Details: Photos by Lindsay Connors Photography
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”- Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
With Valentine’s Day upon us, I decided to share with you some insight into the one who holds my heart. I’m not going to bore you with how we met or what we think of each other. I just thought it would be fun to go a little deeper than my standard outfit posts and share with you some things I’ve learned about myself from my relationship. Those who know Josh and me, know that we’ve had our fair share of bumps in the road. We’ve been dating for 7 years, and while that seems like such a long time, you have to understand we started dating when we were 18 years old. There’s a lot that needs to happen in your life from the ages of 18 to 26. It’s a crucial time for self-discovery and a time where you haven’t fully accepted yourself or understand who you even are. During our seven year relationship, we spent some time apart. Necessary time apart. Two years time apart. And while we weren’t in a relationship, we couldn’t comprehend the thought of not hanging out, talking or just being involved in each other’s lives. I think that’s what made it so hard. We were friends before anything else and we could “turn off” being Facebook official ‘in a relationship’, but we couldn’t turn off caring for one another or wanting to be there for each other. I was vulnerable and broken when we met and I think I really just needed time to get to know myself better. It’s so easy to let yourself become consumed with the idea of being in a relationship, so much that you lose sight of who you are. I changed a lot while we were dating, and I remember my mom telling me before I left for college, (the first of many bouts of long distance Josh and I would see) “you’ll either grow together or you’ll grow apart.” She couldn’t have said it any better. We could’ve broken up; a clean break, goodbye, but we knew there was something worth sticking around for. Whether we were going to get back together or not, there was a friendship that was not to be lost. And we grew together, even if it hurt like a bitch, we didn’t want to miss out on each other’s accomplishments, study abroad experiences or drunken college night stories.
I love the person that Josh has become. There are qualities in him that I admire and I look up to him in a lot of ways. We’re really quite different; he’s soft-spoken, I’m outspoken, he acts logically, I act on emotion, he uses the left side of his brain for his job and I use the right. I could go on, but one of the many things we have in common is that we both want one another to succeed. He’s not just my boyfriend and best friend. He’s my career coach, my emotional punching bag, my (unwilling, but willing) photographer, my voice of reason and the one person that can tell me what I’m actually thinking or feeling when I just can’t quite put it into words. I think the quote above resonates so much for me because it’s just so true. A soul mate isn’t your ‘other half’, you’re a whole person; a soul mate is the one who shows you who you are and makes you realize your own potential so that you can work toward being the best person you can be. I’m sure we’ll see some more bumps, smaller bumps, but definitely some bumps, and I’m okay with that. We still have a lot of growing up to do and I’m ready to enjoy the ride.
(Although it appears that Josh took these photos willingly, it was a battle. Josh was not harmed in the making of this post and received brunch as compensation.)