It’s time for a guest post, you guys. I haven’t had one in a while and it is high time I share the voices of some pretty bad ass, inspiring women who I consider elders – whether they are older than me or not. My theme for April is all about elder wisdom; and the women that I am going to share with you throughout the month have all tapped into their elder spirit and offer us so much wisdom on things like love, faith, strength, and overcoming it all in order to live that they want to live. And today I’m like to introduce to you a woman who is achieving a dream that I have for myself…
So join me in welcoming Miriam to the blog! A bad ass lady who’s got her first book coming out in June! Wooooo! In this post, she’s sharing a little excerpt from her memoir (Ooo… does she call it a memoir. I don’t know!) and her story inspires me to take whatever path I know my heart is leading me toward. No matter what.
Alright, you guys. Get ready to hear a little bit of one crazy awesome love story!
I was 15, sitting on my parents’ bed and sobbing my eyes out. “I don’t love him,” I cried to my mom. “I don’t want to be with him.” I was talking about Harry, my friend, a 19-year old guy who had been hanging around me for months. He was a friend of the family, but he clearly wanted to be my boyfriend. I clearly did not. I didn’t have any of the giddy, butterflies-in-my-stomach feelings I imagined one would have when being in love. On the contrary, the thought of kissing him made me feel queasy. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want to see him any more, because I wasn’t in love with him. It was then that my mom told me something that shook my world to its core.
“Love doesn’t exist, Miriam,” she said. “It’s the invention of songwriters and movie makers. They use it to sell their products. Love is an illusion. It doesn’t exist.”
I stared at her, speechless. “But, but – what about you and dad?” I finally managed. “Don’t you love him?” The thought horrified me. Was everything I believed a lie? She explained that they had an adult, trusting relationship. That they respected and honored each other. They were each other’s person. I was relieved, but still confused. What about love?
I told Harry how I felt two weeks later. He didn’t take it well, and made a grand, angry exit. My family was mad at me, because he stopped coming around our house. But I felt lighter than I had in months. Despite the disturbing news that love may not be real – I knew when something didn’t feel right.
To my immense relief and joy, I fell in love for real six months later. Bernd became my first boyfriend, and we stayed together for over two years. Not only was he my first love, he also was proof that love did exist! The butterflies were real! Our relationship was an easy, romantic one, and my faith in love was restored.
After Bernd there was Mark. My second true love. He was – and still is – one of the nicest guys I have ever met, and him and I became inseparable. He was my soulmate, my second half, my best friend. I thought he was The One. But we were so young, and after two-and-a-half years, it became clear that we wanted different things in life. We both cried when I ended it, but I knew that it was the right thing to do.
For the next two years, I was single. I tried to play around, but I quickly learnt that I wasn’t cut out for one-night-stands or being friends-with-benefits. I was relationship-girl. But I also was a hopeless romantic who believed in love, and I didn’t want just anyone – I wanted The One.
If you would have asked me what he looked like, I would have said something like this: tall, broad, great sense of humour, adventurous, kind, generous, loves animals, likes to travel, makes me laugh. In the age bracket, I would have ticked the box that said “5-10 years older”.
During that time, my heart was broken, in a pretty spectacular manner. It was the wrong guy, and I wanted him for the wrong reasons. But I didn’t see it then. All I saw was that he ghosted me (long before we had a word for it), and that he started dating my sister behind my back. And when they moved into the house across from ours, and he started working in my parents’ business, and my sister became pregnant with his baby, and my dad told me excitedly that they were getting married – I had to run away. He had infiltrated every aspect of my life, and I couldn’t take it any more.
I went as far away as I dared: to Canada, the land of my dreams. And that’s where my story really begins.
Until then, love had first been easy, and then devastating. It had soothed my fragile ego, and then torn it down. I was bruised and left with no self-esteem, unsure of whether I would ever dare to give myself up to love again.
And then I met him. The man who would turn my world upside down and change it – and me – forever.
Richard was handsome, adventurous, kind, and generous. He made me laugh. He made me feel wildly sexy, something I had never felt in my life. He made me feel special. He made me believe in love at first sight, something I was convinced didn’t exist, because I had never experienced it before. He was a man who was not afraid to tell you how he feels, and what he told me was this: “Miriam, I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
I should have been in heaven, right? This was as good as it gets, right? Wrong. He told me this after three days together. Three.days. Surely, he didn’t mean it? It couldn’t be true, could it?
Because here is the other problem I haven’t told you yet: he was married. He had four children. And he was 25 years older than me.
What’s a girl to do? I knew what the right thing was: walk away. It was a no-brainer. There was a fork in the road, with the easiest choice to make, ever: right or wrong.
But there was this man, who made my heart beat faster, who had told me everything about his life during those three days, who said all the things you are not supposed to believe: that he and his wife didn’t love each other any more; that he had never felt about another woman the way he felt about me; that I was The One for him.
Could I believe him? Should I believe him? A thousand different voices in my head told me to walk away. To not get involved. To do the right thing. But was breaking this man’s and my heart really the right thing?
Because my heart knew what it wanted, for the first time in its life: it wanted this man. This love. This future he promised me. It told me that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t give us a chance. Could I trust my heart? Did I know better than my head?
But even if I wanted to give us a try, there was yet another problem: he lived in Canada, I lived in Germany. How was that going to work?
In the end, I chose love. I dropped out of college, packed a suitcase, and moved to Canada to be with him.
It was the scariest thing I have ever done.
I got to know his kids.
He got a divorce.
We got married.
We faced a lot of prejudice together and endured countless “cradle-robber/gold-digger”-jokes.
But it was the best thing we ever did.
We have been together for 15 years. Loving Richard and being loved by him feels as natural and simple as breathing. He taught me that trusting your instincts and believing in yourself won’t lead you astray. He believed in me – in us – long before I was able to. His love was strong enough for us both, until I was able to trust my heart.
He taught me that love is real.
Thanks so much to Miriam for sharing her story, both here + in her upcoming book! There’s so much wisdom to be found in her words + in her determination to believe that real love is out there. And to do what her soul knows is right… no matter what any one else might think. What an inspiration to follow our hearts, even when it’s not normal!
Let’s Pretend This Is Normal will be out on June 5, but you can preorder your copy right here!