How dare you. || Diamonds and Divorce

As a child, I remember flipping through my parent’s wedding album. It was right beside all the family albums, so every once and awhile I’d pull it out. It was strange to see my parents before I was even a thought. I remember my mom saying once I didn’t have to worry about them ever getting a divorce.

During my teen years, their marriage was very rocky; they were separated twice, once for two years before the divorce could be finalized in 2015. Long and short of it is simply that it was a wreck of a time. Everyone we knew in our religious social circles, which was our only social circles, fought my mother for pursuing the divorce, even though our home life was so bad that we all were dying.

No seriously, I described it as though she, I and my sister were all drowning in front of everyone, but everyone was more worried about saving the boat of marriage which we had fallen off of, instead of us. YES. THAT’S WHAT IT FELT LIKE. LIKE NOBODY CARED THAT WE WERE IN SO MUCH MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PHYSICAL STRESS THAT IT DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE OH GOSH, THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE COMES FIRST. YES. WE WERE REALLY PUT THROUGH THIS FOR MULTIPLE YEARS. IT WAS HORRIBLE.

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We have grown through that part of our lives now and we don’t speak to any of those people anymore thankfully. We are happier, stronger, and much better off than before.

But before I move on, I’d like to pause one moment here and do something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t felt free to say before. I want to give a very personal shout out to all those people who chose an ideal over individual souls that were suffering: SCREW. YOU. 

I have absolutely no regrets in saying that to every last one of you because I have an absolute right to be angry that the Christian church treated us that way. Thanks for watching us nearly drown, thanks for all the commentary on how we should have just submitted more, thanks for not seeing us and simply seeing an idea that you had to uphold. Thank you all And Screw. Every. Last. Damn. One. Of. You. Goodbye and Good Riddance.

Now that y’all have some context of my past, here’s what I want to talk about tonight.

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I remember in 2013, when my parents separated for the second time, that I was reading the little blogs of the church girls I only sorta kinda knew, girls that attended the sister church of my own. I remember courtship and marriage were discussed on and off again on these blogs. And one day, I was so utterly shocked when I read a comment on one post in particular.

The blogger, a girl I had seen at church family camp multiple times, had asked the question “what are the questions you should ask to know who’s right for you”, blah blah blah, that whole conversation. The top comment was by a girl I didn’t know personally but I’d seen her comment a lot on these blogs often. She seemed to hold similar beliefs that we all held. But in her comment, she literally stated, “I wouldn’t marry someone who had parents who had divorced.”

I was shocked. Because my parents were getting a divorce right then. And yet at the time, I held all the same beliefs this person had. But someone like-minded found that despite this, the fact that I now came from a divorced home was a complete disqualifier for Godly marriage? Not because of something an individual has done but for something their parents have done?

I was shocked, mortified, and horrified.

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The owner of the blog agreed with the commenter’s general comment and I realized maybe a lot of people in the social circle I was stuck in must probably agree. Oh my gosh. It was a cruel realization. It was something I’d NEVER thought of myself, and so to have this dawning realization that my peers, who thought similar to me, would view someone like me, a child of divorced parents, as damaged or unworthy or unfit or unable to be of any value for marriage, was awful.

Tonight I remembered that comment again. I even did some link-hopping to find the original blog and screencap the comment itself, because for a bit I wondered if I had really read such an awful thing. I really had, sadly, and it made me so angry tonight.

I want to respond to this person’s statement. Having gone through a good recovery period from my parents’ divorce and being two years strong into my own romantic relationship, I have a few things to say! And I’m sorry that this post has already come off as very personal and emotionally driven, but this is on my heart to speak up about tonight. So here we are and here I go.

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I have a few things to say as a young adult who thought her parents would always be together, then watched it all burn up in flames, and have seen my family grow out of it better off. I have a few things to say about how it has influenced how I view marriage and love itself and how I think it’s done the opposite of making me an “undesirable” choice for marriage. I have a few things to say in defense of the people who grow through the hardship of divorce too.

The thing about me is that despite everything I have been through, and I’ve been through SOME SH*T, my positivity hasn’t been killed yet. It’s only grown, because I have a lot hope today because of my family’s divorce. I still STRONGLY believe I can have a successful marriage myself. I have not given up on true love. I refuse to give up on love.

And yet some people would call me unsuitable? Really? I have learned so much though!

