I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once”
– John Greene
At 27 years old, I’ve been in my fair share of relationships. I did the High School thing; can’t live without your boyfriend or you will just die without him, yet the next minute you hate him and never want to talk to him again. Yeah, I stayed in that phase for six years. After I finally shook free of that mess, I found another type of relationship. One that is just as destructive but in a less obvious way. I found myself a man who would do anything for me. I know that sounds like every girl’s dream but, as I soon found out, that can become very dangerous. I literally could do no wrong in his eyes, there were no consequences to my actions. I saw myself becoming a monster, someone I didn’t recognize. I was selfish and uncaring because I knew that no matter what I did or said, there was no way he was leaving me. Thankfully, I realized what a disastrous path I was headed down and ended the relationship after three years of destructive behavior (on my part). I feel sorry for the way I treated that man, who was a very good person, and I have to live with that shame.
Then, I found him.
After that failed attempt at a relationship, I tumbled through life with men whom I spent fleeting, meaningless moments. I finally found something to ground me and it was in the last place I expected. I became a manager at a popular retail store soon after college graduation. The managerial staff at this company is generally very young. I think the median age of my co-managers was 23 and we managed employees from age 17+. There was one employee in particular whom I enjoyed talking with during my shifts because he seemed like someone I could rely on. He always worked hard and offered the managers help wherever we needed. He wasn’t the most skilled worker but he soon became one of my go-to associates to the other manager’s bewilderment. His name was Ryan.
During this time, I wasn’t attracted to him in a romantic way but I did tell him everything that was going on in my life and he told me what was going on in his. This is where we made our connection. After months of working together, subtle flirtations and running innocent errands together, I invited him out to lunch. Honestly, I meant it to be a friendly lunch but of course these things have a way of escalating, don’t they? Our lunch ended up turning into a movie date running late into the evening. During the movie, I became aware of a closeness between us. Something I hadn’t planned on feeling, something that had been developing for weeks, was finally making it’s way to the surface. I remember as I looked up at him, my heart was racing and I was afraid that taking our relationship any further would cost me our friendship. As he leaned down to kiss me I hade to make a split second decision, to let this happen or to stop it. My heart won and as our lips touched, I felt electricity run throughout my entire body. The kiss was exciting and new but at the same time familiar, as if something deep inside knew that this man was what I needed all along.
With Ryan, I feel like I finally understand what it is to be in love. I believe people when they say, “you’ll know it when you feel it.” There is something about having a connection to another person that nobody but you two could possibly understand. Love is not selfish. Love is not about making yourself happy all the time, love is about learning to make each other happy. Love allows you to know your worth and the worth of others. Love is about being better because you want to be better for your partner. I’ve learned all of this by allowing myself to love and be loved by a wonderful human being. He teaches me the beauty in adversity and the value of perseverance. Most of all, he has helped me grow up. Together we are navigating the exciting world of love and relationships and what we have come to realize is that you never know where you will find the one you are meant for. It comes as a surprise and often where you least expect it.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Broken.”
And before you know it, it’s over.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Blur.”
If you’re not careful, the city will swallow you whole
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Enveloped.”
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”
– William Shakespeare
The English major in me jumped at the chance to study the pinnacle of literary royalty, William Shakespeare, the summer of my junior year at UCLA. Now, I love literature but I’ll admit that Shakespeare can get a little daunting, especially when you’ve been bombarded with his plays since freshman year of high school. I decided that since it was a requirement for my English degree and there was no way of getting out of it, I might as well go all out and make it fun, right? Lucky for me, UCLA offers a six week study abroad program that covers the 2 semester Shakespeare requirement. I found myself splitting 6 weeks in 2009 travelling between London and Stratford Upon Avon studying and watching plays on world renowned stages.
I often reflect back on my time in England and I believe that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It is so important for young Americans to travel outside of the United States and experience cultures they’ve studied in their history books. Going to a university like UCLA, I felt blessed to be able to walk around campus and call it my own but I will always remember my days in the UK as the best of my college career. Not only did I get to study a literary giant on his home turf, but I was able to understand where American culture has it’s roots.
London was amazing, a brilliant place for a young American to spend her summer months. The weather is mild with the occasional summer drizzle and light showers. Going into the program I knew only a handful of other English majors but we soon formed bonds and became a tight group, often dining together and adventuring into London or congregating in the Stratford McDonalds to use the precious internet connection to Skype home. Stratford Upon Avon is a beautiful and tiny town. We spent two weeks at the Holiday Inn and after the first week we were out of new things to do. Coming from Los Angeles I had never spent so much time in a small area with only one major street and few shops. It was a nice change to be surrounded by the greenest greenery I had ever seen and an actual river flowing through town. I would take walks by myself through town, visiting the shops and of course stopping in at Shakespeare’s home. However, the American in me was thanking the Lord they had a Starbucks!
The highlight of the trip was watching two of my favorite plays, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet in THE Globe Theatre. Standing in the pit in front of the stage all I could think was “I’m actually here. I’m standing in the Globe Theatre.” I’ll never forget or be able to describe the feeling of awe that settled in as I watched the players act. It even started raining halfway through one of the performances, slowly soaking my hair and shoes. The crowd was not deterred at all and simply dawned plastic parkas and continued to watch. Experiencing performances at the Globe and in the famed theatre district and watching stars like Jude Law perform Hamlet is something I will look back on in years to come and thank my lucky stars I was brave enough to hop on a plane and fly away.