Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?

For me, 2016 was a year for personal growth. I crossed oceans and moved mountains in 2016. I tore my life down to the metaphorical studs and started to rebuild from the ground up. I’ve been told that Rome wasn’t built in a day though and the truth can be said about becoming the independent, happy and satisfied woman that I want to be. It takes time and hard work. Not just for the tangible things like loosing weight or making the apartment feel like home but changing how you think or view things, situations and people.

I’m still seeing that someone new. Moving forward I’m going to refer to him as Luke. (Not His Real Name) Things are slow moving but they’re still good. I’ve realized that dealing with my former husband and the demise of our marriage that I’ve been having a hard time trusting men that I want to be romantically involved with. Being left out of the blue and then lead on for almost two years can apparently shatter your self esteem and give you major trust issues.

He’s busy with work, hockey, and being incredibly hands on with his kids but he always manages to fit me in, even if it’s just a short visit. Slowly but surely I’m getting comfortable with letting my guard down. I may go for a few days without hearing from him but he always resurfaces. I’m starting to let myself believe that things are going well and that maybe he’s not full of shit like my former husband. Before Luke, I hadn’t really dated anyone. I was a relationship girl. I’m a fish out of water learning to stand. It’s a scary but fun experience.

Sunday night he messaged last minute asking if he could stop by for a quick visit before hockey. I had just gotten home from a public swim with my sister and her kids though. I hadn’t had time to shower and was a little nervous that I smelt like chlorine. I always smell nice, it’s kind of my thing. He joked about loving the smell and that he probably smelled like oranges. I cuddle into his chest like I always do and realize that he actually did smell like oranges.

In case you haven’t noticed I’m a bit of a talker. I can be random and tend to babble and speak rather quickly. I also feel the need to vocalize what I’m thinking before actually taking the time to decide whether it’s a smart idea. So, being the adorably awkward girl that I am I vocalize that he actually does smell like oranges. I then begin to babble about how I don’t actually like oranges or orange juice with the exception of blood oranges and how amazing blood oranges are. He mentions that he’s never tried one before but his mom often has them.  I realize I’m babbling and the 30 second conversation about my distaste for citrus ends with some kissing.

Monday he messages shortly after I get home from work and asks if I’d like some company. Turns out he’s already here. He comes up to my little apartment and lets himself in as he usually does and tells me he has something for me. With a bit of a smirk he pulls an orange out of his pocket and hands it to me. I instantly turn to mush as I realize that this isn’t just an orange but a blood orange. A sweet and delicious blood orange that I had awkwardly rambled about the night before.

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I get it, it’s just an orange… but in actuality it’s so much more. Although small and simple this was a gift. He thought about me out and about in his every day life. The goal was to put a smile on my face and wasn’t to get my panties on the floor… because if we’re being honest he doesn’t need to come baring gifts for that to happen. We’ve been seeing each other for six months now. We’ve been sleeping together for six months now, although we’ve know each other longer than that. I don’t think he realizes that.

I put the orange in the fridge and we spent the next five hours cuddling in my bed with the last hour of that watching a show he introduced me too while laughing and eating pop corn and oreos. I had to skip my 8pm gym date with my sister but as far as Monday’s go I think mine was pretty amazing. Although not a huge pet guy he was sure to make the effort to give the dogs some love and tell me that although dogs could be dumb mine were pretty exceptional.

For the first time in a long time I’m envisioning my future with a partner when I had previously been adamant that I was going to be on my own and independent for the rest of my life. It’s still blurry but I think I might be able to see something with Luke. I care about him. I want him around more and I think he just might feel similarly too. This is a lot to take from one little orange but it was adorable and I swooned harder than I’d ever swooned before. It’s a step in the right direction.

I’ve made the choice to no longer be active on dating sites. I haven’t gone out with anyone other than Luke in a long time but we weren’t serious. We were more of a friends with benefits thing by his choice. I figured it couldn’t hurt to keep him around until I found someone I could see a future with. I didn’t expect that maybe that person might be him. I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I didn’t think that duck buddies spents hours in bed cuddling without hooking up, something that we’ve been doing often… or going on dates or giving oranges. I realized that if he stopped coming around or was seeing someone else I’d be heart broken. I unknowingly put my heart on the line.  In the best interest of my already damaged heart I figured I owed it to myself to give what ever this is the chance it deserved.

I’ve also decided that I am no longer an option for my former husband. Even as you read this he still tells me that he doesn’t want this to be finished yet. That he still wants me. He still calls and messages and has yet to pick up his personal belongings that he insists I can’t throw out and that he still wants… even though he will have been gone two years at the end of April, and I’ve had boxed up in my new apartment for the past six months. I’ve been putting on a brave face and telling everyone that I’ve grown and that he doesn’t deserve me but secretly I’ve more than entertained the idea of welcoming my former husband home with open arms no questions asked. For the first time in almost two years I can honestly say that I’m better off and am not lying to myself. I’m giving him until the end of the week to get his belongings and then they are going to the curb. Even if things stopped progressing with Luke I still deserve better than everything he’s put me through.

The goal going into 2017 was to make this year awesome. I wanted to embrace and celebrate all of the changes and hard work I had done. I want to kick back and let loose. This my last year as a twenty something and I wanted to make it count. This is my fresh start and I want to make the best of it. It’s now the last day of January and I’ve already gotten all of my finances on track and bills current. I’ve committed to eating better and more frequently as well as regular trips to the gym to continue loosing weight. One of my best friends is moving back to Canada and we’ve already planned a road trip for my Birthday in March. I’ve found the courage to push forward and try for what I deserve, a relationship where I am valued and respected.

I had never thought that a citrus based fruit could be so life changing. It just looks like a run of the mill orange. You peel it though and it’s a beautiful unique colour. It’s sweet tasting. It’s different. I’m starting to feel silly for using an orange as symbolism for my life… but it’s a pretty cute orange. All I know is that this orange helped to put me back on track. This orange reminded me that I am worth a boat load more than I had thought and that I needed to stick with my original plan for 2017. I’m going to make it my bitch.

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