I learned from my parents’ divorce that no marriage can work if both sides aren’t communicating honestly. Therefore, for my future marriage, I must always be honest, I must ALWAYS communicate how I feel, never sweep anything under the rug, and I must be open to listening to my partner’s needs. Boundaries MUST be discussed, reinforced, and embraced for the health of both sides, throughout the marriage. Both sides MUST be willing to listen, to accept, comfort, reassure, to BE OPEN. I know and agree with my mother’s choice to pursue a divorce…because if none of these things are being done on both sides, then, in my opinion, this is no suitable relationship to remain in, much less even be deemed a marriage. It is toxic. One person cannot make a marriage work alone.

BECAUSE OF THIS EXPERIENCE, I know what I need to look for in my partner! I know what I must do to avoid repeating that mistake! I’m aware of issues that can happen and can be proactive against them!

Can you still say, dear commenter, that I’m not a good choice for marriage?

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I learned that when you love someone, you put them above yourself….but always in a two-way street situation. If you are giving your all to someone who is simply taking taking taking…..that is abuse on their part. That is not loving. You should remove yourself from that situation if it cannot be rectified within a period of time. Because while you do love others, you must also love yourself. You must be able to remove yourself from poisonous situations because God loves you and doesn’t want you to be abused like that.

Seeing this, I have learned to love deeply, but not ignorantly; not giving my heart away to just anyone but to someone who is making as much effort as I am. My best friend whom I’m dating, I choose to date because he gives and loves me above himself, just as I do him. I want to see this consistently as we date, so before I agree to any marriage proposals I know that we are committed to fighting for each other, because we will have built trust that we are doing so RIGHT NOW. I know what to look for in a martial partner now because I saw what marriage is not.

Would you still hold my parents’ divorce against me, commenter?

I can understand someone being afraid of a divorce pattern repeating if they marry someone who’s experienced it in their life….but to completely cross out any options because of it, is cruel and completely removes potential people who might have learned a lot from their past. Why can’t we talk through this issue like we would any other personal issue? Why is it different?

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No one is too far gone if they recognize the family patterns, the sins that need to be addressed, if they are willing to be aware, to work towards something better. Often times, people learn best through hardships! How cruel of a person do you need to be to want to completely discount anyone who’s gone through the heartache and survived a parents divorce as “not acceptable, not good enough, does not reach the requirement for my godly marriage standards.”

Guess what, commenter: A lot of peoples’ parents stay together and are completely miserable. How is that better? A lot of people can think marriage is easy if they never see the hardships of marriage and can turn out to be completely bamboozled and lost in their own marriages because they’ve never seen the struggle. A lot of parents can make their marriage look perfect to their children.

IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF A CHILD’S PARENTS HAVE STAYED TOGETHER OR ARE NO LONGER MARRIED BECAUSE EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE MESSED UP IN THEIR OWN WAYS ANYWAY.

How dare you think that someone who comes from a whole family MUST be a better option automatically. How dare you not leave room for people to learn from history’s mistakes. How dare you try to create the perfect partner by how many boxes they can tick off from your mental list of suitabilities. How dare you limit who you can try loving unlike how God loves. How dare you, how dare you,

HOW. DARE. YOU.

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I have learned that from divorce some of the most beautiful, most generous, most gorgeous hearts that beat often come from these broken families! I have seen it not just in my own family but in the people I have met during this process of growing up and becoming my own person. They are no less worth God’s love than you are, and they are no less your love either.

I’ve listened to the voices of teens, young adults, of ex-wives who have struggled through a divorce, and heard the strength in their voice, seen unbelievable generosity in their actions, and watched sacrificial love given even to me by them. I have supported other daughters whose families were thrown into chaos by divorce and seen them grow stronger from it. I have held the bleeding hearts of highschoolers who have seen themselves as mistakes, whose parents never even married, and yet can give everything to those they love, and fight through depression to bring joy to others because they have empathy.

I’ve comforted the broken and found hope in them, I’ve listened to those who feel stuck but find determination to get out, I’ve walked beside the hurting and witnessed healing. I’ve loved on people whom others called unlovable and earned back the deepest of friendships, acceptance, and connection from them. They are SO beautiful that they take my breath away. These people amaze me because God has not given up on them and they haven’t given up on themselves either. And they have not given up on me.

And these are the people, I am the people, that “you could never see yourself wanting to marry.”

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I have seen this raw beauty of souls that come out as shining more brightly than diamonds because of the incredible pressure put on them. They, like me, are hurting and growing and relearning and struggling, just like everyone else in this world. That’s ok!

I’m sorry our hardships we’ve gone through scare you. But I think that we deserve more than to be defined by what’s happened to us. I’m sorry you don’t have more empathy, more compassion, more understanding. I’m sorry that your life has been easy to where you have not been given the gift to see how beautiful we are.

