I am ecstatic that in 25 days I get to marry my best friend. There have been an abundance of adventures this past year and our relationship has been tested in many, many ways. I am lucky that I can say with absolute certainty that he is the right one for me.
I’ve been blessed with three bridal showers full of family and friends, as well as a bachelorette in Disneyland with my gphi sorority sisters! And I still have one more local bachelorette to go… I’m a very lucky girl.
Our first date was to The Great Gatsby movie back in 2013 and it just so happens to also be my favorite novel. So, we decided to have a Great Gatsby/Roaring 20’s themed wedding at a beautiful 1920’s venue called the Hotel deLuxe in downtown Portland, Oregon.
A little party never killed nobody, so get ready for the Summer of Gatsby! Cheers!
I dream to wake and wake to dream; finding you in an old café somewhere on the coast of Rome, or in a more familiar sleep where the light of the setting sun hits your face with such gentle radiance. The salt air bringing me back; sand in between my toes, entranced by fingers on strings. Such magical moments, how they get lost in time. But as the sea comes back to shore, I feel your heart drifting in mine.
I believe there is a tie that binds us. I’ve tried to fight it for many years, thinking that holding on to your memory would cause me to never let another in. But with time, I’ve become more certain; that tie does not hold me to you, it has instead, allowed me to move forward. It has allowed me to love. To open my heart in ways that I never knew possible.
I feel you in every acoustic chord and check mate. In every deep, purple night. I feel you in the love I give and the love I have received. In every windy beach day and crackling fire. Still, rushing through my veins.
Because of you, I will love him more. I will love him fast and resilient, yet deliberate and gentle. A timeless love that will bury all scars with fresh skin.
Forever firsts, forever seventeen, forever forward. With you, but without. As the tide moves away from the shore.
“It was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was, like all those lines from The Dream of a Common Language that had run through my nights and days. To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.
How wild it was, to let it be.” –Cheryl Strayed
I finished reading Wild at 35,000 feet above the Rockies; being inside the earth yet still able to gaze down upon it. There is something so calming about flying. Being able to be separate from your life for a few hours, as if your body is still on the ground and your soul is the only thing in the air. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this particular feeling; the feeling of being free.
I believe I first experienced it when I was 21-years old driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles in my little Chrysler 300M. It was the first time I really remember ever truly being alone. As I drove past the grapevine and into the city around midnight I remember being mesmerized by the endless lights. I remember the cool breeze coming from the sun roof. I remember the stars fading as I drew closer and closer to the city. I remember shutting off the radio to just take it all in. I had come so far. I was so sick and so lost and completely beaten down. But I had made it; I was free.
I don’t think I knew at the time what I needed to be freed from. In fact, I don’t think I really knew what I needed to be free from until this very moment.
Free from airplane paper napkins filled with promises unfulfilled, free from the boy with the perfected James Dean lean, free from a friend that had turned into so much more; something so necessary, yet so fleeting, free from blue curtains and yellow rubber boots and a life I never should have wanted. Free from endless days spent in bed, heart monitors and advanced directives. Free from the last year of my life in which through much struggle I have learned not only how to forgive others, but also how to forgive myself. To let myself be free.
Every step I have taken has lead me here; to this moment. To where I am supposed to be, at 35,000 feet in the air, looking down upon a life I have created. A life that is unfinished. A life I cannot wait to continue living. Because I was able to wake up today, and let it be.
There’s just something about cool jazz on a hot summer night. The way the notes carry on the breeze and sway through the windowsill. You breathe it in, each gentle run and muted hum of the horn.
I still remember the way he looked standing there on the balcony; smoking a cigarette with a perfected James Dean lean against the cold wooden rail. The way his eyes glimmered when he smiled made my knees go weak.
Everything was still in boxes. The mattress was on the floor, and our living room was made up of one measly futon and an old television set. It was our first apartment. I had just graduated from college and was ready to take on the world. I had one weekend of freedom before real life blinded me head-on. This was the last night of innocence. It was the last night of sweet sensations and childish dreams, if only I had known.
He put out his cigarette against the rail, coughed, and then looked up at me with a twisted grin. I always worried about losing him. He could see the desperation in my eyes. But really, I believe it was a hopeless longing. A longing to find the person I wanted him to be. A person I still believe lies deep within his soul.
“Dance with me,” he said, holding out his hand. Before I could even answer, I was pulled through the sliding glass door and into his arms. I still remember the way his heart beat in his chest; a steady rhythm in tempo with my own. His hands held me tightly and with a swing of call and response; wherever he led, I followed.
“The Nearness of You” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong began to drift onto the balcony. The sun was setting and the moon was rising, but the song beat true. None of those things excited me more than being near him. In that moment he was my world.
We danced there through the raspy chorus and lingering vibrato, and weaved in and out of the city light, hiding underneath the branches of a nearby alder. I never wanted that song to end.
Slowly over the next few months the softer tones became violent. The cool jazz turned hot and summer turned into fall, then fall into winter. We crashed into each other with such great force that the echoes of percussion overpowered the melody itself.
But I will always remember that evening; caught up in a mix between youth and adulthood. Between love and utter loathing. Dancing forever in my mind, between Louis and Ella.
#1 – Don’t laugh when your dad falls in the snow, cement hurts no matter how much white blankets over it. You will fall plenty of times in your life, and he will never smirk.
#2 – Take more naps. They will energize you and keep you up later at night so you can eat popcorn and watch Cheers with mom and dad. You will wish you can cash in on these unused naps later in life, but you can’t.
#3 – Garden more with mom, she will always cherish it.
#4 – When you are at Peter Iredale Beach and you make up that song, write it down. You will forget it later.
#5 – Learn how to play the piano, you know you want to.
#6 – When the man at the music store tells you that your hands and fingers are too small to play the saxophone, tell him they’ll grow and you don’t want to play the clarinet. You will lose your passion for music and your clarinet.
#7 – Don’t ever let a man run your life, instead, find a way to walk together. And if he refuses, sprint.
#8 – Don’t ever stop writing in your journals, you will look back upon them later and laugh. And you will look at them with your daughter and laugh. But you know how much they mean to you.
#9 – Don’t throw away all of your letters, music and poetry. The boy isn’t worth it.
#10 – You should never make promises you cannot keep.
#11 – You will be very sick when you are 21 and 22. Use this as a time to embrace life and learn to cherish it. You have more time than you think you do, but you might not later on.
#12 – Try not to start drinking soda again, it’s a bad habit.
#13 – I would strongly suggest you never put a relationship status up on facebook again. It can run your life. And that’s just pathetic.
#14 – Stay in touch with your best friends from college, they really are true ones.
#15 – When you think you should move to OKC, think again. ONE WORD: Tornado! Stupid.
#16 – Don’t be afraid to jump. Off rocks, bridges, hills, and most importantly bad relationships.
#17 – When things get rough at work and you want to give up, don’t you dare. You will get two promotions within the year because YOU ROCK. And you stuck with it.
#18 – Immerse yourself in the cultures around you. There are so many different people in this world. Being close-minded is the worst.
#19 – Befriend Jordan DePhina in your sorority. She will literally save your life. Don’t forget to thank her.
#20 – Buy. That. Corgi. He’s amazing. And you will love him forever.