…”We were us…”

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The closer it gets, the more my stomach curls up in knots, my chest tightens, I can feel my hands start quivering and I lose my breath, The slow build up to the boom my chest feels every time April 4th comes around. For many it’s just any other day, but for the group I’ve come to know as family (C&D), for the parents, siblings, classmates, co-workers, friends, and family it’s a day the world turns a bit slower. Two people were lost far too soon on this day that now marks it’s 5 year anniversary and everytime March rounding April hits, I anticipate and dread it.

I love seeing people write on social media, commemorating, sharing stories, memories, pictures,posts, and messages of love and adoration in remembrance of Garvin Campbell and Anthony Thomas. I love knowing no matter how near or far in miles, many of us are linked together now through you both. We can all come together and let your wonderful spirits and memories live on together. I love knowing that for the rest of our lives we will never be tired of singing your praises and sharing your stories with others, refusing to let the world forget you despite your physical absence. I can’t help but smile and shed a tear at the same time because in remembering so many stories and seeing so many pictures, there’s a sadness knowing there’s no new ones to make, no new pictures I can share, time inevitably has stopped for us all through the relationships we shared with you both in those moments. That’s hard for me to say, even harder to write.

My relationship with them both was so different. Me and Ant (antonius to me) liked to joke around so much and he often beat me in our war of words and wits, with his charm like only Ant could, but he was always a good friend to me,god he and Grant were like a bridge for me and Garvin. Most people know my relationship with Garvin was especially poignant for me because we dated and he represented so many transitional points in my life at that time and even to this day. I actually laughed telling someone that story here in Chicago, how he came into life and forever left a mark that was stamped not by his death, but the life we shared together in and out of our relationship. Many people actually don’t know the story so I decided to share it because amongst the many things I have and will write about, Garvin is a very almost untouchable story for me, but here goes ( and it’s a condensed version).

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We met in this very unconventional moment of my life, I was still reeling from the break-up of my High School Sweetheart and was in this weird area in the last months of my senior year where I was just lost. I no longer fit in a world I spent almost 4 years integrating myself to with people who to this day share a large chunk of my High School history. Prom, Homecoming, Social Events, Parties, Make-ups, Break-ups, (you name it) literally had been spent with a select number of people and my high school sweetheart. Priceless moments that really summed up my High School experience.

A lingering force of a man who had always tried to get me to hang out with him outside of school welcomed little lost me into his world and I happened to stumble upon Garvin listening to music on a back porch in the back yard. He was struggling with his English class and employed me to tutor him after school at his house he shared with his best friend Grant, and I took the challenge. Eventually study sessions turned into romance, and before I knew it I was in a brand new world filled with new people, ideals, perceptions, and just life choices I’d never encountered before.

Garvin and this group literally broke every convention I ever had in high school, and the transition made on my half was a physical and emotional one as I stumbled my way through the last moments of senior year. They (garvin & the boys) never judged me though, not for a minute. Not when I was complaining, whining, or hopelessly still lost amongst these Band of Brothers who listened to me, cared for me, and were always there with arms open wide welcoming me into their circle, their family. I wasn’t a peach to deal with either, I was very naive to many things going on around me, and navigating this new ocean of people was not an easy task for me at all. Being with Garvin was never easy for me, we were never easy. From start to finish, we terrorized the group with our fights, antics, and bantering that I know had everyone wishing for a cease fire. Coming out of a long-term relationship and being with someone who was the polar opposite of the guy I had loved was hard on me, it was hard to accept and deal when Garvin fought back against normalcies I was used to with another person.

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But what people didn’t see (except for a limited few) was our quiet moments. Mornings spent lying in his room listening to his music until the excitement of the day forced us out, continuous laughter between us both being so goofy, doing a slow dance in the park on our first date, sharing snow cones, late nights on the couch in the living room sleeping until it was my curfew. The long phone conversations until 2am when he was away in New York, the excitement of road trips to the lake and him carrying me through the water in his arms, the way we collided and separated in this puzzle piece fashion. I never glamorize us together because even if I could the boys always give me a memory to counteract it because as much as they hated our fighting, they thought it was funny as well.