We: the pained, the changed, the victims of mistakes and of abuse, we are more beautiful than you are able to see. Because of what life has dealt us, what God has led us through, we can learn and be better than the past. We can grow stronger and further than you seem possible to imagine because guess what; we have actually seen intimately, first hand, where mistakes were made…we have the best chance to not make the same mistakes if we’re willing to face them, see them head on, and say, “its ok. I see where the path crumbles. Now I know where to truly hang on to the guard rails so I can get further than last time.”

We don’t want to be stuck in the cycle as much as you don’t want to get caught up in it. Believe me. We are trying. So how dare you assume otherwise.

How dare you, commenter, decide in your small little world that our lives are decided before they are even begun, simply because our parents’ marriage didn’t last. How dare you, how dare you

HOW. DARE. YOU.


This was a very emotionally charged post for me to write but I’m going to leave it that way. It felt good to finally be able to articulate and put into words these feelings I’ve worked through and reclaim some of my own self-worth.

Before I close this post, I did want to say thank you to James, my best friend of six years and boyfriend of two, for loving me despite all the baggage I do carry. He has never held my past against me and in fact sees it as having made me into the person I am today that he loves. We fight every day for our future relationship, and he loves me so well through the struggles and insecurities I do have. I feel God’s love most when James loves me; it is incredible and I’m truly blessed. I could never have asked for a better partner to walk through the last many years of survival and recovery than with him and I love him so much.

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AFTERTHOUGHT BECAUSE I NEED TO SAY THIS: Any comments on my parents’ marriage and divorce will not be entertained here, to the person who likes to try to protect my dad for him in my comment section. This is my blog, talk to me about me. My parents have fought their own battles and I know more about their divorce than you do because I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT START TO FINISH. You will not MAKE ME BE QUIET. If you can’t handle my honesty, get off my freaking blog, crazy lady. Thanks, love to dad when you see him. ❤ ❤ ❤

~Jamie

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Highlights from My 2016

I did a lot of growing up this year. I experienced different reality checks, forced to grow, to change habits. However, I accomplished a lot in 2016 personally, when I look back because of them. I’ve been in a stand still for a long time (when trauma happens, “fight or flight” is not the only survival instinct. There is also “freeze”. That’s where I’ve been after the last few emotionally traumatic years.) But I’m unfreezing, and I can see that with each passing year; especially in 2016.

I moved forward. These are some of those highlights. ❤

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Self Public Transportation For A Semester.

I wasn’t driving when I took a math course at my community college; so I used the bus and my bike for transportation. It was a first big step I took to leave the house alone and get myself somewhere like that! It wasn’t a huge commute (would generally take a good half hour if the bus wasn’t late and I pedaled steadily) but it still meant a lot to me. I was not used to biking or the bus, so in that first week, it felt like the most difficult trip in the world. But each week it got easier. I got physically stronger from biking and mentally empowered. My MP3 player was a life saver. I even lost some weight riding that bike. The worst thing that happened? I almost got flipping RUN OVER at a big intersection (legit; in the cross walk, I got knocked to my knees in the street and the car was bearing down on top of me) and that was slightly traumatic. I won’t forget some of the most peculiar people I met waiting for my bus after class (a talkative ex-con, a friendly teenager with a Batman shirt, a drunk woman who was so proud of her daughter, a bus driver who told me I had beautiful eyes.) People told me their life stories in moments at that bus stop. It was a crazy experience for me but I’m happy I persevered through it. And with an A in math too.

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Flew the Country Twice Alone

At the end of that semester, I flew to Georgia to meet James for the first time! And just wow, flying is just an incredible experience! It was empowering to get myself through those airports on my own some, especially after all my biking practice. I flew the first time in May, the second time in December, and both were overall very smooth! I remember everyone I sat next to on each plane well, at least for both flights to GA, as they were so sweet and kind. I’ll never forget the butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I first saw all the green trees around the landing strip from the plane window and realized “I’m here. He’s here.” But now the sight of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport runway is one of my favorite sights! Outside of a few common silly fears, I actually really enjoy flying and I look forward to all the future flights ahead of me.

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I Got Myself a Job

I began paying rent this year to stay home, but my savings were very limited at the start, so a job I needed. A job I got, one that worked best for me due to location. Boy, it has been a mad adventure since getting that job: racing in when others didn’t show, learning curves one after the other, adjusting to a boss’s needs, staying out of coworker drama while still being the ear everyone wants to talk to about it, haha. But now I have my very own source of income and I’m saving up for my car. I have grown a lot as a person by learning to persevere throughout the unforeseen trials of that job. I have learned so much about life in general there. I have also built some incredible friendships with several coworkers there, and I go on late night adventures with a couple of them even! I also enjoy my repeat costumers who get so excited when they see me. I’m thankful for the consistent pay and am happy to work with so many nice people.

