Women's Moon Wisdom Intro - Rebecca Rankin (00:01):
Stories, teachings and guidance. Welcome to the Women's Moon Wisdom podcast with your host, Rebecca Rankin.
Rebecca Rankin (00:16):
Welcome back to the women's moon wisdom podcast. I don't know about you, but I am such a sucker for sweet love stories. And today I'm going to share my story of how I once went on a first date and didn't realize it. This episode is a bit of a more personal share. My hope though, is that in sharing this, that it's A: entertaining, but also B: that it just shows you the possibilities that are out there. In my twenties, I wasn't necessarily looking for a committed relationship. I was at this point of wanting to see the world, wanting to travel and just feel the freedom of life without having to check in with anyone. Honestly, most of my relationships never made it past a few months anyways. I think maybe my longest relationship I held was about nine months. Then I'd get antsy and I'd just come up with a reason why I needed to end the relationship, or honestly, I'd self sabotage the relationship so that it would end on its own.
And I would keep going back to the line I'd tell myself over and over again - "I don't like having to check in with anyone" which can be interpreted as: I didn't feel worthy of someone else's love and attention. And while there's a lot of unpacking of that, we're not gonna actually go into that today. Now the majority of my twenties, I lived in San Francisco. First, as a junior designer in an architecture firm. Side note, I do have a degree in architecture from the University of Michigan. So then after three short years in the design world post school, I quit to become a full-time yoga teacher. And then I, I traveled around the world, teaching yoga, co-leading retreats, co-hosting yoga teacher trainings. I later then moved abroad. It lived in the Netherlands for a short bit. And then from there that led me to moving to Pittsburgh.
So for me, traveling and living in new places, I love dating different men there because I got to meet new people, got to explore new cities. And I got to see these cities through the lens of those who grew up there. So I got to see all the ins and outs. I also got to learn new languages. Yet I never wanted to get too attached, mostly because I didn't wanna be rejected. I didn't wanna get hurt. So if I opted out before they did, I could minimize the hurt or at least that's what I thought. Did that work? No, of course not. I, I got hurt every time. Friends would tease me that I fell in love so easily. I, and I love love is what I'd say. And, and I would go all in, even if I knew that relationship wasn't going to last. I just love getting to know the more vulnerable side of the men I dated.
When I moved to Pittsburgh from the Netherlands, I joined the latest dating app, which at the time I think was 'Okay Cupid', is that, is that even around anymore? At this point, it's been over a decade. Anyways, and I scoured the dating app to meet up with guys who could show me around town. I was dating this one man who was an editor of a mountain bike magazine. With him as my tour guide, I got to know the city of Pittsburgh so much better. And I got to know his group of friends who I just loved. I remember we were celebrating his birthday at a local bar in town. I was chatting with one of his, his friends who was very outgoing. We talked about how I was renovating a space to create a yoga studio.
And he was telling me all about how he worked for a nonprofit and organized bicycle touring trips for people. Later into the evening we all then piled into the sky's car, his names Seth, and went to a dive bar where we all hinted to nineties music. It was one of those like hot, packed bars that you could barely move in. And despite it being December, we were all sweating like it was summertime. Well, not all of us, all of us, except for my then boyfriend, whose birthday it was. He very much disliked dancing. Needless to say, shortly after that, we broke up. And then I took a little break from internet dating. In fact, it was about four months later that I logged onto the dating app to close down my account. And when I went to do so, I saw that I had got a message from someone that I recognized.
It was that guy who I was talking to at the bar, the night of my ex's birthday, the guy who had smooth, the dance moves and stayed on the dance floor all night with me and another guy, friend. I immediately recognized him. I was like that - it's Seth! And when I went to read the message from him, I quickly realized that he did not recognize me. The message from him was, was witty and yet made no reference to this several times that we had hung out. Like we had hung out at dinner parties at my ex's birthday party, dancing together at the dive bar. So in my response, I replied back and matched his witt and, and made sure to let him know who I was and how we'd hung out before. And in his response to my email, he still made no acknowledgement of knowing me or us hanging out previously.
