In the grand scheme of things… ya know… life… two years is not that huge of a deal. In fact, it’s more insignificant than it is significant. Do you really remember much difference between ages 13, 14 and 15? You’ve probably had the same cell phone for two years. Probably had the same car. Probably lived in the same town. Maybe even the same house/apartment/condo. Your friends and your job and your hairstyle probably haven’t changed (much) in the last two years.
When you take a step back, two years is nothing.
I want to take a step forward.
Because, two years is actually everything.
Two years ago I was living with one of my childhood best friends in a condo we were renting in Hilliard, OH. It was a really cute condo. Two bedrooms, one and a half baths. The full bath was updated, the laundry room had a brand new washer and dryer, and I had the master bedroom. (I’m assuming because my closet had a chute to the laundry room. That’s master-esque, right?) We were friends with our neighbors. We had to drive the rent check to our landlord’s house every month. We sat and sipped wine and watch Private Practice together on weeknights. We argued about the dishes. I decorated and redecorated and rearranged. She tolerated it all.
Two years ago, she was in a serious relationship and I had just sworn them off for good.
I spent my free time figuring myself out. I had just decided to start playing with my hairstyle– discarding my lifelong routine of waking up two hours before I had to be somewhere to flat-iron my natural curls into submission. Now, I rolled out of bed ten minutes before it was time to go. I arranged my waist-length box braids in the way I wanted. I did my makeup and put on an outfit and left. That was it.
Two years ago, I was the Happy Hour queen. I worked in downtown Columbus and very much felt a part of that culture. Social. Worldly. Mature. Sophisticated. Busy.I yelled at people that drove too slowly. At every pedestrian I encountered. I drank coffee every hour of the day. I attended everything I was invited to. I opted for the more expensive of the drink options, the bougiest of the bars. I was overdressed, over caffeinated, over confident.
I prioritized my career and my image above all, two years ago.
Two years ago, I was also guarding my heart.
Derek was someone that had piqued my interest the moment I saw him. Digitally. On a screen. Underneath a ridiculous straw hat.
It was his smile. Er… I guess you could call it a smirk. But there it was. Looking right at me. Speaking my language. Saying my name.
Over-confident, two-years-ago-Kelsea thought well enough of herself to pursue that smirk.
It started with jam sessions. Our love, that is. I would drive to Derek’s house on 5th avenue. (That was step one of the leaf turning. I no longer saw this house as my friend Colin’s house, or as the site of Colin’s business, Pallethouse Furnishings. I saw it as Derek’s house. Where I went to see and experience him.) I’d choose outfits that seemed inconspicuous enough, but I knew were subtly flattering. Like workout tights or a loose fitting tank top. Hoping he’d notice me as more than just a songstress. Hoping to be desrable.
We’d journey to the “music room” in the house. Derek would grab a guitar off of the wall. I’d sit wherever I could find an open space. We’d awkwardly dance around the, “what song do you wanna do?” question. When we landed on something, I’d stare at Derek’s fingers gliding across the frets. Or wait for his smile to crack across his face when he messed up a chord.
I fell in love with his intention, two years ago. His discipline. How intently he focused on what he was doing. How gentle he was with himself when he made mistakes. How careful he was to consider me in what he was doing.
Jam sessions devolved, you could say. Our meetings were dominated by conversation. Derek would come over and “forget” the guitar. I totally forgot about those days until just now. I’d ask him where it was and he’d say it was in his car which was way too large of an inconvenience to go retrieve. We would spend that time laughing, instead. I couldn’t tell you about what. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about either. I’m sure Derek could. He remembers all the cute details. I can only recall how I felt.
Two years ago, I was terrified.
Maybe it’s because our foundation was in music that made Derek’s presence feel so familiar. What am I kidding — it’s just his personality. I think everyone that knows him, regardless of for how long, feels as if he’s always been in their life. He has one mode for relationships: extreme loyalty. In those early days, every single one of his friends pulled me aside at one point or another to tell me what a catch I had in him. I miss those talks.
Back to the terror.
Derek felt so right, so familiar, so necessary– that I inherently rebelled against the feeling.
Like you, dear reader of this blog, I had been so sure about a relationship before. I had put all of my eggs in one man’s basket. I had invested years of my life, countless amounts of energy, love, experiences, etc. in someone that just didn’t work out. And it’s not the I was a crazed, heart broken mess. It’s that I knew that I had wasted precious time. And that after making that mistake, I had continued to just keep trying, again and again. Relationship after relationship. Loser after loser. Regret after regret.
So, two years ago, I was scared shitless that I was on the cusp of making another mistake. That all of this good was the precipice for another disappointment, down the road.
The interesting thing about me (Maybe it’s not interesting. Whatever.) is that I am absolutely terrible at hiding my emotions. When I’m angry, it’s written all over my face. When I’m happy, I’m probably literally doing a dance. And when I’m in love… well… it just comes out…
Derek was leaving my cute condo, one day, two years ago. We had hugged and kissed or something like that. I had watched him walk out the door and waited for the sound of the screen door to slam a few seconds later. And once it did, I realized that I was physically clenching my mouth shut. I was biting my tongue. I was essentially telling myself to shut the fuck up. In my head were thoughts of, “you should’ve told him how you feel.” and “do you think he would’ve flipped out if you said it?” And with the slam of the door, my thoughts met my reality.
Two years ago, Derek wasn’t oblivious to where I was in my life. He knew I was fresh out of a disaster of a relationship. He knew that I had feelings for him. He knew that I was trying to guard my heart. He knew I was serious about my career and about growing the hell up and about trying to be smart.
So, I did the logical thing. I pulled my phone up to my face and sent this message:
“You know… it’s getting so hard not to tell you ‘I love you,’ when you leave.”
(Two years ago, I was a bit reckless.)
That lead to some other courageous moments. Like when I sent Derek a snapchat telling him that he’s dating a basic bitch. (Dating…???) Which, yes, still makes me cringe to even think about. But this ultimately forced me to stop hiding behind the fear of failure. To call it what it is. To say what was on my heart and on my mind. To leap into the unknown.
And that led to…
…two years later.
If you’re reading this, my hope is that you find significance in your days. That the passage of time allows you to appreciate the evolution of everything in our life. That you let yourself think back to where it all started once in a while. I hope you remember everything you overcame and look expectantly to everything you will overcome. Two years is a long time, it’s a short time, it’s whatever. The important thing is that it’s YOUR time. It’s YOUR story. Write a damn good one.
We’re working hard on ours.