Missing Graduation (it really did happen…I promise)

I’m not going to lie. I have been feeling a little jealous over all of the graduation excitement the last few days. PLEASE don’t get me wrong, I am SO SO excited for all of the individuals that have made it this far (believe me, I know how hard it is…), but this time last year, was anything but exciting for me. Let me expound…

I was set to graduate from Utah State University last May 2012, with a degree in Journalism and Communications and an emphasis in Public Relations. I couldn’t be happier to FINALLY be done with school and land the long awaited ‘dream job. Things were going SO well with Ryan and me, the weather had finally decided to be spring, and I was feeling pretty dang good about life… And then…I kid you not, it went just about like this;
LIFE: “Oh! you’re happy? Things are going well? You’re graduating??…
Give me one second…”
ME: “Uh…Wait..What?”

It was May 4th…the DAY before graduation, that I received the email from my Academic Advisor.  The email stated that there was some ‘confusion about the amount of credits I had completed, and that I would be unwilling to graduate ‘unless the department is willing to work with you’… WHAT??? I had been in to the Advising office NUMEROUS times prior to graduation to make sure (over and over again…I had taken a class that had really lowered my gpa, and so I decided to re-take the class so I could use it as credit and it would then raise it, and I would get the credits for it…) that I was in fact going to be graduating (yes, it was that hard for me to believe that it was finally happening).

You can imagine the panic and disappointment I felt when I read this email…I was so physically ill, sad and I just wanted to cry. So I did, and then do what I do best when ANYTHING important ( okay…even not so important) happens in my life…I called my mom. It took her a minute to finally understand what I was trying to tell her ( a sobbing child can be difficult to understand).  I asked her what in the h*** I was supposed to do at this point. And she, being my sweet mother (that believes that everyone wants to help you and has your best interest in mind) told me to contact him and demand that we get this solved before tomorrow. Oh, did I mention that my Advidor sent this email to me at 2:11 p.m.  (the DAY BEFORE graduation!!!!) and I did not see it until 4:15 that day!!

I was completely panicked. I couldn’t think straight. I quickly typed up an email, hoping that the advisor would by some miracle still be in the office.  Of course, he was not. Now, some of you may judge me by this next part, but let me explain myself…I grew up in a small town, where just about anyone would help you if you asked. I have since learned that in the ‘real world’ most people don’t give a darn what happens to you. It’s NOT their problem, and do NOT expect them to go out of their way to help you.

I am a people please-er. It is both a great quality, and also one that on more than one occasion has proved to end up hurting me in the end. When asking my hubby what ‘one thing he would change about me’ he always says this particular trait…or at least, learn to say no once in a while. So, with this as my attitude and thinking that with an issue as important as a college graduation, I figured that my advisor would be more than happy to work with me. I was SORELY  mistaken…

I got the hair-brained idea that if I couldn’t get in touch with him via-email, that I would just call him. After all, they were my advisor, their phone number was listed to contact them, so I thought it couldn’t hurt. So, I called the advisor at their home residence…BIGGEST FREAKING MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!! This advisor was SO incredibly rude to me that after our phone call, I was even sicker and started crying yet again. Then, I received the MEANEST, most nasty email I have EVER received in my life. This advisor ripped me to shreds via-email. They alluded to the fact that our grading system had a way of ‘doing things on it’s own’ and to not be surprised if in fact I was not eligible to graduate’. The email was about  four more paragraphs filled with some of the meanest things that I have ever had said to me. Some of these included, but were not limited to; the fact  that  they did not care that I had been planning on graduating, and had family traveling from out of town to attend. Here is a snippet of what they said  ” BOUNDARY TIME:  YOU will be responsible for  your own credit  issues, not me.  My notes state you were well informed.  Don’t try it – even more serious issues may develop between the two of us:  Who is responsible for your performance here at USU?  You, or me?  Get real, and get real now “.

Yeah….that happened. Of course, the ‘BOUNDARY TIME’ was in reference to the phone call, which I WILL NEVER EVER EVER make again for ANY reason.

I was shaking and sobbing after all of this. I thought that if my credits hadn’t kept me from graduating, then my, what I felt innocent , phone call to see IF there was anything that I could possibly do, would surely keep me from graduating.

After reading and re-reading this nasty, nasty email (believe me, I have saved a copy of our correspondence and I was ready to turn them in to the dean for such unprofessional-ism and what could have been classified as ‘mental duress’. I then called all of my family members set to attend my graduation and tell them that I would not be graduating and so they should not bother coming down.