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I Learned to Drive

I’ve been very scared of driving for a long time. Partly because I didn’t have a longing for it like many kids. But I was also seriously terrified of the being in control of such a powerful vehicle while being among thousands of other drivers more stupid and incompetent than myself. I live in Phoenix, it’s a big city with lots of crappy drivers ok? But I studied the rules hard and took a lot of time to really practice throughout late summer and fall. Now I can say I’m fairly comfortable with driving! I’ve driven to a lot of different places in my state for practice and all of those trips were great fun! I’m a more cautious driver, but I do enjoy flying at high speeds on the freeway. The only thing I still struggle with is parking, but I’m getting better. XD It was a big deal for me to learn how to drive, but I’m glad that I’ve learned!

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I Successfully Began Long-Distance Dating My Best Friend

This took the most time, the most energy, most of the year to do, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are now compared to a year ago. I remember seeing him for the first time, running to hug him and not wanting to let go the entire trip. I’m glad I choose to take my time before committing to “boyfriend/girlfriend” titles until later in the year; we were just “us” and we are still “us” even now because of it! I’m happy that I decided to be honest about myself with him, about what I felt and needed. It was amazing that at the end of the year, we could announce we were happily dating long distance, fully secure in each other and our feelings. He is my first real love, my first date, my first kiss, and I hope my first for many, many, many more things! He enriches and blesses my life so abundantly; I’m so happy that God has brought us into the security we have now, in His plan, our friendship and love for each other. ❤

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2016:

was the year I painted big parts of the house and reorganized the attic by myself. The year I really dug temporary tattoos. The year I started a music blog. The year I started Breaking Bad but didn’t get around to finishing it. The year I flew 2000 miles for my first date. The year I learned new crochet patterns (and crocheted my biggest blanket ever.) The year I got to eat Captain D’s again. The year I biked through the park at night to breathe music better. The year my kitty disappeared and never came home. 😦 The year I stopped walking the dogs. The year I choose to have my first kiss. ❤ The year I worked double-shifts. The year I bought 5 anime posters at comic-con. The year I found Home far away, then had to leave him behind twice drenched in my tears. The year Chris Pratt tweeted emojis at me for loving “Passengers”. The year I finally found Father Goose at the thrift store. The year I lost 25 pounds. The year I watched 73 anime shows beginning to end. The year I started buying dream catchers.  The year I said, “I love you”.

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2016 was a good year for me, despite all the election drama and the different trials I did experience. I learned I could overcome obstacles if I tried, that I was loved for exactly who I was, and that God was bigger than my fears. It was a good year. ❤

~Jamie

Best of Friends || My First Valentine

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This year, for the first time in my life, I have a real Valentine. And I never thought it would be me. You know that feeling? Everyone else experiences wonderful things, but it feels like it might never be your reality? Maybe that’s just me: I’ve always felt that way about most things. I think because for most of my life I’ve watched my peers experience things I was always left out on. So I still sometimes have those expectations of being left out, you know? But somehow, my reality this year is that I have a boyfriend I love deeply, and he’s my Valentine.

What happened? XD That sounds dumb to ask, but looking back: what was it that I did?

The thing is, I never really pursued romance as a teenager and young adult. I actually purposefully tried to avoid pitfalls I saw other Christian young women fall into because I saw how unhealthy it was. I didn’t pine for the love of my life so much that I became obsessed with the idea. I didn’t watch a lot of romance films, hardly at all (except some 80’s classics. “Say Anything” amirite?) I didn’t write a thousand “Dear Future Husband” letters. I didn’t make a list of attributes I wanted to find in a partner (“He must be taller than me, he must have blue eyes, he must have a six-pack, ect.”)

Somehow, I knew that a romantic relationship, a real one with depth and meaning, would be a lot of work with someone who I would love despite their outward appearance. That reading 200 different “dating/courtship opinion” books wasn’t going to set me up for the perfect path for marriage. That anything I could learn from sappy romance movies would be foolish and just a lot of false advertising of what real emotional intimacy was like (it really all is, fake. Even the kissing!!! The mad frantic Hollywood kissing you see IS NOT REAL LIFE, PEOPLE. IT’S NOT. XD)

I didn’t “do” a lot of things like that as a single woman.

What I did do was be someone’s friend.

James and I were just friends for many years, and that was all…but being friends is why I love James like I do today. We liked the same kind of movies; we were raised with very similar beliefs, had similar childhood upbringings, shared enough common tastes to keep talking. And that’s all we did; we just kept talking, more and more and more. He was there when things kept falling apart for me and when things were good. I was there for those same similar moments in his life. During that period of time, we learned one thing we both knew: We liked talking. Spending time together. Laughing together. We genuinely liked each other as people, as friends.

