This is an autobiographical post. The names of people and places may be changed.
We decided to write autobiographical posts about the colorful life we have lived. There will be tales of sleeping in a campervan on the beach, of defending a bird’s nest from a snake, and of running away from wolves while sick with bronchitis. There will be tales of diagnosis with PTSD and ADHD and how it changed our lives, of meeting biological family, and of job loss. It’s a tale of overcoming challenges, of finding out who we are, of love, hope, cats, and of a marriage that’s gotten stronger through it all.
Autobiography Post 2
The Prom Introduction
It was time for senior prom. I was going with a young man from my math class named Cameron. There is not enough room here to talk about the impact he had on both of our lives, so the next post will be dedicated to his memory.
When it got closer to prom time, Cameron told me his friend that had graduated a year before would be returning for prom, going with a family friend.
“I can’t wait for you to meet him,” Cameron told me. “He’s been my best friend forever. You’ll like him.”
Prom was a chaos of music, dancing, and flashing lights. It took place in an aquarium, making for interesting scenery. I remember being on the center of the dance floor when a young man came up. He was wearing all white. Our introductions were brief, caught up in the adrenaline of the moment and chatting with our friends. I do remember one thing in particular.
“You did actually wear all white!” Cameron exclaimed.
“Yes, I did!” Dorian returned with equal enthusiasm.
Oh boy, this guy is really extroverted, I thought with a sigh from my introverted self.
The Renaissance Festival
It was only a month after prom that school was out. And for me, it was officially done. I had graduated, and in August I would be going to college. May was an exciting time, for it was when the annual Renaissance Festival came to the city for a month. As a lover of all things fantasy, I always spent way too much money there.
Cameron texted me with an invitation to go together. “You could also bring your best friend, Katy,” he had said. “And I’ll bring Dorian. You remember him? The guy you met at prom.”
I didn’t realize it then, but Cameron was crushing on Katy and wanted to date her. If I had known, I would have set them up! Cameron and I were only friends at the time, though we did date a couple years later.
It was nearly an hour drive to the Renaissance Festival, the four of us chatting in the car. I thought I was the strange one in my adoptive family, as the rest of them didn’t share the same enthusiasm I did for the festival. It was 12 years later, when I met my biological family, that I learned my grandparents regularly attended these types of festivals and often volunteered as the king and queen, making their own outfits. I knew I got it from somewhere!
As we browsed the festival, bought items, and had fun, we went to one minigame in particular. The type where you had to hit a hammer on a pedal and try to make a weight go up as high as it could. Cameron and Katy went first, both impressive in their strength. Especially Katy who is an eternal string bean.
It was my turn. I had done martial arts, so I felt somewhat confident in my strength. I swung the hammer down . . . and missed entirely.
I was embarrassed.
Dorian stepped up. He lined up, lifted the hammer, and brought it quickly down. And missed entirely.
I should have known then we’d get married.
A couple of years passed, and I hadn’t seen Dorian since. Cameron and I had dated and lost touch. Katy had gotten engaged with someone later discovered to be abusive, but at the time she simply stopped talking to me. I was doing well in college, pursuing psychology. I was a senior and would soon be graduating. I wanted to get a full-time job so I could get my first apartment. The problem was, my adoptive parents kept having excuses for why I wasn’t allowed to work.
“You need to babysit your sister.” “You need to drive me to and from work.” “Why would you want to work when you could be home with me?”
I was getting restless. I wanted my own life. I was able to land an interview with a marketing agency that was looking for a good writer for an entry-level assistant position. It was a cold winter day when my adoptive father, Dee, drove me to the interview. It went well, and the next day I got a job offer. But the night before my first day of work, Dee came to me in my room.
“I don’t want you to work,” he said in his usual cold, emotionless tone. “You’re not going tomorrow.”
It was hard to keep my emotions in control when I had to call my would-be employer and tell them I couldn’t start. I barricaded myself in my room the next day (it had no lock), spending my time crying on the bed. The family ignored me, going about their day and going out to eat together.
I was young and needed an outlet. So of course, I turned to Facebook. That was very much in style back then. I posted “I’ve never been this sad before.”
I got a message in my inbox from Dorian. “I know we don’t really know each other, but I know what it’s like to be sad. I’m ready to talk if you need anything.”
We messaged for a bit, and then exchanged numbers and started to text. I told him of my pain. He told me of his. A woman he was supposed to get married to had cheated on him, and he was depressed after breaking things off months ago.
As the days passed our conversation turned from our pain to our interests. Our likes. Our hobbies. Our goals.
We decided we needed to hang out in person.
The First Hang Out
One Saturday we met for lunch at Taco Bell. This was merely the start of a problematic Taco Bell addiction we won’t get into now. We chatted and planned on heading to the local arcade since we both enjoyed video games. Our hometown was small, and most of the games didn’t even work. I gave Dorian some good-natured teasing about his velvet purple coin purse he brought game money in. I actually admired it, though. I was so used to feeling embarrassed about anything and everything. Everything about me always seemed wrong. But here he was, carrying around a princely coin purse that was bigger than his hand, unconcerned.
Normally after spending a few hours with someone, even a boyfriend, I’m ready to recharge in my room alone. But after we were done at the arcade, I found myself wanting to still hang out. We discussed, and decided to head into Tulsa and browse the stores, too broke to actually shop.
He drove me in his car. It was a flashy Camaro, which would have impressed me except back then I didn’t know the species of cars.
We spent hours more simply walking through stores and talking about our goals, our dreams, and our memories.
The First Date
We started dating only a month after we first talked on Facebook. He picked me up to go to dinner at Applebee’s, which was considered quite fancy in our small town. There was an air of nervousness to both of us. We’d dressed up. We talked.
This was in March of 2013.
And it began the best years of our lives.