So I made sure in the follow up email to conclude with, by the way, I still know you, Seth, and you still know me. Now in our exchange of, of messages back and forth, he had mentioned about organizing bicycle touring trips along the gap trail. So the gap trail is The Great Allegheny Passage trail and the C&O towpath. Side note, so this trail is 335 miles long, and it connects Pittsburgh all the way to Washington DC, all on trails, car free. You can camp all along it, or you can stay at B and B's along the way. It's amazing. And in another episode, I'll tell you about our adventure of riding that trail 335 miles from Pittsburgh to DC in 24 hours straight. Anyway, Seth and I had talked about how I wanted to do that trip as like a bike camping trip prior to the grand opening of my yoga studio.
So we had planned a time to meet up. So in my mind, I'm thinking, oh, Seth and I are gonna meet up, talk about this trip, this is strictly platonic. He knows that I dated his friend. I'm his friends, ex-girlfriend this, it's not a date. So on the day we were to meet up and talk about this trip, Seth rolls up on his bicycle, side note,I am a sucker for guys who ride bikes. Ever since my, my first boyfriend who was a cyclist back in high school. Anyways, Seth rolls up with a flower in his mouth and I immediately freak out a bit. I'm thinking, oh shit, this is a date. This is a date! How did I not realize this was a date? I wasn't prepared, at all! I was wearing like scrappy clothes. Not that I probably would've dressed up any different because that's just not me, but I probably would've attempted to look a bit cuter.
So I'm sitting on the porch swing of my house, trying not to look anxious, knowing that this was now a date and I just mentally wasn't prepared for it. So we sat and we chatted for a while on the porch swing. And then he said that we had to hurry up and hop on our bikes, to head to this restaurant that he wanted me to check out. So we hopped on our bikes and headed towards the south side of Pittsburgh, which on bike is only about five miles. But if you know anything about Pittsburgh, then you know, it's incredibly hilly. Fun fact -Pittsburgh has the steepest paved public road in the US, Canton Avenue. And every year there is a bicycle race called the Dirty Dozen, which goes up 13 of Pittsburgh's steepest roads, including Canton Avenue, which I have participated and finished in twice. We'll save that adventure for another episode as well.
So anyway, Seth and I are riding down to the restaurant and there's this point in the trail that takes kinda like a sharp hairpin turn with like this little steep incline. And let me just preface this by saying that at the time I thought I was such a hipster and so cool. And I had a single speed bike, which means no gears, no changing gears. Why, do you ask, that I owned a bike where the only gear options were to sit, stand or walk your bike in a town that has the hilliest of hills? I dunno, I was in my twenties. I honestly don't know. Actually I do know, when I moved there I didn't have much money to my name and it was the least expensive bike that I could get my hands on. Anyways, so we go to make this turn and I stand up to crank down on my pedal and my foot slips off the pedal. and I stumble. Barely falling and mostly just bruising my ego. And it happened to be right at the trailhead. And there were a bunch of guy cyclists kinda getting ready for a ride, all hanging out there and they all like rushed over and they're asking like, oh, are you okay? And kind of coddling me. Then there's Seth, who just rides by me, yells over his shoulder, "Get some gears!" and I'll admit it, my heart swooned a bit and really thought, oh, this guy's witty. This guy's good. I like this guy.
So we arrive at our destination. This restaurant called The Zenith. So this restaurant is quite unique. It is part antique store and part vegan restaurant. It is eclectic and odd and charming and absolutely wonderful. After we looked around and explored all the tchotchkes and trinkets, we sit down for dinner.
And I don't know about you, but I tend to talk with my hands when I get excited. And in our conversation, I swatted my fork like right off the table. And before the waiter could bring back another one, Seth and I agreed that we were going to eat with our hands, no utensils necessary. And of course we decided to share the entrees and order the messiest food on the menu. So we ordered a lentil stew, a tossed salad, and a potato salad. All to be eaten with our hands. And when the waiter came back to bring us our food and more utensils, we told him our plan and he responded, oh, I can't wait to see this. And brought over this huge role of, of paper towels for us. Needless to say, we were cracking up the entire meal. Now in our exchange of emails, Seth had mentioned about us sneaking into an abandoned steel mill after dinner. Saying that if we got caught the fact that my last name, which is Rankin, which is also the same name of the borough that the steel mill was located in the fact that our, my name was, was Rankin, it should truly get us out of any trouble if we got caught.
Well, for many reasons, we chose not to go there that evening. Something about sneaking around, trespassing and climbing rusty metal in the dark just didn't sit well with me. No, we later did explore the Carrie Furnace during the daytime. And it is just a man made marvel to witness. We'll have to also share the time that we hung out with Woody Harrelson while he filmed the movie into the furnace, which was shot at this steel mill. But now I do believe you can explore it without trespassing as it's, uh, now an official heritage site and they do tours of the grounds. So instead of going to this steel mill, Seth compromised and decided to take me to an abandoned watch tower, , that's just off the bike path that we were on and overlooks the river.
