The first time a boy ever told me he loved me I was in the 7th grade. His name was Brian Andula. He was the boy that always wore sweatpants. Navy blue sweatpants. He had medium brown hair shaped into a mullet. He raised his hand often, and when called upon would freeze up and say nothing at all. But yet, god bless him, he kept on raising his hand.
I knew that he liked me, he’d get all nervous around me, and I, being the nice person that I am, tend to become a bit of a muse for boys who in the 7th grade, are still wearing sweatpants. In other words, my kindness can be interpreted as a crush….when really, I just think that someone should say hello to the kid with the mullet.
Kinda like thinking you’re going to lose your virginity on prom night, milestones get all sorts of misguided in those teenage years. Those awkward teenage years. Yikes. Cut to valentines day 1991, 7th period, which was the last period of the day. Brian walks over to me and after saying about 10 things in a row, all unrelated, he then stuffs a giant pink card in my hands. Like the kinda card that cost 6.99 vs 2.99: baller-status.
He also hands me a small package wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. I looked down, then looked up, looked down again, and everyone has kinda gathered to watch. I open the package and it’s the entire Warren G album on tape. The big song off that tape if you’ll remember is ‘regulators’ which lord help me, why oh why a group of suburban 7th grade white kids would identify with rapping.
‘reeeeeggguuulllaaattttooooorrrrrs! Mount up!’ — but we did, and I can still sing every word to that song.
Anyway, this was kind of a big deal because it had a parental advisory, which means he either a) stole it b) got someone to buy it for him. So a pretty solid gift all in all. And then I opened the card.
About one million tiny plastic hearts flew from the card and fell slowly to the ground. ‘Oh god’, I thought, ‘this is bad.’ And since this card had so much freaking surface area, Brian just spilled his guts, just full on confession. The word love at least 42 times.
I was MORTIFIED. Mortified is really only a word you get to use while you are still a teenager and managing teenage hormones. And boy did it fit. Anyone who knows me well or even for about 2 minutes knows I cannot manage my facial expressions. At all. This has actually gotten better over the years so you can imagine how this all went down.
I tried to stuff the card and tape into my back pack, the little plastic hearts which seemed to be multiplying were everywhere. I realized that all my kind hellos and sandwich trades at lunch had gotten very very mixed up.
I offered a high pitched thank you! Regulators, yeah! Thank you! What a great song. ‘I saw some brothas shootin dice and I said what’s up!’—
‘I love you’ he says.
I stare back.
‘But I love you’ he says again to my silence, standing there in his navy blue sweatpants
And I, realizing at this point that singing regulators is really not going to work as an exit plan, do the only other thing I can think to do. So I say.
‘thanks! Thank you! Thanks so much!’
‘thank you?’ he says.
And I continue to thank him as though I had just won a blender or something else as non descript as that. Shortly after, I run.
‘see ya tomorrow!’ ‘regulatooooooors!!’ (it just seemed like the right way to go out)
And so began the adventures of Lyndsey and Love. And though I wont go into them all. They all kind of play out the same. Boy loves girl. Boy says it out loud. Girl says something absolutely ridiculous in return. And runs.
There was the time my sophomore year of college where a sweet boy with kind eyes said it to me in a summer rain storm as we walked outside. It was a very Ryan Gosling minus the canoe, and well, a lake. But all the same, it coulda been pretty awesome. But I cant say things I don’t mean. And so he says it, and I say ‘oh wow, that’s nice’ And then I smiled, I tried to smile as kindly as possible. And I could kind of see his heart falling to the ground at that point, and I made up some crap about a math test, and needing to study, and we both knew I wasn’t even taking a math course that semester, and that was about that.
There was the time in grad school, when my boyfriend took me out to this absolutely amazing dinner. It was like an 8 course dinner, with a wine pairing on each course. Anyway, he seemed to be doing okay, but I was HAMMERED. Like if you had asked me, I would have told you that I was out to dinner with 2 if not 3 of him that night because I couldn’t see straight. At about course 5 he blurts this out, ‘LYNDSEY FRYER I LOVE YOU!!!!!’ And since I am so drunk I don’t know if I should do the YMCA, or say it back, so I say it back with GUSTO. And well, I honestly do believe I was in love, that we were in love, but it was a very fleeting, semi-crazy, always interesting, never-want-to-repeat-that-again kind of relationship. But its what I knew of love at that point of my life.
And then, oh man, there was the guy I dated for quite some time…he came onto the scene right as yoga was becoming a huge part of my life. So good lord, I was in like self-discovery central, but in matters of love I still preferred to fly solo. Still a bit too hurt, and a whole lot unlovable, hot mess? Oh yes. Sure was. I still think that this one particular person taught me about a lifetime of love in just a few years, for this, I will always be so grateful that our paths crossed for as long as they did. But we’re coming back from snowboarding one winter Sunday. And the energy in the car just got all crazy feeling, and I look over at him, and we’re in the parking lot, and I’m all ‘dammit, he’s going to say it’ and sure enough he goes ‘Lyndsey, I—-‘
And I, in my panic do this. I put my hand over his mouth. Well more like my giant snowboarding glove. And I see his big blue eyes grow even bigger and I gently remove my glove and he’s like.
‘Oh my god, Lyndsey, I love— and before I can run out of the car and hitchhike home, he says, ‘you’. ‘Lyndsey, I love you’. And then I just started to sob. My own heart was breaking because here was this beautiful amazing human being sharing with me that he loved me, and I couldn’t say it back.
