Shine On.

Generally speaking, I consider myself to be a lucky person. I've always been able to support myself (although some years it is easier than others), I've always been able to feed myself, keep me as warm as can be expected in a Vermont winter. I'm a smart girl who naturally tends toward the two learning styles most schools historically used, so I never had educational issues. I had a few health issues growing up, but I was lucky in that they were all caught and fixed so I've been able to lead a happy, healthy life. I grew up in a stable, loving family who did their best to provide for my brother and I.

However, no one could ever say I have been particularly lucky in love.

Now granted, there are many people out there a LOT less lucky than I when it comes to romance. I have never been abused. I have never been sold. I have never been cheated on (that I know of, anyway). I have never been left at the altar.

I simply spent too much of my dating life assuming that if I wanted love I needed to dull my Shine.

You know, my Shine? That special sparkly quality that is my Self. I learned at a very young age that if I wanted to move about in society with the other kids that my Shine needed to be dulled. Kids with a lot of Shine tend to get picked on and beaten up by the kids who have already had their Shine tarnished for them.

In the dating world, I discovered that men either ran screaming from my Shine because it was too intense, or assumed that I was a naive push-over. There were a few who were attracted to it, god bless 'em: sweet, gentle souls who gravitated toward that shine like moths to a flame, never realizing how badly they would get burned.

It was pretty frustrating and dis-heartening. And tiring. It gets really fucking tiring dulling the Shine down, either in fear of rejection or fear that it will hurt someone else. Because it wants to shine, dammit! But last year, I finally came to realize that I was doing myself a disservice. I'm a Shiny, Sparkly Person. If a person can't stand my light, then they can friggin' go stand in the dark somewhere else.

Coming to that realization was so liberating. I found it didn't matter anymore. If I found someone, great. If I didn't find someone, great. Either way, I was going to be the best, shiniest, sparkliest, unapologetic version of me. Fuck everyone else.

But you know what? I've found someone who revels in my Shine. He isn't afraid of it, and it won't burn him up and spit him out. He sees it, understands it, and accepts it. And the best part? He Shines too. Oh, how he Shines.

And now... we're going to Shine together. In the same place, at the same time. This past weekend Best Guy asked me to move in with him. I - with tears in my eyes - said yes.

When you've come to believe that romantic love is not yours to have, being given it is a deeply humbling experience. I am so grateful for the journey I went on, because it led me to him. But more importantly, it led me to Me, if that makes any sense at all.

And now we can continue this journey together.

Along with two cats and a beagle whose farts can fill up a room with a vaulted ceiling.


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