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? 😄 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?” 😄 He didn’t let on at all that he was understanding my hidden intentions (he did, mostly 😄 ) 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. 😄 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

Let Me Reintroduce Myself


I’ve been gone for a long time, and I’ve changed, grown, learned things while I was gone. I also feel like the same old Jamie. I decided I wanted to reintroduce myself as I return this place I’ve called my home. Here’s some things about me, and some things I’ve learned while I was gone last year. I’ve missed you all. ❤ So here we go.

My name is Jamie.

  • I really love rainy days: that’s when my days shine the brightest.
  • Sherlock Holmes is still my favorite fictional character.
  • Among many things, I value creativity, empathy, gentle honesty, wise vulnerability, and a good sense of humor.
  • Purple is still my favorite color, but I wear lots of reds, blacks, grays, and pinks. And teal too. I just love colors.
  • I’m the oldest sibling of three; it’s where I groomed my abilities to be bossy and nurturing at the same time.
  • I have a passion for helping people feel understood and heard and valued.
  • I an ENFP–extroverted, intuitive, a big whopping feeler, and perceiver.
  • The mystery genre has always been my favorite (sub-genres fantasy, historical, sci-fi, drama all completely welcome!)
  • I’m a born-again Christian; struggling every day to leave toxic faith behind me and remember God loves me.
  • I’m a lover of words, strong vocabularies, and writing (short stories, personal fanfiction, non-literature) and I’m in a constant struggle to write for myself.
  • I’ve stopped talking about my books publicly because I’m less motivated to write them when I do.
  • I’m a big anime fan and have been watching seasonal anime for over two years straight: truly have enjoyed that journey of many enjoyable stories!
  • I enjoy audio books, radio dramas, and anything that combines stories with sound and music.
  • I laugh easily, which I think is one of my best personality traits.
  • I greatly love my best friend-now-boyfriend James, a fellow blogger, my mentor in geekiness, and long-time companion in life’s joys and hardships.
  • I’m a born American; my bloodline is a wild mix of German, Irish, Dutch, Native American, and Hispanic–I’m very white looking, but the quarter Hispanic in me comes out in my curls.
  • I keep my curly brown hair short these days and I love it.
  • I really love Asian-American food.
  • I REALLY LOVE music. I call music my soulmate. ❤
  • My favorite movie is Clue.
  • Princess Jellyfish is my favorite anime.
  • While The Office is still my favorite TV show, a close second is Game of Thrones.
  • My favorite animation studio is Studio Ghibli; Disney is a close second for the oldie goldies. 😉
  • I still watch Disney on VHS as I slowly collect the DVDs.
  • I don’t read as often these days and I regret that.
  • I’m forcing one of my shelves to hold all Harry Potter merch on display along with all the books.
  • I enjoy using temporary tattoos as an artistic form (still unsure if I want a real one someday.)
  • I adore dreamcatchers and have so far collected 5 for my room.
  • I am more than what I journal here.

I’ve learned a lot in my short life and I have a lot more of to learn. But these are some of my biggest takeaways from the last year of my absence.

What I have learned.

Life is cruel, people are cruel. But positivity–joy, which is the very meaning of my own name–can always shine if you choose to look for it, be it, accept it. When you hold on to joy, life becomes wonderful, and people can become wonderful too. I still love people, despite everything I’ve been through, I still love people because God loves people.

The people who push you down are not just afraid of what you have to say and want to be, but they themselves have been pushed down; they are afraid of themselves and of others. Probably more than even they know. They don’t have a confidence that they’re loved and of value. I have found that knowing this makes understanding and forgiving them easier.

True love cannot be contained, nor refrained, nor smothered, nor hidden. True love cannot be stopped, truly, by anything or anyone. True love is shown in not just words but in actions and behavior, and it takes both to prove it. True love is learning to compromise, learning to respect, learning to forgive, being honest when it’s most hard, learning to apologize, learning to seek joy for the other…or for yourself. True love is special and it takes time to recognize if it is genuine, but when you do recognize it, it’s a piece of heaven on earth.

