Hi there. Since Aly decided to more formally introduce herself, I decided to follow suit and provide a more formal introduction to myself.
Aly was a timid and obedient, southern baptist virgin that hadn’t been kissed until 23. I was a hellion antichrist (raised in a christian home) that had cleared her first 4ft bong in 6th grade and found herself having an abortion at age 16. I’m sure we will cover that latter topic in posts to come…but our paths couldn’t have been more different. We really are opposites to our core – experientially, physically, and in personality.
What we did have in common, however, was the church. Following my very scary abortion, I found Jesus. It happened at a youth rally at the age of 16, and that pivotal day changed my entire course.
From 16 onward, I became a straight laced, little Christian zealot. Here I was going from skipping school and sneaking out of houses and drinking at field parties, to planning worship and prayer sessions in our hallways at school and at our local park. Talk about a 180.
Don’t get me wrong, my time in the church was precious. I am always and forever grateful for the people I met, the friendships I forged, the lessons and experiences that season gave me. But similarly to Aly, that time also came with its own set of negative consequences to a malleable young adult. Basically, the church and its influences were the reason I ended up marrying a man I wasn’t certain of because of the “weight of sin” I felt when we prematurely decided to get our own apartment together. It would be the reason I stayed in the marriage far too long. (However, it would be the reason that adultery finally “freed” us from that marriage.) And that’s not even the full story – there were other traumas and judgements I experienced at the hands of the church which I am sure I’ll be sharing in posts to come. But as I originally said, my time in church WAS precious. It was. First and foremost, it would be the thing that introduced Aly and I over 15 years ago. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
We met at the beginning stages of her learning herself and me questioning everything I had come to know in the church. We were formally introduced through a mutual friend in the church when I expressed interest in applying for ministry work that provided us an apartment rent free. I needed a roomate to do this, and Aly was game… We were awkward. But we each needed a place to live and after we were accepted into the program, we agreed to serve the community together that we now lived in. Little did we know, that we would need to break our commitment and cut our contract short to that ministry due to the severe questioning we had towards our own beliefs in the church, but that is neither here nor there…
While I suspect that Aly and I might divulge some of those details later on, basically, it would be the beginning to a beautiful, awkward, unstable (and yet so stable) bond. We survived these past 15 years because of the work we have both put into it, although we almost called it quits on each other thrice. But we made it. Stronger than ever, we have made it. And I am almost positive now, nothing can tear us apart. Opposites and all.
During the past 15 years, I went through a mini-life existential crisis while Aly went through a life excavation. Together we had some pretty knarly experiences: Leaving the church, divorces, drinking, partying, tears, laughter, more drinking, hoodoo exploration, traveling, muay thai, more drinking, new boyfriends, and just the overall trials of navigating Dallas together as young 20 somethings (while drinking)… It’s the stuff of movies – the coming of age kind. And she’s right – we are opposites to our core. Everything about us shouldn’t have worked, and yet, here we are.
What I have learned from Aly is love and context. I used to be so very black and white about my beliefs before knowing her. But since knowing her, I have learned how beautiful and impactful all the context found in the grey can be. She taught me a love through many avenues: communication, vulnerability, & compassion. She has taught me a level of compassion towards others in their suffering that brings me to my knees. I still can’t watch someone breakdown in tears on TV without waterworks spewing from my own eyes. And that is because she taught me to see people in their pain and confusion and to see there is a deep underlying story that matters. She taught me to see affairs not as something that is just a blanket wrong, but that is actually indicative of deeper issues in the relationship that just end up playing out in an affair. She has taught me that communication is foundational to love. And that vulnerability provides context and a gateway to communication.
I don’t know who I’d be without this soul in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without her ability to help me see the grey and seek for deeper context to someone else’s, or even my own, life story. I don’t know what I’d do without the living example of love she has given me. Her compassion means that even if she hates me at the moment, she’ll hear me out when I come to her in vulnerability. Her compassion means that even if I am harsh or cruel, she’ll come to me in vulnerability and let me know how I hurt her and we can have a beautifully, emotional yet rational discussion on how we got there and what is happening in the other person’s’ head and heart. Her compassion means that I know at my darkest of hours, she will ruthlessly find a way to be present for me (and vice versa). She’s one of the first people I want to call when good things happen, and she’s one of the first people I call when shit hits the fan. But she’s the person that gets all the in-between as well.
So really, I can thank her for helping me find the thing in life that gives me the greatest pleasure – to help people feel loved, where they are, and encourage them to pick up the unraveled mess and press on. She’s a big reason I am able to press on and work shit out in other relationships in my life. We all walk with a limp, and Aly teaches me how to lean on another to help get down the path. She’s helps me find the love in my truth, and the context to my chaos.
So here we are. 15 years later where we now write on our blog with the hope to help and encourage any readers who feel the need to skip the fluff, and walk with their gimp tribe. We are here to hear your context and offer you love.