Wonderwall I (A Catholic Love Story Told In A Not So Catholic Way)

This is a long ass, multi part, multi faceted blog post, so get some food, an ass pad, and a drink. You’re gonna be here for a bit.

This blog has many elements of my Catholic faith. All you need to know is that everything I’m about to tell you in these next three blog posts are true. There are no coincidences in this life.

There’s a point in everyone’s life where they approach a cliff. At this cliff, you have no other option than to jump. You could turn back if you really wanted to, but that would negate all the work you did to get to the summit in the first place. The object is simple, you just jump, trusting that there will be a big ol’ cushion at the bottom to catch you. What if I told you that it was this leap of faith that separated the boys from the men? To jump, and know that you won’t get mangled in the process. Love is like a roller coaster that only takes you to the top, and you’re the one who has to push the button to release the cars. Love is an act of the will; it is to will the best for another; to quote an unknown source, “Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to”.

Love is beautiful, love is madness, love can be pretty fucking painful. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve loved, and gotten burnt worse than the Kansas Chiefs defense towards the end of the 2018-2019 AFC Championship (too soon?). I’m happy to say that I am engaged, and will be getting married on Janurary 11th, 2020. It’s taken me a while to muster up the energy to finally put this post together. The last two years have been a pretty wild journey, and we haven’t even reached the final destination.

I wanted to tell this story sooner. I teased it so many times last year. I started writing it last year in hopes of timing it with our one year anniversary. I failed unfortunately; I wasn’t in the correct head space to write something that required a great deal of care. I was too busy moping about myself that I didn’t have enough energy to celebrate her, to celebrate us. Woe is me was the theme of the latter half of last year’s blogs. I had daddy issues, and body image issues eating at me. I still have body image issues, and daddy issues eating at me, but for now, the blog is about something far greater.

What I’m about to tell you is a Catholic love story, only it won’t be told in a Catholic friendly way because I’m one sandwich short of a picnic basket. I’m pretty fucking unhinged, and some of the best art is made from a dash of madness; more like I tried to add just a dash of madness, but the lid popped off, and all the madness just poured in. To tell such an epic love story, I need to go back to the beginning.

To tell this story, we need to go back to the end of the prior relationship, because it sets the stage for what has been quite the ride.

*cue 90s flashback effect*

1. The OK Cupid Era:

In the summer of 2015, I had gotten dumped by someone whom at the time I was adamant I would spend the rest of my life with. I was pretty fucking distraught, and at a loss for words how something so great could end so abruptly. I would learn down the road that there were a lot of warning signs that I completely missed because they didn’t seem like warning signs. Though she loved me on an emotional level, the physical attraction just wasn’t there. She wasn’t as in to me as I was to her. She realized that dragging this out would be far more problematic. Still, I wasn’t ready for the day that relationship ended. I was a wreck that entire summer, a shell of myself. I’d spend the entire summer playing strong friend; I’d smile on the outside while simultaneously breaking down on the inside.

Starting on what would’ve been our one year anniversary, I’d spend several nights crying myself to sleep. I was sad, angry, and hurt. I know it was for the best, and yet a part of me kind of fucking hated her. I know she wasn’t trying to hurt me, but when a wound is that deep, the agony makes you delirious. At some point I thought to myself, enough was enough, I had to take matters into my own hands and get back into the game. I would open up an OK Cupid account, and begin to cast several lines into the ocean hoping for a bite. After about a few weeks, I thought about giving up until one person responded to my message. I eventually asked her out, and we would meet up for coffee one afternoon.

Things were solid, but she had already made up her mind pretty quickly. Dates are kind of like job interviews where the person you’re chatting with can determine within the first few minutes whether or not they like you. I never understood at the time how it could only take one date for a woman to figure out if a guy was suitable. I always thought these things took time to develop, but it seemed to be a one and done deal; it was super frustrating. Like many roadblocks in life, I just had to move on the best I could. I would continue to keep messaging women until stumbled upon a book worm type of gal. She was a cute ginger woman who seemed to be as quirky as I. After a few messages, we went on a date at Starbucks. She seemed pretty chill, and we talked for about two hours. She liked me enough to go on a second date. Sadly things ended there.

After two disappointments I gave up on OK Cupid, and took some me time to fix myself. I realized I jumped into dating too soon, and hadn’t made peace with the last relationship. I also realized after dating to non Catholic women that it things would be a lot easier if I stayed within my faith. It ain’t a jab to other faiths, it was just easier for me. I started looking for a place where I could find a lot of young hip Catholics gathering all at once. There was a New Years gathering at a local area church. The plan seemed great in theory; I would head over there solo, and see what my options looked like. There was just one tiny monkey wrench in my plans, my mother thought going to church on New Years Eve/night was a far better idea than staying at home, so she tagged along. It was a huge cock block. I could see little baby Jesus wagging his finger like Dikembe Mutombo when he stuffs you at the hoop.

At that church I saw TONs of beautiful women. Like damn, this church was FULL of dope women. There was something about them being of the same faith as I that made them more appealing. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do when your mother, and siblings tagged along, and want to leave before the party is getting started. I realized I needed find a way to get involved with this parish. My search on their web page would lead me to a Bible study group which I’ve attended on an almost regular basis for the last three years (I see what you did there Jesus; lure me in with the prospect of good looking women, and throw the bible right at me. Good one bro). Nevertheless, it was fruitful because I had been yearning Catholic fellowship for years; it’s a placer that would deepen my faith, and get me to the next leg of this journey.