Everyone is different, which means everyone’s stories are different. God has everyone at different places in their lives for His own glory, and no one can ever rightly judge you for where you are in your walk in life. You are where God wants you to be and others are where they should be too. Even if it pains you, or you disagree. They’re there for a reason.

Lastly, someone close to me told me one random day to remember that God loves me, not for where I think I ought to be, but He loves me where I am now. This was something I had started to forget. And that reminder, though it was a small thought when it was shared, impacted me so much. ❤

Well, that’s me. I’m happy to be back.

~Jamie

Open Letters and Lyrics to the Men Who Influenced My Life


I originally posted this on my quiet music blog, but I was told I needed to share it here too and I agree. ❤ I hope the music can touch you too. ❤

These are open letters (certain identities hidden for privacy) to four men who’ve affected my life in ways that have shaped me into who I am today. I say goodbye, I say I miss you, and I say I love you. I’ve had these words and lyrics on my heart for a long time…it felt good to express like this.


{For The Childhood Best Friend}

Dear B,

You were my first best friend, my playpen buddy, my childhood friend, the one I always knew would be my partner in crime in all our games. You were one of the best parts of my whole kid world. You’ve inspired some of my best fictional characters by leaving such an impression of the ideal childhood friend. I’m sorry our families fell apart like they did; I’m sorry we drifted. But thank you for being a part of what gave me a happy childhood. You will always be my first best friend. ❤ This song makes me think of you and miss you as we leave childhood behind us. Thank you for all the memories, and I wish you the greatest luck in your future. I’ll always be in your corner, ok? ❤

So Long by Zooey Deschanel.
“Hate to say goodbye, goodbye and I hate to see the end, the end.
‘Cause it’s been so long since I’ve made a friend like you.”

{For The Friend Who Disappeared}

Dear D,

When my whole world was crashing, you entered my life…you were like a life preserver…you noticed me, wanted to be my friend, entered worlds with me, made me laugh and forget my pain, my depression, my fear. I liked you. I’m sorry our families fell apart….I’m so sorry that I lost contact with you. I’m so sorry that you never came to see me, that you never responded to my note, that I’m not yet brave enough to come find you myself to say thank you and goodbye. While things have worked out in my life, I still consider you disappearing from my life as one of my biggest regrets and personal losses. I grieved your loss to this song for years: I listened to its chorus a thousand times because it matched how my heart hurt, and sometimes still does. I do thank you for being the friend I so desperately needed at that time in my life, for helping me feel special; I miss you when I see Willy Wonka, vampires, and Sherlock Holmes. You deserve the best of luck, wherever you are. Just please don’t live in fear for the rest of your life, ok? Please don’t live in fear.

Habits by Tove Lo.
“You’re gone and I gotta stay high all the time to keep you off my mind ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh.
High all the time to keep you off my mind, ooh-oh, ooh-ooh.
Spending my days locked in a haze, trying to forget you, babe, I fall back down.
Gotta stay high all my life to forget I’m missing you, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh.”

{For The Unsafe Father}

Dear Dad,

I really miss you: the you I thought I knew when I was a little girl. I’m sad that you didn’t want me to become my own person, that you believed I didn’t have a mind of my own, that you couldn’t just love me enough to let me be free. But I’m not sorry I don’t see you anymore. You played too many mind games, your words never added up, you made me feel like dirt. I won’t accept being treated that way again for the rest of my life. I do hope you will change one day. This song has been my anthem of freedom from your treatment since I first heard it, because even though you kept me down for a long time, I’m standing up now. I’m becoming that ball of fire again, and I’m finding emotional and mental freedom and happiness.

Roar by Katy Perry.
“You held me down but I got up, already brushing off the dust.
You hear my voice, you hear that sound like thunder gonna shake the ground.
You held me down, but I got up, get ready ’cause I”ve had enough.
I see it all, I see it now; I’ve got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire, cause I am a champion and you’re going to hear my roar louder, louder than a  lion ’cause I am a champion, and you’re going to hear me roar.”

