Not a First Date, a First Journey

During the cold winter months I noticed this beautiful red headed man sitting across a room from me. He dropped his books. I eagerly jumped up to the rescue to help him and I hoped he would gaze into my deep brown eyes and realize I was the woman he had been looking for his whole life.

Instead he did not even notice my presence and kept a stoic face. At that moment my crush crushed me and I forgot about him as spring sprung. I grew focus on my yoga practice, writing,  and embarked on my first trip to the West Coast. For my birthday, my best friend, Matt, gave me the best gift: to see the San Francisco Bay and show me what a real healthy relationship looked like. For 26 years I endured a lot of trauma, made a lot of mistakes, and nothing healthy came of any relationship I was in. At that time, in San Fransisco, I was in a relationship and was nowhere nearcommitted while  desperately trying to find out what I wanted. One day I went for a stroll and my sunglasses dropped in the San Francisco Bay.  My utopia of running away to California came to a startling halt. The happiness and love I was searching for would only be found within me. My tears fell into the bay and cleansed my soul. I knew I needed to start something new when I came back to Nashville.

I heard a man share some insight about how we will never get what we want if we are too fearful to even try. Instead we settle and end up with a shitty life. Trust. Trust yourself. Trust the universe. Just let yourself have what you deserve. I knew I would never be with someone like that beautiful redhead if I never gave myself a chance. After a sweat lodge, and ending my relationship that was going nowhere, I reclaimed my voice. And there was no turning back. I pedaled my way near his path. Literally & Metaphorically.

Again I noticedhim week after week and thought he was breathtaking but he would never fancy a girl with messy hair who was always running late from a yoga class with a jerky boyfriend who could care less about her. Not to mention thetwo suitcases of baggage that were heavy on her back and heart.

I noticed he had a dragon fly tattoo. A symbol of change, transformation. I have written about them with the southern sun caressingmy face my first summer here. I knew he was special. I just didn’t realize that I was too.

So I decided to vomit vulnerability and be awkward and be myself and just expose myself. I became naked with all my clothes on in front of a man that was a model in my eyes. He was so beautiful &  dreamy in the cliché of all clichés. And me, well I was imperfect in every way, which maybe that was beautiful for him to see--someone be so brazen and bold with their scratched up scarred soul. I biked home that first night after sharing a deep conversation with him and was trying not to kick myself for being so  weird and absurd.  I doubted he even gave me a second thought.

“Will you paint by a fire with me?” I asked him like I was a kindergarten wanting to eat glue with her new friend she found on the playground.  He declined that offer which now I am so relieved because our first “hang out” could not have been more magical.

A day later he asked me to go to Rock Island State Park with him. I had no idea where that was but I ended up being in a car with him for hours with my cucumber water and his peanut butter cheese crackers.  We embarked on a mission to find a place to cliff jump. We got lost in a home town city where we shared ice tea together. ( a year later we would come back and do the same). We asked everyone where to cliff jump and were told to go behind DC Tires and we would find a place with a rope swing into the lake.

At the end of the day we were soaked and sunburned. Now what? It was time to part ways and go home. I had never spent a whole day with someone just to have them want to spend more time with me. But he asked, “Want to see a movie with me tonight?” "Sure," I said and walked away. I had no fucking idea if he was serious or just being nice. In my crazy head I did not even think he liked me. He was too beautiful, every freckle was a map I wanted to explore.

After venting to my friendhe sent me a text that he was on his way over. I still did not even change from earlier so I scurried home and threw on bright orange heels and jeans.

After we saw Jurassic Park 3 he drove me home. I had no idea how to say goodbye. So I decided to remain in my style of strange and awkward and shake the man’s hand after spending a whole day with him. He looked me in the face and laughed. Then gently touched my chin to grow closer to his. Our lips locked and my heart has never been the same. He later told me that awkward hand shake was his symbol that he had the okay to attempt to kiss me.

A year later we ate lunch and drank tea after we jumped into that same lake. There was a little black book where people sign their names in there to mark memories. I signed my name and said  I loved a man and will come back here after years of being together. I never thought I would every truly be in love but from the first time I saw him to the first time we explored Tennessee together I knew the south had sucked this northern bell in for good.

We have never had a normal date the whole time we have been together. Our normal is finding river rocks or hiking across state boarders to find a waterfall we haven’t yet seen.  Our best adventures are yet to come. They are just beginning.

-Noel Blackmire.

Noel Marie  Blackmire is a native Jersey Girl with a passion for poetry,painting, people, and plants.  She graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia Pennsylvania with a dual concentration in communication management and public relations.  She was an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Tennessee Economic Council and continues to serve the Nashville  community in other various nonprofit activities and services. Her personal and professional experience made her equipped to help create a statewide resource tool Violence Against Women Resource Center http://www.violenceagainstwomentn.com/resources/index.php . After three years of working for the council, she recognized how important it is to not only improve the economy status, but the emotional and physical wellbeing of women. Practicing yoga and developing new relationships keeps her grounded to help others make a difference. She currently now works as an administrative Assistant at the Environmental Division at the Department of Transportation and writes poetry and hopes to one day publish a novel or two while having a farm of goats.