I think the most fitting way to start this blog is by starting at the beginning. How I would even get to "Becoming Britton." It's crazy to think that all of the choices I've made in my life have led me to this moment. I have dedicated my life to so many other people and let myself waste away on the sidelines. It is only when I reclaimed myself and found value in myself that I was able to find someone who would also truly see the value in me.
It wasn't always this way. I guess it's important to know that I spent so much of my childhood being praised. An only child, I was the star. My grandparents doted on me and looked after me and I was spoiled but also punished the old fashioned way (picking a switch or getting the belt). I excelled in school and even taught other children how to read and read to the grades below me during their reading hours. I was even selected to write a speech about totem poles which was recorded for the local news station and played on the 6pm broadcast. Living in a small town, I was a big fish in a small pond. But, when my grandfather died, everything changed.
We weren't rich but we were doing okay but without his income, we began to drown in debt. My uncle swooped in and rescued us. From the panhandle of Florida, we moved down to the Tampa Bay Area. It was the first time I had been anywhere further than an hour from my house. At 10 years old, I had to completely start over. I still excelled in school but I was having a harder time making friends. We didn't have money like the other families did and I vowed that I would do better for myself. Never being good at math, I focused on doing well in everything else.
When I graduated high school, I had above a 4.0 GPA and graduated with honors with plans to go to Kent State University. My flight was booked and I had things for my dorm. I was selling my car. I started making friends online that were in my dorm. About a week before I was schedule to fly to Ohio, I received a phone call that I was a thousand dollars short. There was no way for me to get that so I stayed home.
For 6 months. I was drunk for about 6 months straight. I barely had any money and didn't have a job. I floated around until I eventually settled and went to the community college 15 minutes from my house. I felt like a failure. I saw posts on Facebook of my friends that went off to college and were living in their dorms and making friends. The friends I made online to buffer the awkwardness of being a new kid at a new school all forgot about me or refused to talk to me after they realized that we would probably never meet in real life.
As I walked around the community college campus, I would constantly bump into other "failures" like me and it was like poking a bruise. It hurt each time I saw them. I kept my head down and refused to make new friends, even though I was physically in class. When I met my ex, my self-esteem was low. I hated myself. I wanted to be different. So, I spent close to 6 and half years of my life with someone when it was pretty obvious that we had both settled for each other. Something that I thought would make me feel better made me feel worse. And worse. And worse. Eventually, I realized that our relationship wasn't healthy and that it wasn't normal to think about killing yourself at least once a week.
After my ex and I went our separate ways, I dove head first into therapy. I called the referral line for my job and cried on the phone with a stranger about my destructive thoughts and she got me set up with an appointment with an amazing therapist. She was probably one of the kindest people I have ever spoken to and proof that a 5 minute interaction can mean just as much as a relationship that has spanned over several years. You know, it really felt nice to talk to someone. Someone who was objective and had no side to choose. Or, if they HAD to choose a side, it would be me that they would choose.
As my mental health improved, my physical health improved and I was able to realize who I really am. I got back parts of my personality that I had completely lost. I started dressing the way that I wanted to and was so much more confident in myself. I realized that more and more my "at rest" face was more of a smile than a grimace. I felt like I was ready to meet someone. When I was ready to take dating seriously, I realized that the dating scene had changed and it was much more of a game than anything. Being the extremely anxious person that I am, there was no way I could meet someone in person so I went online (something that is way less taboo now than it was when I was doing it 7-8 years before).
The messages that I received were so ridiculous and it left me discouraged. Until the day that I was browsing and I clicked on the profile of this guy standing on stage and holding a guitar. We had the same taste in music, food, and movies and both were creative people. He also attached a link to his sound cloud to share his music and I felt compelled to talk to him.
That first night, we sent each other so many messages that we fell asleep with our phones in our hands. The next day, we spoke from about 4pm until 1am. During our long talk, we came up with a plan to have lunch because neither one of us wanted to wait to meet each other and I had a birthday dinner for a friend later that night. As I pulled up to park at the restaurant, I saw him walking up to the front door and felt a surge of anxiety. I wasn't nervous until that moment. Our date lasted from about 1pm to 5pm and there was never a lull in the conversation. We spoke about everything that came to mind and even made plans for the next couple of months to come. That Sunday he asked me to be his girlfriend and every single weekend we have been together, with the exception of one here or there.
As each day flew by, we grew closer and realized that we wanted to be with each other every day. We moved in together and and continued to enjoy each other's company. Friends and family saw a difference in us immediately. Since we were together, we were both happier and more communicative and just excited about life. And our excitement continued to grow for each other until we decided that we wanted to get married. There wasn't a proposal or anything like that right away. We knew the time we wanted to do it but the proposal could come at a later time. We found an amazing venue and a date range we were comfortable with and stuck to it.
Here's where the proposal comes in- As you can tell by how many times I used the word "anxiety" in my post, I am an anxious person. Public things make me nervous, big crowds make me nervous. So, after we had a pretty serious discussion, he let me know that he had planned to propose where we had our first date. I was in a panic. I screeched (which those who know me know I'm prone to do), "Why would you do that to me? I would have started crying." And he said, "You're right. That's not you. That's not us. I'm not doing that." He asked me to show him rings I liked (crystal ones because I'm not about the whole blood diamond thing) and started trying to hold up my hand to his which led me to say, "I'm a size 7. Stop being weird."
So, he ordered my ring and opened the package while I was playing on my phone, sprawled out on the couch. I heard him say "I didn't mean to do that" but I didn't question it and stayed glued to my phone. Then I heard him say, "Okay, let's just do this" as he got down on one knee. "Wait! I'm not prepared!," I said as I glanced at my bare nails. "Well, get prepared. This is happening," he said. He asked me to marry him and popped open the box with the glittering ring inside. After I said yes I asked him if he was going to put it on and he said, "Okay, I'll try" and started to slide it on his finger which caused me to give him extreme side-eye. He reached his hand up to give me a high five and as our hands collided, it felt like I finally made it. I finally found someone who values me, someone that I can trust that also trusts me back. Someone that I'm excited to be married to. So, I'm Becoming (a) Britton. Mrs. Britton.