our story.

“Someday, someone is going to choose you. You are worth someones love and attention. You are so worth it.”

I remember staring at the floor, almost unresponsive, while my sweet and exhausted mom tried to comfort me. I was 18 and totally convinced, deep down in my soul, that no one would ever want me.

It’s such a silly thing to assume so young. Most people don’t meet their person for years after that. But isn’t it the typical thing too? 18 and certain you’ll never find love?

College changed my perspective, as college tends to do. My first month at UF, several guys asked me out. My self-confidence went through the roof. But several months and one break up later, I realized that yay, lots of guys now noticed me, but not many guys stayed.

Guys were interested until they realized that the pretty blonde they’d noticed is also pretty awkward. She doesn’t do small talk, so huge parties aren’t her thing. She has zero rhythm or coordination so taking her dancing is out too. And she would much rather debate philosophical arguments than spend energy flirting with you.

There are guys–though few and far between–that do stay even with all of that. But through some lovely experiences with heart break, I’ve found that my mental illness and emotional unsteadiness is usually too much for them to handle.

I’m a lot of work. The summer I transferred to Wheaton I came to terms with this and decided that I’d be happy if no guy was ever interested again. I wasn’t sad. I was just certain I knew what the future held.

Then on my very first day this goofy guy with curly hair said, “Hey, welcome to Wheaton!” and I don’t think my life will ever be the same.

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We had a nearly perfect year of dating, in which (among many other things):

  • We sat until midnight in an abandoned art building, listening to spoken word & romantic music, eating deep dish pizza and talking about life.
  • He told me he was crazy about me, (no matter how high maintenance I claimed to be), after being the first ever to ask me to a dance.
  • He’d walk across campus just to walk with me 20 yards to my next class.
  • On our first date we ate on a rooftop and then slow danced under Christmas lights in the middle of an empty street while he sang to me.
  • He bought a plane ticket to Orlando two weeks after I agreed to be his girlfriend.
  • He then flew in the day before New Year’s Eve–completely surprising me. (He hoped to redeem my favorite holiday for me after I’d been dumped that day the year before. He succeeded.)
  • On New Year’s Eve he told me he loved me for the first time with a typewriter written letter.
  • He told me a week later that he was going to marry me. (We’d been dating for less than 5 months.)

He is without a doubt the most wonderful, charming, hopeless romantic I have ever met.

But a few weeks after our anniversary (sometime this past September), my mental illnesses began to creep into my life like never before. The old dorm room I had been living in was making me sicker and sicker and sicker. My allergic reactions to my living situations snowballed into uncontrollable anxiety and severe depression.

For the next three months, almost every day meant multiple panic attacks. I hardly ate. I couldn’t attend classes or make deadlines for homework. By November I was almost completely unable to care for myself, so my dad flew into town and I stayed in a hotel room with him for two weeks. School, friendships, nothing else mattered other than trying to regain my strength.

I don’t know if it’s possible for me to have been more vulnerable or more frail than I was those few months. I was unable to function without triggering a panic attack. I’ve never felt so completely helpless.

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This incredible man is the only reason I made it through that semester. Without his constant help, I know I would’ve had to drop out of school. Maybe I would’ve made it back eventually, maybe not.

He was the only thing that calmed my anxiety. So he would sit with me for hours at a time. He’d come running the moment I texted or called. Not just once or twice, but for weeks at a time.

Once he was late to class because I called him after almost passing out on campus–the medicine I was taking affected my blood sugar levels–and he had to half walk me, half carry me to the health center.

A typical day looked like sitting with me between classes, going to work in the evening for several hours, staying up very late doing homework, waking up early for rehearsal, sometimes going to work again after… and after all of that, he’d be back to sit with me again for however long I needed him.

Our entire semester looked like this.

Not once did he complain to me. Not once.

Not once did he ever make it seem like I was a burden or too much for him to handle.

And somehow, in the midst of all of this mess, he was still saving for an engagement ring. The fact that someone could see me at that level of helplessness and brokenness and still want to buy an engagement ring is beyond me.

Praise God that by the end of the semester I was finally recovering. Two weeks into our winter break and I was back to normal. I flew to Colorado for the last half of break, refreshed and ready to try another semester at Wheaton.

On New Year’s Day, the whole family went to the Denver Zoo and then on a scavenger hunt through their beautiful Christmas light set up. We went off separately from his family, and once we’d gotten through the whole hunt, we kept on exploring. He grabbed my hand and said, “Hey come over here!”

Pretty sure he was just pulling me aside to make out with me, I walked over with no thought of anything other than the soft pretzel I was eating.

When he took the pretzel out of my hand and set it down, he had my attention.

I heard our song playing from the bushes and watched him pull a ring out of his coat pocket. I stood in shock while this man I love so deeply and who has loved me so well, got down on one knee and told me how much he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

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“Someday, someone is going to choose you. You are worth someones love and attention. You are so worth it.”

I can’t believe that I found my person at 20 years old. I can’t believe that I get to marry him at 22. I can’t believe that it’s possible to love another human being this much.

So there’s our story.

There’s the story of how this amazing, goofy man came bounding into my life and never left.

your friendly neighborhood scatter-brained artist, sweet tea enthusiast, and dedicated Publix shopper.

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