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I remember about six months before we became a thing; I realized I had feelings for him. I didn’t want to just say it outright, so I attempted my idea of flirting during our skype chats. Which was to ask things like, “If the zombie apocalypse happened, would you come rescue me?” XD He didn’t let on at all that he was understanding my hidden intentions (he did, mostly XD ) and I began to legit think he really wasn’t interested in me that way. But why would he be. I was a woman from a dysfunctional family allllll the way in the desert of Arizona about five states away from him. Surely I was just too much to pursue outside of being just friends.

Of course, I later came to find out later that he’d really liked me for a long time and had been waiting for the right time to tell me. (So yeah, now I know what it feels like to be the girl in the high school movies who’s completely ignorant that the hero of the movie is in love with her from across the cafeteria for most of the movie. XD)

But in his ways, he had shown it all along: he always made time for us to talk weekly. He bent over backward to help me rescue my computer multiple times. Always kindly let me be myself and express what I wanted or needed. Just, before we started talking about my first visit, the idea of having a long distance relationship felt impossible (for me before we met in person, it still felt seemingly too difficult and I refused to commit too quickly before I knew I was ready.) And the timing wouldn’t have been right if we hadn’t happened exactly when we had. That was God’s incredible life planning. We’re so thankful that we’re now already over a year from our anniversary of “when we realized we like-liked each other”.

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I’m sitting here writing like I’ve always done on Valentine’s Day, writing the thoughts I have on this particular day. I have a big one I want to share, to document, from this past year. It’s my biggest takeaway from this first beautiful relationship I’ve had the honor of being a part of. ❤ It’s something I believe with my whole heart about relationships and making them work.

Be the best of friends first.

And yes, while I know every relationship is going to be different and sometimes things can fall apart because of circumstances out of your control, I truly do believe this is a key ingredient to surviving the bumpy waves of forging and maintaining a romantic relationship with someone. I truly do!

We have to be friends, the best of friends, first. Because we already love our best friends, don’t we? Everyone needs best friends, for they are dependable. They are the ones who are tried and true, the ones who get you for you! One has to know a person well to feel at all safe and trusting in the formation of a romantic relationship, and the only way to know that about someone is to get to know that person as a good friend!

Making friends takes time…but take that time. Don’t muddy who you are together by dating only because they’re cute and you feel a “spark” or because they have money or because your church friends think you two are a good match. No! Forge friendships out of shared common ground and start building them. Spend time together because, hey: you just really like hanging out with this person! They make you laugh and smile, you can talk for hours and it feel like 30 minutes, you can tease and be respectful at the same time, you celebrate your little life victories together, and you empathize, cry, and are there when the dark times come, when the bad news hits, when one more thing happens. James and I did that for several years as just friends and it was wonderful and a comfort to have.

Relationships… and ultimately MARRIAGES… will actually last when you both genuinely like each other and can fight for each other one day at a time. Chemistry, physical attraction; they’re all well and good and have their place, but they are not what you want to pursue as a basis for “I want to be in a relationship with them.” Those things can (and generally are) temporary. Genuinely liking someone because you truly know them and enjoy them, on a mental and emotional level, is so much deeper!

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If your relationship is already full of respect, trust, friendship, honesty, and laughter before you decide to start engaging romanticly, having the really hard conversation, getting closer on physical and emotional and mental levels, it will be SO. MUCH. EASIER. (Especially in my own personal case, in which we’re a long distance couple and have to be extra thoughtful and purposeful in our communication.) 

If you’ve been honest about yourself and your needs and desires in life, and communicate clearly, it will be easier. When you have that history together, that time under your belt as “best friends”, if you’ve seen their actions line up with the words…becoming romantically involved will give all the fear and insecurity bigger stronger rewards. It will make riding the ocean of emotion and communication so very worth it. This is the biggest thing I’ve learned and am so grateful for taking this route for my relationship.

And don’t worry; honestly, physical attraction comes very naturally when someone wins your heart, at least in my experience. ^_^

So, today is Valentine’s Day and I actually have someone this time!

James sent me 22 ounces of chocolate and a stuffed tiger this week, and two cards in envelopes that I’m dying to open and read (haven’t yet at the writing of this, but I will during out skype call today.) ❤ For the first time here on my blog, I actually have a Valentine this year, one I’m so so blessed to have as my best friend and boyfriend.

