I had it all planned out… The airport surprise to top all surprises.
My long distance love (AKA “Tigre“) was finally coming home and I wanted it to be a homecoming he’d never forget. I’d just recently watched Amelie (again for the twenty-second-thousandth time), and I wanted to embrace the tenuous spot between love and creativity… where each moment feels like I’m plunging my fingers into deep bowls of smooth pebbles.
I knew the idea would arise if I let it.
I waited for my muse to whisper.
The idea she imparted did indeed appear. And I knew it was the right one, because it was terrifying.
I would greet Tigre at the airport, standing blindfolded amid the arrivals chaos.
But first I would need to lay the tracks, pave the way, set the wheels in motion.
I tried to rope in my man’s best friend, but he accused me of emotional terrorism. (oops.)
After I promised I was up to something good, he reluctantly joined in the fun and I had him send my man the photo above with no explanation to accompany it. Note that I had not actually met said best friend in person yet.
So, Tigre knew I was up to something, but not exactly what.
Then I spent a few afternoons plotting the details. I even looked at the airport cameras to craft my plan. This is when this experience’s lessons started to appear.
1. Do not get attached to results
Even as I cut apart magazine fonts to make the ransom note I planned to leave at San Diego’s Terminal 1 information booth, I realized that the day-of events might not unfold exactly as a I thought they would. But, I was having so much fun plotting and creating that I reveled in the process and detached from what might happen.
Looking back to how this entire relationship has developed, I see that this lack of attachment to a specific destination is exactly what’s allowed us to arrive in the solid space we now occupy. If I had brought an agenda to the table, we’d likely have had a hotly fleeting fling; which would have been fine, but wasn’t ultimately what either of us really wanted. It’s tough not to have expectations of where a relationship is headed… but thanks to our unconventional beginning, I had no designs on a future, which is exactly what gave us one.
2. Think on your feet
I arrived at SAN Terminal One after checking Tigre’s flight status and leaving him specific instructions not to disembark without express permission. He thought I was picking him up curbside, but knew I was up to something. I checked the arrivals board knowing full-well that I had about 15 minutes to wait.
His flight was not on the arrivals board. Anywhere.
A nice elderly man saw my perplexed expression and asked if I needed help. “Ummmm, I don’t see my partner’s flight and yet I know it’s 15 minutes from landing.”
“Maybe it’s coming into Terminal Two?”
Uh-oh. All plans had been crafted based specifically on Terminal One’s layout and arrivals process. Shit. An undeveloped plan B had to be created and executed in the next 10 minutes. In my high heeled sandals and heinously short dress, I booked it to Terminal Two. Sure enough, there was his flight. Touching down.
Urgent texting. DO NOT LEAVE THE PLANE UNTIL I SAY. I tossed my purse behind a plant, tucked away my now purposeless ransom note, and stared at my only option: Two escalators flanking a stairway where all arrivals from 24 airlines make their way into baggage claim.
3. Jump when you are scared shitless
I watched passengers from plane after plane make their way into arrivals down the escalators. There was only one way into baggage claim and EVERYONE was going to pass me if I stood waiting at the bottom. I sent a panicked text to a girlfriend who knew of my plans… My heart is racing. My hands are shaking. I can’t believe i’m going to do this.
My heart is pumping even now at the memory of it. I was terrified. I mean, who stands blindfolded in the middle of an airport? But, I couldn’t NOT DO IT.
“I’m on the ground,” he texted.
“On my way,” I sent back as I stood at the bottom of the stairs. “Come get your bags.”
I pulled the black silk blindfold over my eyes and held up a sign which read:
Tiger: Drop your bags and kiss me.
4. Vulnerability is the sexiest thing you’ll ever cultivate
The electricity of those minutes I spent blindly waiting is something I’ll never be able to express in words. My hands stopped shaking (thank goodness I had a sign to hold and steady myself), and I heard comments and felt stares as people brushed by me. I could barely see the tips of people’s shoes as they walked by. I knew he was coming, but I didn’t know when.
Suddenly, I felt more alive than I could ever before remember. I could have been poked, prodded, bothered, robbed… but I knew I wouldn’t be… radiant love pouring from every molecule was my bodyguard. Instead, I could hear people whispering around me, stopping in their tracks to join me in waiting.
I knew I was ignited… I knew I was beautiful – I could feel it down to the blood pumping through my veins.
In those moments, I tasted the flavor of my own delectability, perhaps fully for the first time.
As I waited, I realized that this awakening didn’t even require that he show up, In my willingness to expose my nakedly blazing love, I’d already shown up for myself.
And then below the blindfold, I saw his shoes and heard the bags drop.
5. To find your tiger, first you must become a fox
He lifted me off the ground and spun me as we kissed to an eruption of applause. “He’ll never forget that welcome home,” I overheard as he lifted the silk from my eyes and held my face in his hands. His smiling eyes searched mine and he laughed away his fears that I’d set up a 1,000-strong airport flashmob.
“She’s right, I’ll never ever forget this.”
This is what forbidden love looks like…
Absolutely unashamed vulnerability, electric attraction, fearless eye contact, and boundless creativity. This is what I used to think was impossible. This was previously outside of my reality.
What I now know to be an absolute truth?
In order for this love to enter my world, I had to love myself enough to invite it in.
To find my tiger, I had to find the fox in myself. Now, not everyone wants a tiger, and not everyone is a fox. But, most of us want a relationship that feels like this: full of truth and beauty, hot sex, equal partnership, and deep intimacy – and I’m here to lovingly encourage you that it is possible! It is realistic, based in the grounded material world, and doesn’t require white horses, princes, or promise a happily ever after.
To arrive at this place requires your trust, your engagement, your love, and your creativity… and the good news is that they are all already here, within YOU.
They are NOT out there, on a dating site, in a partner, or anywhere beyond the walls of your skin.
The only grand gesture to make is eye contact with YOURSELF in the mirror and find love in the reflection. Find your inner fox (or coyote, bear, unicorn, owl, etc.), and the tigers will be beating down the door to devour you in the most delicious way possible. This, l can promise you, from one creature to another.
Drop a confession below about your own forbidden love search or story ~ I’d adore hearing from you.