“When I was a kid my mom didn’t have to drag me and my brother to church, we loved going. I still love going, and my faith remains the foundation for my life. For years I prayed to be different; to take the feelings away. I thought I was a disappointment. My parents never said that, no one expressed those words to me—it was just something I made up my mind about. I prayed relentlessly until about 22 years old. Even when I stopped praying and began the journey of acceptance, I compartmentalized my life. I learned to live multiple lives.
Fast forward a few years later to when I was 26 years old. I was at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and it was her first day of her summer internship. She walked in the office with homemade cupcakes and these stilettos on. I was standing there like, “Who is this girl?” Since I was in my first serious relationship at the time, I did not immediately think to pursue her in a romantic way. But I will say, there was definitely something there. Something about her. I just knew I wanted to be around her. We became friends almost immediately after that day. Soon thereafter, she was one of my best friends and we were each other’s biggest fans. We were just never single at the same time; we saw each other go through break-ups and even get ready for first dates— this cycle went on for 3 years.
I went to lunch with her mom one day. She has always been someone I have admired. I was sitting there at this lunch just trying to figure out what the next step in my career would be. I was 29 and I was ready to push myself into the next challenge. She gave me this pep talk and got me excited about all the possibilities. She was telling me, “Listen you just have to make your next step your best step.” At the time, her mom did not know that, aside from my career, I was also struggling with what to do about my friendship with her daughter. Rachel was my best friend and I didn’t want to lose that friendship. I had to decide if I was willing to put it all on the line and jeopardize losing everything.
I left that lunch pumped up. I called Rachel immediately when I got in the car. I told her, “I just had lunch with your mom, and it was amazing.” I then said to Rachel that I needed to make my next step my best step. She was so happy for me and could sense the excitement in my voice. She asked me what this all meant? Was I taking a new career path? She immediately assured me that she supported any decision I made. That’s when I said it. “We need to start dating.”
We dated for 2 years before we got engaged. We’ve been married now for about 18 months. There are not enough adjectives or superlatives to capture Rachel; she is brilliant, spontaneous, and exciting. She is the balance to my structure (I’m more of a Type A personality). She’s drop-dead gorgeous, my biggest fan, and I am lucky to call her my wife. I just wish I could go back and tell my 22-year-old self,
“Hang in there, everything is going to be amazing. Just you wait and see.”
Shared by: Marianne Curtis
Transcribed by: Julia Michael