And since today is the only acceptable day that I could do this, I now must take a moment to sing some of his praises. He is so much more than I thought I deserved or would ever get to have in a boyfriend or future “Someone”, ever. And he is a very humble guy, so all this praise below will fluster him greatly (he doesn’t flipping know how to take a compliment ROFL) but I told him I just had to write how much he’s blessed and changed my life by being himself. I don’t know why God was so gracious to let me wind up with someone I think is so wonderful but I’m glad He was.

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James has never failed me when it matters most. He forgives me every time I fail. He gives me as much attention and affection he possibly can every day, from the sweetest daily goodnight messages to telling me he’s praying for me when I leave for work each day.

I have never felt safer in a man’s presence in my life, from when he walks into a room that I’m sitting in or when he smiles at me from the screen. He’s given me the warmest hugs and kisses. There is a genuine gentleness and peace about him that’s lacked from my life for many years that I can’t believe I get to feel from him. His spirit feels like Home to me.

James is also one of the funniest people I know; he makes me laugh all the time between his array of expressions and voices to his quick wit and teasing humor. I DID always want to be with “the funny guy” and he’s definitely the funny guy for me. XD He’s always eager to lift my spirits when I’m low and will do anything to make me smile, which I love! He truly makes my spirit happy!

James also harbors qualities I really wanted in a boyfriend (qualities I think most should look for in their partners but don’t often think about): humility, a willingness to listen and learn, gentleness, and the ability to apologize without feeling defensive. He is all those things and more, in ways I sometimes kinda thought guys couldn’t be (simply from my own life experience.) He is quick to ask for forgiveness, which really really speaks to his maturity. He is sensitive to my feelings and is gentle with me, especially when I’m in distress or having a bad day. He has been quick, ever since when we were simply friends, to listen to me and learn what I like or dislike (vice-versa, that’s why we watched each other’s movie recommendations five years ago. XD)

He tells me I’m beautiful every day, that I’m worth all the distance, that he’s so lucky to have me. I’ve never felt more loved in my life. He honestly changed how I saw myself as a person. I see myself differently in the mirror now; I was even able to lose weight when he helped me love myself at the weight I was. He has changed me for the better in so many ways like that! In just over a year, I’ve changed so much for the better for being with him, in my levels of self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-worth. Not because he gave me self-worth, but he helped me see that I was already worth millions. ❤

I think the biggest thing James has done for me is show a true representation of God’s love for me through his own love. He is very slow to anger; he is incredibly patient with me, more patient than I sometimes deserve, I think. He always loves me even when I make mistakes. That no matter where I am, even when we can’t see each other, touch each other, hear each other, he still loves me.  I have seen better representation for God’s great love for me through James than I have ever seen anywhere else. ❤

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I thank God so often that somehow, through all the chaos in my life, I was allowed to have the comfort of friendship from him for so long, and now the comfort of his love that distance can’t stop. I feel so happy to have gotten to experience just the beginning of what they call “love.” To have had my first kiss with the most precious person on earth to me, to hold the heart of someone so eager to love me wholeheartedly, and let him see me, warts and all, and still feel accepted and loved. To have someone to call Home. ❤ It just blows me away. ❤

So, Happy Valentine’s Day, my Darling James! This year I can actually write to you instead of an idea of my future someone in my head; that feels wonderful! Thank you for being my best friend and loving me even when I become emotional wrecks and live with this crazy dysfunctional family, and live so far away. Thank you for always having the best fun with me, for letting me be my spontaneous silly self, for helping me feel truly beautiful, for trying to love me like God loves me. You’ve changed me for the better! ❤ I can’t wait to keep changing and growing with you; we have so far to go and so much still to learn, but I’m excited for it all.

I love you. ❤ We’re the best of friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way. ❤

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~Jamie

six years of blogging (and how it changed my life)

So I completely forgot that on New Year’s Eve it was my blog’s sixth anniversary!

I have been purposefully absent from blogging this past year; and it was kind of weird. I’ve grown used to blogging about my personal life, about the things I learn as I struggle and grow. However, outside of some purposefully vague blog posts, I’ve been quiet about my life most of this year. I was concentrating on something very important to me and waiting for when I was secure enough to share it.

Well, tonight’s the night and I’m so happy that I waited! Some of you who keep up with me on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook already know what I’m talking about. 😉 But I’m ready to talk about it here. I haven’t planned or outlined any of this post, so hopefully me just explaining what I want to explain all makes sense. XD

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I’ve been building my first romantic relationship, with my best friend James, who lives in Georgia, for the past year.

