Note about this letter: This is a surprise combo anniversary / Valentine's gift for my husband. Since I'm not the best at picking out gifts, I thought a simple letter would should my appreciation best.
I bet you didn't think you'd marry a girl with a blog, who talks about love of self and body-image, nor that you'd become a pillar in her life and through the relationship's strength, make everything she does personally and professionally come alive.
I really wanted to write you some kind of love letter for years now, but every time I began, I stopped because it never felt good enough. One day when we're old, I will show you all the scraps of paper of letters started, but never finished. But I've let go of needing to say it perfect... because I intend to keep writing you love letters imperfectly, until I'm no longer able to write.
I write to you here in the only way I know how to -- stream of consciousness and removing my head from the conversation, leading with my heart.
While scrolling through my Facebook feed, avoiding and checking out of work I had to do, I saw someone post an excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love, a book I did not read nor had any interest in ever reading.
But I read the passage because the first word I saw was soul mate:
"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master..." ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
After reading it, I couldn't help but flash back to a moment while laying in bed in the dark, during one of our thousands now (we've know each other for 2,214 days, by the way) late-night conversations about life, the universe, our darkest selves, dreams and fear. I confessed to you that I thought I had everything figured out; knew who I was, what I was capable of, what to expect from love -- that is - until I met you.
My exact words were "You threw a wrench in my system."
You replied "Thank you."
Before we moved in together I was scared. I let all those "living in sin" warnings get into my head, that somehow joining our lives together before being married would lead to my demise. I believed all I love eventually leaves. That I would lose myself, lose our love, and be a failure. But instead of being offended by my fears, you let me have them and promised to loved me. You have constantly let me talk about my fears; you embrace them and me and have never once judged the baggage I carry. I realized you're the one who will teach me the depths of love, and I know through you, I will learn everything I need to know about myself.
I feel beautiful with you, fresh and alive. For years I allowed my body struggles to define my worth and felt lonely, cold, and sad -- praying to be someone else with a better body. The year I spent devoted to re-writing my own rules on love was the very same year I met you -- I find no odd coincidence in that. You called me beautiful from the start and you make me feel sexy and desired. My body is cherished by you as you so often say "I think you're adorable because it's you."
With you, I am simultaneously a fiercely independent, headstrong woman who feels supported and encouraged to remain so. I know of no other man who so passionately believes that the strength of his wife leads to the strength of his own life. Both you and I are now pursuing our own passions with a seamless sense of togetherness and mutual encouragement, respect and admiration for each others paths.
And I see so fully your path, just as you so beautifully can see mine. I love how we admire who we are today and believe in the promise of who we will become.
I really didn't want to write some sappy love-letter but with you, it's impossible not to. And within the six years being together, never once have I felt like I wanted to be apart from you. I don't mean this in a needy way, but like how the ocean and tide are joined together.
But I will tell you something I wrote about love when I was 11-years-old, when I started philosophizing on life, dreaming of the future and trying to understand why some people fall in love and how to not lose yourself in the process. (My teachers called me an "old-soul" because so many of my essays and reports went down this type of road. I guess that's when I really started More To Love)
From what I remember, it went like this:
"I do not understand why anyone would want to become one with another person. I do not want that. In Church, they use the flame becoming one to show love. But I think it's not like that. I want my love some day to keep my flame bright and shelter it with his hand when it gets too windy. And I want to do that for his flame too. I think two flames are better than one - you see more. He will love me for my flame and vow to keep it safe. And I'll do that too."
I tried to make the above come about during our off-the-cuff- wedding vows, but in the moment all I could think about was how happy I was to be marrying you. My dear husband, you are what my dream of true-love is. You are the hand that shelters my flame, making sure it never burns out when the winds get too strong. And you let it burn so brightly, trusting I can light my own path. And when we first met, I think I felt your flame and that's why I reached out to hug you even though were were total strangers. You drew me in -- I felt it.
Everyday, I feel it.
Follow Rachel O'h-Uiginn Estapa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RachelEstapa