:
I will take out two on Tuesday. I took out one on Friday and two on Saturday. I might take out a few the following weekend as well; it depends on what I feel like doing at the time.

SITS:

How do you keep your dates from finding out about each other? I would hate to see you stuck in a John Tucker Must Die scenario.

WTT:
Ideally you’d want the women to live at least some distance away from each other so they won’t find you with another girl at a nearby restaurant when they’re out with friends. If anyone wants to employ this dating strategy, I’d highly recommend getting a car with great gas mileage.

SITS:
How do you keep their names straight?

WTT:
Fortunately for me, I’m pretty good at remembering names. I guess being an attractive female helps in that regard as well… And if you’re not good with names, you’ll learn quick.

SITS:
Are you bringing your dates anything special for Valentine’s Day?

WTT:
I’ll bring a box of chocolates to my last date on Tuesday, since that’s the girl I’m most interested in. It’s basically like a professional sports team and the ladies are fighting for roster spots. The girls who don’t go out with me on Valentine’s Day are on the bench, the ones that do are the starters, and my favorite girl (who earns the prestigious title of “Baby Girl”) is the star player.

SITS:
Aren’t you afraid the other girls will think you’re a cheapskate if you don’t bring them anything for Valentine’s Day?

WTT:

Well, some of them are going to be first dates, so that would be weird. If I’ve been talking to a girl for a while I guess I’ll bring them some chocolate too. I am a nice person.

SITS:
Any tips for those who don’t have a Valentine yet?

WTT:
Keep grinding. Go to the gym, watch some funny movies, and hang out with other friends without dates. I had plenty of Valentine’s Days where I didn’t have one, it’s not that bad.

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Will is known for his killer charm, stunning good looks, and wicked sense of humor.


Disclaimer for those of you who know Will:
This is for humor purposes only and Will the Thrill does not really endorse playing women like that, as he loves them all too much.

Friday Favorite: The Bouqs Co.

I figured since Valentine’s Day is coming up that I’d share a few of my favorite products with y’all this week. This Friday I want to feature something that is essentially sending a box full of joy — The Bouqs Company!

There is nothing that makes my day more than a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I’ve used a lot of different flower delivery companies in my eight years of adulthood, and I have to say nobody holds a candle to The Bouq’s Co. Their flowers are so incredibly fresh, and they offer a very generous amount in every bouquet.

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This was the bouquet that started it all. My friend Kalika sent me these flowers after a bad breakup and I’ve been obsessed with the company ever since!

I got the big bundle of red and white roses to take to the airport to welcome Robert home to the United States with. When I opened the box it felt like I was hit with a wall of floral perfume. It really is more than a gift — it’s a whole experience!

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Along with red, white, and blue balloons and a sparkly sign, this just really pushed the welcome home over the top to a beautifully fun level. A week and a half later and the flowers were still sitting in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy!

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So if you’re stumped at where to start for Valentine’s Day or to just say “I love you” to a loved one just because, flowers are a great place to start. Never forget to write a sweet little note inside too! Cards are my favorite part of a gift because they are like getting a tiny piece of someone’s heart.


BONUS: I noticed that Groupon has a deal right now for 50% off — you can get $40 of flowers for just $20! Most likely you’ll get a more expensive bouquet, but $20 off is nothing to sneeze at… That’s like, 2 burritos from Chipotle and some change. #win

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Yesterday I shared a pretty personal post to my Instagram account. This isn’t a particularly new thing, but it is always scary putting your heart out there for the world to see.

Something I am going to start talking about a little more on here is body image. I have been so content with my body image for the most part since my junior year of college, but there have definitely a few little bumps along the road, yesterday being one of them.

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I’ve had an overwhelming two weeks with a lot of sickness (like, normal people colds and such — not only my chronic illnesses) and really gotten off my normal POTS recovery schedule. Missing a day or two here and there is alright, but a large collection of days? Not good.

So not only was I starting to feel worse, but I started getting inside my own head and letting my mind bully my body. Since day one of getting sick I made the decision to be kind and gentle with myself, take one day at a time, and not compare myself to others. Theodore Roosevelt was spot-on when he said,

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I knew that comparing the new life I never wanted for myself — having a chronic illness — with my friends who were going out into the world and getting their first post-college jobs and apartments would only be detrimental to my health. Rather than moping at home about the death of my shiny new dream job at Seventeen magazine I decided to focus on the things I could do. I could watch The Food Network and learn to cook, even if my body wasn’t actually up to cooking yet. I could write short blog posts with my dictation software. I could call my grandparents and make their day a little brighter; I still had the ability to be there for my friends and family. So those were the things I focused on.

