Our Love Story (the Beginning)
At the start of it all, no one really “got” us. No one thought we could ever make it work, or make something out of it at all. It seemed that Jerry and I were the only ones who believed in us, and in the end, that’s all that really mattered. And it was always, always enough.
March of 2012 I was two months into my fitness journey. I had been faithfully logging into MyFitnessPal since January when I stumbled across “TheUnwritten” on a message board. Someone had posed this question: do you get hit on more now that you’ve lost weight? TheUnwritten replied with something along the lines of, “nope, too shy!” I replied back, “I haven’t lost enough weight yet, but I’m shy too.” And since that moment, our fates were tied to one another.
TheUnwritten saw my response and thought I was cute… or so he says. I sent him a friendly inbox message and a friend request. I happened to think he was cute, too. He’d recently lost 200 pounds but still had a hard time relating to people, especially women, though he was now fit and handsome. Making matters more difficult for him, he had grown up poor and with a stutter. He felt that he would never meet a woman and that the odds were stacked too heavily against him. Then he got the message from me. We had both received other messages on the site, nothing romantic, really, but neither of us had maintained those connections. He later told me he had liked my smile in my picture and intended to keep up the conversation at any cost. One of his first messages: “I’m Jerry, by the way.”
TheUnwritten had a name!
It started innocently enough. We were just two people on opposite sides of the country (he in California and me in New York) starting an online friendship based on our shared struggles with weight. We never thought much of anything would really come of it; we were, after all, 3,000 miles apart. But we kept the conversation going; our little online crushes were growing into a deeper connection.
After a couple weeks of nonstop messaging on MyFitnessPal, Jerry decided to make an attempt at being sly and try to solicit a Facebook friend request out of me. He was telling me about his adorable niece and nephew, and suggested I look at their pictures on Facebook. He gave me his full name so I could do just that. Not only did I look at his niece and nephew, I stalked the crap out of his Facebook page. But alas, Jerry’s ploy to get me to send him a friend request did not work; I told him how cute they were and we continued on our merry way on MyFitnessPal, messaging to our heart’s content. I thought that it was HIS duty to friend me, not the other way around. Bah. So petty.
A few days later, Jerry just came right out and ASKED if he could friend me on Facebook. I told him he could, but first I went through all of my photos on there, hiding the fattest and ugliest ones of myself. I made those photos private before I accepted his friend request, only letting him see the nicest pictures of me where my body wasn’t showing. He knew I was still overweight; I was only two months into this 118 pound weight loss journey, but I still worried he would no longer be interested if he saw all of me. I should have known better, but I didn’t at the time.
So, we progressed to Facebook friends. This was a step. We resumed our daily conversations via inbox (Jerry didn’t have a cell phone), and constant comments on all of each other’s achievements posted on MyFitnessPal. We made nervous confessions like middle school kids who were falling in love for the first time (“I like you,” “I think you’re cute”). After a couple more weeks of this, we progressed again: to videos, this time. Jerry made me a nervous video from the inside of his car. It was the first time I heard his voice. He tried so hard not to stutter as he told me he really liked me and wanted to keep this going. I sent him one back; it was all of 15 seconds and featured my dog, Dakota, as a buffer between him and my shyness. I acted like a goof, showing only my face and my (ridiculously adorable) dog.
The next obvious step was to Skype. Jerry was extremely hesitant due to his stutter but I finally convinced him. With him being phone-less, it was the only real way we could communicate better. We finally got to chat face to face when he worked up the nerve. He sipped a bottle of water the whole time while I tried to put him at ease. I also tried really hard to make sure none of my fattest parts were showing; I only wanted him to see my face.
So we Skyped our hearts out every single night. I had to wait for him to get home from school. I sat impatiently at the laptop during our designated meeting times and my heart fluttered every time I saw him log on. We talked late into the night and early into the morning (for me, at least. He was three hours behind me, time-wise), every single day. We learned everything we could about each other. We laughed, and we even cried when we talked about how crappy it was that we were so far apart. We even told each other that we were starting to fall for one another. When I told my family and friends about Jerry, they all assumed it would fizzle out. I heard countless times that if and when we met, it wouldn’t be the same and that our connection wouldn’t be there. They questioned how you could really know someone you only met online. They questioned even more how you could love someone under these circumstances. They feared I would be hurt. They thought I didn’t truly know him, even though we spoke face to face and poured our hearts out on a nightly basis. I’m glad that I listened to my heart above all else though. I love my family and friends and trust their judgement. I consult them quite often on big decisions… but for the first time, I made this decision alone, against everyone else’s opinion, and it was the best thing I ever did.
After a couple months of obsessively Skyping, we decided we really wanted to meet. There were obstacles, of course, one being that Jerry was unemployed and in school at the time, the other being that people thought we were crazy. Most of my family thought he would be some kind of axe murderer or something… but we finally took the plunge. I booked him tickets for a one week stay (best money I ever spent), and he arrived on June 15, 2012. All day long, I felt more anxious than I ever had in my entire life. I worked, but could hardly concentrate. I ate, but could barely stomach it. And when 9:00 FINALLY rolled around, my brother and sister in law drove me to the airport. I was dressed in a carefully picked out new outfit from Lane Bryant. I saw him first while he searched around for me. We finally locked eyes, grinned, and held onto each other for what seemed like forever. Our first kiss was a little off the mark, but we were both beyond nervous, and now it’s something for us to laugh about. The moment when our eyes first connected across the room will forever be etched into my mind as one of the greatest and most life changing moments of my life.
His week here in Rochester was memorable. It was a total culture shock for Jerry, a California boy, born and raised in a mostly Mexican neighborhood (he’s 100%) and very small town to boot. He couldn’t believe all the places there were to go, how many restaurants and stores we had, the size of our mall, or the green of our trees. We ate at all my favorite restaurants, spent a day at the zoo, went to the Imax theater, visited Niagara Falls, ate chicken wings at Duff’s, and just enjoyed finally being in one another’s company in the smaller moments too, like watching Jerry’s favorite movie (the original Evil Dead) together at home. When everyone met him, they loved him as much as I did. They told me they doubted me at first, but now they understood. They admitted I was right when they saw us together. He became a part of our family in a matter of days. We had some of the best days of our lives together in those first days. We really did. But we knew our time would be coming to an end soon enough. We basked in the happy moments of bliss, but our stomachs filled with dread any time we thought about him having to leave soon. I cried and cried. He hugged me and promised he would be back, someway, somehow, but I could not bear to let him go. We eventually decided last minute to cancel his ticket back to California, 3,000 miles away from the happiness we had finally found.
He would stay with me.
That was our beginning. It was the beginning of everything.
Looking for more of our love story?
That was only the beginning! Below are some links to more of our love story and marriage!
That summer: what happened next!
Our engagement: On August 16, 2012, we got engaged!
Our wedding: On October 5, 2013, we got married and had the most perfect day!
Our first anniversary: October 5, 2014, we celebrated one year of marriage and I reflect on our first year. You can read about how we celebrated in this subsequent post on our anniversary weekend. Or you can read about how we celebrated our “half a year” 6 month anniversary here!