I remember the first time I ever fell in love. I was nineteen years old, and up until that point, I had been dating for company and convenience. Every relationship that I had was casual and meaningless and served to do nothing but evoke a sense of longing in me; a longing for more depth, for more passion, just for MORE. I would lie awake at night thinking: Is this it? Is this the summation of my love life? Or rather the absence of one. The absence of the passion which was all-encompassing in my life seemed to captivate my waking and sleeping mind. I should probably mention that I was also deeply closeted at the time. I kept flitting from guy to guy like bees flit between flowers searching for the best pollen. Until I met my first girlfriend, I had been picking up the wrong kind of pollen, I suppose. I would tell myself, "I'll date a girl after I break up with this guy!" However, the fear of what coming out could do to me, a child of a religious, conservative family, proved to be more of an incentive than love.
After a close brush with death, I came to realize that the façade I had put up for my entire life had to stop. My own journey for self fulfillment began the day I sat in the emergency room hooked up to IVs with my mother looking at me in disgrace saying, "This isn't supposed to happen to us. This is supposed to happen to other people. How could you do this?" I told myself that day that I would live my life for myself and no one else. That the era of my life in which I subverted my own desires and feelings was over. I had to do things to make myself happy and to stop trying to please my family or anyone else who despised or defamed people like me. Though I wasn't out to my family at the time, I decided to start coming out at college and to pursue relationships with women as I had dreamed of doing since I was fourteen.
Then it happened. It all began with her. I remember the first time I saw her. Not a passing glance or a meaningless conversation, but when I really SAW her. I remember how her jet-black hair curled over her ears and how anxiously she was hurrying to make the bus back to her apartment complex. I was sitting on the concrete outer ring of the poorly-maintained fountain on campus when I saw her rushing by. I still remember what she was wearing because it became one of my favorite outfits of hers; a white sweater with a black, floral printed skirt. She had some flats on too with long white socks to match the sweater and to repel the biting cold. In an instant, I was captivated. I stopped mid-sentence as she walked by and couldn’t help but stare. She didn’t even know the ethereal nature of that moment for me. Oblivious, she walked gracefully by and left me speechless. Who was she? What was her name? I became obsessed with learning more about her, and, by some twist of fate, I saw her that night at a concert the music department was putting on. In that instant, I decided I wanted to date her. I wanted her to be my first. I wanted to give her all the things I never had, to give this girl who had taken my breath away my heart and my soul. Through many bouts of trial and error, through break ups, tears, and fights, I am still here with her today. My love, my heart, and my girl. Though my life has not always been the way I envisioned it to be, I have never once regretted my decision. I will never regret the way her lips feel as they softly brush mine or how her hands feel in my hair. I will never regret how captivating her eyes are or how much I love holding her in my arms. If I could proclaim my love for her from every rooftop across the world, I would, and I would tell each and every person like me who feels afraid to love the way they were made to, that their love is perfect. It's just a different kind of love.