So we ditch our bikes in the brush and climb our weight. The top of this 40 foot tiny watch tower. The platform on top was, I don't even like maybe four feet long. Yet, the view was just amazing. We had the river right in front of us, the hills of Pittsburgh beyond that, and just the lights of all the buildings and the homes at night and the, the star filled sky. It was, it was just breathtaking. And we were admiring the view, when all of a sudden a cop car turns its sirens on and races passt. Then a helicopter flies over head shining its lights. I immediately start to freak out Seth yells over the drone of all the noise, like get down, get down! So we duck under this, like what, like three inch railing. And I, my head is just racing with thoughts, like I can't go to jail!
Like I can't even afford to get a ticket! Like I'm about to open a business in a month. This just can't happen! Then Seth leans over and kisses me on the cheek. And I melt. He reminds me that the cop car was actually just headed downtown and that the helicopters overhead? Yeah, those were just going to the hospital that was just on the other side of the river. So as relief, like washed over me, I still wanted to get down from the watch tower as quick as possible. And so we climbed down and got our bikes. Now we had the five mile ride back up, up, up all the hills to where I was living in a neighborhood called Squirrel Hill. Well, this is once again where I start to dread the fact that I had a single speed bike and had to climb all those hills back home.
So as we're riding Seth, rides up right next to me, reaches out his hand and puts it on my back and starts like peddling hard to help assist me up the steep hills. Like without even me like complaining or even asking, it's something that he still does to this day, and it, it just warms my heart. As we were about maybe halfway back home, clouds quickly rolled in and it just started to pour on us. And honestly, the, the warm rain felt great since we were pretty sweaty, as we rode uphill and with the rain, it, in a way it opens up even more vulnerable part of the evening. We started to share like more intimate details about ourselves. Seth had shared that he had once been married right outta college, and that just didn't last long. And he was curious if that mattered to me and I reassured him that it didn't matter one bit to me.
And I shared with him how I honestly, wasn't good at checking in with someone and that I just needed to get better at, at communication and communicating my, my wants and my, my needs. And that was something that I was working on. So our first date ended where it started, on the porch swing, where we laughed, we shared stories while it just poured down rain. I remember Seth riding back home in the rain leaving. And I remember thinking like, as he left that my heart might never be the same. And I can admit it now, it's not the same. Our relationship has evolved as we've evolved, as individuals and as a couple. We've had to shift how we communicate, we've had to get better at communicating. We've had to be open, we've had to be incredibly vulnerable with each other. We've had to be honest with each other, and honestly, we've had to be really honest with ourselves.
And creating a family together and raising little ones, well, we've had to get real clear on what we value individually and what we value as a couple, so that we can share that with our children. We can raise them from that place. And I think anyone who, who has little ones, you know, that like having little ones will test any partnership, right? That type of load helps you see the cracks in your own relationship with your partner, right? It shines a light on the areas that need fixing and the failures that come through as a way that shows us our own limits, right? And it shows what needs to be strengthened together and individually as we raise a family. And, and I hope that my, my children witness that this can be true in relationships, that love can be expressed openly.
And even in small ways that add up to big feelings, that your relationship with your partner is dynamic because love is dynamic. And that years together mean the roots of love extend farther and deeper. At the time of this recording, Seth and I have been together for over 11 years, although I do believe Seth and I have been together for many lifetimes too. And it's the, the fact that we have allowed each other this space to be our own individual selves that has allowed us for growth within our relationship for us to grow together. While these days we might not be sneaking up abandoned watch towers or dancing to nineties music in sweaty dive bars. We still actively cultivate joy in each other's lives. Like we do little things that we know will make each other's heart smile, like folding the clothes on the bed to make a heart or smiley face or resting his hand on my back as I pedal up a hill with our kids in tow. And above all else, we give each other permission to be human.
And I hope you enjoyed this episode, a bit more personal share. And like I said, I am a sucker for a good love story. And hey, if you haven't already, be sure to head to my website in the show notes and let's connect. You'll receive a free loving kindness meditation that will help you strengthen your compassion, acceptance, and kindness for yourself and others. Well, until next time, have a good one. And I'll talk to you soon.