The best gift Dillon has ever given me

I had no intention to ever write this or ever had the notion to write about “these kind of things” on this blog. Why? I don’t know. It took me about 10 years to decide to even share my writing publicly and when I mention “writing” I mean recipes, and then even more time to write on an intimate level.

Dillon and I have started a new nightly routine since quarantine in CA was born. We work from home, we eat at home, we play with the dogs at home, and before we even realized it that very thin line that separates work and home life vanished. We found ourselves working hours we never worked while in the physical office, dinners became a blur, and before we knew it time had come for bed just so all those days could start over and week by week the blurriness intensified. So, little by little we have made some changes. We still work obnoxious hours – I don’t think this will ever change as our drive for success never seems to be satisfied, but we take turns with dinners, and before watching Netflix, and before bed we read. He reads a book and I read a book.

I have always been an avid reader – you can ask my grandmother about that as she is the one that taught me how to read at a very young age. I love books. When you grow up in hospitals books quickly become a safe place to disappear to. Books always have been and always be a safe place for me. I am finding it harder and harder to come by people that love to read. I often turn to the internet to find book loving people and gather new recommendations.

I read Dry by Augusten Burroughs in High School and I didn’t know it then but it had become a concrete layer in the foundation that is my core. I believe books have the power to change people, to negotiate with your decisions subconsciously, and truly change your life with or without us knowing it at the time. Some people have bibles that they can quote scripture from, and have lived their lives based off the words of someone else, and though I do not take my love for this book to quite that extreme, in an essence that is what Dry is for me. It’s my book. I feel like every page was written for me and every word resonates deep down in my soul. Love is such a cliche word for a book, but that is exactly what it is for me. Dry has healed pieces of me I never realized were injured, it made me laugh when all I could do was cry, and the biggest gift it ever gave me was hope.

We all need hope. We all need to know and believe that in any moment in time so long as we want it badly enough we can change our lives. You can walk away from pain, you can choose joy over sorrow, you can leave something or someone that is no longer good for you, and we can start over whenever we want.

It’s the book I keep multiple copies of because I cannot be without it, and anyone that ever asks to know my favorite book, and is daring enough to read it – I give it away. I have given countless copies of it away. I think only my dad and grandma have ever read it, but that doesn’t matter to me because giving away that book to random strangers, friends, or colleagues gives me even more hope. Hope that it will change someone’s life like it did mine. I can recite paragraphs of Dry, I love having a conversation about it(any book, really), and I read it at least once a year. I am not sure it will click for you if you’ve never had a book impact you in this way, and if you haven’t, and what I’m rambling on about doesn’t resonate somewhere deep down in your memory let me know and I will gladly send you a copy, because maybe you were just waiting your whole life to read this book.

Why am I talking about this? One, because I felt like it, and two I am very private about my writing. I have been a writer and a reader my entire life – it’s what I identify most with. Yet, I do not like people reading my writing and it’s a silly fear I am slowly trying to overcome. So, I am writing this to make a point, and to take a very small step in getting my real writing back out there.

Dillon is great at picking out gifts for me. I am not really a things person unless those things are books or cooking equipment …. or the shiny engagement ring I wear. Dillon is hands down the first person in my life that has really mastered the art of gift giving for me, because he truly understands that I love moments, capturing moments, and appreciate time more than anything else in the world. Yet, without even knowing it over the last few weeks he has given me the best gift he could ever give me. He is currently reading Dry and determined to finish it.

Dillon is not an avid reader – he is trying but reading is just not his thing – and that is so okay! He constantly mocks how fast I read, that I can get through 2-3 books while he is still stuck on one, and yet every single night he lays in bed and reads with me which in itself is a gift for me. Why? Because, I need to read. I also need someone that reminds me that reading is good for me and my soul. I feel so much better when I read and he knows that, so I am pretty sure he reads so that I will read, but that’s what Dillon and I have always been, partners, at everything. So, when we started our reading routine and I picked up the book for Book Club and he picked up Dry, the book I sent to him for his birthday the year we met, my heart dropped out of my chest, through my butt, and onto the floor. Silently, I became an anxious mess.

I had never been anxious about anyone reading Dry before until Dillon decided to read it, and I instantly regretted ever giving it to him and keeping it in the house. I know, I know, how stupid. My anxiety didn’t come from the possibility of him not liking the book as I have given that book to many people and they either never read it or if they did it was just a “book” to them – cool – whatever. I still now can’t really put a finger on why I was so anxious about Dillon reading Dry. If I had to guess my anxiety comes from fear of judgement. Dillon knows how highly I speak of that book, he’s heard me quote it, he knows I would give my left leg to meet Augusten Burroughs, and he knows it is incredibly important to me. For me, though, that book is so much more. That book understands me. I relate to that book on so many levels and not in a “oh I totally understand the pain” no, like, I have lived the experiences that are written about in Dry. Burroughs has this unique way of putting pain, sorrow, anger, and joy into words that I have never been able to write myself. Everything in that book I can feel, I understand the anguish, the fury, and all the painful moments. I do not sympathize with the book, I do not have empathy for the main character, I have had that pain, and in a lot of ways I have been that character. So, in a way, Dillon opening that book and digesting it in any form was reading pieces of me that I do not show to the world. Little pieces of that book are entwined with me and little pieces of me are written into that book.

I know what his intentions were with reading the book. Reading is important to me and is part of my daily life and this is his way of being involved with that, but for him to read Dry was him giving me the best in the entire world. He is not done reading it yet, and he talks to me about it a little here and there, lots of gays in the book so I am sure you can imagine how those conversations go. Dry will never mean to anyone what it means to me, and that is okay, that is exactly what books are supposed to do. Yet, him reading it is the equivalent of reading little pieces of me, and I love him even more for it.

So, there you go, I wrote my first non-recipe post in 10+ years. If you do not have your book – go get Dry – or message me and I’ll send you one of my copies.

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