Yeah; probably not shocking many of you who can read between the lines. XD But hey, this feels very official. XD Some of you who’ve been here awhile know James from his blog; several of you readers kinda grew up with us all together, watching Marvel movies, discussing Star Wars and growing up into college kids–you know who you are. 😉 ❤

Well, James and I met through our blogs back in 2011 and have been friends ever since. About a year ago, after several years of consistently skyping and being the best of friends, our true feelings between us surfaced. I’d had feelings for about six months or so, dropping hints which I thought he was not reading at all. Meanwhile, he’d been holding a crush for about three years (which he hid so well, because I had no idea!) and was absolutely terrified of somehow losing our friendship. So it was quite a big deal when “us” happened; when we began to talk it all out, along with how we could meet.

Our top priority in all of it was protecting our friendship: neither of us wanted to lose what we already had in our friendship. I mean, we loved talking every week about anime, about life, about anything really. Our friendship was too valuable to risk, so we entered the romantic waters very thoughtfully. It was not a walk in the park, people. We both experienced a lot of anxiety and fear during those early months. I was unsure how we could make us work at first, being so far apart and having not met in person, but I knew I wanted to try. I wanted to go slowly and make time for us figure it out, to adapt, to fully comprehend we really did “like like” each other, and spend enough time talking about everything we needed to. And we helped each other through the anxiety, the fear, the trust building!

We talked so much before we first met in May; with all the talking was the trust-building, honesty-building; being respectful, trying to be ourselves, learning more about ourselves as we learned more about what “we” were and could be. We messaged and skyped so much before we met, constantly talking out those fears. It was terrifying and absolutely amazing at the same time. We loved it. It was exciting, it was completely brand new! The butterflies were insane!

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Our first hug at the airport; he barely saw me coming, I was running so fast to reach his arms.

We had a lot of fears before we met, resolving some while I was there, and dealing with others after I went back home. (You can read about our first visit here, if you missed it; it’s tastefully written to exclude we were romantically involved at the time.)

I asked him not to ask me to be his girlfriend during that first visit because I wanted to return home without any ties to see how I felt. I wanted to make sure I loved him, not the idea of him. I wanted to be “just us” for awhile, if that makes sense: just James and Jamie, without any labels like boyfriend and girlfriend.

He very patiently let me take my time. I knew a couple months after coming home that I wanted to officially be together, to try to see if we could make it in the long run. I knew the distance didn’t matter, the distance didn’t effect how I felt. So we privately called each other boyfriend and girlfriend from then on and continued being just us, talking about us, before I returned to him just a few weeks ago.

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From our first official photo session as boyfriend and girlfriend.

He officially asked me to be his girlfriend when I returned, and we made it public on social media to enjoy being a couple without feeling like we had to hide it. (I wanted to take as many cute couple selfies while we were together, after all LOL.) We were both happy and felt safe in own feelings and in each other. We had worked so hard for a year to build us, so it was exciting and still is exciting, to share the fruit of all that work.

We will tell you we’ve already been together more than a year, though: 365 days of very, very hard and dedicated communication being “us”, discussing boundaries, discussing fears, building trust, sharing secrets, discussing fun things like anime as we always had, and figuring out what love was. We’re still doing all that now, really. We’re still learning what love is and becoming closer, stronger.

That’s why for a year I chose to keep us private, so we could grow and become stable without anyone’s input but our immediate circles. I’m so so happy that I chose to be slow and private, even though it meant neglecting my blog for a year. XD

I feel secure and free to talk about it now! Now that such a huge part of my life has received a solid foundation that I’m confident in, I feel like I can come back here (and my other blogs) and talk openly again about life: what I’m learning, what I’m feeling, what I’m doing again. I can refer to James as “boyfriend” on here now; I can be happy knowing that I truly love him very much, without any doubts. That I’m proud to have him as my special someone (and wow, he wins best boyfriend award in the world. How did crazy ol’ me get someone so patient, so empowering, so kind, so affectionate, so gentle, and so supportive? I’m incredibly blessed, you guys!)

So, I’m very excited to come back here, back home to this blog. Back to the place that made us possible.

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Because without starting this blog six years ago, I wouldn’t have met James.

Without this place for us to have gotten to know each other, none of what I just documented would have happened! Like woah…mind blown.

Without writing here, without sharing my fandom joys, my little silly thoughts, my painful life experiences, my personality expressing itself in its whacky funny way, James wouldn’t have wanted to get to know me better! XD We wouldn’t have shared watching the new Marvel movies together; we wouldn’t have commented on each other’s blogs as teenagers for years; he wouldn’t have started his old podcast in 2013 as a way to start skyping with me; we wouldn’t have become the unlikely opposites who get so much out our differences, yet discover so much common ground; we wouldn’t have had each other’s backs during some of the darkest most painful times in both our lives.