I always wish I would have told him Thank You, I don’t think I ever did back then. Cause he saved me in so many different ways. People who knew what my break-up did to me knew that being out of that world, out of that element of people I had called my friends left me in a darker place. And I can tell you especially in high school nothing is worse than feeling alone or out of place, and he embraced everything that was going on. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to take on, but he did, and he brought so much light to me in my dark place. He showed me music, and being a free-spirit, embracing your creativity, and being unapologetic and fearless for your choices and owning them, and even though I understood none of it then, I did as we got older. I think in retrospect Garvin probably saw the me I was going to be and tried to let her out then, and that me wasn’t ready for that new Desiree

And when I went away for college we kept something between a friendship and romance alive making some type of line between the two that only we could do and dance over until April 4, 2010 when he was gone. I write this now because I know I won’t be able to again, or in a few weeks when 5 years hits and the day stops for me as it always does.Getting to share those memories with each other and the new people in our lives is nice and comforting almost. For everything I see and touch here in Chicago being such an artistically creative city, I almost sense his presence. Sometimes when I’m really really lucky he’ll visit me in a dream, or I think I see him passing by me on the street, or I’ll hear his music as if he’s next to me cranking out his playlist. We were so many things, none of which I could sum up no matter how many words I write, He could never be summed up, but We Were Us.

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….”The Road to Hell is Paved with Good intentions”

So coming off a world wind week/weekend I found myself thinking of intentions, my intentions, other people’s intentions. The whole concept has always been something I feel has been my own personal shadow for the better part of my life or more specifically my love life. None of which I have had to speak about or dwell on during my time here in Chicago outside of giving a few personal highlights amongst the girls’s nights out with some of my classmates cause I’m sure just like everyone else you have the um more “memorable,” people that have romanced (or lack their of) your life just like me. Whether good memorable, funny, bad, lesson learning, or just hiccup that registered in your life we all have em.

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Growing up watching tv shows and after school specials you often had the classic case of the Dad lecturing the teenage boy on “What are your intentions with my daughter?” which always followed some cute anecdote or nervous response from the guy.It’s funny cause you have the parental figure asking a teenager this when in reality as an adult once you’re in a relationship or the dating pool it’s a question you have to ask yourself and of your partner. (And not necessarily verbatim)

What are your intentions? For some it’s a really finite,concrete answer for others it’s a nuanced idea or concept that they don’t really worry about until they have to or when forced upon them like a fork in the road. We live in a day and age where whatever you want is on a platter, app, website, their is literally everything to meet your needs whether it be physical (Grinder) or more intense and “relationship,” oriented. You almost find yourself wondering how the “single,” people in the world could ever be void of a significant other with unlimited access at their fingertips to meeting someone just for them, On dating apps you can literally find your “ideal mate,” with a series of questionares, or looking on a specific dating site geared for your interest like christianmingle.com and I just saw an ad today for a dating site for farmers (yes job/career/lifestyle specific like farming).

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We live in an era where “dating,” which has it’s own definition depending on the person you are but for me it’s going out (movies, dinner, park, coffee, cooking, brunch etc.) spending quality time with the guy I’m interested in as we maneuver and do the dance in hope of figuring out if we want to be in a relationship, take that “bigger step,” that many people are having a harder and harder time committing to these days because it’s a really big deal to be in a relationship. To call someone your “gf/bf,” is like winning the lottery if you can find someone who is willing to do that and honor whatever that means for you both. Relationships as I’ve grown older are a harder thing to come by because well I’m in my 20’s… and whether it was being with guys in undergrad who “just wanted to have fun,”  or post-college world where meeting people just naturally isn’t as convenient. (I’ve always said I would love the classic we catch each other’s eye in a coffee shop or grab the same book at Barne’s and Noble) I’m a giant movie cliche, I know.

