This is an intimate story… a personal experience that just struck me as a profound example that everything truly does happen for a reason.
In 2003 I went to the local bridal gown shop with my mom in late February. I had been dating my high school sweetheart for almost 2 years and we were coming up on the time to begin searching for prom gowns. My mom and I went to a shop that was so crammed with bright colors and fluffy tulle skirts that you could barely move. I tried on dozens of dresses. It was a dreary winter afternoon and we had plenty of time to play around.
One of the dresses was a beautiful pink gown with a fluffy tulle skirt. It was embellished on the bodice with thousands of teeny tiny pink beads and several pink starry sequins. It was spectacular. I put the dress on and my moms face lit up. I lit up. This was it. I didn’t need to look any further… I had found this princess gown and it was to be mine.
At that time I was 16 and working part
time at Marshalls near my home… and my work there would pay for that gown and it’s high price tag. They ordered it at the store and eventually I would come in the spring time to get better fitted.
I went home and told my boyfriend about the purchase… I was so excited, so happy! I told him how beautiful the dress was and how I couldn’t wait for the prom to wear it in front of him. He was going to be floored.
Many things happened after that day that I never would have been able to forecast. Never. Probably one of my favorite sayings is along the lines of ‘if you want to make God laugh, make plans’.
My boyfriend and I grew apart. Things change, people change and our relationship eventually ended.
It wasn’t enough that at the ripe age of 17 I was trying to understand these deep heartfelt pains but I was left with a heavy bill to pay on a gown that just reminded me of the breakup.
That year was my junior prom and I am blessed with an amazing family. I did the un-thinkable and went to my prom with my cousin Ryan. He’s always had my back and he took me to my prom in a different dress… one that didn’t sting so much when I wore it.
We had a wonderful time with my friends and life moved on.
The following year, my senior year in High School, I had paid off my pretty pink gown. It sat in the closet of the spare room in my home and I tried not to think about it. Sometimes though I would go sneak a look at the bodice, covered in beautiful smiling pink beads and glittery stars. What was it that was so special about this dress?
I had a great senior year in High School… I was happy, I had amazing friends, I was single but I didn’t really mind. Until the spring came and for some reason I still had no date for my Senior Ball. It was a problem and I didn’t know what to do. I was reliving the year before, stuck with this gorgeous gown and no date. A few weeks before the ball my best friend who was in her first year of college introduced me to a friend of hers… a wonderful young guy who said he would happily take me to the event. He was interested in going as friends and he promised me that we would have a wonderful time.
We did just that.
We had so much fun. The ball was one of the happiest memories of my teenage years. I was surrounded by my best friends in the town I grew up loving. I was blissful. I wore my beautiful pink gown and I wore it well!
Right before sunset my friends and I took a walk out to the dock overlooking the Mohawk River. I walked out on the dock solo – in my pretty pink heels and began to twirl and dance in the sunlight. I didn’t know it, but my friends were busy snapping photos with their disposable cameras.
I was happy.
We live in a very modern age these days… and things weren’t always so simple.
I kept the photo of me dancing on the dock as one of my favorite photos of myself. I scanned it into my computer and kept it safe… glare and all.
In 2005 I was in my freshman year of college at a school in New Hampshire – Franklin Pierce University. The school was tiny, beautiful and overlooked the gorgeous mountains of southern NH. That year was very valuable for me and one of the things that was becoming more and more popular was online social networks, instant messaging (of course!) and MySpace.com – the place for friends.
MySpace was cool before Facebook.
My roommate at the the time convinced me to sign up for MySpace. So I did… and what I turned it into was basically what Match.com is now. It was a dating service to me. I would browse people around me, accept friend requests from guys I didn’t know but maybe wanted to know.
I was lost. Believe me. I was still single and trying to fill my romantic gap that became more and more obvious each day.
After several unsuccessful experiences with the parade of guys that showed up to me through MySpace… I consciously decided it was time to quit. I realized how I was feeling and how obvious my striking out was. I decided I didn’t need it in my life and if the “right guy” continued to not show up, it was okay.
Several weeks after ‘quitting’ MySpace I became very clear on several big life decisions. I realized that I wanted to go back to NY. I had gone to college as a Performance Music major but at the end of those 2 semesters I didn’t feel like that was progressing. I realized that what I wanted could be achieved at a smaller price and done closer to home. I didn’t regret my year at Franklin Pierce but I saw it coming to a close in the near future. I also realized that I didn’t have to search so hard for a partner… for the guy that would make me love myself more. So I decided to be happy as I was and I began really feeling it.
When I set up my MySpace profile, it was initially very important to have a good profile picture – surprise.
So what do you think I chose?
I chose the photo of me on a dock, overlooking the water, twirling in a beautiful pink gown. The gown with so much emotion attached to it. The gown that was meant for a night with my first love. The gown that I couldn’t look at for many months, or think about as I paid it off. I saw something sacred in that fluffy pink dress… a piece of me, of the princess that I am at times. I saw my beauty, my freedom… and I was happy to choose that picture.
It only made sense.
About 10 days before I left the beautiful southern NH campus, my college, my first major adult experience it happened.
I got a message from a guy on MySpace…. and after I quit.
He lived near home and wrote me … “your profile picture is really awesome.”
He saw it. He saw the happiness, the bliss, the joy in me dancing on that dock in the pink gown and that was what caught his attention.
Jeramie and I met on MySpace. We met online before we met in person in late April of 2005. He contacted me because he loved my picture. He thought I was beautiful and that I looked like fun. We talked for several days over AIM (aol instant messanger!) and then we met in person on my college campus. I remember what he was wearing, and I remember knowing that this was something monumental in my life.
We have been married for 7.5 years. We’ve been together for almost 13.
I was a young girl… and it was a dreary afternoon when my mom and I went to go dress shopping for a prom that was still months away.
I found the dress… the perfect pink gown that made my heart sing, covered in sparkling stars and beads, that made me feel like a princess.
Today it hit me. The dress started so much of what is now my amazing life. I am living the life I have because of something that happened almost 15 years ago… something that felt like just a silly impulse and when I step back – but I see the magic attached to it. I remember how I felt freely dancing on the dock, feeling my beauty and my freedom and it brought me the partner that I’ve shared so many years of my life with… the father of my daughters.
The Universe is beautiful. God is beautiful. There are themes and there are no (I repeat, NO!) coincidences in our lives. Everything has meaning. Every experience, is a link to who we are and will ultimately lead us to see the big picture.
The picture is beautiful.