Our First Date

Our First Date

Terreeia and I in 2007

In 1998 I was in a six month leadership course with Landmark Education. Terreeia was the head coach.

I didn’t like my coach. One day while in a coaching conversation with her I got totally frustrated and ended up saying some mean things. Immediately after I hung up the phone I felt bad and didn’t know what to do about it.

All my life I preferred to go straight to the top to get advice or coaching, so if I thought there was someone better, I’d just go to that person. It’s why I was so good at finding mentors when I decided I wanted to be in the design industry.

In this course, Terreeia was that person. So that day, about 5 months into the course I called her crying:

I’ve just discovered that I am a bitch.

“I know, she said “So why don’t you just own it?”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Well, you’re actually not a bitch, it’s just that sometimes you behave like one. When you own your faults and accept responsibility for your behavior, you don’t have to pretend anymore. People can call you on your stuff and you become easier to be around”.

“So if someone says I’m a bitch or being bitchy, I can’t get offended, but this way I can notice when I’m being a bitch and stop anytime?”

“That’s right. And there is more to it than that.”

She agreed to meet me for coffee to discuss this revolutionary idea further.

All my life I have been unfiltered and I’ve upset a lot of people by saying whatever I was thinking or what no one else in the room was saying. Sometimes that’s a good thing and other times not so much. Being unfiltered has gotten me into so much trouble and is the reason why I was fired so many times when I was in corporate jobs and lucky for me, I failed enough times to figure out what I was really good at and at the same time be able to create a career where I get paid to be honest, every, single day.

The other day someone bought my shutter colour solution because she wanted a new colour for her shutters. I took one look at her house and told her it would look much better without shutters and that they should be removed.

She said “All this time that’s what was wrong (and with our neighbours houses too) we were looking too hard, knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure out how to fix it”.

The job of any consultant is to look at a situation and be able to diagnose what works and exactly what isn’t working at the same time, not to just give your clients exactly what they want.

Anyway, back to my story. I loved being with Terreeia. Talking to her made me feel calm because my brain is so tortured.

Terreeia is a masterful communicator and her specialty is working with executives and entrepreneurs who suddenly find themselves in a position where they have staff and need to accelerate their communication and relationship skills.

Throughout her career, she has won awards and accolades for creating team environments where people not only work together but actually like and respect each other as well.

Terreeia is the most diplomatic person I’ve ever met. At the same time, she can have a really difficult conversation with you and you don’t feel judged. As I sat there, listening to her, I decided I wanted to be just like her.

To my complete and utter surprise, about 45 minutes into our coffee meeting, these are the words that came out of my mouth:

“So, you may or may not know, I’ve stopped dating David, and I’ve moved on. To you.”

I had no idea I was going to say that until that moment. Especially since I was and am a straight girl. Never been attracted to a woman before or since Terreeia.

Terreeia just looked at me and said “Oh, so you’re going to date me for six weeks because that’s your pattern and then dump me for someone else?”

No, I said, but really I was thinking, “Well yeah”.

Terreeia was intrigued and amused. So she said “Tell you what, meet me at Pride next weekend, so you can see what my world is all about”.

I went to Pride and we started hanging out.

On our third date, I met Terreeia at her place for breakfast. She said “I’ve just bought this condo and don’t have any furniture, so be warned, you’ll be eating standing up.”

When I got to her place, I looked around and said, “I can help you, I’m a decorator”. And I whipped out my mini measuring tape from IKEA, haha. Well we all have to start somewhere right  ; )

The biggest thing I have learned about being in a long-term relationship is that values hold you together. You don’t even need to have a lot in common but your values have to be in sync.

So how does a diplomatic introverted team person end up with an independent, extroverted, entrepreneur, type like me?

Terreeia and I connect through deep discussions, mutual discovery and respect, caring and generosity. I love that she’ll analyze everything including every aspect of our relationship with me to the minutia.

The things we value together are generosity, integrity, self awareness, honest and clear communication.

Do we argue, scream and yell (well, I’m the screamer) like any other couple? For sure, but we’ve spent lots of time studying personal growth and development and analyzing where our reactions come from (our past relationships including mom or dad) so we also forgive fast and move on.

Sometimes we don’t know who we’re going to love or which career we’ll end up in, but we know what keeps us there and it’s interesting to learn that sometimes love or our career chooses us.

PS. We’re on an overnight train to Halifax to start our tour of Atlantic Canada, stay tuned for photos!! xo Maria

Related posts:

My One Big Secret You Don’t Know

Do you Give your Clients Exactly What you Want?

 3 Things You Don’t Know About me But I Wish you Did

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  1. Maria you have finally find the “fine” tuning with Terreeia, she did open the door for you, what you were refusing to see.
    Enjoy your holiday

  2. You both are amazing women, and you are supportive partners to each other! I agree those values had best be there, I am also a strong believer in pheromones…Those give you the first 6 weeks, after that, values had best kick in!
    Big hugs!