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It’s funny because I was always taught for the longest you meet the guy you want to marry in college, if there was the most opportune moment to meet someone, this is it.And well, without drudging up that old closet lol Those of you got to witness that know (with a chuckle as you’re reading this I’m sure), that my college boyfriend (which is a strong term to give him) was not the man I was going to marry, not even close. Then I took time off to recuperate, evaluate and put the romance on the shelf because I was trying to manage working full time and figuring out how to be an adult when I was immersed in a college lifestyle with college friends and guys surrounding me. Lord knows as fun as that era of life was, I still felt like I had lived a 5th year of undergrad without paying UTSA tuition, and meeting “real world men,” was not going to happen in that environment. 

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Then I decided to do what I deprived myself of in college and date, like actually date where it wasn’t being set-up and I wasn’t given the rap sheet of someone, who they had been with, their past, and what not through the Greek community. (Cause dating in Greek life just really isn’t that practical, with the exception of the 1% who make it work, but that’s not without it’s own problems*FACT). And boy has it been an adventure. From figuring out where you want to go, who is going to pay (and yes I believe men should on the first date at least), waiting for follow up, playing the waiting game. My last year in San Antonio was a big adventure with that and someone I was seeing who ended up being the last person I would have found myself being romantic with. And it ended with fireworks, and more “Did this really happen?” reflecting than anything. No words can even sum up the total of that last experience. But then I got to make the big leap to Chicago and for awhile dating wasn’t on my brain, not even registering with grad school and what not, until it did.

So then I was forced to ask myself what are MY intentions? What do I want? What am I looking for? or the ONE question I get asked that I dread even now: What is your type? Cause I don’t know. I like what I like (not quoting the cheesy song) this is the honest truth. I know what I didn’t like, what personal compromises I wasn’t willing to make again, and what wasn’t working before. I had to learn to stay cemented in beliefs and ideals I have when involving myself romantically with someone cause I’d been on a not so wonderful track of dating guys I bent more for than they ever would for me. I know when I have a connection with someone regardless of what they look like, career,education and all those other nice factors that I like to think don’t matter,then later I find out they do.

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It matters when maybe you work and the guy doesn’t and his male ego can’t handle you paying for stuff (or vice versa.) It matters when you love to travel and want to explore the world or take a trip and this person doesn’t have any interest in being outside their comfort zone. It matters when their family oriented and you’re not, so instead of weekends spent doing couple things maybe you’re doing things with their family. I could just go on and on and on, but you get the picture. But to bring this to my original point intentions can/cannot be a good thing because I understand maybe your intent wasn’t to fall for someone whose been in your life forever and then you do. Or that you are free-spirited person and don’t want an agenda or a plan and just want to “see where it goes.” I do believe when you’re with someone and dating intentions are something that should be at the back of your brain cause eventually sometimes or maybe not they will come to the forefront. Those of us who have been at the fork whether we put it there or you’re the person having to make the decision know what I’m talking about.

Some people can just date someone forever and never commit to that person fully,even if they are exclusively dating them (been there, done that, I hated it). Others can meet someone and instantly know “I want to be with this person”, no questions asked. Coming off of some recent dating experiences it’s just been floating around my head the more I find myself embracing the “dating,” aspect of things and trying not to worry about intentions, but it’s not in my nature because I’m a relationship person, always have been, always will be. I can’t do the seeing multiple seeing people thing or “dating,” for an extended period of time and not progressing forward, it’s just a waste of time in my opinion. It works for people who make it work and kudos to them.

But it’s funny cause while a relationship would be nice, it’s not something I’m seeking out per say in this era of life, it’s not vital for me to have one and I’m not dying without one. I like being single and exploring my options, but if I’m dating someone who I have feelings for I am trying to make myself aware of their intentions and my own before emotionally investing myself in a situation that could end up being messy. That’s one thing experience and age has taught me, to listen or ask for certain qualities like “intentions,” before setting myself up for a broken heart. A little older, wiser, and smarter as I’m navigating the coastal dating waters.

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Do you know your intentions when your with someone? Do you have any?

