No. 112

Lost + Found

After every breakup, I have wondered how much more I can take — how much more disappointment, how many more secrets, how much more loss of identity I can handle.

That was the past.

In the two and a half years since my last significant relationship ended, I have discovered a self that doesn’t need a relationship but wants one. The woman I am now is so much wiser. She can be strong and soft. She can embrace contradiction. She sees into the heart of situations, into the darkness of her emotions. She has learned to summon forces from within that most people don’t know lie quietly there. And she knows that this relationship will be so different from all the others because she can’t lose herself anymore.

Here is the story:

He saw me from behind tinted glass in the early spring at an archery tournament. I had no idea he was there. We both remember the moment, though he wasn’t in mine.

A month and a half later, our paths crossed more officially. We spoke briefly in the woods of southwest Virginia. I remember the hat he wore, how he sat on the side of the mountain. When he was close, I pointed out how much alike our bows were. Months later, he told me he waited around for me that day, hoping to talk to me more, but it only a few words we exchanged that day.

Two weeks later, he walked past me in Pennsylvania. I remember the way he looked at me, but he didn’t say anything.

Thanks to Facebook, we started talking — about music, our non-archery hobbies, our lives. He was nice, we got along, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to think of him yet.

In Ohio, we shot an archery course together. We began to hover around each other, as if caught in one another’s gravity field. (Later, we determined this was technically a first date, since he paid for me.)

There was a 10-hour drive together to Indiana. And our orbits drew closer. There was something between us, and it was obvious.

And then he said he didn’t want me, not now. I nearly walked away. But one more encounter revealed how his fears were holding back. I think he decided to surrender because from that point on, he was there for me. After a car accident. While I was traveling for two weeks on the West Coast. During the two months of moving preparations and moving and settling.

Tony is exactly what I need right now. Sometimes, we call people into our lives without knowing it because they can teach us exactly what we need to learn. He teaches me, often unknowingly, and I teach him too, because that’s precisely what I’m meant to do.

It feels so different from every past relationship. Stronger.  More vibrant. I exist in relation to him, in relation to others, but now I know I exist first and foremost in relation to myself. I’m not going anywhere this time. And that allows me to be more than I’ve ever been and to love without boundaries.

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

15 thoughts on “Lost + Found

  1. Oh goody, we finally finally get to hear the story. I’m glad (that word is too simple for the meaning I’m trying to convey but it’ll have to do all the same) that you have found Someone Special who can make you feel so much more complete.

    1. Thanks, Rooth! But it’s not that he makes me feel more complete. I was complete before I met him. Who he is helps me be even more of what I am. He challenges me. He frustrates me sometimes. But I grow because he’s in my life, and everyday I’m learning to love a man who is very different from me in some ways.

  2. Hi, lady! I feel I’ve been gone from here for so long, but am so happy to have stumbled upon such good news. Yay for you finding yourself stronger/happier/more resolved and yay for you two finding each other!

  3. Thrilled for you that you are in this next new chapter that is life’s adventure. And thrilled for me that you are back in this online space and I can share the stories!

    1. Me too! Now I just have to get good about reading AND commenting (because I read but then I run off and do other things and forget to comment…).

  4. Welcome back Brandi! Been waiting to hear from you from this side of the world…Singapore! Good to have you back :)

  5. Hooray!

    I’m so happy to hear about all the wonderful goings-on in your life, and the way you tell it is a bit magical.

    Isn’t it always incredible and wonderful, the way stories come together?

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.