A Long Distance Valentine’s Day

Being in a long distance relationship does not come without its challenges. For me, the greatest issue is the emotional pain at being separated, particularly on days of significance for us. The following post is a brief look at how Valentine’s Day 2019 unfolded for me, on the complete opposite side of the globe to the one I love..

 

Yesterday:

7:10 am – I wake and slowly remember that today is Valentine’s Day. We are apart. She is in England and I am in Australia. I daydream for a few moments about the fantastically brilliant time we had over Christmas on her side of the world..

7:20 am- We skype. She asks if I have opened her card that has arrived in a bright red envelope with specific instructions ‘not to open until the 14th’. I confess I have not, refraining from telling her that it will be a bitter sweet moment; her words of love will spill from the card yet she will not be near for me to reach out to hold and return the sentiment. I end up opening the card over skype and we smile and joke lightly about the funny otters on the front..

8:15 am – I decide to put all thoughts of Valentine’s day out of my mind as I go about my day, knowing full well, it is an over-hyped ploy from businesses to draw people in to consuming frivolous tokens of affection..

11:15 am – I return home from running errands to find six long stemmed roses near the front door. They are yellow. Our rose colour. The pit in my stomach returns. Another reminder that we are together, yet so far apart. It is actually incomprehensible to me at times. I feel slightly disappointed to have missed the flower delivery man who seems to be following along with unfiltered joy our tale of love through the scribblings on cards accompanying yellow roses! The flowers come inside and are placed in a vase on the hall stand for all to admire..

12:30 pm – Over lunch I decide to have a social media free day. I can’t bear the thought of endless scrolling over people’s PAL’s (public announcements of love). I am in love! I have a Valentine! She is wonderful in every way! Yet, she is not near. Nope, no scrolling for me. It’s the local paper and a sunny spot outside with the cat today..

12:40 – I cave. I find myself scrolling through Instagram. As suspected every second post is a love heart or broadcast of affection of some sort. Yearning to throw the phone on the ground in frustration and watch it smash into a million pieces, I painfully and gently place it on the table face down..

3:30 pm- Thoughts of her waking up filter into my mind. I wish I was there to wake up with her. I am feeling incredibly sad and sorry for myself. Misery is oozing from deep within me, seeping out of my every pore.

5:00 pm – Her first skype messages of the day filters through. She is thanking me for the ‘sweet owl card’. In my haste posting it, I had neglected to put a clue on the back to ‘not open this card until the 14th’. I had recalled that the stamp was upside down on this one…and she remembers. She has saved it to open today. My heart melts.

6:00 pm – I begin to stress that I have not organised something to be delivered to her. I was so happy to have posted my card in time to her. I fret over her not receiving a gesture of love when it is the only day of the year that she will be constantly reminded that we are together, yet so far apart. I can’t bear it. Thoughts of frivolous consumerism fly out the window. I spend an hour while I should be making dinner searching local businesses that might send an appropriate gift of love. The cut off times were mostly 3pm the day before. Bugger! Buggerbuggerbugger..

6:30 pm – The local florist near her is my saviour. They are just starting their working day and reply graciously to my confuddling series emails. The time difference works in my favour. I send thanks to the universe that this is so.

6:45 pm – The fretful feeling has passed. The only way to feel the love is to release the love and as hard as I had tried to hold on tight and refuse to acknowledge this day of ‘love’ that we are forced to endure from a commercial point of view, I know I need to show her just how much she means to me. Being apart is absolutely the most difficult part of our relationship. Especially those times when all I yearn for is her smile, her hand to hold or her laugh that makes me dissolve when it hits my ears. The vast emptiness is heart-wrenching and the hours apart so incredibly long.

10:30 pm – I turn out the light and think of her going about her work day. It will nearly be lunchtime with her. I wonder if the flowers will make it to her or not. They have not reached her in the past due to work and location issues. I feel a sense of peace knowing that my gesture of love is out there, somewhere making its way to her, somehow..

4:12 am – I stir with a pulling feeling that won’t go away. I try to ignore it but it proves impossible. I roll over and check my phone for messages. She has received the flowers and chocolates. And the heartfelt scribblings on yet another card. The space/distance barrier has been ruptured again…

Luna xo

(This was our first Valentine’s Day since becoming engaged).

The Ups and Ups of a Long Distance Relationship

Three and a half years ago I met her. The One I Love.

Touring the UK with my mum and brother, she was an unexpected appearance in my recently fractured world.

“We can make this work.” She ponders as we avoid counting the minutes that we have left together at Heathrow Airport.

“I don’t know…I have so little to offer..” My voice trailing off as the reality of the vast distance between London and Melbourne began to sink in. 16,893 kilometers to be exact.

“You have SO much to offer!” We stand in silence and despair at the thought of parting.

With the concept of physical distance beginning to dissolve, being replaced with the closeness one feels in the heart when emotionally connected through a dimension physical distance does not occupy, I began to see that maybe this could work. We could have a chance at this. It need not be the end, especially as it really did feel like the beginning…

Jump forward three and a half years and I wonder in awe at how we have come this far.

