A big change descended upon my life recently. I fell in love. I got engaged. Although I've never really felt compelled to write publicly about my personal life, I've had things on my mind that need to be expressed. Here it goes.
Being loved by Rudy sometimes makes my heart want to burst – in the best way possible. It was a big, wonderful surprise for us both. We redefined what dating meant to each other. Being a free agent (for the most part) all these years has been ... entertaining. Needless to say, I’ve had a full life. It’s been quite an adventure. I found someone great who was busy having his own multifaceted, interesting journey. And for many reasons, joining forces just made complete sense. What finding love didn’t do is suddenly validate me nor made me more ‘whole.’ I find the notion that women are these sad, incomplete beings without a partner terribly insulting. But let's face it, society hasn’t evolved all that much. But we don't need partners to have children or survive anymore. It's 2014! I also didn't cross some imaginary finish line by getting engaged. It isn’t some kind of noble achievement. The way I see it is stars just aligned, love found me. I think it is FANTASTIC. It is worth celebrating. But I'm not suddenly more dignified because of it. Anything that alludes to this just gets under my skin.
When I told my mom that Rudy expressed that he wishes we met in our twenties instead of now, her immediate reaction was “Oh, but you’re both SO much more interesting now!” I thought: Wow, SHE’S RIGHT! I love her for that. I love my parents for never, ever making me feel like being single made me somehow feckless or lacking. They didn't try to dictate how my story should unfold. My story was my own.
I have always been an idealist. I’m not what most would consider a traditionalist. At 18, I didn’t want the (obligatory) big debutant ball – or a ‘debut’ as Filipinos call it. I traveled instead. I was never going to be someone who settled. I found it difficult to imagine having a child before I was with Rudy. In my world, there are no requirements – only choices. Being a free agent makes you self-sufficient and resilient. Of course, I wanted love. Along the way, there was trial and error. There was fear. There were a few near disasters. Dating in New York was occasionally fun. But It often felt like I was on a bad reality dating show. The idea of ‘settling’ terrified me more than flying solo. I’ve been accused of being too picky, too independent (seriously?) and just ‘too much.’ Eventually, I realized that people were simply projecting their own inadequacies and/or religious righteousness on me.
I knew I wanted and deserved more. I wanted the kind of love that took my breath away. Unfettered by artificial societal pressure. Something that would let my whole being shine, exactly as I am. And it would be undeniable. That is Rudy for me. He inherently understood all this. His choices aren’t shaped by convention. He is vastly different from anyone I've had the experience of knowing. It's a grown up relationship. We're not a couple of 20-somethings still in the midst of angst-filled self-discovery. We’ve lived some. We also just have this joy together. And maybe I needed to leave New York to be ready for it. I’m glad no one else got it exactly right until this precise moment. To me, this was the best kind of surprise there is. <3