Just what every man wants, the woman he loves to start sobbing after he tells her he loves her.
It was a looooong ride home. And we continued to see each other a bit longer. But we both knew I was broken and it was never going to work. Growing up the words I love you were used in a way to mend fights, to create alliances, and to break them down. They were given to me as tokens of apology when everyone in our house knew, things had gone too far. It’s not a path or a past I like to revisit because I’ve healed there, and it’s no longer dark. But I do know that it took me a while, and so many examples of love to know that love is indeed the most beautiful thing in this whole wide world. No matter how you grew up, almost every single kid grows up a part of them not believing in love, or their worthiness to it.
I’m not confused about my worth anymore. Honestly, it’s been just in I’d say the past 2-3 years where I can really stand in that, this is where the healing has happened most of all. And because of this, my life is filled with love. My cup runneth over : ) And now, these days, it’s not uncommon that when you call me on the phone, or see me coming down the street, or into a room, even before I say hello, I’ll shout ‘I LOVE YOU!’ And then I’ll say hello. It might sound like this ‘Ahhh! I love you! Hi!!!’ – pretty common. And it feels so damn good.
People. Heal where you must so you can love. It’s so worth it.
I knew I was in a place to welcome love and partnership into my life. Being and living in Kenya was what really brought that message home to me. Never have I ever experienced such joy and love as I did there. I worked through some residual feelings of not feeling worth love…and well, I still work through those feelings sometimes, but that’s okay. Because I am what they call, a human being.
And then, enter stage left, Paul.
Coming in at 6 foot 2, messy brown hair, blue green eyes, a beard, and the kindest spirit imaginable…Paul.
You have all seen Paul at this point, the ridiculously handsome man frequenting my facebook and instagram feeds. I have turned into that girl who cant help but to share with the world the warmth and awesomeness of this amazing relationship. And I am totally cool with being ‘that girl.’ I now have a new understanding…for ‘that girl.’
On our very first date over a cold pint of beer and lots of laughs, I knew then that one day, this man and I would fall in love, I knew that we were falling in love on that very first date. Now everyone who has ever told me ‘you just know’ ugggghhhhh, those words would really piss me off, BAD. Because I was dating all sorts of amazing people, but it just never felt quite right. Circle in a square syndrome. Good enough, smart enough, kind enough, etc etc…but I have not come this far in my life for anything to be just good enough, I refuse. And I firmly believe that you cannot hold people back from being amazing, and if you are not amazing in your relationship, then what the hell are you doing. With the 8 billion people on the planet, that person in your life that you love ‘enough’ someone else on this planet might love them times one million: let them.
In the past few weeks, the words I love you, kept almost escaping from my mouth at the end our conversations, especially over the phone. Or the last kiss for the night. Part of me was like, just say it! Be vulnerable! What would Brene Brown do! Say it!!! But I was still a bit too afraid. Part of me just couldn’t deal with what I would do if he didn’t say it back.
And then. Just a few nights ago, over frozen yogurt. We’re sitting there leaned in kinda close, and he’s holding my hands, which is kind of making me sad cause then I cant be eating the frozen yogurt, but we had had a pretty big few days of talking over a few things. And even though the topics weren’t simple, I didn’t want to run. (well, kinda) but not enough to actually lace up. I wanted to stay by Pauls side and figure out how to move forward. And so we’re leaned in all close talking and smiling, and I am getting lost in the way his eyes twinkle (they really do) and my whole body is relaxing to how amazing this man is, and how wonderful life is, and how much I really want to eat that gummy worm that’s just down there in the cup…and then he says.
‘Lyndsey. I love you’
And I feel like I’m going to pass out. But I don’t. Instead I say this.
‘What’s that now?’
Yep. That’s right. This handsome, intelligent, amazing boyfriend of mine shares with me he loves me and I say 3 words back
‘whats. that. now’ question mark.
And then I immediately begin to laugh because I realize what I have said, and as I’m laughing, like my whole entire body most especially my heart says it back.
I love you too.
I love you too.
(hahaha, heee hee, snort snort) I love you too.
And then we stared all googly eyed at each other and kept saying it, like 2 foreign exchange students practicing our English and it was awesome.
So yes. I am in love. Like I want to write a song about it kinda love. Like I want to talk to strangers about it kinda love. Like I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet to have found a love like this.
I got us a bottle of champagne and he packed us a picnic and off we went to the ocean yesterday to celebrate love. Our love. And as we’re sitting there yesterday side by side in a blanket, not saying a whole lot, my heart felt so light. Like I’m finally figuring it out. Finally letting in the love. And the more I let it in here, the more I let it in everywhere. It’s showing up the opportunities coming down the pike for work. It showed up in finding a home in an amazing yoga studio here in CA. It’s showing up in the quality of my relationships…everywhere.
The past few months of falling in love with Paul have subsequently been a few of the craziest months of my whole life, lots of transitions and wondering…but he’s been my anchor, and my lighthouse all at once.
Love will do that you know. If you let it.
It took me letting go of the bigger feeling that I didn’t deserve love or that I was unlovable to bring into my world an amazing partner.
You deserve love. Not just a kind of love. Not just a good enough love. The best love. Your favorite love.
There may be an area of your life that you have not yet healed, I know, because I had lots of those, still do. But I’m here to share with you that no one can do the work for you. Get in there, get messy, get to loving people.
Don’t waste one more single second.