My friends state this to me as a fact from where they stand… on the outside.  This is the first time I have not let anyone in. There’s no play by play. There’s no “Facebook Official”. There’s no #MCM.

This is the first time I haven’t needed any of that.

My friends catch me off guard when I let a gushy statement escape my mouth. When I manage to hold it in, they ask leading questions then they wait, and they study me when I simply say “everything is great.”

But I feel it rising on my skin.

Goosebumps.

They read it like brail.

“You’re in love.”

I am.

But when they ask, I just shake my head or confirm it quickly hoping to change the subject while hoping to be allowed to talk about him until they tell me stop at the same time.

“Does he love you back?”

I answered  “yes,” without hesitation when my mother asked. The last time I told my mother I loved someone, that relationship didn’t end well. But maybe she could feel it too because this time she smiled instead of telling me not to put all of my eggs in one basket. In fact, she immediately started to warn me about the possibility of my eggs drying up in a future that seems nearer because I’m no longer in my twenties.

And I listen this time because this is the first time I cared about the possibility of that happening before I could blend my genes with someone else. Correction: Not just someone else, him.

When I’m with him, it’s easy. We breathe those words to each other all day. To the outside world it’s a timer. How long until we get engaged. How long until we have kids or more commonly how long until we breakup. There’s always more bets on it ending.  I’d probably place my bet on the end too. Not because it’s what I want but because it’s what I’m used to.

But it’s different. I won’t be the person who tries to denounce every time I thought I was in love before. I asked a friend who recently ended a relationship with someone she considered to be the personification of love, if she still thought so after it didn’t quite turn out that way. She hesitated.  I understood.

But this is different. I’m not used to different. I’m used to loving and waiting. I’m used to waiting and getting left. I’m used to loving to overcompensate for their fear.

But now I’m scared because the part of me that loves our bubble also wants to share that I’ve added to my happiness. I can’t hide it anymore.

Recently at a business meeting with a mentor and friend, we switched into personal mode. I shared that I’m still seeing the guy i told him about in the beginning of the year. I begin to talk about being scared, and my friend interrupts me.

“You’re in love.”

I am.

It’s so easy to write about the bad times. It’s funny after the tears (at least to me).  But the good times… I seldom gush about the happy times in my writing for two reasons.

1) I had a friend who once told me that he hoped that I’d never fall in love because my disasters were more entertaining.

2) One of my biggest fears is to be publicly happy and then publicly heartbroken… Again.

But if there’s one thing I got out of this relationship so far, it’s the truth about my heart. It can’t break. I’ve been through everything from liars, to cheaters, to the ones who were both liars and cheaters who begged me to wait until they were no longer liars and cheaters. I waited. I’ve lied and cheated on myself and then watched myself almost waste away because I told myself that one day I’d stop cheating on and lying to myself. I finally have.

I don’t give him all the credit because I fought for this self love. Hard. A close friend told me the other day that she forgot “how pure my heart was” when I mentioned a way in which I show love. I’m proud of that. I’m proud to have not encountered bitterness. I’m proud that I never gave up.

I fell in love this year.

With him.

With me.

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