Not alone, Not lonely.

When I woke up this morning, you were my first happy thought, my first smile. Maybe it’s because the anniversary of when we met is so close (Fun Fact- SYATP is on that same date this year!), maybe it’s because I woke up sore, and remembered your encouragement that last night’s ride was for *me*, and not a performance I was obligated to, maybe it’s because I think of you every time I fix my morning coffee. Regardless, I’m sitting here, just…feeling.

I knew I had to write about this, because what is love if kept to myself? You already know I love you, you know how much, even, but *you*, unlike most people I’ve known, never try to temper it- you can not only accept it, but embrace it. You have never made me feel like I am not enough or that I am too much.

You are- and have been- my “not alone, not lonely”, for twenty two years (in two weeks!)- even in the years there was space between our fingertips as our life paths temporarily diverged.

During those first years, you were there, during my highest highs of falling in love and being loved well for the first time ever, to my lowest lows of rejection and shame. We met when I was days removed from an event that wreaked havoc on my self image in ways I didn’t even know at the time, ways I am still coming to grips with 22 years later-I don’t think it was an accident. I believe it was absolutely ordained and intentional on behalf of One who wants us to know we are enough, loved, and lovable, no strings attached. It is a tentpole moment in my life.

No longer alone, no longer lonely, after all those years of rejection.

That’s what you’ve been to me, for me, with me-before even Scott.

Scott loves me, and he loves me well, but married love is different, because there is a lot we “owe” each other as part of that.

You love me, just because you do. I can’t think of another person who has seen me so fully and kept their arms open so wide. I’m…a lot. You know that, and you don’t put up with it- you *embrace* it. You don’t love me in *spite* of all the things I am, you love me *because* of them. I have never felt for a moment like I needed to filter or temper myself for you- even when you were fourteen!

Maybe the best part is that, though we are very different, the ways we are similar is powerful- because unbridled passion is so rare (though you are better and composing yourself than I am when feeling it…), and to have someone to *share* it with? For lack of a more dignified expression…GAAAAH! Monkey jumps forever. *smooch*

As much as our stories are different, we have experienced so many similar hurts, and you understand and can answer my brokenness with truth and love in a way nobody else can. The common ground we share is invaluable and irreplaceable. You have context for my feelings and insecurities that almost no one else does ( and I like to think I have quite a bit for yours), and every single day I am thankful to be seen by you.

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but yours are the only words of pure comfort that I remember from when I lost our first baby. In that season, our communication was solely via blog post comments, and I remember in that dark, dark time, seeing your comment on my post and feeling held, if only for that moment. Thank you, for that moment of feeling not alone, not lonely.

Since becoming mothers, practically at the same time, it has felt like our lives were beginning to run parallel again, and at first I held back, because you had this beautiful life, and my insecurity – having nothing to do with you – told me I didn’t fit. I’m not going to regret, because it’s wasteful, but I will say, that sending a facebook message asking for your number because ” I just want more of you in my life.” was one of the best moves I’ve ever made in a relationship. It took me…probably another close to 3 years to be brave enough to really use that number, but, it was a moment of boldness and the reward has been unspeakably worth the risk. I’ve also texted you enough in the past three years to make up for lost time.

We have, in these recent years, shared so many passions and experiences, and embarked on these journeys that are so different and yet…eerily similar. I don’t like to inflate my importance to others, so I won’t assume you feel this way, but it’s been downright spooky to me. Therapy, writing books, wellness (in alllll the areas)…I’m tearing up because I can’t picture any of these big things without you as part of them. I love you.

I’ve joked- and Scott teases me almost daily- that I copy you a lot, but it’s more that something piques my interest, i ruminate on it, then suddenly you’re doing it, and, knowing how much of a researcher you are (another way we are similar), I feel like it’s now vetted. HA! This year, I finally got to share something that was *mine* with *you*, and it has been…the *best*, which is an understatement.

Let me back up, though. When i first started riding with Denis Morton, I started talking with a handful of friends about him, because, y’know…me. All of them listened, and endured, but with a sense of “haha you’re crazy…” – but not you. You *got* it, as much as one can without experiencing it. I remember referencing an Instagram story he’d posted last fall, and you saying “Oh! I need to go watch this!” and being blown away. You made my thing/person, your thing/person, even though your access to it/him was incredibly limited without being a pelo-weirdo like me. Nobody else in my life has done that- with anything. It wasn’t *just* Denis, though, you were the only one I could talk nonstop about Peloton with without the text equivalent of glazed eyes, and I had frequent thoughts that I wished you had a bike too, because I could really enjoy fully sharing this experience with you.

Look, I’m not gonna say thank God for a global pandemic, because that’s a but much, except…kinda? When you started your Peloton Journey six months ago, it was…such a gift to me. At first I was a little terrified that you’d fall in love with another instructor, or want alllll the variety- which would have been totally fine and your prerogative, but I didn’t need to worry. You are a Menace at heart, and it’s changed my fitness life, and erased my isolation to share all of my Pelo-life with you. On my worst days, you tell me what I already know and empower me to ride my own ride and rest when I need to. You are invested in my PR’s and my milestone celebrations and have brought new meaning to what is our family’s motto “We can do difficult things, together.” And also trips to Prom. *fist bump*

Difficult things….like homeshooling. Haha! Girl, I have wanted you to homeschool with me pretty much since the girls were born. I know you love your school, so I never said a word about this desire, but, again…thanks pandemic! It’s been a gift to help you figure out what you wanted to do, and watch you take off- you’re already amazing, and, selfishly, I hope it sticks past this year. I think you’re beyond equipped and gifted for it.

I love doing life beside you. I just do.

The physical distance both seems immense and nonexistent, at different times. The thousand times a day I want to hug you, or when I see you having fun with your *in person* (not “real”, Mae…) friends, I can get blue, but at the same time, I know it’s not insurmountable, it’s temporary, and most of all, that you want me close too. Being wanted is so special for me.

The being wanted, the you texting me as often as I text you, the “don’t not text me” when you’re out of town, the celebrating and never competing with each other, these are things I’ve never experienced with anyone else. Our friendship is reciprocal, not a service you perform or a sacrifice you make out of pity. you let me love you, encourage you, celebrate you too.

You are, even as isolated as I’ve been, my Not Alone, Not Lonely.

I love you.

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