The Dates You Remember

Some dates you’ll never forget.

You know exactly what you wore.

What you said.

How you felt.

Who was there.

And eventually, you realize how that date- that moment- changed your life.

As I was driving to work, I was reminded of a date that defined so much of who I am. And unfortunately, this date put a wedge in my trust and relationship with Justin for years.

Justin was the perfect boyfriend- he really was!

He loved me…a love that I only thought existed in movies.

I could be myself (aka a complete werido).

Justin made me feel beautiful and special no matter what I was wearing or how much make-up I had (or didn’t have) on.

In fact, he preferred me without much make-up on.

A natural beauty, he’d say.

He loved me no matter the number on the scale or size of pants.

He made me laugh. He made me feel safe.

And yet, I didn’t trust him.

He’d never given me a reason not to trust him.

This was seven years ago.  

And a few months earlier, someone gave me a reason not to trust…anyone.

It was March in 2006.

I had just gotten back from Spring Break a few weeks before…my boyfriend was acting strange – pushing me away. He said we needed a night apart, but his voice was odd.

His text messages were short.

And he didn’t IM me when I got on AOL messenger (don’t act like you didn’t wait for that one person to IM you first). 

I agreed that we should spend the evening apart. I went off to play beer pong with some friends…I was playing with a guy I just met. I couldn’t tell you his name today if you gave me a million dollars. But I do know…that he tried to kiss me…and I pushed away. But I felt guilty.

Did my frustrations with my boyfriend get the best of me? 

Was I being overly flirty? 

Or was this guy just a creep?

I felt the party with my best friends at my side- Toni, Travis, and Luke. We marched over to my boyfriend’s house. I knew something was wrong…and I wanted to fix it.

Who knew moments later I’d be the one needing fixed?

I reached his front steps and the lights were off, but I could see the TV was on.

Without knocking, I opened his door….slowly- careful not to wake him if he was sleeping.

I shouldn’t have been so careful…

I opened the door and the street lights brightened up the room.

There he was…

With another girl…

He was on top of her…they were kissing…and I’ll spare you the other details.

Those next few minutes were a blur. I didn’t yell at home…or punch him. You always think about what you’ll do in moments like that, but I was so shocked.

So hurt.

I walked into the other room- covered my face with my hands and the tears started pouring down.

I needed to get out there….and fast.

“I can’t believe you, (insert said boyfriend’s name),” I said.

I walked outside and fell to the ground.

My friends were waiting outside.

He wasted no time jumping up and locking the door.

Toni saw my reaction and jumped back to the door. She started banging on it and screaming at him…calling him names…names that he so rightfully desired!

And my little Toni Bug- still my best friend…and I know that no matter the situation – she would still bang down someone’s door to defend me.

And then carry me home like she did that night.

I will always love and adore her…

For some reason, I was reminded of this day while driving to work this morning.

One of those moments that shaped my life.

That next day, I vowed that no man will ever determine my happiness.

I declared that I’m in charge of my feelings and emotions.

I was stubborn and broken at the same time.

I put up a wall.

On August, 19, 2006 I met Justin. And from that date on, he worked soooo darn hard to get inside my mind to figure me out. And break down that wall.

I’m so thankful that he never gave up on me.

In fact, I’d often thank him for letting me deal with my emotions in my own way (and time) without running away.

“I’ll never give up on you, Baby,” he would say back every single time.

You see, I remembered the timeframe of the March incident this morning while driving to work.

I don’t remember the exact date.

Or time.

Or what I was wearing.

But I’ll never forget the date that Justin and I met.

I was wearing a teal shirt with Silver jeans.

My hair was down and blonde from the summer sun.

He was wearing khaki shorts with a black Ball State t-shirt.

And I’ll never forget the date that he asked me to be his girlfriend, August 22.

Justin was in khaki shorts and a red T-shirt.

 I was in workout clothes – leaving the gym.

“So, do you want me make this thing official or what?” He asked.

“YES!” I said, overly excited. “Wait, does this mean I can make it Facebook official too?”

As clique as it sounds, everything in life happens for a reason.

I could have spent my life dwelling on that ONE moment, with that ONE awful boyfriend…but instead, I decided to take a leap of faith with ONE amazing man.

So don’t hold onto the wrong dates.

Let go.

Remember the dates that bring positive memories….

The dates that flood your body with happiness. 

Days like this…

Nervous bride smile!

Sealing my promise with a kiss.

And then shoving cake up his nose.

All happy marriages are filled with fabulous dance moves.

And don’t forget…

Wedding hangover.

 

Much love,
Ashley

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