From Psycho to Princess Playlist
I used to be a functional “psycho chick”. I could hide it well until I got close to someone and I felt like I might be abandoned. Once, I kept a boy who wanted to break up with me in my car all night long. Every time he tried to get out of the car I would hurt myself. After a long and painful night for both of us, I put my foot through the windshield. Told ya I was crazy… and that was only the beginning of the crazy girl stuff.
This weekend marks 11 years since I met my husband and this is the story of how I went from psycho to princess.
A funky girl with “issues”. When I met Brent I was a 21 year old junior in college studying english lit and theatre. I was lonely, insecure, and mentally ill but I was also creative, adventurous, and sincere. I had moved out to California from Indiana at 18 because I wanted to be an actress and was trying to finish college in 3.5 years so I could move to LA or NYC. I should add that although I was crazy, you might doubt it from the outside. I also believed in God (the Jesus-y God) and had since I was in 7th grade.
A quiet pensive guy who was also a bit lonely. He had been a drummer in a band and was lucky enough to have toured the country and parts of the world. When the band broke up he worked in the bookstore at my college, where he had graduated from 4 years earlier. Although the college was small I had never met him. A few months prior to our meeting he had gotten a job at a skate park where he was going to make skateboarding videos but ended up designing websites instead. He too believed in God.
We were neighbors, literally living right next door to each other but didn’t know it. Yet.
A week before we met.
I was in Scottsdale, AZ, visiting my grandparents. I had lived in Scottsdale the summer before maxing out credits at the community college and ASU because, like I said, I wanted to graduate early so I could move to the city. Every time I go to Scottsdale, I visit the church I went to that summer. On this visit, a boy who I was friends with asked me if I wanted to hang out that night. It was Valentine’s Day and I remember sitting in his living room, his perfect living room in his perfect middle class home, imagining what it would be like to be married to him. It freaked me out. Not a little. A lot. The thought made me feel like someone was locking me away in a dungeon filled with spitting cobras. I’ve never been the princess-looking-for-the-knight-type of girl. Too many issues I guess. Late that night after returning to my grandparents house I found myself kneeling on my bed, praying. This was my prayer, “God if you want me to get married You better make it crystal clear because there is no way I am going to lock myself in a dungeon on my own. Amen.”
The following weekend.
My girlfriend and I were having a party at my house. We had the best parties. We would line our long hallway with butcher paper and tack boxes of crayons to the walls so people could draw. We had muscians playing, belly dancing, poetry readings. It was great fun. That night, I was in the kitchen preparing for one of our parties. I was chopping away at the kitchen counter wearing red hair extensions that fell to my waist and homemade beaded false eyelashes when my friend, Ed, poked his head through my front door. With him was Brent. Brent. Brent. Time froze. Standing on my doorstep was the most beautiful human being I had ever seen. I loved him that moment. Maybe not deeply but I loved him and nobody will tell me otherwise. Ed introduced us and just struck by Cupid’s arrow I mumbled the most clever of clever questions “What do you do?”. His response, “I’m a filmmaker.” Gaining my composure, I responded, “Reeeally, well I’m an actress” holding out my hand flirtatiously to be kissed. True. We were ridiculous. That evening we had a magical time dancing and hanging out. I didn’t want the the night to end and I don’t think he did either. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, he walked back over to his house…next door. I stayed at mine.
The next evening.
Again he showed up on my doorstep. He was trying to be chivalrous. I opened my door wearing a black turtle neck and thick black glasses. “Jenn?” he said? Yes, it’s me. We sat on my couch and talked for hours. I had to ask what he thought about God. Although I was crazy and had 5,698,000,000 issues to work through, I knew one thing that a relationship without God wasn’t going to work for me. So I said, “What do you think about God?” His answer, “What else is there?” His simple answer rang deep within me in a place I can’t adequately describe.
A week later.
We were dancing slow and listening to music in his room. In my head, like a dream, I saw us dancing in front of what felt like the feet of God. Brent was kissing my head and drops of oil were forming. The drops of oil were stacking up on top of one another, a glistening tower reaching up to God. It may sound weird and I suppose it was but it was also beautiful. So beautiful that I hugged him tightly. In that moment, I heard these words, “You are holding your husband.” It wasn’t an audible loud-speaker-booming-bluelight-special voice but I could hear it as certain as I am alive. “You are holding your husband.” It had been two weeks since I was on my knees in Arizona.
The next two months.