Have we bridged the gap? No.

Is there a move scheduled sometime soon? Nope.

BUT!

We see each other every few months for a few weeks at a time, minimum. The world and it’s noise ceases to exist and only we are present in our glorious bubble of love. We condense our ‘dates’ into blocks (and have a bloody good time with that, let me tell you!).  When we are together we laugh, chill, go out, stay in, sleep late, eat delicious food, drink way too much and go places that we really want to share with each other. We read funny things and share them, in real time!

What about when you are apart I hear you ask?

We skype and text message everyday. And send lovely (and ridiculous) snail mail and special deliveries. We share our online music.

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Anything else that brings you comfort when you are apart? 

Well since you asked..

I know she can’t smell me when I skip a shower some days.

Garlic consumption is no longer an issue. For either of us.

I can eat at weird times (or not at all) and not feel guilty that I am depriving her of her daily nutritional intake.

There is a bucket load of time to work on personal goals, study and plan for when we are next together. This has to be a good thing, right? Yes!

I can research new places to go when we are next together, add to my list and watch it grow.

Netflix binging. It’s only natural that not all our viewing tastes align. Say no more.

There is no limit to the amount of sport one can listen to. Or choose not to listen to!

The cat sleeps on my bed (again, shh..).

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Ridiculous snail mail! (Postcard courtesy of Chit Chat Design UK)

In all seriousness, what I appreciate most of all about being apart is the abundance of time for personal growth and working on achieving goals. Knowing that I can invest time in myself which will help me to become a better person, which in turn will bring us closer to being where we want to be, whenever that happens to be. There is something so wonderful about working hard for something that is so important to you (i.e. your future life), and enjoying your time together along the way.

I know that it won’t always be this way and I have every faith that we will somehow bridge that gap the separates us at times. Until then, there is much work to do to make sure I am in the best possible place when that time presents itself announcing that it is in fact right.

Be well out there, whether you are near or far from your love, if you are yet to meet them, or your love is yourself (as it should be for all of us!).

Luna xo

The Importance of Queer Role Models when Coming Out

With Midsumma currently on in Melbourne, I find it interesting to reflect on how coming out can open one’s eyes to the presence (or at times, lack of) queer role models that we can look to for guidance, support and validation.

In early 2015, I came out to my husband and children. I was in my late thirties at the time. Yes, I guess you could say I am ‘one of those type of persons’. You know, the one who is married, has a happy family and then, BOOM! Out of nowhere completely shakes up her world and that of all those around her. “Why didn’t she know before?” “How could we not see it?” and my personal favourite “Oh, yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense!”

Coming out at this age was the most heartbreaking experience of my life because it meant dismantling the family unit I was in that was so close and so strong. Yet, I knew I would not be true to my authentic self if I continued to remain in a situation that was unrepresentative of who I actually was. Fast forward to looking at the world through my fresh queer eyes that everyone else was aware of too. This was completely foreign to me. Somehow I had thought that coming out would be the end of all my problems, and subsequently the beginning of a smooth existence without the wrinkles of deceit. Which to be fair, it basically was in the scheme of things, yet one thing was lacking. The presence of any queer role models in my world. I think my go to’s were Ellen and the gay couple who lived in our neighbourhood. All of my friends were in heterosexual relationships, and had children and families of their own. I felt completely isolated.

Coming out with no support from ‘your tribe’ is tough. No matter how amazing your family and friends are, there needs to be validation from people who share the same components that make up You. I remember at the time searching hard for similarly aged role models who I could relate to and coming up with zilch. And then do you know what happened? I started to find validation and support in younger people. My daughters who were in their teens began to talk about their friends who identified as queer. I looked to younger people in the media who were being so open and honest and unashamedly true to being themselves. It was empowering and validating. I felt not like some outcast of her world, but more like someone who was yet to arrive to her world. As my awareness of role models around me grew, from the political arena to the entertainment industry, so too did my experiences with real life role models. Again, the first to appear were people in my daughters’ age group. Their completely accepting and open natures made me speechless and so grateful to have them in my world. How wonderful to be a young person today and growing up without a lot of the undercurrents of homophobia that existed when I was a teenager. I know undercurrents (and outright blatant currents!) still exist, but so much has also dropped away. Yes indeed. How wonderful.

As my interactions with real life, younger role models grew, so too did role models more my same age, they just took a little longer to appear. From teachers to the people in my local cafe. From friends of friends to colleagues. Humans are indeed herd creatures. We function best when we are accepted by our ‘group’. Being able to find support among your peers is vital, especially when those peers know, and I mean really know the place you are coming from. The unspoken understanding of being different to the majority of the population. This comes from the look in a person’s eyes, no spoken words are necessary.

As Melbournians gear up for Pride on Sunday, I hope you are in a good place, with contact to positive role models that bring you validation and a sense of comfort and acceptance within yourself.

Take care out there,

Love Luna xo

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