I was so embarrassed. I felt like I had let down my entire family, and I felt that I had just wasted the last 6 years of my life ( a bit dramatic I know…) It had been a long time since I had been that low. Luckily for me, I had my family, and INCREDIBLE roommie and an amazing boyfriend (my now hubby xoxo) to help me through it and to help me realize that regardless of how things turned out, that they still wanted to have a graduation party ( at this point, we had NO idea that there are quite a few people that will walk at the ceremony and then complete the courses needed). I was too prideful and too embarrassed.   I declined and wanted to go into hiding.

So…graduation day came, I didn’t go. My wonderful family came into town anyway and took me out for a combined dinner for ‘almost graduation’ and my sister’s birthday. Man how I love my family.

The next day, you will never guess who emailed me. It was my Advisor… congratulating me on GRADUATING!!! They said they had made an honest mistake and that they hoped I had enjoyed my graduation and that I had deserved it. WHAT?????????? I missed my graduation because YOU told me I couldn’t go!!  I cannot even begin to tell you how furious I was. Their email was SO ridiculously nice and over the top congratulatory of my ‘great accomplishment’. They said over and over how proud they were of me etc. etc.

The ONLY explanation for this email was that they knew that the emails they had sent were enough to get themselves fired (and believe me they were), and they felt that if they were nice and congratulatory  that I would over look this incident. Which, of course I did (truth be told, I was afraid that they would in fact ruin my transcript had I not just dropped the case and accepted the ‘congrats’).

Ugh, even a year later, I still feel my cheeks get hot when I think about the rude things said and the fact that I missed my college graduation.  BUT… the important fact is, is that I DID graduate. I may not have been at the ceremony, but I have a diploma. Yes, I could have attended the ceremony, but I didn’t have the heart to only go through the motions. I wanted it to be real, and to know for a fact that I did do it.

Maybe one day I will be able to look back on it and laugh, but it will take a while… It was an incredible lesson learned.

BUT I say this with all sincerity, CONGRATULATIONS to all of you who did and have graduated!! It is an AMAZING accomplishment, and you deserve it!!

Sorry for the rant…I just needed to get that out :/




-The VERY Long ‘Getting To Know Us’ Post-

Saturday afternoon, during General Conference break, Ryan and I spent some time looking online at his family tree. On this particular site you could click on certain names and on a select few, there were some short stories about that individual. We laughed at some of the stories and concluded that it would be a good idea if we kept some sort or ‘record’ that we could one day pass down to our children. I have started at least 8 journals in my life, and after trying to start from the beginning of time, get frustrated and give up after the first few pages. I am bound and determined to keep this going, however long and few in between the posts may be. So here is our attempt:

I guess a good place to start would be to give a rather long and detailed account of how we met, and what lead to what…

I had no idea that it was possible to love someone as much as I love Ry. My entire life, I have heard people say ” I love him more than the day I married him” or “I fall more in love with her everyday”.  Before I met Ryan,  I thought I knew what it was like to love someone completely. I had dated some really great guys,learning many valuable and life changing lessons from each (for good and bad), and while I would like to change the ways I often handled these relationships, I would not trade the things I learned from them.

I met Ry last November, (2011) through the suggestion and help of a good friend (THANK YOU CAMILLE KELLER!!). The timing of our first date however, was not the best… I was dating somebody at the time, (you may think me an awful person for going  on a date while  in a relationship with someone else, but I do NOT regret it one bit) and Ryan was traveling around the country completing various medical rotations to ready himself for graduation. We began talking in August of last year(2011) but did not meet until late November. Little did I know that this was the man that was going to change my life for the better, forever.

Ryan and I did not have the easiest start to our relationship (actually, it took five months before we really started dating), and I take full responsibility for delaying what would become the happiest time(s) of my life.

Let me back up a little and explain myself and my reasoning for the delay … When I met Ry, I was in a pretty serious relationship (the kind that you look back on and go ‘what in the hell was I thinking?’)  It was one of those relationships that you’ve put so much time and effort into and even though you are unhappy, know it’s wrong, have been told by numerous individuals it’s wrong, and may be forced to give up family and friends to ‘prove that he’s right for you’,  all because you’re stubborn and bull headed and don’t wan’t to be wrong (again) that you stay in it anyway.

