Only Then Can You See

It starts slowly.

I needed something. I craved the understanding. I wanted fun. I was tired of hiding inside. I was always alone. I’d trusted all the wrong people. I suck when it comes to people. I can’t give up on anyone. I’ve learned I need to leave more. I reconnected with an old friend from school. This was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

It grows with every passing day.

One day I asked if I could help him work on a car. I needed to learn more. I’m a crappy mechanic but I love cars. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s a great teacher and he’s patient when I screw up. Let’s be honest here. I could tear up a brick wall with a spork. I’m a walking disaster. I don’t have any luck. If I touch it then odds are it will break. I’m cursed. True story.

I found my church

I got my life spending time under the hood of a car. One day I was under the car changing out the air compressor. It was 100 degrees outside. My hair was caked with refrigerant. I had grease from head to toe. I was covered in sweat. I smiled the entire time. I was doing it. The best part was someone believed in me. I needed that more than anything. I found my place and my people. My church isn’t brick and mortar. It’s a driveway with cars and tools. The people there get me. I go to church often because it gives me peace.

I started feeling confused.

The lines began to blur. I couldn’t understand why I suddenly started feeling things like jealousy and confusion in certain situations. I was less than thrilled at the mention of another woman’s’ name. I never let it show. It was normal to hide my feelings so this was cake. I didn’t want to ruin our friendship so I silenced that voice in my head. I told myself it was natural and it would pass. I knew things would be normal soon. I was wrong. I couldn’t shake the feelings I developed for him.

Then in the midst of chaos everything became clear.

We were at the wrong place at the wrong time. A group of people came out of nowhere and attacked a man. We had gotten caught in the middle of the insanity. At one point they started to threaten us. I would have beat them down had anyone touched him. After it was over we got in the car and I saw him in a different light. I had a case of the feels. I said nothing. My mind was a wreck. The next day I became angered when he was mistreated by someone. It was hard to keep my mouth shut. I tried to save face so I left.

I was miserable and full of conflict. The peace was gone.

I stewed over my feelings. I pushed them deep inside. They bubbled to the top almost instantly. I was full of turmoil. I could not just leave it alone. I was subtle with my approach. After a few minutes of going back and forth with him he understood what I was saying. I felt relieved. It didn’t last long. It was time to twist the knife.

Friend zoned? Wait. My best friend just friend zoned me.

I thought I might fall over dead. The pain in my chest was crushing me. I could not breathe. The one person in the world that accepted me for who I am just banished me to the friend zone. I died a little at that moment. I couldn’t be around him. It was too painful. I had to get over my heart being crushed. I told him I would not see him for a while. I meant forever. I went silent. My car decided to die shortly after. It was fitting. Things got dark.

I was in a daze and constant state of sadness.

I cried the entire time I tried to fix my car. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t fix it either. I was finished. I threw every tool I owned into the field. I slung my toolbox and car battery. The field looked like a car parts store threw up there. I posted on Facebook letting people know I was finished with cars and they were welcome to come pick up my collection of junk and take it home. I can’t recall when we started texting. He wanted to look at my car and I said no. I finally caved. I just didn’t feel like he was the same person. His tone of voice when he friend zoned me was haunting.

Nothing was the same anymore. I ruined the best thing I had in my life.

He helped me figure out what was wrong with the car. We took a trip to the junk yard for an alternator. It was weird but I ignored it. Nothing went right when it came to this car. The part didn’t work. The car wasn’t fixed. He had to take me home. I wasn’t sure about anything any more. I was about to get out of the car. He motioned for me to get closer so he could hug me. Imagine my surprise when he kissed me. It may have been fifteen minutes or it could have been an eternity. I know for certain I couldn’t feel my toes. I was dizzy and clearly disoriented for a moment. I never saw that coming in a million years. This was special. This was unlike any kiss I’d ever experienced before. My entire life changed in a matter of moments.

I was finally ready to see things for what they were.

It took me most of my 39 years to open my eyes. My life has been on huge learning experience. I’ve lost my way more than I care to tell you. I’ve been stupid. I’ve been selfish. I’ve chased so many dead ends. I’ve used my problems as a crutch for many years. It took a dream for me to realize I would never get anywhere until I let everything go. My sweet Big Mama came to me in a dream. She asked me when I was going to stop using my problems as an excuse not to be happy and successful. She was right. I was wasting my time and only hurting myself. The next morning I felt peace. I was finally ready to see. Just like that everything fell into place. I have a relationship with someone who loves and appreciates me. He understands me. That’s not an easy task. I’m happy and I feel secure. In a few days I will graduate from a CNA program. This is huge for me. I wasted so much time and didn’t finish college. I haven’t graduated from anything in twenty-one years. I enjoy caring for people. I can finally have a job that leaves me fulfilled. Life is good when you are finally ready to see things as they are.