Thursday, May 11, 2017

How we met: part 1

I love love love reading other bloggers' stores about how they met their spouse. I'm a romantic through and through: I love LOVE! True, authentic, self-sacrificing, painful, beautiful, real love sets my  soul on fire. Around the time I started Justine In Pearls, I posted the "abridged" version of our story that we co-wrote for our wedding website. However, I want to lock down all the details of our story while everything is relatively fresh in my head so we'll have it to look back on years to come.

So without further ado, this is how we met...

The Prequel: Fall 2010

It was Thanksgiving. I was taking a break from writing some papers for one of my last college classes to share a recent blog post on my Twitter. I had just recently started blogging and had no idea what I was into yet, but I was having fun settling in to my little place on the internet. I hardly had any readers, and the ones that I did have were pretty much just my family members. I had recently gotten out of a relationship and I was starting to get a little frustrated with God. I remember asking to meet my future spouse that year, and hoping that when I did, I would recognize him. Or something. Then I used to end up just wondering if we had already met, so I'd go through most of the single guys I knew and rule them out one by one... you know, like in the old chick flicks where she likes the popular guy who ends up being not right for her and then she ends up with the one who was her best friend all along... actually, that's not too far off from what happened. But we'll get to that!

Anyways, one of my household sisters (household = a sort of Catholic sorority I joined in college) gave me a shout out on Twitter for whatever particular post I had written at the time. Her cousin happened to find it, actually read it, and sent me a direct message on Twitter. The message is gone now, but it was something along the lines of "Hey, I'm Jackie's cousin and I just wanted to say I read your blog and I think it's really good. Keep up the good work!" Then he started following my feed.

Me: A fan!! Someone I had never met before read my blog and liked it. I must be dreaming. Who is this pioneer of fandom? Hmm... joelarbear87. Joelar Bear. His name is probably Joel. Or some weird variation of it? I'm assuming it's pronounced like "polar?" He's kinda cute, but the picture is super tiny. *clicks link* Dayton, OH. I go to school in Ohio! How far is that from me? Oh, too far. We'd never meet. I'm going to follow him back. And I should tell Jackie.

I texted her and she thought it was funny and said he's cool. That's about it. I made sure whenever I wrote another post, I linked it in my Twitter account, just in case he was still paying attention. A few weeks later I got the impression from his feed that he had a girlfriend, so I dropped it.


Part 1: Spring 2012

I ended up being in college for longer than I anticipated. I had graduated a couple months before and I was ready to pursue my passions and start a career: traveling around the country and teaching about healthy relationships, maybe writing a book in between stops. I was a hopeless romantic (still, but in my defense I had been since I was 5, so I didn't really expect that to change) and somehow managed to graduate late and still without the "ring by spring." I wanted to someday end up living in Denver or Colorado springs. I had visited friends there a few times and it was the only place I had ever visited that made me think "yeah, I could definitely see myself living here." However, I had trouble setting up a living situation and finding a job, so I had to put that dream on the back burner. Another opportunity presented itself in Pennsylvania, so I followed the job there.

It was thrilling to venture off on my own and start my career as a chastity speaker, but I was 6 hours from the closest family member, which was a big change for me. I was starting to panic a little, especially after trying unsuccessfully to make friends with people in my neighborhood close to my age. I frequently visited my friends who were still in school, only about an hour and a half from where I had moved. I ached to feel connected and part of a community. I started to go back through my list of good guy friends and look for the love of my life... because, well, maybe I had overlooked him or something (like in the movies... he was probably there all along!). I ended up in a relationship with a nice guy, but it wasn't a good fit. I kept trying to make it work, but I just had this feeling that it just wasn't supposed to be.

But, I stuck it out anyways, because I was scared. Scared that maybe this is just what relationships were like, that they needed a lot of work to mesh, and that it's ok that you have less and less in common, or you disagree on a lot of things, etc. Scared that maybe this was my last chance to find someone because I had so much trouble meeting anyone in my area, let alone anyone dateable.

I kept a giant framed poster of Pikes Peak in my kitchen. I used it to remind me of where I wanted to go, to remind me of the awesome beauty I found in the Colorado landscape, and to remind me that life was bigger than my little lonely apartment. I remember sitting on my kitchen counter, drinking coffee, looking at that poster, and posting this:

My username and picture have changed since then, but this is THE tweet.

And then I remember jumping off the counter to tackle my pile of work, when I received a response from JoelarBear87. I had completely forgotten that we were still following each other. He had recently moved to Denver himself, and was curious if I was still around.

This is more like what he would have seen of me. He has since deleted his twitter, so his info is gone.
Me: Who is this? OMG IT'S MY FAN! I forgot about him! He lives in CO? Figures. I want to go to there. I should probably respond.

We tweeted back and forth on occasion, but we were only friends on Twitter. Looking back, I used Twitter more that spring and summer than I had ever used it before or ever would since. Our interaction was predominantly quoting movies, but it was becoming more and more frequent. I started to refer to him as "my Twitter friend." And that's all it was... for the spring at least.

Part 2 coming soon!