The Way That Love Found Me

Shreveport Red River Revel ShowHave you ever been on the search for your soul? I would assume that most people have to do a little soul searching at some point in their lives. I had been lost for some time before I became desperate to find myself, the person I was truly meant to be, not the picture perfect, ideal me.

Do you know what it’s like to lose yourself, to feel abandoned and confused? Frustrated by the way life is turning out, you feel hopeless toward the future. That was me about 7 years ago. I was forced to do some soul searching when I left college, married and then quickly divorced. Left with two kids, I was alone with very little emotional support.

After a while, dealing with the depression became overwhelming. I had two choices, learn to rebuild my identity and find happiness or let the pain and the bitterness destroy whatever potential was left in me. So i set out on a mission to find myself. I made a promise that I would accept everything before deciding whether it was bad or good. When I would recognize the bad, I was determined to let it go. I decided to allow my soul to act as water, taking any form but capable of filling the most vast space. I was on a mission to become who I was destined to be.

Would I be the same person I was before: religious, naive, cluelessly trusting and distracted? It would be impossible. Pain teaches you one thing, if nothing else. Whichever behaviors, choices or mindsets brought me to the pain, I have to change so I wont have to experience the same thing again. At least that’s what I have learned in my own experience. So the journey began.

Throughout the years, I have learned not to search for answers but to trust that they would come to me when I was ready to receive them. I have learned that anything beautiful in life grows outside of the crippling grip of control. I have learned how to identify what is unhealthy and to turn away from it as soon as I notice, whether it be a relationship, a habit or a mindset. Letting go of what doesn’t add value to my life, opens up my arms to something better. The lessons I have been blessed to receive through my journey of self discovery are invaluable in creating the person I am today.

My goal after I decided I wanted to really thrive in life was not to create this false identity built on perceptions or ideas of who I was supposed to be. I wanted to live for my own fulfillment. As I grew as a person, each experience began to add something beautiful to my life’s mosaic.

After seven years, I have become fearless. I have been betrayed, so I appreciate loyalty. I have been mistreated, so I am grateful when I am valued. I have been judged, so I try never to judge. Everything that was supposed to tear me down, built me. I traded religion for spirituality, I traded my naivety for wisdom and my trust for caution. I have learned to focus, to head warnings and to follow the best path even when it’s scary.

This journey of self discovery was not easy but it led me here. I am engaged to my soul mate, working on a business that I am desperately passionate about and living a life I feel eternally grateful for. My circumstances look a little different now than I had expected but that is the beauty in life I have grown so used to. You are not always given exactly what you want, but always what you need.

So as I am sure you’re curious as to the events that led me to my engagement with a woman, let me take you back a few months. For a year I had been consumed with my business at Buffis Peauxboys. I didn’t have much time for anything besides the kids. I had a serious relationship for a brief time but it had gone as quickly as it came. I told myself it simply wasn’t the right fit for my life.

When that relationship ended, I sat with my thoughts so I could figure out the next best move. I decided to tackle the giant called loneliness. I took myself out to eat. I had drinks alone, making friends throughout the town. I dated myself. I went to events by myself and fearlessly faced the idea that it was okay to be alone. As the time passed, I made a decision that the relationship that would benefit my life would have to be one with an entrepreneur, someone who could understand and appreciate my schedule. I decided I wanted someone older who wouldn’t want anymore children. I specifically told my therapist that ideally my life partner would be in the arts, so we could share my passion for writing. Most

importantly, I wouldn’t settle for anyone who wouldn’t love my kids immediately and be genuine in helping me build a good life for them.

Some time had gone by and I had many opportunities to date but I wasn’t too motivated to do so. I resolved to stay focused on my kids, myself and my business and not settle for anything less than the absolute best. I didn’t need to be loved because I had learned to love myself.

During this period, my therapist would listen as I asked “Is it crazy that I think of being with a woman?” Its not something that I would openly admit to just anyone. After all I had been in heterosexual relationships my entire life, never once experimenting. However for a while my mind had slowly opened up to the idea of loving a woman. Did i fight that? Why would I?

Fighting thoughts, trying to control my identity caused me to lose it so many years before. So I simply embraced the thought as part of my experience. Looking back, I question whether or not I played a part in manifesting my new reality by simply accepting the idea that I could possibly be with a woman. It seems like a coincidence, but one you couldn’t make up.