Everything about my current relationship was wrong. I am not trying to belittle him or his family, (they were all great people) but it was just wrong. Looking back now, I can’t believe that I let it go on for so long and risked hurting and losing those I loved most all for the chance of ‘ being right for once’. Because of my current situation (with friends and family) I was bitter, hurt, confused and the LAST thing I wanted to do was call it quits on something I had fought so hard for for so long and go out with someone my parents actually wanted me to go out with…Sadly, I am sure there are those of you that know what I am talking about either by experience or having someone close to you going through the same thing…( end venting here) Okay, now that you have some idea of the method of my madness and the inner battle of wanting to escape but also keep fighting,  I will continue…

Our first date was on November 22nd 2011. I was going to school full time, working two jobs and dancing for the USU Ballroom Team. I was EXTREMELY busy and had put off going out with Ry for far too long, mostly due to stubbornness and some to lack of time. My family was quite unhappy about my current dating situation (and really you can’t blame them) and were anything but subtle in their desire for an end to it. They knew the Keller’s, (Camille is the sister of Ryan’s sister-in-law and also a family friend…a random connection right?) they knew the caliber of people that they are and with Ryan having their full endorsement, they felt like he was the perfect candidate to better my situation.

The first time I met Ry I knew there was something different about him. He was confident, collected, mature, even tempered, driven, extremely funny, in the process of becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon,  and  knew EXACTLY who he was and where he was going in life. He was comfortable with who he was and he did not need validation from anyone else.

Honestly, it was a quite intimidating seeing as I was finishing up my 6th year of college ( I like to think of these years as ‘obtaining as much information as I could and never being able to satisfy my hunger for learning , but those that know me, know that it was simply procrastination and refusing to become a big girl) and still had no clue what I was going to do for the rest of my life.  So as you can imagine, I felt inadequate to even be on a blind date with a  future doctor and man of this caliber.

Lucky for me, he finally got tired of my excuses and decided that it was time to go out. He drove three hours  just to see me for one that afternoon ( I tired to convince him that it wasn’t worth it and that we should find another day that we would have more time, but he wasn’t having it). We finally decided to meet at the Gaucho Grill in Logan for a quick lunch before my Ballroom performance that night.

I was extremely nervous to go out with him for a number of reasons, and was quite shocked to find out that this incredibly amazing man was in fact human. He was charming, attentive and very  easy to talk to. Like some individuals, I tend to be awkward on first dates, I dread going, and in bad cases, end up counting the seconds till it’s over. With Ry, this was not the case. I actually found myself wishing that we had a little more time together (although I would have NEVER admitted that to him that day, and even though I’ve tried to convince him of this now, he still does not believe me).

After a quick ‘getting to know you lunch’  I thanked him for the date and was ready to head to  Walmart to get flesh colored granny panties for my ballroom costume. If you have any sort of dance or performing experience, you know the hideous things to which I am referring . Nasty little things…

Even though I had honestly enjoyed our date, I felt it was time to go. To my surprise (but not really…) he wasn’t quite ready to let it end (which both annoyed and excited me) and offered to drive me there. I figured that if my somewhat awkward personality hadn’t scared him off, then the granny panties would for sure.  As we walked around Walmart, we joked and laughed. I kept reprimanding myself for noticing, over and over, how cute was and how much I was enjoying his company.

Throughout our Walmart run, he kept asking if I was sure that I wouldn’t let him stay for the performance. I kept politely  declining  assuring him that it wold be awkward and boring and ‘if you’ve seen one ballroom performance, you’ve seen them all’ sort of thing (totally NOT true p.s.) he finally gave it up, we said our goodbyes and he started the drive home.

After he drove off, I immediately felt guilty and sad for convincing him not to come. However, I had my reasons. You see, I was positive that my current boyfriend would drive the three hours to come see my performance (after all, I had been dropping hints about how excited I was, how this was my first collegiate performance etc, thinking that he would show up to ‘surprise’ me and spend the rest of the evening telling me how wonderful I had done and life would be grand) and the fact that had Ryan stayed, he would have met my family, and they would have instantly loved him and then would fight even harder to convince me to end things with the current BF, and the whole BF meeting the guy his GF had just gone on a date with would not have ended well. How did the evening end you might wonder? Or maybe you don’t wonder that…but  my boyfriend did not show up (no real surprise there) and  I still regret to this day not letting Ry see and be a part of one of the things that make me happiest in life, when he had been so willing to stay and show more support after spending two hours with me than my BF of three months was willing to show.

So…November and December passed and Ryan and I did not communicate (all of my fault I might add). I had told the current BF about my ‘lunch’  later that night (not a pretty discussion by the way) and tried to force Ry out of my mind. In January, I made some decisions, both conscious and subconscious, and eventually ended things with the BF. I am not going to lie, it was one of the hardest things I had had to do up to that point, there were times that I felt like I was literally breaking, but it was also the biggest blessing of my life. I cannot explain the gratitude and love I feel for my family both immediate and extended, for their attempts, prayers and in some cases threats,  to keep me from making what could have been life altering decisions and to help me find and embrace the greatest blessing I have ever received.

