You know when you’ve been sick for days, feeling out of it and sad, achy, like you can’t lift your head off the pillow, and then the first time you get a glimmer that your body might feel normal again, you get a burst of energy and happiness?

I’m home sick today, NOT even on the mend yet, but feeling like maybe SOMEDAY SOON I might start to feel normal again. I slept for 12.5 hours, and when I woke up I didn’t even think I could make it out of bed. Lines of red hot pain were snaking their way through my face, and I had an instant idea for an art therapy project in which I would paint the sinus lines along the face in pain colors – red, black? I don’t even do art therapy, but I could imagine this painting so vividly. This must be why art therapy works – it gives people an outlet in which they can physically express the pain they’re feeling. 

I got out of bed, did a neti pot, and chopped garlic, jalapeno, ginger, and greens, then heated them up with veggie broth and added chopped organic chicken. I wish J was here to do this for me, she’s a great cook and we always make what we call “immunity soup” when we’re sick. Any type of anti-inflammatory vegetable and spice goes into the soup. I put on a pot of coffee (because I’m so sick of being sick, dammit!) and watched an episode of Mistresses (awesome show by the way). A few sips into my coffee, I remembered all the fantastic things that are about to go down.

Last night, before I went to sleep in my miserable, half-alive state, I felt the opposite. I thought, I need to spend more time with my family, and What am I going to do without J all weekend in our 1,000 degree apartment and How can I go to Italy when I have no savings. Today, those thoughts turned into I can’t wait until I’m pregnant, which may be soon, and God I love J, I’m so deeply grateful to have her in my life, I can’t wait until we run off to Italy together and We’re so lucky to be financially stable enough to take a trip! I love my new job!

Going to Italy is not something I take lightly. I started preparing for graduate school the minute I declared my major in my sophomore year of college. I researched psychology grad schools and looked at their minimum application requirements, because I didn’t want to MAJOR in psych. It wasn’t one of the best departments at my college, and it was the popular major – I wanted to get something more out of college. So I majored in feminist philosophy, minored in psych, and after graduation spent two years as a case manager for a social work organization, helping people with mental illness do everyday things like grocery shop and pay their bills. It took almost a year to finish my grad school apps, and when I decided on California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego, it was another six months of preparation, then driving cross country with the kitties in the car and starting a new life in Cali (for the second time, as I’d already run away to California three years before). 

Four years later, I finished my coursework. My dissertation took two more years to complete. Another year to complete my postdoc. I then began the long process of getting licensed – studying for the national exam, finding out I was missing a year’s worth of internship hours, re-doing these hours (another year), then failing the state exam, waiting the allotted 6 months, then taking it again, and finally becoming licensed. Throughout the 9 years I was in grad school, I never had a real vacation. Family holidays and weekends in Palm Springs, yes, but no week-long pleasure-only actual vacations.

Through all of this, I met the person I thought I would marry, got engaged, and she broke off our wedding plans six months into the engagement. 

Then I starting seeing J. In the midst of a storm, a tornado of depression, self-doubt, but also opportunity and frenetic openness, we saw each other in a new light. I can’t say I met her, because we’d been friends for almost four years already, both engaged to other people. As a psychotherapist, I believe that you should get into a relationship when you’re in a healthy, stable place with yourself, NOT when you’re in the midst of a storm, but J and I’s relationship began like a storm brewing, a wonderful, exciting, and very RIGHT storm. The kind of storm that makes you feel warm, excited and take a break from your everyday. The kind of storm that leaves freshness and light in its wake, that helps you start over. 

Unfortunately, starting over hasn’t quite happened for me yet. So many transitions happened all at once – leaving a relationship, starting a new one, moving from San Diego to LA (which are two VERY different cultures, believe it or not), leaving my friends, and struggling to accept that once again, I wouldn’t be moving back to New England, wouldn’t be living near my family yet. 

I’ve been a pill. I’ve been negative, a broken record of broken dreams, reminding J all the time that I hate living here, that I’m unhappy, that I don’t trust our relationship, no matter how good it is (because how could I trust ANY relationship after what happened?). She has time and again held me while I threw a bitter fit, both literally and figuratively. She’s amazing, a strong, positive life force I don’t always deserve. 

What J deserves: A partner who is content to let her have a couple years at the peak of her career, no matter where in the country it is. A partner who greets her with open arms and a smile after business trips, not passive-aggressiveness about her work schedule. A partner who focuses on all the positive parts of life’s circumstances. A partner who shows her acceptance, powerful support, a partner who pours her prosecco on a Friday night and spends hours giggling about nothing with her (that’s the only one I’m good at). 

You know who else deserves these things? Me. I deserve to be that person. I’ve said to some of you before that I don’t believe in the concept of “deserving” something, that life doesn’t give you what you deserve anyway, but by deserve, I mean I deserve to put these things out there, to put them into my life. To set the power of intention in motion enough to feel these fruits. I’ve been through some rough things in my life, just like everyone else. In the past, I felt I was just starting adulthood, that I’d figure it out. Now I’m 35, and I’m not just starting adulthood – this is it. It’s time to be happy because no one is going to do it for me, pick me up, fix my life, make sure I’m adjusting my attitude everyday. Only I can do that. 

Hold me accountable. I’ll be blogging more about taking care of my mental self, taking care of J, and lifting up our life together, knowing that our life depends on it. The day J and I discovered what was between us was a fateful day, and little did I know that it would be two years until I was ready for the potential of our relationship. Here it is, almost two years. We’ll spend our anniversary in Tuscany. We’ll come back ready for our first FET. I have the best job I’ve ever had. I have the best relationship I’ve ever had. Our days in LA are finally numbered. Why on Earth would I let anything bring me down?

Here’s to life, our loving partners, and the little sparks we’re all waiting for…