Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Honest Communication

There's a lot to learn in life. When you're born you learn to look into your parents eyes and trust them, trust that they'll give you everything you need. When you grow into a toddler, you learn to walk and eventually sweet words start to spill out of your tiny mouth. You meet other children and you learn how to share, how to make friends, how to connect with strangers. School comes and you learn how to work, how to study, how to put everything into something that seems pointless all with the hopes that you'll use this stuff eventually (calculus, how I hate you)...

Teenagers learn how to deal with crushes, how to overcome that heartache when the boy, or girl, you have a fluttering heart for decides you're not worth their time. You learn so many things before you're an adult, but nothing can teach you how to love and be loved like experience, like a marriage.

I've been in a really bad marriage. That's no secret. I've been with someone who I didn't love, stayed "for the kids", worked on something that seemed pointless just because it seemed like it was admitting defeat to do anything else. I cried in bed so many nights, knowing I'd made a huge mistake, but not knowing how to get out. Bravery, courage and a lot of broken hearts came out of it, but the most amazing thing happened when I had a chance to step back and look at what I'd been through. I learned from it all. I learned what I wanted, what was important, what I'd done wrong and what I'd done right and I could have fallen apart on the day I served him with divorce papers but I didn't, you guys. I didn't fall apart. Do you know why?  Because for the first time maybe ever, I was listening to my instinct.

I've always had an incredible knowledge of my instinct, the prodding I feel when I'm making a decision, the tickling in the back of my brain that starts sometimes out of the blue. I learned to trust in myself, in my instinctual gifts as a woman, as a daughter of God.

I got into a relationship with the most beautiful man in the world, and it was bliss. Love like I'd never experienced, friendship and adoration that I had only seen in the movies.

But there was baggage. From both sides.

It's not always easy, being blissfully in love. Sometimes we try not to say things we need to say, we keep little things to ourselves so we don't hurt the other person. These things, they just pile up. They start to rot. My Mr. and I, we are so careful with each other's feelings...sometimes we forget that we might have to hurt each other all for the sake of honest communication.

I've been struggling. I've got baggage like you've never seen. Not even in a Louis Vuitton shop, I could beat the crap out of that place with the amount of luggage I carry around. And he's got his own set, boy does he ever. But it's a good thing they match, our baggage. That's because we make it all match.

Seriously, you hear all those people talk about communication and you may say to yourself  "yeah, I know, we're good!  We talk every day!" But listen, people. Do you really?  Do you share the things that you think might hurt the other person?  Even if you know it might blister their heart for a while, do you tell them anyway?

See, when you keep stuff to yourself, even with the best intentions, it builds up. And it gets ugly. And by the time you're living a life full of this leaky, gross, rotting baggage you're carrying around it just stinks up the place. It festers, and yes, these are descriptive words I'm using but just listen to me for a second. The truth, honesty, these things are so important. Yes, it sucks hurting someone you love more than you love yourself, but by hurting yourself with the things you keep inside you hurt them anyway in the process, you miss an important chance to learn from it.

So here's where it leaves're hurting, you've got things you haven't had the courage to tell your significant other in hopes that you won't have to add to their troubles in their life, and then you're both hurt. Rip that bandaid off, guys. Just tear that sucker off. Spill it before it gets ugly. Cleaning up spilled milk right when the glass tips over onto the carpet is a lot easier than cleaning up and de-funkifying rotten, dried, nasty milk on the rug. It's all going to come out anyway, so why not just let it out when it happens?

Don't worry, my Mr. and I are fine. We're better than ever. We're working through the fact that I've got so much baggage and so does he and by trying to protect each other from our internal struggles we've just created new, bigger external struggles. It trickles out and before you know it, it explodes.

So that's where we're at. We're strong. We've always been strong. We're just coming to a point after 10 years of knowing each other where we can just look at how things are done, and make corrections to try to eliminate any pain the other feels, even if it hurts the other one.

I'm loved. I'm blessed. I'm lucky. I'm Mrs. Easley, now and forever. And I wouldn't trade that for anything. Not a single damn thing.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

That's My Story and I'm Stickin' To It...

Once upon a time, ten years ago, there was a girl of 29. She had just moved from the Seattle area to Las Vegas, Nevada with her 4 small children and her estranged husband. One day, her sister told her to get on an American Idol message board to have a battle of words with "some guy who is super funny, but super random" because the girls on there were not keeping up with his wit. She created a profile, naming herself Castaspella, after the He-man and She-Ra character and she entered the Predictions Message Board, where there were people who were predicting the outcome of the current season of American Idol (season 2) and soon enough she found the ever intelligent yet insanely random josh_glass.

And so it began...

A friendship immediately bloomed, and after a year of correspondence, Castaspella and josh_glass were best friends. Castaspella's life was in turmoil and she was in the midst of a difficult but necessary separation and eventual divorce. Months after the divorce was final, the two were wed. Two and a half years of best friendship and support grew into what it is now. The absolutely most amazing, passionate, creative and complete relationship, one that was written in the stars.

Cool story, eh bro?  So this is the man, josh_glass aka Mike as he looked when I met him. He had dreads and was single and young and shy and outgoing and brilliant and wonderful at the same time, and he was beautiful. Just absolutely the most beautiful person I'd ever seen. Seriously. This photo was taken by our incredible friend, the talented Brooks Ayola.

Gorgeous, huh? Holy smokes, those lips, they make me blush! I used to play with those dreads when I was worried, twist them in my fingers when I was scared of the future, hold onto them in the car while he drove when I felt like my life was coming undone, yet he was silent, loving, supportive, stunning.

Shortly before our wedding, he shaved them off. He'd just been baptized into the LDS church and wanted to start a new life with a new look. He shaved his head to the skin, and this is what he looked like for the next few years.

(Taken from the stage where I was shooting Big Boi from Outkast and C-Bone. Can you believe I found him in the crowd of tens of thousands?!?)

Still beautiful, different, more mature, definitely a father and an incredible husband.

Over the years he's grown it out, shaved it off, but never has he had the dreads again. I don't know if I want him to grow them out again or not. I let him decide. It seems like when he's happiest, he lets his hair grow. Right now, it looks like this:

It's the same way it looked when we had Lola, and Oskar:

He's handsome either way but no matter how he looks, this man, he took care of me and my 4 kids when the father of my first 4 children did not. He stepped up to the plate, not even 30 years old and raised these kids. He's been my absolute rock. He is the best listener. He is everything to us.

Oh Mr. Easley, you make me swoon. I freakin' adore you. Like we always say "It's you and me til the wheels fall off..."