Through the break-up, the only person I wanted to talk to was Ryan, weird I know, but I felt like he was someone I could trust, and I knew that he had gone through a situation similar to the one I was going through. He was patient, honest and open with me. He told me one night that if it was a friend I needed, then that’s what he would be. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I was to have him and his support through this. Not that my family wasn’t there for me, I just still wasn’t quite ready to have to face them after all of the horrible things I had said and done to them and the literal ‘hell’ I had put them through for the last  six months.

Ry offered advice and a different perspective that I was grateful for. Though at times he was almost too blunt, it was exactly what I needed to hear. He became someone that I wanted to confide in and knew would always listen.

So the story goes…

Ryan announced that he had the opportunity to complete a rotation in Logan and that he wanted to take this chance to be able to get to know me better. I had so many mixed feeling and emotions at this news. I was excited, but irritated, happy but almost mad. I thought he was just my friend? I thought that he knew what I was going through, how bad I had been hurting and how the LAST thing I wanted/needed was another relationship. I found myself pulling away from him and feeling like he had pretended to be my friend to get an insiders advantage. I was both stupid and naive for feeling this way.

For the next month(s), I would treat Ryan worse than any human being deserved to be treated. Ever. I tried to ignore him, I tried to distance myself as much as possible when he was around, I took all of the sweet things he did and said for granted, I was irritated at him for wanting to like me, for wanting to be close to me and for wanting to date me. Deep down, the source of my anger was the fact that he was more of a boyfriend, not even being my boyfriend at the time, than my boyfriend had been . Ryan was perfect, he treated me the way that anyone would want their daughter treated. He was respectful, he was polite,  gentle, caring, sweet, thoughtful, compassionate and far far more patient that anyone should ever be, considering the way I treated him. He did ALL of this to show me how I should be treated, how I deserved to be treated (in general…I deserved a slap on the face and swift hard kick in the rear for the time being).

Throughout these long and horrible months, Ryan never stopped treating me like I was someone worth loving. He remained calm and patient (for much longer than he should have) and continued to give me the benefit of a doubt. Over and over again.  I remained stubborn, rude and completely bull headed. I honestly can say that the girl I was for those months is NOT who I am and someone that I NEVER EVER want to be again. I am a firm believer in the adversary and his attempts to destroy our happiness and keep us from finding true happiness. He start by feeding our thoughts full of lies ‘I’m not good enough’.  ‘I don’t deserve to be happy’.  ‘Happiness is for everyone but me’. ‘My life is meant to be hard and I am meant to struggle through it, because who am I to have anything different’? As sick and pathetic as it is, this is how I felt on more than one occasion.

I am not saying that I was depressed or unhappy with life, because that it NOT true at all. I loved my life (granted, the year 2011 was a tough one), loved my family and felt that though I had had some trials, over all things were pretty great. But I never felt  that I deserved to be completely happy and I definitely didn’t think that I would/could be someone completely crazy in love. I am not sure why, but I always figured that I would marry, be happy most of the time, struggle, and at times be the one to be supporting our family. I figured that I was a normal woman and that that’s what normal women do. I felt that it was my lot in life to be hard working and the provider. Maybe that stems from my innate desire to be needed, to be able to fix things and maybe I am just weird…but even though I had the perfect guy in front of me, one that could and was willing to give me everything, I couldn’t let myself dare to even believe that an incredible life and love could be mine… (insert ‘Beautiful Disaster’ by Jon McgLaughlin here) getting back to the story now…

One day I received news from Ryan telling me that he  back in Iowa (where he  had been going to medical school for the last four years) and that this was basically a good-bye. He had been through enough with me, and who could blame him. He had been trying for months to show me that he was there for good. That he wanted to treat me right and show me that I was someone special, and all I did was keep him at a distance that I felt for sure would keep me from getting hurt.

After the news that he was leaving, and realizing that I might never see him again, I began to panic, I also began  to do some serious self reflection (a little late, okay…very late…). I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had made the biggest mistake of my life and that I would regret it forever. I also couldn’t stop feeling like I needed to try and even beg if needed, for one more chance. I knew that no man in his right mind would be willing to walk into the mess that I had put Ry through and I was almost certain that I would be the last person on earth he’d be willing to give a second chance to.

