When I was 14, I was an unhappy, introverted, nerdy little girl who had no real friends and was convinced she was happier that way. Then I took the SATs as part of Duke TIP, and I scored really well, so I was invited to all these summer academic programs. My parents decided it would be best if I went to one, that maybe I'd find a sense of belonging among other academically-minded kids my age. I fought tooth and nail, but at least they let me pick the course, so I picked a Shakespeare class and went to Natchitoches, Louisiana for 3 weeks of studies.
I had the time of my life! I met some of the greatest people who have ever entered my life, and I developed a shy girl's from-a-great-distance crush on the most popular boy at nerd camp.
The next summer, I couldn't WAIT to go back. I was incredibly excited because this summer, they were offering a course in Musical Theatre, which sounded like a blast. I nervously prepared my audition tape, was thrilled when I was accepted into the class, and showed up for my first day of class. We watched Into The Woods, then began preparations for auditions for roles. I was ecstatic when I was cast as The Baker's Wife, the role I wanted, and wasn't exactly upset when my secret crush, who was also in the class, was cast to play my husband, The Baker.
And so, at 15, a professor for a summer course married me to the cutest, most brilliant, most amazing man in the world. A few years later, when I was moving into my dorm for my freshman year of college, my husband, who just happened to be one of my RAs, showed up and helped me move my stuff. He had seen my name on his list of residents and rushed over.
For years, we were just friends. One of us was always in a relationship when the other was single. Suddenly, in 2006, I found myself single while he was, so I invited him out for a night of dancing with my friends. That night, I proposed to him. He didn't exactly give me the answer I was hoping for (his exact words were, "I'd rather date you first"), but it was good enough. We were engaged within days and married in no time at all.
Growing up, he was the guy to whom I compared every other guy. "He's cute, but not as smart as..." "He's smart, but not as kind as..." "He's kind, but not as cute as..." Seriously, this man was my ideal man, and I always knew it on some level. He was the first man (at 15) that I ever told I loved, and I guess I just never stopped. It took us 8 years to get together, but we managed to find our way into each other's lives for good.
I married the man of my dreams, my first love, the man who played my husband in the very first musical I was in. Every day, I am grateful that my parents forced me to spend that first summer at nerd camp, that I went back, that we were cast as husband and wife, and that we later cast ourselves as husband and wife. Sometimes, life really is like a musical, complete with happily ever afters.