So I asked on my social media what my next post should be and a couple of the answers asked me to tell my love story with my boyfriend, so here we go!
First of all, for those who don't know, my boyfriend's name is Johnel, just to avoid confusion.
Before I begin the story, I have to give a little backstory as to how this boy came into my life at just the right time.
Back in about 2003, I started studying at a different school where, as the new girl, I didn't know anybody. During the end of elementary school and the start of middle school, I didn't really have friendships that lasted more than two years or survived studying in different classrooms. That is until 5th grade, where I met my best friend, Monique, who is still my best friend 15 years later! With her, came other people that were her friends and her friends brought their friends.
Pretty soon, we were just a little group of people. One of the people was (you guessed it) Johnel. We became instantly inseparable and it wasn't long before I developed a little crush. It was to be expected, I usually gravitate towards my friends for crushes.
Now, me being the confident queen I was, I let him know that I liked him. And him being the gentleman he is, let me know that he did not feel the same way, but that he wouldn't let it affect our friendship if I didn't want it to. So we continued being best friends while I liked him in my own time. Can we talk about these mature middle schoolers? Of course, that didn't mean he didn't like knowing I still liked him. Every once in a while, he would ask me "do you like anybody?" which was the tell-tale sign that he knew I still liked him. Kind of like a combination of checking in and stroking his 13-year-old ego.
Fast forward a bit to 8th grade and my best friend at the time (not Monique) starts "dating" Johnel (I put it in quotes, because we were kids. At the time, dating was holding each other's hand and sitting next to each other). Surprisingly enough, I loved them both so much, I was just happy to see them happy. But, shockingly enough, it did not last.
10th grade comes around and I finally get my first boyfriend. I had never really caught the attention of boys before or if I did, nobody wanted to act upon it. Until one did. I'll leave his name out, because privacy and also, because it lasted very shortly. When that relationship ended, I started dating my longest boyfriend, we'll call him X. If you've known me for a while, you'll know who he is, given that we were together for a whopping 6 years, impressive for a high school relationship.
Now, X had a reputation for being a bad boy and having an attitude, which usually did not sit well with people, including Johnel. He was concerned X would hurt me and he loved me so much (as a friend still), he didn't want me to go through that. But I was in love, so I told him off and pushed him away. Thus, our friendship came to an abrupt stop. We didn't speak in a friendly manner for the rest of high school and most of college.
I started college, still with X, and met all my new friends, including some friends from the LGBTQ+ community, something I hadn't been exposed to in my Catholic schooling. I definitely knew they existed, but of course in the context of "they're going to burn in hell," so I was relieved to finally meet some actual people from the community.
What is the point of this, you might think? Well, it's where I began to find myself. I started noticing that I was attracted to some of my female friends and might even be in love with one of them. But of course, I was loyal to my boyfriend! I would never do anything to him, no matter what he did to me.
A little side-note that doesn't really pertain to the love story itself, but is important to note: my class went on their Senior Trip to Cancun, but my friends were not that kind of people, so we made a group and went to Disney. That trip was amazing and that group has a mini reunion whenever we can, usually around December (my birthday).
Fast forward again to 2015, where I turned 20. I invited the Disney trip friends to my birthday, to do another mini-reunion. In that group was Johnel, who finally accepted my invitation to my birthday (I had invited him to others, but we still weren't on friendly terms). We talked here and there throughout the night, but I was focused more on my birthday and the fact that I had been accepted to the Disney College Program and I was going to leave for 4 months!
After that night, Johnel and I started talking again and all the memories from our friendship came whooshing back, as if we had never stopped talking. We talked almost every night about everything we could think of. I would ask him daily about how he was and if his answer was anything other than "good", I would do anything to cheer him up. Likewise, if I was feeling homesick or sad, I'd turn to him and he would cheer me up. Just like we did in middle school: we were each other's rock.
Now this is about to get a bit serious, so trigger warning for abusive and manipulative relationships. If you've ever been in that kind of relationship, you know how hard it is to get out of it or even consider searching for something else. However, I was at Disney. I was a 2 hour plane ride away. X visited me at Disney and it was fun when it wasn't chaotic. I still loved him, I won't lie. We rarely ever break up while not being in love with them. But in this kind of situation, you have to love yourself more than you love them. And that relationship was not good anymore. (Some would argue it was never good, but I disagree).
I finally got the courage and strength to let X know I didn't want to continue, that I needed to grow away from him and find myself. With the help of my friends and my new friends, I decided to let go. But I'm not one to break up with someone through text message or call, especially a country away, so we decided to just take a break until I got back. I had about a month to go on my program. And what a month that was.
During that month, who else should visit me but Johnel? From the moment we saw each other in the park, we didn't want to let the other go. I didn't want him to go back home and he wanted to stay with me. We had found comfort in each other's friendship.
I bet you're expecting me to tell you that we lived "happily ever after," right? But what kind of story would it be if it was that easy?
Something else happened in that month: I fell for a girl and actually admitted it myself for the first time. Johnel, being the supportive friend he was (even though he has admitted he already had feelings for me and I had never stopped having feelings for him), told me to go for it and, although it took a while, I eventually did. Of course, that was after returning home and breaking it off with X, because I still refused to do anything, even if we were already on a break.
It didn't last long with the girl, whose name I will also save up in my head for respect to her, since she's still my friend. But it wasn't long until I finally decided to be upfront about my feelings. Finally, one day, the allusive question appeared on my phone: "do you like anybody?" And since I'm not in middle school anymore, I evaded the question, but he saw right through me. He said: "I like you too."
And that, kids, is how I met you-- no wait. But that is how it all started. We went on a date and we fit right in. I'll save him the shame of our first date, but it ended up being magical (I know, cliché) and only a week later, we were boyfriend and girlfriend.
We were long distance for a long while and we have had our fights, because relationships aren't always peaches and creme, but here we are 4 years later, living together and starting our life. With our baby boy, Arlo:
As a conclusion, I want to answer a question: why did you talk about past relationships in your love story? Simple: every relationship, even failed ones and short ones and disastrous ones, happen to teach you different lessons. I firmly believe my relationships and my adventures led me back to Johnel. I know it's corny, but like I tell him all the time: I chose you in middle school. You just took a while to choose me back. And that's ok.
I know this was very long, but our story has been very long. 13 years long to be exact. And despite loving him for such a long time and not being able to be with him, I wouldn't change it at all. We are the people we're supposed to be at the time we were supposed to be together.
Thank you for being part of my story. I hope you enjoyed and that always love yourself first.
Good night, everybody! Love you!
PS: this picture was during my hospital stay. That's a whole other story that I'd be down to share if you guys want!