“Serendipity; true love. Finding something beautiful without looking for it.”
Have you ever told yourself a story and then spent so many years living out that story that you started believing it? Started to live it, just to prove yourself right? These stories can be self sabotaging and hold you back from possibilities, situations, people and opportunities.
Throughout my life I have told myself two pretty big stories. Story one is that I would always be alone and this was a choice that I actively made. I told myself that I wasn’t worthy of love, that I was too much hard work or so damaged by my past that no one would love me. I was also shit scared that if I opened myself up to love I would be hurt, rejected and my story would come true. So it was easier to choose to be alone than to be alone because no one ‘wanted’ me. I wore being single as almost like a badge, being proud that I didn’t need anyone and that I was happy and living my best life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was happy, mostly, with my relationship status. There were definitely times that it was hard being single – going to weddings and other celebrations on my own, not spending occasions like Christmas with a special someone. But generally I really enjoyed my own company, having the freedom to do what I wanted without having to consider another person, not having to make compromises. I was super set in my ways (I still am to a large degree), and thought this characteristic made it impossible to share my life with someone else.
The second big story that I told myself was around my sexuality. I had always been physically attracted to men, but also been fearful of them (that’s a whole other story related to a childhood experience). I had never been in a relationship; just casual dating and then self sabotaging and being alone again. About 5 or so years ago (at the ripe old age of 40) I started being attracted to women. These feelings had shifted from one of admiration and aspirational to one of attractiveness. I think a lot of people in my life probably suspected that I was gay based on how I looked, dressed and did my hair. But I never explicitly made any public or even private statement about my sexuality; I was single and was always going to be so there was no need to say anything. I just let people make their own conclusions.
Stories can be so powerful. Most of us have grown up with stories in books and movies. We are even taught life lessons, how to treat others and how to be a better person from watching/reading these stories.
But these stories don’t have to be true or lived out. We can take back the power and it’s never too late to do so. So, this is where my new story starts; the story that I am loveable, able to love another person and I’m gay and proud to say so. And the person who helped me to tell this story is Amanda…
Both Amanda and I were living our lives independently; both choosing for different reasons to be alone forever. So how did we find each other?? The magic of music, a bike that goes nowhere and a mutual friend that led to our first meeting. I’m a fitness instructor working at a boutique fitness studio in Perth, Western Australia. I teach a class called Rhythm Ride, which is essentially a fitness class on a bike led by amazing music. Amanda was invited to one of my classes by a colleague of hers and came along. I had seen Amanda running past the studio for a few weeks (little did I know she’d seen me walking up and down our local strip for months).
After class I received the most special message from Amanda via the studio – “Hey! I’m buzzing. I literally had the best morning at your studio. Jacinta has the most awesome energy and made me feel super comfortable. I can put into words how great it was. I might ditch my running routine and hit up ride instead. I will 100% be back for sure. Thank you guys so much!”
It’s not everyday I get this kind of feedback, so it certainly left me with the warm and fuzzies but to be honest I really didn’t give it another thought…until I randomly met her on the street and we had a 20 sec chat. We went on our way and later that day she asked to follow me on Instagram – cute huh! And now she tells me that she was so nervous and nearly threw her phone across the room. I followed her back, commented on a post she shared and the rest is history, or should I say ‘her-story’.
Over a few weeks we chatted daily, walked our dogs (luckily they got along) and caught up. She came to a few more ride classes and she says she fell in love with me a little more each time – isn’t she the sweetest thing ever! She took me on a date and had the chef prepare a chocolate dessert plate with the words ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’ scribed on it. Of course the answer was yes (I think the couple next to us assumed it was a proposal). It wasn’t long after that that we said the words ‘I love you’ to each other.
After being together for two months, only spending one day apart, we were challenged with a health scare. Amanda had a situation with her heart that led to a hospital visit and a week off work. I moved in and offered to stay and look after her for the week. However, after that week it was clear that things couldn’t go back to how they were and I never went back to my own house. We had woven ourselves into each other’s lives and routines and surely we couldn’t separate the dogs!! They were now siblings. It was clear that we needed to be together; that neither of us had felt this way before about anyone and that this was IT! We were talking about forever.
Around this time Amanda bought a house and after much talking back and forth we decided to move in together officially after only four months of being together. Yes, typical lesbians I know. We were now the stereotype, but we didn’t care. Both of our families and friends loved the other person and were supportive of the decision. We have spent Christmas and birthdays with each other and our families, my nephews love Amanda probably as much as they love me and our family of 6 (including 2 dogs and two cats) is very happy.
So what did I find? Where is the serendipity in this story? Without looking, without expectation I found magic and true love. I found my soulmate, the feeling of being safe and loved. I found my best friend who comforts me, reassures me and loves all of me. I found someone who lets me watch The Project on TV (yes my favourite show), who reminds me that being on my phone all the time isn’t healthy or a productive use of time. I found myself and for the first time I feel beautiful and even sexy. I found my sexuality and someone to guide me through what this new world entails. I found the knowledge that I am loveable and am capable of letting another person see all of me.
So what are your stories? If they’ve been something you’ve told yourself for years, decades even, they don’t have to go along the same trajectory. Remember those Choose your Own Adventure books? Your life is your own adventure. It isn’t pre-determined; the ending hasn’t been written. You have the power to write your own story. So get out the pen and paper (or laptop if you’re not old school like me) and start writing.