Regardless, around the same time I decided to work on my social media activity in order to enhance my business. My goal was to be as authentic about my life in business and my passion for life as possible. Within weeks she messages me something simple, “Hey girl. Just want you to know that I am proud of you. My therapist says I need to make new friends, so this is me trying.” I was excited that someone so accomplished and elusive in the business scene wanted to be my friend.

She invited me out a few times in a month. However, I was far too busy to meet with her. I quickly picked up on the fact that she wasn’t solely interested in being just friends. That fact made me extremely uncomfortable, regardless of me being interested in women. I just wasn’t yet ready to pursue that idea, or was I.

Off and on for seven years, I was living in the building in which she works in her Art Studio. We met only once when she scoured the wet abyss under the stairwell to retrieve the keys I dropped from the elevator shaft. She didn’t remember me.

One night, I was headed down to Pujo St Cafe, across from where I live and she works. I wanted to grab a bite to eat alone. It just so happens that she had the same idea. I met her in the outdoor seating area and we were best friends almost instantly. It was like meeting someone you just get. No small talk needed, we understood each other as if we were the same person. It was a connection unlike any I had ever felt before. After dinner, we hung out at her place for a few hours. We laughed. We talked business, traveling, life experience, love…. Then I went home and thanked God for a new friend.

Within the next few day she passionately pursued me and I had to make a decision. I could turn her down or I could invite her in. Had it been a man, good looking, accomplished, driven, passionate, talented; Someone who shares the same drive and determination as me; someone who follows their heart and lights a fire of inspiration in others, someone who has paved their own way in their career path– would I have passed up the chance to be with him?

There was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have. So why would I pass up this chance simply because this soul, one I felt was meant for me, was in a woman’s body? I couldn’t and I didn’t.So I let her in. I opened the door and she jumped at the opportunity to shower me with love, to treat me the way I knew I deserved to be treated. She had been waiting on me just as it feels like I have been waiting on her. Did I ever think I would love a woman? It did not seem like a real possibility, but here I am, desperately in love.

This is the love that wakes you up in the morning showering you with gratitude. This is the type of love you feel deep in your soul, one thats maddening and satisfying in the same breathe. It’ll give you strength and comfort, awaken you and give you peace. It’s the closest thing Ive ever felt to euphoria and I just couldn’t walk away from it. This is the kind of love you’d be stupid to let go of.

So, she proposed one night after a great day in Chicago. In the beginning of our relationship, I told her my soul lives in Chicago. I say that because I am most alive and happy in the city. I take a lot of pride in the fact that Chicago made my mother who she is and if you know me you know that my mom is a real BOSS. One day, I dream of having a place out there (but thats besides the point)

My family and I came out to Chicago for my Uncle Johnny’s funeral late October. Towards the end of the trip Candice joined us. We spent our days traipsing around the city, stealing baby succulents and exploring museums. One night, I turned to her and asked, “How much do you love me?” She paused, almost frozen in her thoughts. Then she began to reach into her bag, pulling out a piece of her art that she had made for me. Slowly she placed two Jo Malone bags on the bed and says, “Let me show you.” After a little back and forth about which bag to chose first, she pulls a custom engagement box out.

I was awestruck by the pecky cypress shadow box that was back lit by 100 miniature lights. In it held her Chicago skyline fleur de lis. My eyes were welling up with tears just because of her thoughtfulness. But then I looked closer and I saw the ring, a 100 year old exquisite piece of jewelry. I cannot describe how unique and beautiful it really is.

She told me, “I could have waited but tomorrow isn’t promised. If anything were to happen to me, I want you to know how much you truly mean to me.”

And that is Candice. She sees what she wants and she will fearlessly pursue it. She won’t wait on anything or anyone. Her passion is addictive almost as addictive as mine. Apart we are both powerful, passionate, fearless. Together we are unstoppable.

So my answer to her hearts cry for me to love and adore her is yes! It will always be yes, every single day. Ive been blessed to experience the type of love that gives you life. The type of love that gives life meaning. The breathtaking love that fills your soul with warmth and inspires you to be a better person, to live passionately. I had a choice to run from the unknown or to embrace it fearlessly. There was no middle ground for me. The risk, being in the Bible belt and owning a budding business, to suddenly change sexual orientation and create a life outside of what people perceive to be right for you was a big one.

People may not always accept our choices in life, but what are we willing to sacrifice for true love? Im willing to fight for her, for myself, for us. Im willing and my will is powerful. After all, I am engaged! My journey of self discovery brought me to a beautiful place in my life with Candice Alexander. One that I am so so grateful for. We have no set plans, because we are both so busy in business. All we know is that we want each other and that is enough to make it all worth it.