  3. This post brings tears to my eyes. So very sweet and authentic, and isn’t it the truth that we just need to recognize aspects of ourselves and own them! And take feedback from others.

    I love how you articulated that values hold a relationship together. Never thought of wording it that way, but you are right! My husband and I have the words “Love, Joy, Peace and Freedom” engraved in our wedding bands…so I guess in a way we were following that idea to hold those values core to our relationship.

    Thanks, thanks, thanks for this.

    Jill 🙂

  4. It is a constant struggle to maintain a reasonable facsimile of a social filter. I feel your pain. Enjoy your train trip with your friend and post photos!

  5. I really like this post. It made me stop..think… ponder on my own relationships and consider how I can improve them. Thank you.

  6. Sometimes, people use “I’m just being honest” as an excuse to say whatever they feel like, often spiteful and without regard for the effect on others. Then there’s the honesty that comes with a genuine interest in the welfare and understanding of the other person, too often misinterpreted and under appreciated. I don’t know about your personal side, but based on your blog, I find that you do utilize diplomacy in equal measure with your honesty when sharing your knowledge of design. You maintain a positive natured blog, which I appreciate, and you are generous with what you share. That’s the kind of honesty I crave and see too little of. I’m grateful that you found your particular calling because I think you are very gifted. I’m not really sure what you mean when you say you were and still are straight when you’re describing dating a woman…the terms seem mutually exclusive, but then I don’t need to understand the specifics. I care more about people being good to each other. If Terreeia has contributed to your diplomacy, enrichment and happiness, then yay Terreeia, and I’m happy for you both!

    • I echo the confusion on terms. You don’t need to explain it, of course not. And I cheer your happiness. My concern comes from my young gay son, who spends a good deal time educating me on gender and sexuality language, and its importance. You, of course, are under no obligation to conform, or use language that doesn’t make you happy, but it is a tricky area that can have repercussions for others.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more on the values thing! My husband and I def have that, now if I could just get him to talk like you and Terria do it would be perfect!!! =) Have a great trip!

  8. thank yo Maria…this post has made me realize that I also need to get less offended when I get called out by my partner for my unfiltered words/actions. Think I should think about how me getting offended might be offensive to him. And thank you for the front door consulation – I am currently painting it as you suggested, fixing my shutter color, and hope to have the door installed later this week. It was such a relief to have your color advice…a weight was lifted off my shoulders!

  9. I found this post very moving. You are so brave to let love find you, and to just put yourself and your relationship out there. It is rare to find such a great communicator as Terreeia…..and a strength of yours that you recognized this at the time and let yourself get involved.

  10. My best girlfriend since I was 4 years old, attended the same school every year until we graduated from high school. We rode the same bus, stayed over at each other’s houses, traded clothes and knew everything about each other. She went to nursing school, I went to the university. She sang at our wedding. She went to the Peace Corps, my husband and I had a baby. Her first day back after two years in Honduras, she made the trip to my house to see my new little girl. She was hugging and kissing her and I asked her if she was looking forward to the “Mommy” part in her life. She said, “Karen and I haven’t decided yet.” I stopped short, and through my arms around her. I told her I thought she looked different when she came in the door. I told her now I knew why, she was “in love”! She never hesitated a moment, she was so happy and so happy to tell me about Karen. Thank you for telling your story, I’d love to throw my arms around you! Be so happy and so blessed!

  11. Have a great time in Halifax. You must stop by the Old Triangle Ale House and have a piece of their gingerbread cake. It is so good !

  12. Should read: Teerela and me. i.e., this is a picture of Tereela and me as opposed to Tereela and I are going someplace.

  13. Ohhh… So sweet! You sound just like me and my George (him being the communicator obviously). We ‘d so hang out if we were living closer! You rock as a couple and I can see how your strengths and weaknesses combine together. Greetings from Greece 🙂

  14. I just found out that you are in a relationship with a women. I’m surprised but I’ll still loved reading your blog. I also love Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. Thank you for all your interesting articles.

  15. Hi Maria. Terreeia seems like a great person and I’m glad you found each other. My comment does not come from a bad place but I am just completely confused by your statement that you were and still are straight, but you are essentially married to a woman??? Is Terreeia just a really good friend that you happen to live with or a partner in every way? Sorry don’t mean to be so blunt but I your comment could almost be construed in a way such as “well I’m really not gay, but I am just making an exception for this one woman”. I can’t imagine a man living with and sleeping with another man yet still proclaiming they are straight????

    • Thank you for your straightforward and obvious question. Our relationship is not sexual. A woman can be in that kind of relationship and be totally happy (straight women in heterosexual marriages do it everyday), or I’ll just speak for myself and say that it really works for me.
      Maria

  16. Hi, Maria and Terreeia…I just read this older post, again! And I just love it! You not only help us, in color, you help us in life! Thank you. Love, Candy XXOO 🙂