Sometimes, life comes around in unexpected and beautiful ways! Last week, I got to reconnect with my high school boyfriend. We haven’t seen each other or spoken in almost 5 years. I’d love to share a little bit of our story with you, since I am inspired by my friend Austin.
We met doing the Drama Club play in high school, and we quickly became close. In many ways, we were an unlikely pairing. I was the “good girl” type. Straight A honors student, daughter of a doctor (my mom, for all of y’all who assumed it was my dad). He was a skater dude with a troubled family life. We saw something in each other that no one else did. External circumstances are trivial when you find someone with a good heart. While I may have seemed to have it all together, I felt lonely, trapped and sad in high school. He made me feel like I belonged there, and we shared so much laughter! I got to go to prom with a date, which I never thought would happen. He taught me that everyone has a story, and no one fits their stereotype. He taught me that our circumstances don’t have to define who we are. Our character, our choices and our hard work belong to us and not our families. He also taught me, and keeps teaching me, that you don't have to listen to the voices of opposition. They are just white noise.
My junior prom, 2012
As with most high school romance, ours ended. The worst part for me was losing a friendship that had come to mean so much to me. But sometimes, people have to leave us in order for us to understand our true power. I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet, how to reach out to my friends for support, how to travel to a foreign country on my own. I had to learn how to stop feeling stuck and start creating the life I wanted for myself. Strange, isn’t it? How heartbreak can be a catalyst for the most transformation in our lives?
Austin is a huge fan of Batman (as you could tell from our prom picture). Recently, something made me rewatch the Dark Knight trilogy. The last time I had seen it was with him. The Dark Knight Rises was coming out, so we had watched the entire series to prepare me. As I watched those movies again, I found myself wondering how he was doing. The weird and wonderful thing about the internet is that you can check up on people you haven’t seen in a while. I found out that he is thriving, which made me so happy to see! He now goes by Ace Austin and is a professional wrestler. If you're into wrestling, you can check out his YouTube channel here.
Promo photo for Ace Austin
I want to always be brave in my relationships. I’m a hold-nothing-back person. So, I sent him a message to tell him I was thinking about him and to wish him well. He wrote back, and so our silence was ended. We got to meet up and talk, and it was heartwarming to have my friend back. He is chasing his dreams, and I am so proud of him. All those happy times we shared can be happy memories again. That is so healing and so exquisite. I can’t even explain. It's refreshing to talk to someone who is so authentic, honest and committed to his values. He was always that way, and I'm glad it didn't change.
Together in Florida, 2017
I share our story for this reason, too many of us let life go by without letting the people we care about know that we love them. Austin told me that he thought about sending me a message many times, but he never did. Imagine if I had not had the courage to reach out. We would have missed each other. A great friend of mine, Jennifer Kathleen (a fellow singer/songwriter - view her webpage here), said to me recently, “Amanda, you will never regret loving another person. You will only regret what you didn’t do, what you didn’t say, who you didn’t love.” Risk your heart, my friends. You are strong enough to stitch it back together. If you’re lucky, like me, the love you put out into the world will find its way back to you in ways you never could have imagined.