I found myself almost desperate to talk to him, to somehow show/ tell him how I felt and that I was sorry. But after the horrible things I said and did, how in the world could I ask this? Living across the country wasn’t helping my cause either. I prayed a lot during this time, asking for help, asking to help Ry find it in his heart to forgive me and possibly feel like he could give me another chance. I pleaded saying that if I was given a second chance, that I would not mess it up and I would give it my all.

I have no idea how or why at THIS time (which seemed far far too late) I was realizing this, but it was almost as if overnight I had finally been able to see how I really felt about him. I know that some of it had to do with finally and completely letting go of the ex BF and allowing myself to love and be loved, and the other part was simply not wanting to lose this incredible person that had become so much a part of my life without me even realizing it.

I all but begged for him to make time to see me when he moved back to Utah. He was skeptical and  hesitant, but he finally agreed to meet up one last time. We met each other at Lagoon. I figured that it was middle ground for us and that if it ended up being a bust, that we would at least have a lot to distract us. I was so nervous to see him, for many obvious reasons…I had been a beast to him for months, I had hurt him, embarrassed him and on more than one occasion pissed him off, I was in the dog house in every way possible. I was also nervous because I had finally acknowledged feelings that I had kept buried for months, and I was willing to put everything out there, possibly looking like a fool in the end, but determined to give it a real shot.

I of course drug my bestie Marisa with me. Let me tell you a little about this lady before I move on. Marisa is honestly the best and most selfless friend I have ever had. I have been blessed with amazing friends throughout my life, but Marisa is the only one (besides my family and Ryan) that has seen me be TOTALLY awful, selfish, stupid, immature, bi*atchy, moody, silly, just plain weird and still loved me.

She has been my one friend that would tell me the truth even if it hurt or wasn’t what I wanted to hear, she corrects my grammar, criticizes my quirks and annoying habits, tells me EXACTLY what she thinks (no sugar coating here folks) and honestly has my best interests at heart. I have been through so much with Marisa. Ryan and I both know that without her, we probably wouldn’t have made it. She was the middle woman, whether she liked being it or not, in our relationship. She told me on countless occasions “get your sh** together! ‘You’re going to lose him!’ and she would promise Ry over and over that I wasn’t always ‘this mean’. She kept both of us from letting go more than once. She wanted both of us to be happy and to end up together. There aren’t that many people that are genuinely happy and want others to succeed in every way, but she was for us.  So MASSIVE SHOUT OUT TO OUR MISSA!!

That day at Lagoon became a major turning point in our relationship. From that day on (after a little more groveling) we spent every moment together that we could. I was let go from one of my jobs (which I had quit one to be able to work for the other company and ended up losing both) which turned out to be a HUGE blessing because I was able to spend all summer long with him. We joke that we spent most of our time together driving, which was true in a lot of ways, but it was perfect. I fell so completely and madly in love with him. He was everything I could have ever wanted.

I am so so grateful for that summer and for the time we got to spend with friends and family and together. I believe that we needed those few months to establish the incredible relationship we have now. Ryan had told me that he wanted to make the most of the time we had, but was also hesitant to start something because he would be moving to Oregon to complete a four (+) year residency. Not wanting to lose him, I wanted him to ask me to go with him. Finally, one day he mentioned it in casual conversation, something to the extent of  ‘yeah, you should come with me’ and was shocked when I said yes.

He moved to Oregon that June, and I went with him to help him move in. We got engaged June 16th and were married for time and all eternity in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple on September 22nd 2012 ( I will have to put the wedding details on here one day, we had two of the BEST receptions EVER, but this post if already long enough).

Marrying Ryan was and is the best decision I have made in my life. I am happier and more in love than I ever thought possible. While it was anything but easy at the beginning, it has been so so worth it. I feel like Mohana in my very own Johnny Lingo story. I know that I  can be and will become the woman I am supposed to be and want to be because of Ryan. I am so proud of him and the long hard hours he works to be able to provide for our little family. I love the life that we are building together. I love our tiny little 5th wheel trailer that we call home, I am growing to appreciate the weather in Oregon (the humidity, rain, plastic bag ban and very liberal individuals are all things I am working on). I love our crazy, spaz of a puppy, even though she makes me crazy. While I miss my friends and family like crazy (900 miles away is a LONG way), I am grateful to be put in a situation where I am forced to make new friends and become independent while still depending solely on my new hubby.

I find myself saying silent prayers throughout the day and especially when he is sleeping beside me at night, to thank my Heavenly Father for sending me such a loving, compassionate and patient man. So many times I am over come with such gratitude that I am moved to tears. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect man for me.