Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chapter 6: Dating

In Chapter 1 of our story, I spoke briefly about my first year of college.  I wish that I could show you just how much that year and those people changed my life.  Even though I was a young freshman, they welcomed me with open arms and helped me to see that I mattered.

My one regret from that time is that I didn't let people get close to me.  I kept those amazing people at arms length and rarely if ever let them see me and my emotions.  It was especially hard to be open with men, though I loved hanging out with groups of guys.  But dating was hard because I didn't know how to and wouldn't let myself relax around one man.  During the end of spring semester, I started to see what I was doing and tried to take down those barriers that I had made.  Though I wasn't able to be as open as I had wanted to be by the time the semester ended, I was determined to be better the next year.

Jordan changed everything.  During our summer of working together, he poked and prodded until I told him about my senior year and the struggles in it.  And he didn't recoil or abandon me.  He became a safe person, a man that I could be open with.  I still had a lot of work to do with being open emotionally - believe me!  Through it all, he has been my greatest blessing and still continues to help me learn to be open emotionally.

Dating Jordan was probably one of the most joyful, playful times of my life.  All of the awkwardness that I felt before he told me about his attractions was gone.  I don't remember a lot of details like I do from when I met him.  I do remember laughing.  I remember going on walks together while it snowed.  I remember serious, quiet talks about the future where we took turns crying and comforting each other.  I remember the safety and peace that I felt when I was with him.

Jordan was the first person to kiss me.  It was a month after we started dating more frequently.  He asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend, to have our relationship be official.  I said yes (duh) and he leaned in and kissed me.  Twice.  I remember that numb, confused, blissful feeling as my roommates quizzed me and tried to get me to describe the experience in more detail.

I remember making the decision to move back home so that Jordan and I could spend more time together.  Even though I was still commuting to school, it was really hard to leave the amazing friendships that I had made with my neighbors.  I knew that I needed to do it if I wanted my relationship with Jordan to be a lasting one.

I remember the first time that he told me that he loved me.  He was playing with my hair when he said it.  I had never liked it when people played with my hair until then, but it was kind of nice when he did it.  I remember holding hands and cuddling all the time.  And kissing.  Kissing was fun.  Even though he wasn't physically attracted to me, kissing was fun for both of us.

I remember fighting for our relationship.  Many people didn't think that I should be dating him, and their doubts caused a lot of confusion for me.  One day after a lot of doubts had been dumped on me, I was praying to know what to do.  I prayed to know if I should break up with Jordan, and immediately  I heard a voice behind me say, "Please don't."  I turned around to see my sister coming down the stairs and thinking that it was she who had spoke, I asked her what she had said.  She hadn't said anything, but wanted to know what I had said.  I know that Heavenly Father answered my prayer by letting me hear someone, some spirit whisper in my ear.

I remember the first birthday present I ever gave to Jordan.  Instead of buying him a gift, I took him to the Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork.  We actually had a double date with my brother and his girlfriend and soon-to-be wife.  It was so much fun!  Like really, it was pretty fantastic.  I wasn't as big a fan of the faded, brown-gray that all the chalk turned into after a while, but the bright colors at the beginning were so much fun.

I didn't think of Jordan as gay.  Yes, I thought about the differences in our relationship due to his attractions, but I always thought of him as Jordan, my best friend.  He is a man who loves and lives the gospel of Jesus Christ as best he can.  He likes hiking and camping.  He dominates at slow, methodical card games.  The greatest love of his life would have to be food.   He hates bowling.  He loves Zelda - a lot.  He is so much more than just his sexual orientation alone.

After my senior year of high school, I started writing letters in a notebook that I planned to give to my future husband some day.  Mostly, it was a way for me to express my emotions when I felt alone.  Even before Jordan and I had started dating, I was addressing the letters to him.  I had felt so strongly that he and I would be together that it just made sense to write to him.

In mid to late March, I was praying to know if and how I could let Jordan know that I wanted to marry him.  In that process, I was guided to give this notebook to him.  I panicked a little bit because I had intended it as a gift for my husband after I was married.  So far, though, those promptings and feelings had brought Jordan and I together when I had acted on them.  So I trusted God and gave Jordan my notebook, hoping desperately that it wouldn't freak him out too badly.

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