Today I Realized I Am Going To Be Okay
Because writing is seriously changing my life.
"You've changed," he said, smiling. "You're happy."
"I'm happy to see you," I replied.
"But you have such a different energy. You know I talk about you all the time, right? I tell everybody how proud I am of you that you went after what you want and now you're kicking ass."
Today I got to see Mister Atlanta. The Mister Atlanta. The forty-something, poly ENFP I met on OkCupid a couple years ago. I've written a little bit about Mister Atlanta before, but there's never been a ton to say. The universe hasn't made it easy or convenient for us to be together, and I've been fine with that.
I've had to focus on me and my daughter anyway.
Mister Atlanta stopped by with a friend on their way back to Georgia from Ohio. The friend and I chatted in Starbuck's while Mr. A made a couple work calls. She told me how her boss fired her via text the day after her birthday. He said the company was losing money, they had to let her go, and that he was on his way to Disney.
The firing had hit her hard, but what seemed to hit her hardest was how much she didn't want to go out and get a new job at 26 that she was going to hate just as much as the old gig.
So I asked her what she wants to do, and she told me about how she'd like to design clothes for plus-size women. She talked about having a notebook filled with every retailer that sells plus-size clothes and how they all had some kind of problem. Inconsistent sizing. Poor quality. Wrong cuts.
She went into what the clothing industry calls their "plus-size problem." Basically, most clothing lines carry straight sizes in store and larger sizes online. Women often by multiple sizes and return what doesn't fit, mainly because of the inconsistent sizing. Plus-size retailers up-charge the clothes knowing they will have a high margin of returns.
Mister Atlanta's friend and I had a great chat about our personal issues with finding clothes that fit. She pointed out that it's damn hard to feel good about yourself and make healthy food choices when you're stuck wearing clothes that make you feel terrible.
I said she should go after her dream because I know firsthand how the clothing industry has never gotten plus-size fashion right. But also, I know the value of taking a terrible work situation and turning it into an opportunity.
And then I told her my story. How less than a year ago, I didn't know what I was going to do when my full-time job was cut down to part-time. I told her about every memorable moment where I decided it was time to go after my writing dreams.
Let's be honest--my lips were moving, but I didn't even know the person who was speaking at that point. I am aspie and awkward and typically self-conscious about my voice. I avoid phone calls and public speaking opportunities at all costs. Yet here I was telling a stranger to seize her moment.
"Get on Patreon," I said. "Do Kickstarter. You can do this. You can change your life."
As it turns out, Mister Atlanta was right. I have changed. Writing is changing me. And even more than that, I am going to be okay. I don't think I truly realized that until today.
Yesterday, I made the formal decision to "redshirt" my daughter, which means I am going to delay kindergarten one year. Rather than starting this year at age 5, she'll start next year at age 6.
Today, Mister Atlanta asked me about my moving plans because I had previously intended to move to Atlanta to send my daughter to a public Montessori, and feel less homesick for the Twin Cities.
My plans to move to Atlanta got put on hold last year when my job began going south. I hadn't even given it much thought until today when Mr. A brought it up.
I can move to Atlanta. I can get a car and start driving.
I can have a social life.
All of this isolation right now? It's temporary. Sometimes, I forget that. And lately, I have forgotten how close I am to the life I want.
One of the things I love so much about Mister Atlanta is the way I forget my fatness when we are together. With him, I am fully human. Fully beautiful. Fully worthwhile.
I am free to simply be.
During our coffee date, Mister Atlanta reiterated his desire for me to meet all of his friends. He told me his life was much less complicated now that his former primary partner had moved out. And then he mentioned how he would like to nest with someone actually interested in building a life together and helping each other.
To be perfectly honest, I have long had concerns about Mister Atlanta's primary partner simply because he always seemed stressed about their relationship. But I knew he needed time to sort out his shit and heal his own heart.
And so, I've always left a door open for him just in case the stars would align for us to spend more time together. Of course, I haven't pined for him. I began building my new life last spring by focusing on my writing, and now it turns out that I'm earning enough money to move closer to Mister Atlanta and enjoy the perks of city living.
I came home from our coffee date as a new woman. I spoke to my mother about my plans to move and how she would probably have an easier time in the bigger city. I probably talked more in one afternoon than most months.
What was I feeling? Oh, happy. I am happy and hopeful to be making plans for my new life.
See, I don't know if things will "pan out" for me and Mister Atlanta, but I do know that with whomever I wind up (seriously) dating, I'll be standing on my own two feet.
I know I'm going to get my weight and body issues under control. I know this because it occurred to me today that my weight always peaks when I am lonely and isolated.
Naturally, I stick to healthier habits when I feel connected and loved. When I have a social life.
And I am going to have a social life again.
My lease is up in October.
This is how writing is changing me. It's not just paying the bills and making it possible to survive the daily grind. It's giving me the hope to make plans to truly better my life.
Less than a year ago, I decided I would write a new future for me and my daughter. I didn't know how. I couldn't describe what it would look like. All I knew was that I would try. And I would simply hope for something better.
Today I realized that better is already here. And better is coming. Every day that I keep writing and refuse to quit. Every month that I put more money into savings and make plans for my future. For the car. For the move. For friends.
I am so close to living a life I love that I can taste it.
For years now, I have been beating myself up about my body and weight... and it's so unnecessary. I have a fucking future. I am building it every day that I write. My isolation isn't forever.
And I am going to be okay.