Without this blog, I would not have discovered anime, flown across the country twice in a year, discovered myself as I have, experienced the most romantic first kiss one spring morning deep in the south with my hero, best friend, and first love, in the most affectionate, steady, funny, thoughtful, Godly young man ever who shed blood, sweat, utter loyalty and devotion, and a crap ton of being the funniest thing ever, to win my heart. ❤

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I’ve always loved words, telling stories, sharing my struggles and journies in writing. I’ve always believed that words are more powerful than the sword. I’ve believed words were one of the most powerful things in the world. And I’ll always believe that. Because the words in this stupid little blog did so much; it made so much possible. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, someone FELL IN LOVE with my personality, my words, my heart, because of this blog! And right now, despite all the crap that can still hit the fan in my life, I consider myself the most blessed woman in the world.

Your words matter. So when you write, be open, be kind, be true to yourself every single time you share them. You never know what might happen because of it. ❤

~Jamie

5 Things I’ve Learned About Relationships

I’ve learned a lot about relationships this past year and I wanted to write some of them down. These can and should be applied to all sorts of relationships; from your church friends to your school acquaintances, the real-life besties to your dearest friends on the internet, and to guy and girl relationships, whether romantic or not. I’m very thankful that I’ve learned these now as young as I am and I hope they help me with all future relationships that I create.

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Z. Know when to speak and when to shut up and listen. 

   In any relationship there’s always communication going on between two or more people. And it’s good for us to know how and when to speak up; to share our mind or state our feelings. That’s healthy. But what’s just as important is to know when to just be quiet and become a supportive or listening ear to someone else. (This applies especially with girls because we often work through things just by talking about our problems out loud–so guys, just let us talk. We’ll let you know if we actually need you to solve our problems for us.) Speaking and listening should be a decent balance on both sides of a healthy relationship. I personally need to learn to speak up more around friends and learn to be able to disagree politely.

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Y. Understand that your standards, convictions or personal beliefs may not be the same for your friends and that that’s okay. 

   I’ve discovered that this is a basic ingredient to any healthy friendship, even though it’s hard to do. Admit it it, it sucks when people don’t respect your opinions or standards. It sucks for me. This is often a big problem in Christian or religious communities because each family or church has their own golden standard and can become very critical of anyone who doesn’t 100 percent agree, even of other people in their same religion. I know this because I’ve both done it myself and I’ve been in churches where that’s pretty much the norm. Seriously, understanding where our boundaries are in regards to how other people feel is important. Be sure to also surround yourself with people who will be gracious to your convictions too.

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X. Respect Their No. 

   We need to respect the other side’s no just as they need to respect our no. Note: this doesn’t mean cater to the other’s every want (that becomes a unhealthy relationship) and it’s also important to distinguish between them saying no for themselves (the good no) and saying no in order to control a you or a situation manipulatively (a bad no). I’ve realized that this is important for when we and our friends hit our adult years. Understanding the good no is simply being considerate of the other person’s feelings. If they don’t want to debate a certain topic or if they’d rather stay home for the night and not go out with the gang, then we should be able to respect that no. This is really hard for me when it comes to respecting my sister’s no, so I have to use the “do unto others” rule as a reminder to help me remember how I would want to someone to respond to my no. Also, being able to say no is a part of being honest and healthy, so we need to be able to feel free to say no to our friends or other people when we need to.

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W. Relationships, of any kind, do take work. But know when it’s too much work. 

   My sister came and talked to me one day about some trouble she was having with a friend; she said something along the lines of, “I know friendship takes work but I don’t think it should take this much work.” It is important to understand that good friendships do take time, clear communication and thoughtfulness to build trust and strength. But I’ve discovered that healthy relationships should be a two way street; we should be giving as well as receiving when we are in a healthy friendship. If we’re in a relationship that is constantly sucking our energy, excitement for life and our time away from us without getting our own needs met, then we’re probably in a unhealthy relationship. We are going to run into unhealthy people our whole lifetime and it’s important to know that we should be able to address this problem with the persons in question. And if need be, be able to back out of harm’s way.

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U. Marriage Is Hard

   Since I’ve been old enough to seriously think about marriage, I’ve known that it wasn’t easy. But it wasn’t till these past couple years where I got some serious wake up calls on just how hard making marriage work actually is. It’s probably the scariest relationship to enter into. I no longer take the issue lightly anymore and in many ways I’m now quite terrified of it. I would still like to get married someday because I know it’s worth it if both sides put the effort into making it worth it. The guy is just going to be dang special for me to strongly consider entering into such a responsibility. However, I am glad to have been thoroughly scared,too, because I feel way more prepared for reality then I was a few years ago…

Seriously; reality is–surprise!–real. So let’s be prepared for it. Even if it’s a few years away…

~Jamie