When a handful of my friends started doing a bikini body workout I felt a little left out. Not that it was their fault; they would be happy to have me on board, but I am physically unable to do that kind of exercise with my new collection of illnesses. My Instagram feed and Facebook page began to flood with photos of weight lifting, sports bra before and after photos, and small digs at different body types. After a short while it all started to get in my head. Since I got sick I have not been able to do intense cardio workouts (I would faint pretty quickly), and I can’t lift more than a couple of pounds. I lost the muscle tone I was used to having my entire life, and I was the person so many of the girls would complain about being online — the before picture… And I absolutely cannot help the way I look.

This got me thinking more about the culture we live in. When did we start putting our self-worth in the hands of others, and why do we listen to the lies they tell us about our bodies? What exactly is the perfect body and why do we work so hard to change our physical appearance, but forget about changing our mindset? Being healthy is a wonderful thing, but appreciating everything your body can do at every single stage in life is incredibly important. Loving yourself  no matter what your shape or size is, and realizing that your worth isn’t dependent on the body that carries you is an important factor to being content and secure in yourself.

It sucks that we sometimes question our worth because of something as minuscule as the paint job on our outer shell. I genuinely think every single person I meet is beautiful in his or her own way. I can come up with a long list of amazing things about a person if I get to know them. Just ask my friends; odds are I have written them a letter (Or a hundred) about what a great person they are. Why are we so much harder on ourselves than we would be on a friend?

There is absolutely nothing wrong about working out and taking care of your body, (It’s actually a great thing!) but it becomes dangerous you make yourself sick by striving for perfection. I want to be someone people think of when they start to question their own beauty and self-worth. I want to serve as a reminder that it’s not at all about what is on the outside, but rather what’s on the inside that really matters. It may sound corny, but kindness is what counts, and the way we make others feel about themselves speaks volumes above how many “likes” we get on Instagram or whether or not we look like the people we see on television, in magazines, or on the runway. Once we get past our flesh and really dig deep into our souls we can make a lasting difference in this world.

Slow And Steady

I know I mentioned forever ago that I’ll be changing my blog around a lot, but it’s pretty difficult since I have arm problems and can’t sit at my computer very long without having issues. I am still working on getting a new domain, editing the layout, etc. with the help of friends and family, but it’ll be a little while. I am excited to share a lot of new experiences, products, and feelings with y’all!

Now that the dust has settled a little with Robert being back home I will be posting as regularly as I can again. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to get email updates! You get exclusive typos, grammatical mistakes, and sometimes even deleted posts when you get emails of my rough drafts. Somehow I enjoy editing things more once they’ve been published to my site.

Currently I am working on sending out a million Valentines. February is my favorite month because I absolutely love everything about Valentine’s Day. Whether or not I’m single I love seeing other people in love, I love showering my friends and family with gifts and words of affirmation, and I love pink hearts.

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These are just a few of the cards I got to mail this year.

In the next few weeks I’m going to be talking a little about the cruelty-free makeup I’ve found (I keep waiting for my voice to get better to make a YouTube video, but I swear this winter has been the death of me!), sharing a few of my favorite products and suggestions for Valentine’s Day presents, updating y’all about what the Patriots did for Robert, and finally, telling you what it was like being very mildly cyberbullied.

One of my favorite character traits is kindness. I’d say my word of 2017 is KIND, but this is actually a word I want to apply to the rest of my life. If nothing else, I would love for people to remember me for being not only “nice,” but kind to everyone I meet. I will be talking a lot about this in the coming weeks, and I hope we can together make the world — including the Internet — a happier and more beautiful place.

The Greatest Of All Time

What a game.

I can’t say I always enjoy sitting for four hours to watch football, but yesterday was totally worth it.