{For The One I Love, the One Who is There}

Dear James,

You’re incredible. You’re the man who loved me for three years and was too scared to tell me for fear of losing our friendship…the man who has given his everything to win my heart, to be there for me…. You are the one who helped me grow despite my hurts; who helped me feel safe; who made me feel funny and happy; who told me I was gorgeous the way I was, to embrace my flaws; who told me I had a voice, that I had value, that I was worth more than gold…. thank you. Thank you for over a year of dedication as my romantic partner and for five whole years of being there. For just not leaving or disappearing like everyone else has. Thank you for loving me so unconditionally and for telling me you’ll always be there. Thank you. I have a dozen romantic songs that make me think of you, but you are more than just my boyfriend; you are my best friend, the seashore to my rocky waves, my home and happy place, my joy. I am full of gratitude for you and for everything you’ve given me. This song is my heart to you; because every lyric rings true. Thank you for changing my life for the better and I love you! ❤

Thank You by MoZella.
“Mixed up and lost, you showed me love at no cost, and when nobody else cared you were there….

Down on my luck, you helped my life get unstuck and when the world went away, you stayed…
Thank you for the good times, thank you for your love, thank you for the joy you’ve given me…
You fight off my enemies, you’d take a bullet for me, and you know I’d do the same for you…
‘Cause that’s how we roll, connected at the soul, and I just want you to know how I feel…
Thank you for loving me every day, thank you for showing me the way, thank you for things I never say…
Thank you.”

Dear Men,

You have changed me, shaped me, and influenced my life in so many positive and negative ways, but you have helped me develop into a better person; you have made me feel loss to appreciate love and loyalty when I truly recognize it; you have given me the sweetest memories and most bitter tears. You have even helped me become a better person. Thank you for that. None of it was in vain. I won’t forget any of you… don’t you forget me either.

Don’t You by Simple Minds.
“Won’t you come see about me? I’ll be alone, dancing, you know it, baby.

Tell me your troubles and doubts, giving me everything inside and out, and love’s strange so real in the dark.
Think of the tender things that we were working on.
Slow change may pull us apart, when the light gets into your heart, baby.
Don’t you… forget about me… don’t don’t don’t don’t, don’t you… forget about me.”

Sincerely, your old friend, your daughter, you girlfriend and future,
Jamie ❤

A God Moment at DQ


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I had what felt like a God moment at work tonight. It was at the end of a drive-thru rush, I was slightly stressed and a little overwhelmed writing orders, counting money, helping my coworkers when they double checked one of my orders. The guy who pulled up last during this rush though just struck me. He seemed little older than me, maybe 25, kinda rough looking, in an old car, lower class probably. Yet from the moment he pulled up, he had the most calming, respectful vibe about him; he was overflowing with gratitude and he maintained eye contact with me throughout our whole transaction. He was very sweet, very grateful to be talking to me. He was so calming after so many other customers, some of which who’d been cold or thoughtless (many of them middle/upper-class people too.)

I ended up being the one to hand out his order at the other window, taking care to make sure he had a cup holder and extra napkins. I felt this strong nudge in my heart to tell him I appreciated his vibe; just this strong inclination to speak. So, leaning out the window, I said, “hey, I just wanted to say I really like your vibe, it’s so chill and soothing, I like it!” just kinda appreciating how he’d treated me. And he looked like he was going to melt! “Thank  you so much!” He told me that he’d had some very rough few days, that he’d been needing to get away from everything and his thoughts; that he’d started to feel a little better. But he said, “Thank you so much, thanks for saying that, wow.” He seemed so genuinely touched and grateful and uplifted. Like he’d heard EXACTLY what he’d needed to hear in that moment. He seemed so blown away and doubly grateful. In those moments I felt like we shared this real connection, human to human emotionally. He was a perfect stranger, but in those moments, we were strangers no more.

He impacted me just as much as I seemed to impact him because I’m still so happy about our exchange. I don’t know what could possibly have been going on in his life, but I was really glad I felt God prompt me to say what he needed to hear. Plus, he reminded me that I could definitely still help impact people as just a little worker bee in a little neighborhood DQ. Encouraging people positively by being appreciative is definitely something I’ll always want to do for the rest of my life, for God moments like these. ❤


~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. 😄

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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. 😄 But hey, this feels very official. 😄 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. 😄

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! 😄 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