The One I Wasn’t Expecting

More stories from Ashante Woods

December 6, 2016

I was, on all accounts, the girl your mother warned you about.  That is, before I met my partner.

The one.

Before we begin, the clarification I have to make is that I am using the term “the one” in an entirely colloquial fashion.  I do not believe that there is only one person we are destined to be supremely happy with.  Statistically and emotionally that notion makes no sense to me.

I had made enormous mistakes in my love life that left myself and others wounded.  Without diving too deep into the details of my gamut, I’ve cheated and been cheated on, dated unavailable men, allowed myself to be taken advantage of emotionally and financially, and put myself into harm’s way.  A lot like so many women today.

During this time, my social life was a reflection of my love life: I partied hard.  Consequences of any kind were something I mentally deferred.  The night before my first date with my partner was Halloween. . . and we all know what that means. . .

“. . . the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything”

I had a wild Halloween night dressed as sexy Harry Potter, running around Downtown Denver while my soon-to-be-partner was sober somewhere dressed as the green Power Ranger.  The very night before my first date -with what would turn out to be the man of my dreams- I was a hot mess making more bad choices.  I didn’t see an end in sight for any of it.

When I got in the car for our date, my partner started talking about physics and I jokingly asked him to turn the car around while seriously assessing how bad this could potentially be.  We sat down to dinner and fortunately the non-science conversation took off.  We talked and laughed for hours.

I was captivated.  I was also panicked.

My partner and I have lived. . . very different lives: he has chased excellence in everything he’s done, and I’ve always been in pursuit of a good time.  

I felt like there was no way a man of his caliber would continue to be interested in me if he had any idea of my past, or even an idea of what happened the night before.  Seeing great value in him was an unintentional mirror for the great value I hadn’t been looking at in myself; seeing that a man like him could love me stopped me dead in my destructive tracks.

Since we started dating a year ago my life is drastically different than it was less than 24 hours before our first date.  I left old habits behind and have not looked back even once.  Leaving behind those old habits also meant leaving behind old friends.  Where once I was poor, now I am rich: with passion, adventure, excitement, and love.  All the things I held onto as fillers and excuses for bad behavior have no place in my life anymore.  And that happened in an instant.

For me, everything changed not for “the one” but because of “the one”.