I started watching at a bar with one of my best friends, and we sipped milkshakes as we watched the Falcons get a couple of touchdowns. I knew Robert was probably not super happy about how the game was going, but I am a fierce optimist, so I kept saying to myself that the Patriots could still make a comeback. I actually felt really at peace most of the game, not because I didn’t feel invested, but I just had one of those crazy gut feelings that the Patriots would come through. I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t racing the last ten minutes of the game or in overtime, but it was just one of those weird moments where I felt like I knew everything would work out in my favor (As a sidenote, I am so sorry if you are a Falcons fan. That must have been really tough to watch; I feel pretty bad for everyone involved in that organization right now).

The Patriots have been a pretty big part of this past year for me, as I’ve been working on the Tom Brady project and kind of converted to becoming a Patriots fan. In the past I haven’t changed my sports teams for a guy — though I did date a Cowboys fan once, which was convenient for football games — but the Patriots have been different. I love the energy the fans have, and I actually genuinely like a lot of the players on the team. The more I see about the organization the more I really fall for it.

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Photo taken from Tom Brady’s Facebook

At first I enjoyed going and watching the Patriots play the Cowboys with Robert and having a friendly rivalry, but throughout his deployment I have grown incredibly fond of the New England team. They will always have a special place in my heart, and I have made the bittersweet decision to trade out my Tony Romo jersey for a Tom Brady one next season. I had already been trying to figure out who I was going to go for, as Romo has had a rough year, but instead of grabbing a Jason Witten or Dez Bryant jersey, my heart is leading me in a different direction. I will always love the Cowboys, but now I have two teams my heart feels really happy about. It will be interesting to see who I choose to root for when the Cowboys make a comeback to play the Patriots in the next Super Bowl. That will be the true test to see who my loyalty really lies with. 😉

Robert’s Homecoming

I am finally getting around to writing about Robert’s homecoming!

I’ve always known that whenever I get engaged I am going to wait a few days before announcing it to everyone so that I can just sit and enjoy the moment with my close loved ones. I love social media, but I think there’s something special about keeping some moments private. This is kind of how I felt about Robert’s first week back. I waited to announce that he was home because I really wanted to be able to thoroughly enjoy the moment without the million texts that I knew would come — which I also loved when the time was right!

Robert came home on a rainy Saturday evening, and I had jitters the entire day I was waiting to pick him up. I woke up in a little bit of a daze, but decided I just had to do everything I needed to get ready. The day before I had picked up a giant bouquet of balloons, made a welcome home sign, and talked to my best friend about when we would need to go to the airport. The week prior I had received a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses from The Bouqs Co so that I would be ready for his return as soon as he informed me he’d be home. You see, the Army is all about the element of surprise, so I didn’t know exactly when Robert would be back until the day before his flight.

Going to the airport was a kind of strange experience. I had waited for this moment for months. Since the day Robert left to be exact. Every day he was gone I thought about how incredible the moment would be when he got back. I thought about his return for 10 long months… Now that it was finally here it didn’t feel real!

Waiting in the airport was a strange form of torture. On one hand it was incredible the moment Robert set foot on US soil. As soon as he texted me I felt a heavy weight leave my shoulders, as I knew he was finally safe. On the other hand, though, Robert’s plane being fifteen minutes later than I had expected felt like such a tease. It was funny because I knew I was being ridiculous feeling antsy. After all, what is ten minutes in comparison to ten months of waiting?

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I did the math. It’s .00023% of the deployment. That is essentially nothing.

Seeing Robert for the first time is indescribable. Partly because yes, I was excited, but the other part of me felt really confused. He’s not supposed to be here, said a part of my brain. This isn’t real, said another. Robert isn’t going to be staying was the loudest part of my brain. Instead of being able to be ecstatic about having someone I loved so much back in my arms I felt kind of shaken by it. Yes, my brain knew Robert had told me he’d be around for a very long time now, but my heart didn’t believe it. I was so used to him being gone that it couldn’t register that he was actually here to stay. Our entire relationship has known this deployment. Even when I started dating Robert six months before he went overseas I knew he was going to be eventually leaving.

Since we’ve had just over two weeks together now I am starting to feel like things are normal. It definitely took a bit of time, and I’m still trying to adjust to the realization that I can see Robert whenever I want to, but my heart is finally starting to catch up with everything that’s going on.

Robert is here to stay. We can finally go out and continue to date each other in a really normal setting. He’ll still be in the Army, but the only time he’ll really be away from me is one weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer. I am so beyond excited to start a new chapter together. I will definitely keep you posted on our new adventures together as a normal twentysomething couple. Goodbye deployment, and good riddance 6,500 miles!

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