2. The Catholic Match Era:

Later that Summer in 2016, I would give Ok Cupid another go. Within the first hour, I dealt with much of the frustrations that marred my experiences with online dating the first time around. A facebook rant would push one of my bible study friends to post a link to Catholic Match where he had just met his now wife of almost two years. I had stumbled upon Catholic Match back in my Ok Cupid days, but was turned off by their higher subscription prices. At this point I was running out of options, and decided that it was time to take the plunge.

My first few days on there were pretty interesting as I started seeing the profiles of people I met in various Catholic circles in Boston. It was pretty funny, and awkward at the same time. I would start messaging away until I found one person who seemed really interesting. We would hit it off online, and I would eventually ask her out. The date was solid, but she wasn’t feeling it. I understood, but it was pretty frustrating. I let my subscription lapse because there were other things I needed to pay for at the time. I would spend that summer just looking around, and enjoying life. I went to a singles mingle towards the end of the summer, but that didn’t go well either.

The winter would come along, and I decided to give Catholic Match one last chance. Winter would be a bit of a dry spell as I’d have conversations that never really manifested into dates. I was growing hopeless once again. February was an interesting month where the gears would start turning without me even realizing it. While at a church I often go to for confession, I went to a statue of St Anthony to pray for guidance. For those who aren’t Catholic, St Anthony is the patron St of finding things. While at that statue, I stumbled upon a Novena. A novena is a special type of prayer that involves saying a series of prayers for a small window of time. I would say this prayer every Tuesday until the end of February.

At the same time, I would start an exercise where I wrote letters to my future wife. It seemed dumb at the time, because my thought process was “what if I’m writing to someone who doesn’t exist?”. It was simple on the surface, but it really put my own desires in perspective. I would write these letters while in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In the beginning of March at the end of the Novena, my car loan  would go through. The timing seemed weird at first as I expected a woman to just magically appear. I wouldn’t realize until later that lack of a car was a hindering factor in my ability to find the woman who I had been praying for. I was having some money troubles as a result of mismanaging my budget, and this loan going through granted me a little extra money which allowed me to renew my Catholic Match description right when it was about to lapse.

Around the time I got the car, I went on a date with another woman. Things didn’t really go anywhere, but we remain in touch to this day. A month later, I ended up mutually matching up with a woman who I showed interest in on Catholic Match without even realizing it. I would go through her profile again, and realize that there was something special. Getting a car allowed me to increase my search radius. For a while, I limited myself to people I could access by public transit. Increasing my search radius allowed her to show up in my list of “Matches”. If two people on Catholic Match “show interest” you are then notified via the web page.

The first thing that popped out was that this woman was that she enjoyed hip hop. This seems minuscule to some, but for me it was a huge deal. There’s this trend on Catholic Match where people pride themselves on being prudish. It unfortunately becomes an extension of their ego. The first two women I dated on Catholic Match avoided this trend thankfully. Most of the profiles I saw on that site listed the same five Christian bands. Many of them prided themselves on never listening to Hip Hop, or Heavy Metal. It was a bit off putting since I thoroughly enjoy both. People are free to do what they want, but the way it came off on most profiles made it difficult for me to find any common ground beyond faith.

I began chatting with this woman, and we hit it off pretty well. Her humor, and snark shined through in our conversations. I would be a fool if I didn’t ask this woman out. On a rainy April 26th, I drove up to Haverhill in some serious evening commute traffic. Before that, I stopped at the very church I had been attending bible study at for three years. I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament to pray for the grace to bring my A game on this date, and also the grace to take any rejection that may come. Now you’ve heard me mention the Blessed Sacrament a few times in this post already, and are wondering what that is. The short answer is, it is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. The longer answer would require a Bible Study that would be an entire blog in itself, so let’s just stick with the short answer, and move on for now.

When I got to Haverhill, I walked into the bar to greet the woman who looked way prettier in real life than she did in her Catholic Match photo, and to be fair, I really did enjoy her Catholic Match photo. We would talk for several hours, exchange numbers, and continue to chat, and meet up. The next month would be like climbing Everest without a map. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I had been in two relationships prior, and yet I knew nothing of what I was doing. I visited the Blessed Sacrament before every date, and that helped greatly. For the first time ever, I was including Jesus in every phase of this journey.

That month was a mix of battling my own self doubts, and insecurities. Dealing with the fallout of my dad’s shenanigans didn’t help either. I wondered if a woman like her would fall for a quirky Autistic guy like me. Around this time frame I had wondered if maybe I had a calling to the Priesthood. In the Catholic Faith, you have what are called “Vocations”. We’re not talking job titles, we’re talking paths to heaven. These come in the form of marriage, the priesthood, religious life, or the consecrated single life. I started to second guess my decisions, and thought that wanting to get married was my own selfish ambition, and not God wanted. Being a faithful Catholic, and being a sometimes literal thinking Autistic can be a special kind of hell. Discerning God’s will has been rather difficult for me at times, but thankfully, he was about to send me some more outward signs that I was on the right track.

To Be Continued….

Don’t you just hate those three words? You’re just getting into the thick of the action only to see those words come across the screen. I did tell you that this would be a multi part blog. The next portion of this story will drop real soon.  Until then,

Stay classy….

 

 

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