No I didn’t tell him about the dream or the voice. I knew better. I started praying and fasting every Monday and asking for “a sign”. Over the next few months, the crazy girl began to come out. I found out there was a name for my mental condition, Borderline Personality Disorder. (That’s another post entirely.) I read a book on the disorder and while most people find labels restricting I found freedom. Finally, I knew there were others who felt like me and while statistically the prognosis looked bleak I was determined to not lose what I had found in Brent. How did Brent repond? He continued to love me.
Somethings I’ll never understand.
He loved me through every up and down and honestly during that period of our lives there were more downs than ups.
We had met at the tail end of February and it was now April. In a few weeks, I was to leave for a month’s study in Israel. After Israel, I was planning on spending 10 days in London by myself. I had been there a few years earlier and fell in love with the city. I teasingly said he should meet me in London. The next day he surprised me by saying he had bought a plane ticket. He also joked about getting married. That’s it. That was “my sign”.
I’m easy to please.
Israel was one of the most amazing places I have ever been. I wandered the stones paths of old Jerusalem and swam at dawn in the Sea of Galilee pondering my faith and future. Still the ancient marvels of Petra (in Jordan) and the weighlessness of the Dead Sea could not compare with my thoughts of Brent. I counted the days, the hours, the minutes, until I would be able to feel his embrace again. While in Israel, a friend and I discussed our thoughts of marriage. I had not told a soul about the dream or the voice the night we danced in his room. However I said, if I ever get married I want a single small solitaire to symbolize simplicity.
London (3 months after we met)
I had arrived in London a day before Brent was to arrive. One of the longest nights of my life was that night I spent alone in a bed and breakfast London (in King’s Cross nonetheless) waiting for the sun to rise. London was what you’d expect from two young adventurous people in love. We risked our lives by renting a car venturing out into the Cotswolds. We put waaaaay too many amazing meals on the credit card. We stayed up late dancing the night away.
We visited museums, famous sights, and cuddled on park benches. We also got engaged. One night he slipped away to call my parents to ask for permission. Late that night in a conversation he asked sweetly, “Will you marry me?” I simply said, “Yes.”
It is the best thing I’ve ever said.
We were excited and couldn’t sleep. Finally, in the early hours of the morning, we hopped on the tube and went down to the Thames river to walk and talk about the wedding we were now planning for December. The sun was barely up. Brent bought a muffin from a corner convenience store and we strolled happily along the Thames. Just as Brent was about to bite into his muffin bird poop fell from the sky landed on it. He looked at me and exclaimed in disgust, “A bird just shit on my muffin!” Laughing, he threw it into the Thames. I learned that day no matter how wonderful things are shit still happens. It just does. To everyone.
We can’t control the shit but we can choose our response.
Brent ended up buying me a ring in London. The first one we saw in an little unassuming jewelry store on a random street. It is a small simple solitaire that I love to this day and have no plans of ever replacing for something bigger. We said our first vows to each other alone in a small church in the Cotswolds. We ended up moving our “official” wedding from December to October. We had a small simple lovely wedding.
We used a Lego theme because from the first weeks of our meeting he always said, “We fit together like Legos”. “Like Legos” is inscribed inside our wedding bands.
I never made it to LA or NYC to live full time like I had dreamed since childhood. Thinking back on my mental state it was probably for the best and I married my soulmate. I wouldn’t trade him for all the world.
The bliss of marriage didn’t take away the cloud of mental illness in our life, in fact, in some ways it complicated it. It would take 5 years of therapy, tears, hard work, perseverance, prayer, and unconditional love until I could confidently call myself healthy. Even then depression would still creep back into my life from time to time. Once I combined all I had learned from therapy with healthy food, exercise, and faith that God loved me because I am me, I was able to step outside myself. I was able to begin to see my potential and the potential of others.
If you’ve made it this far thank you for taking the time to read the most important story of my life and my most vulnerable post to date. At this point, you may be wondering what the hell any of this has to do with a playlist. It does. When Brent and I met 11 years ago this weekend, music was one of the first things we found we had in common. Both of us had hundreds of cd’s many of the same ones: Radiohead, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bjork, New Order, The Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack, The Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zepplin, Nirvana, Portishead, Yo La Tango, Air, to name a few.
I love music. All sorts of music from the more obscure to Britney Spears to Kiss. (I’m sorry my love.) I have playlists for certain moods or events. In honor of meeting my soulmate, who has loved me for 11 years on my journey from psycho to princess (He makes me feel like one), I made a playlist based on our common cd collection.
Enjoy and thanks for reading. Have a wonderful weekend.
Hugs and High Fives,
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