I’ve been feeling “uninspired” as of late, friends. I won’t lie.
I asked my Twitter followers to let me know what they actually WANT to read, and “a relationship journey” post came up. (Shoutout Brittnee.)I thought, “I can definitely get inspired to write about Derek!” And you usually don’t get all the details about this stuff unless you come over for a wine-night or way late in the game on the wedding website.
So here we go!
A few very random and unfortunate things brought Derek into my life. One was a dead-end job working for the Plymouth Brethren (unfortunate) and the other was a very cute Instagram pic he happened to be in that caught my eye (random). I’m sure you’re more interested in the Plymouth Brethren part, so we’ll begin there. (DISCLAIMER: I only say this job was “dead end” because I’m a woman. A black woman, at that. And, ya know, the PB’s weren’t about me ‘working’ so much…)
In early 2015, I was coming off of a TON of changes in my life. I had been fired the year before from my first big-girl job at the medical distribution company I had worked at for 3 years. (Sidenote: this is the only time in my life that I’ve ever been fired from anything. No matter what bitter people say. Mkayy?!) I had also left the longest, craziest relationship of my life the year before. I was working part time at Victoria’s Secret, folding panties and attempting to be a carefree single girl. But I needed more moolah, and some direction/purpose in my life. I applied for job after job after job. I went for a receptionist position at a local staffing agency. Although the interview process went very far, the job ended up falling through. The new friends I had made at this agency felt so bad that they immediately “hooked me up” at my first Inside-Sales position with a small-in-size, ginormous-in-revenue company in Eastern Columbus.
That’s where I met Colin. (Not my brother.) He was very nice, and very sweet and his job was training me on all things “this company.” I sat at his desk, I watched him take selfies, he told me about his amazing life in Grandview and something called “Tronfest” and all of his friends. He’d come into work and tell us all stories about his whole crew getting together for porch beers or hanging out at “Loose Goose.” Colin’s life was everything I wanted. I was still (yes, still) trying to navigate the single life. I was seeing this guy who never wanted to go out or do anything except workout and meal prep. I was trapped being someone that I wasn’t, but still trying to figure out who I was in the first place? It was a weird time. Important, but weird.
Anyways, fast forward a couple of months. I “dump” workout guy (even though he says I was never his girlfriends?), Colin and our other coworker start a furniture business and I start following Colin on every social account, ever.
One day, he gets tagged in this photo:
Right? Hubba hubba. I was all about the hottie in the straw hat.
I don’t remember if I asked Colin for an introduction, or what happened? But before long, Derek knew I thought he was a hottie, and I knew Derek was into black girls, and my hopes were sky high.
Derek and I danced around each other a lot during this time. I met him at Colin’s house after a Clipper’s game and awkwardly maintained small talk. (He was wearing a cut off and looking… SO fine! And I was low-key drunk. Honestly, I was low-key drunk for most of 2015?) Then I made plans to meet him at the fabled “Loose Goose” for a Cavs game. He was playing sand volleyball there with his entire crew of friends. I show up in a fancy ass maxi dress (with as much side-boob as humanly possible for me) and gold earrings. Derek & Co. are all sweaty and barefoot wearing tank tops and gym shorts. I felt… awko to say the least.
Needless to say, that encounter wasn’t… the strongest? But, it happened. There you go.
After this, I believe Derek and I had made tentative plans to hang out, one-on-one. This.. uh… this doesn’t go well. Mostly because I’m a stupid head and totally just flaked/cancelled our plans at the last second. Derek was obviously annoyed, and I decided that would be a good time to just never talk to him again and start actually dating someone else.
[Insert 8 Months of Settling and Babysitting a Non-Functioning Alcoholic]
Fast forward to January 2016. I dump my ex on his birthday. (Savage, I know.) And newly single Kelsea is ready to get back out there, again! This time, with a little bit more sense of self. Let me explain:
- I am now working as a Digital Content Strategist with an emphasis on Social Media. (aka dream job) for an ad agency in downtown Columbus.
- I am now living with one of my best and oldest friends in a rented condo right outside of Grandview, as opposed to the very toxic, very crazy living situation I was in the year before. (Another story for another day, I promise you.)
- I have just said “fuck you” to insecurities in the form of butt-length box braids that I am now flipping around on everyone I see.
- I am 24, and, ya know, just a little less egotistical and self-centered and naive.
… a little more ready for what’s coming my way.
SO! Newly single, newly confident, newly open-minded Kelsea is back on the market. She looks up Derek, because, let’s be honest, he never left her mind. (Not even that one night when she was still dating Alcoholic and knew Derek was at the same concert they were at, and attempted to text him to meet up which resulted in a 4 hour fight with Alcoholic.)
Even though she thinks she’s left a pretty harsh impression on him, Derek agrees to hang out anyway.
Our newly rekindled relationship is built on a foundation of music and deep conversation. I remember the looooong talks we would have in the early days and the hours we’d spend “jamming.” Derek would play guitar and sing the melody, I’d find the harmony. (Foreshadowing of how our actual relationship would go.) We’d both get wide-eyed when something sounded really good. I remember fighting feelings of falling in love. HARD.
You see, with coming out of a toxic living situation and a toxic romantic relationship, and with suddenly coming into a place where I liked myself and who I was without anyone attached to me… jumping into another relationship felt like a move that only Insecure Kelsea would make. A dumb move. A silly move. A naive move.
I remember telling Derek things like “I don’t want to want you” or “It’s so hard for me to not tell you I love you.” (Shut up, I know it’s corny. I’m a writer, what do you expect?) I remember just fighting all the feelings, all the time. Mostly, I remember Derek being super patient with me. There were a lot of feelings of “he’s too good for me” or “there’s no way I wouldn’t mess this up.”
But then, one fateful day in March — the 14th to be exact — I summoned all of my nerve and sent a bold ass snapchat to Derek. No… it wasn’t a nude, you pervs. I sent him a snap of me holding a Starbucks cup with freshly manicured nails and the caption:
“You’re dating a basic bitch.”
What the hell did I just do?
I think he texted me and said “Dating, huh?” And I probably said something smart ass-y, but now on the 14th of every month, we listen to “our song” and (try to) go eat at our fave restaurant and celebrate that bold ass move I made.
…and that bold ass move lead to other bold ass moves. Like meeting each other’s families and moving in together and weddings on weddings on weddings. I finally made it to TWO Tronfests (was only really alive for one) and had a second chance at meeting all of Derek’s friends after that very awkward encounter at Loose Goose.
And now we’re just in Happily Ever After Land. Fighting about things like whether or not to watch another episode of [Insert Netflix Original Here] before bed and what the letterboard on our bar cart should say.
It’s pretty great. It’s been pretty great for the past 15 months and I’m anticipating a whole lot more of the greatness. I’m glad I stopped fighting it, ya know? Hopefully my story will inspire you to do the same. You deserve (extravagant) love! I promise. Accept it when it’s right in front of you.