First comes love, then comes marriage
This week, I became engaged. And I couldn’t wait to tell the world.
For my Facebook friends, the news came by way of a relationship status change. That’s also called a life moment in Facebook speak.
That’s one way to put it.
For me, this commitment is much bigger than a moment. And it seems others agree. With around 650 likes and counting, the relationship status change news blew a few minds. The announcement has also received more than 150 kind and funny comments.
For that, I am extremely thankful.
I’m overwhelmed with all the congratulatory sentiments being sent our way from all over the country. That connectivity with people I’m separated by through time and distance is heart-warming and why I’ve always enjoyed a presence on the world’s largest social network.
How did we communicate before Facebook, again?
In dating my now-fiancé, I’ve been respectful not to post every single personal moment we’ve shared or move we’ve made. He deserves that, as he is more of a private person than my career path has taken me. I was quick to tell him, as we initially started dating, that everybody knows my business.
Because that is my business.
When I first became a PI columnist a decade ago, my editor Dale Shrull gave me solid advice about the direction my writing was taking. I’ve never forgotten his valuable words. He told me as a columnist, I should never skip a week of writing. The consistency creates an unbreakable bond readers appreciate, and I listened. I haven’t missed a week in 10 years.
That sometimes feels like a miracle.
He also told me not to be afraid of putting myself out there. To be open and honest about all my life moments. That became especially true when referring to my personal life. Particularly regarding my adventures in dating.
That’s one way to put it.
Back then, we didn’t have Facebook to share our everyday life moments and put ourselves out there. People had to wait a week to see what I was up to, and there has always been something. Always.
I try not to disappoint.
Although it had already been invented 10 years prior, Facebook wasn’t yet on my communication radar. Harvard students were the main users. I really hadn’t even heard of it. People knew about my life through the newspaper each week and seeing me out and about in social settings. Those were the old days, hanging out at the Roxie, now the Pullman, in Glenwood which seems like a lifetime ago. For many of us, it should probably stay that way. The place had two brass poles to dance around, and on especially rowdy nights people took advantage.
Luckily, Facebook hadn’t really caught on yet.
Making lifetime memories and connecting with people have been the greatest gifts of my role as columnist. Especially when discussing relationships, I’ve found self-deprecation as a way to easily share my experiences and cope with decisions made in life. Sometimes they were right. Sometimes they were wrong. I’m still not sure where the constant self-deprecation and self-reflection stem from — there’s therapy for that. But finding humor in my faults feels much more natural in accepting the realities of how I move through the universe. Sometimes that’s gracefully.
I’ve always tried to inject a certain level of modesty and comedy into my words, spoken and written. Over the years, I’ve been frank about my failures and successes at love and commitment. The road has been a bumpy one for me, and I wholeheartedly take responsibility. As the wise and beautiful RuPaul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
No truer words have been spoken.
I only hope such frankness over the last decade has helped other women, and men, who could relate to the often-ridiculous dating rituals we go through to find happiness. I can say from experience that it’s out there, just give it some time. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. Have an open heart. Avoid being jealous or petty. I know dating can be discouraging. So are relationships, because life and love aren’t always perfect. There’s compromise and giving more of yourself than sometimes you take.
I just wish it didn’t take me so long to get that.
Honestly, I might be as surprised as some of my Facebook friends that I’m engaged. I may still be in shock. I really didn’t expect to find The One in my forties. I knew when he took me to a comedy club on our first date and couldn’t wait to watch me perform my own stand-up — not all guys I’ve dated have supported such endeavors — he was something special. I had become so much of my single-girl persona reflected in my stand-up and writing, I figured I would be alone forever. I really did. But then a guy who thinks my jokes, freckles and an unfortunate ankle-spraining karaoke rendition of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” are charming comes along and changes everything.
And a moment becomes a lifetime.
April E. Clark is always full of surprises. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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