“Hooked on a dream that is reeling me in…”

Good Tuesday,

I hope it finds you well. My lord has it been a beautiful few days here in Chicago, spring is barely peaking over the horizon and everyone is all smiles and sunshine. I kid you not, bicycles are out, shorts are on, and I’m pretty sure I could probably find Bambi in the park somewhere. It’s glorious. I can never be tired of looking at Chicago from all angles, the architecture, the parks, it just a feast for the eyes and as magical as it was for the winter, it’s blooming for the spring.

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Speaking of it’s a new month! I’ve completed my first 30 days on my Shredz program, which I have found to be an excellent addition to my workouts, and can’t wait for Day 60, and Day 90 come May. I acquired a trainer on top of that who loves to kick my butt twice a week so that has been knocking me out at night, thankfully. I’m sore about 70% of the week, but for my 3rd trainer he’s the hardest I think I’ve had. I’ve had 2 guys and a girl over the past 2013-current. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down, but I at least know my trigger areas and what does/does not work for my body. But it’s exciting to be pushed physically because it helps relieve alot of stress I acquire in grad school lol Instead of throwing shots, I throw weights, so this is good.

This spring more than my time in Chicago I’ve had to realize the art of sacrifice and picking and choosing my battles. Now for the better part of my life I usually had to do this with people, but not with myself so to speak. Don’t ever let anyone tell you chasing your dreams does not come with a sacrifice because it does. For me it’s missing moments, memories, opportunities to be with my family and friends, which you’re probably thinking “no brainer Desiree,” figured that out when you decided to move. But yeah, not really.

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I was lucky enough to be home for my best friend’s birthday, have my best friend’s here for my 24th, and be home to at least celebrate my mom’s birthday, and I will be home for my sister’s birthday come May. Ugh, god she makes me feel old. Besides the point—–> I’ve been fortunate to have some nice mementos thrown my way, but the small moments don’t always make up for the really big things I miss, or at least there big to me. I had to make a tough decision and miss a very important moment in my little’s life because I have a class that got rescheduled last minute much to my dismay. That was hard, really hard, because that’s something I can’t make up and I wish I could. Lord knows Chicago has heard me crying about since I realized I wouldn’t be able to venture back home in April like I planned.

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People are traveling, going out, and while I’m racking up great friendships and memories here in Chicago doesn’t mean i miss being home for those moments with my friends any less. Being in Chicago isn’t a substitute for that, anywhere I go will never substitute what I have to miss, but in pursuing my life’s dream it’s a necessary sacrifice I have to make. Chicago has done so much for me in the short time I’ve been here though I know deep inside me big changes have been planted for bloom later, I can feel them, I’m sure my loved one’s back home can too, even if they haven’t brought them to light yet.

I always encourage people to do what they want to do, go travel, pursue your education, don’t be scared because we truly only have one life and can’t let anything anchor us down from what we were meant to be. I’m lucky and thankful to always have the constant support of my loved ones and it means the world to me that outside of “I miss you,” they don’t make it any harder on me than we both know it is being separated. Maybe it’s just as hard to see what I’m doing and not being apart of it as it is for me experiencing all these new things and wanting everyone with me and they can’t be.

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Luckily as evil as it can social media does allow us a window into each other’s lives that people in the past didn’t have, and I know for a fact it gives my mom some solace at night seeing what I’m up to on my snap chat. Even if I over post or share I want people to know I’m safe, okay, and happy (on most days if i’m not tired or a monster from no coffee.) I just wanted to write to people with this post and say I’m thinking of you always, my family, sorority sisters, best friends, I’m always thinking of you and talking about you and telling people stories here in Chicago. If some of you come down i’m pretty sure many of my friends will already know wayyyy too much about you.

My mom always reminds me the sacrifice will be worth it when I have my degree in hand and am crossing a whole other path to my next big adventure (I pray it’s got an Eiffel tower attached to it lol) But it’s never to late to be what you want to be guys, you want it? Go work for it. I don’t think anyone is unable to have what they want out of their life, geez it took me two years to get here after graduation in 2012 cause let me tell you the world is not waiting with open arms for you once you cross that stage. Make your own stage to cross, don’t let anyone do it for you.

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