Last week was my 33rd birthday, and I got a pretty spectacular present.
After my sweetie arranged a small gathering of a few friends a couple of days before my actual birthday (which later turned out to be a decoy party to throw me off the trail of the real party to come later), bought me a bunch of painting supplies (I’d been wanting to take a class), and took me to a super fancy dinner on my actual birthday (lobster!), I was already overwhelmed by his generosity and outpouring of love.
Then, I opened the door to our home that evening of February 24th to streamers, music, flowers, confetti, glitter, and a room full of 30 friends yelling, “SURPRISE!”
Holy. Crap. I almost fell backwards down the front steps. Seriously.
My best friend, Laina, (who was also in on it and is a big, big liar! ;) handed me a fizzy drink and kissed me on the cheek. Everyone began hugging me and laughing, asking whether I had any idea (I did not). I saw that both my parents and Omar’s parents were skyped in on two different phones to watch.
And before I could even begin to take this all in, Omar pulled me in and began clinking his glass. The room grew quiet and all eyes were on us. Blue and purple balloons floated slowly around the ceiling. The couples leaned on each other. The parents held on to their wiggly children.
“Thank you all for being here to celebrate Melanie’s birthday. I’d like to ask for your attention for another moment as we make a toast.” All around the room, glasses raised. “And I’d like you all to join me as I have one, last gift.”
“I don’t know if I can take anymore!” I said, laughing.
“Well, you’re going to have to,” he said, as he pulled a ring box out of his pocket, “because I just couldn’t wait any longer.” Everyone screamed. I began crying. Omar got down on one knee and said, “Will you marry me, baby?”
Through breathless tears I garbled, “Of course!”
Everyone screamed even louder. (No one other than Laina knew that this would be happening tonight, so it was a surprise for them, too!). A champagne cork was popped. Two bursts of confetti filled the air, and Omar and I held each other and cried as the room faded into the background.
After a long embrace, we faced everyone, Omar raised his glass and shouted, “To the rest of our lives!”
I want to share with you, my treasured Professional Wild Woman readers, why this is a particularly spectacular thing – I mean, even more than the usual spectacularness of a couple getting engaged.
I’ve been married before. Twice, actually.
I’m 33 and I’ve already been married and divorced twice! Can you imagine the stories of shame and failure that have swirled around in my head? After the second marriage dissolved, I was single for two, full years – the longest period of singlehood in my life.
And it wasn’t until I made complete and total peace with being single forever that I found Omar. And, no, I’m not talking about that old, annoying adage, “You’ll finally find him when you stop looking.” I didn’t stop looking, I just got really, really bold about what I was looking for.
I put my foot down and said, “No more making myself small for a man. No more hiding my true desires. No more settling.” I made a list of everything I wanted in a partner, then vowed to myself that I would rock the single life forever unless I found a man who had every single one of those things. (There were 26.)
I mean, really, I made peace with singlehood. Not in the ways that I have in the past where I say, “Yeah yeah I’m totally cool being single,” while one eye is still scanning the room for eligible men.
I mean that I was fully prepared to be a wild, adventurous woman and a badass, successful entrepreneur for the rest of my life, with or without a man, and with or without children. And any man I allowed into my life again would get the full, wild, badass version of me. No watering down. No making myself small or more bite-sized for all the men who have told me that I’m “too much.”
And to prove to the universe that I was serious, I made a new dating profile online. I had been using the same profile off and on for years. It represented the watered down version of me that I thought men wanted. It got me a lot of suuuuuuuper boring dates. And it was no longer my truth. (It never was, really.)
So I deleted my account and made an entirely new one - new user name, new photos, new description. It was big, bold, and sassy. It was fully me. It said, “This is who I am, motherfucker, and this is what I want.”
I was sure no one would respond. I whispered to myself, “Well, there goes my dating life,” as I closed my laptop that night last year – July 2nd, 2014.
I awoke the next morning, July 3rd, to a message from Omar. I wrote back. Then he wrote back. Then I wrote back again. We had a lovely little exchange and scheduled our first date for the next day, July 4th.
Our first date consisted of a hike, which turned in to eating sushi take out in the back of my station wagon as we watched the fireworks. After eight hours, he took me home, held both my hands in his, and said, “Can I see you tomorrow?”
After five more dates in a row, I took down my online dating profile. I never talked to anyone other than Omar. And now we’ll be getting married exactly one year and one day after that first date!
But the best part is, I’m still me when I’m with him. In fact, I’m more me. He loves that I’m a powerful, determined woman. He loves my bigness, my boldness, and my sass.
And he doesn’t give even one shit that I’ve been married before. In fact, when I told him (trying not to throw up from shame), he said, “Wow, I think it’s so courageous that you’re willing to do it again. And you must be an amazing woman for two men to have asked to call you their wife.”
The moral, my dear Wild Woman?
Inspired by this story? Want one of your own?
While I'm not a "dating coach," I am a coach that's helped hundreds and hundreds of women all over this country discover what they truly want in life and make it happen. Sometimes that's a job, sometimes it's a relationship, and sometimes it's just the ability to wake up in the morning and actually feel in charge of and excited about your own, damn life for once.
If that sounds like something you're ready for, I'd love to gift you a free scholarship to my upcoming Wild Woman Summit in central California (a $997 value). Apply here!
What type of wild woman are you?
Hello! I'm Melanie Munir, founder of Professional Wild Woman - a women's empowerment business dedicated to helping women who are tired of feeling either "too much" or "not enough" to connect to their inner wildness so they can create work that allows them the fullest expression of their unique voice. Welcome!