With and Without You.

There is a phrase that I see every once in a while, regarding one's significant other.
"I can't remember what life was like without you," or
"I can't imagine life without you."

Or something similar. You know what I mean. While I find those things cryptically sweet, I've realized I really don't hold those same feelings. I will never forget my life before Tyler.

Tyler and I met on a "blind date" even though he saw me before the actual date and asked his roommate to switch dates with him because I looked too tall.

Months later, we went long-boarding one summer evening and I remember feeling unabashedly joyful. Laughing and playing and forgetting that there was anything to do in the world but those two things.

We spent almost all of the rest of that summer's nights meandering around town, either on foot or in his truck.

We went to the park at all hours of the day and night. We read books and played games. Chased and tackled each other. And then laid in the grass forever wishing it was our own park, on our own planet, in our own universe.

We went to the lake and sat on the dock until we had what felt like thousands of mosquito bites. We tried to use toothpaste as anti-itch cream and when that didn't work we rinsed off in the nearest sprinklers.

We bought gas station junk food and parked at the top of hills to eat and dream and watch tiny Provo glitter below us.

We drove through the mountains in the rain and the sunshine and the moonlight.

We laid in the back of his truck on blankets, in the mountains, watching the stars come out.

We laid in the cool grass listening to the wind and watching clouds. The minutes seemed to slack so we could stay that way a little longer.

I left notes on his truck and he surprised me at school and work with treats and the biggest smile.

It was like we couldn't sit still with each other. I wanted to make him laugh every second that we were together because it was the funnest thing to listen to.

I asked him questions that lead to long stories so that I could listen to him talk. I fell in love with the sound of his voice.

He put on my jeggings and let me take a picture.

He grew a mustache and wore blue sweatpants and spandex in public because I asked him to be Nacho Libre for Halloween.

When we were still, I felt like I couldn't be near him without touching him. I'd put my legs on his lap and my hand in his hand. Even when we drove I had my hand on his neck or his arm or his leg so that he didn't feel so far away.

Months later, Tyler asked me what I thought the first time he kissed me. Without a breath, I responded, "uh-oh." Because I knew that I never wanted to kiss anyone else for the rest of my life.

Being with Tyler actually lit up my life. Before him I still had happy moments, lots of them actually. But the lens through which I was living wasn't as wide or as bright.

And then I met Tyler. And I finally saw how dim my life was.

Imagine it's the middle of one of the hottest days of the year. A day you wake up already warm. The sun seems to penetrate any layer of clothing you wear and soaks into your skin and through to your bones. You walk through the grass and then you hear that familiar click and burst and your glance is directed downward as a sprinkler pops up and schick-schick-schick.

Tyler turned on the sprinklers in my life. He refreshed a living, but lacking 'me.'

I would never say that I can't imagine life without Tyler. I remember what it was like to live without him. I can never forget how small and gray my life was before him because I now get to live with his light. My two lives are incredibly different and I'm so hashtagblessed I have the one with him in it, forever.

Now please enjoy a couple of my favorite pictures of the light of my life.

Taylor Swift Is Singing My Life 10 Years Ago.

I know I'm tagging in late, but hear me out.

At first I was mad at Taylor for not letting me listen to her latest album with my Spotify subscription. Then I thought to myself, if I wrote an incredible book (which I will someday), then I would like people to enjoy it for the worthy price of $16.99 ($14.99 paperback) and not $9.99 a month, along with busloads of other songs, eh...books, that feel like they are FO FREEEE!

So after that train came veering safely around the corners of my mind, I decided to forgive Taylor for wanting a fair monetary representation of all of her hard work. I get you, Tay. Which is to say, I bought the album.

For the first few listens I went straight to the hits: Blank Space, Shake It Off. That lasted a couple days. And then I hit the deep tracks.

You guys. In the words of me, " MY LIFE!"
There are at least a hundred songs on the 1989 album that are literally about my life when I was in high school. How does she know?!

Honestly, I was listening to the lyrics and the thought that kept repeating in my head was "If only I had had this to take out my teenage angst and rage instead of Avril Lavigne." Avril just didn't speak to my teenage issues the way that Taylor was in this moment. "Sk8er Boi" really never emulated my experiences in high school nor did it give me any sort of enlightenment regarding my troublesome dating life at 16.
But Taylor's lyrics were just vibe-ing with my teenage soul.

"Style" is the song for boyfriend #1 and #3 and #6 (do you see why this fits so well? It's the same boy) We were meant to be! Because we loved the same bands and had a similar distaste for parents.
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time
'Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style 

"All You Had To Do Was Stay" is dedicated to boyfriend-ish #2. Oh boyfriend-ish #2, if only you knew how weird it was that you thought I would want you after you made out with silly Melissa or Melanie or Stephanie, or whatever her name was while we were still dating. Here was the beginning of a confusing phase of life in which I didn't understand how someone could have multiple girlfriends. Later I would learn that that was weird and not normal. 

People like you always want back the love they gave away
And people like me wanna believe you when you say you've changed

"I Wish You Would" really is dedicated to boyfriend #4. I wasn't ready to be adored and thought it was weird and so I shut him out forever. Upon realizing what I'd done and that I had under-appreciated being adored, this song was how I felt. I eventually gave up wishing he would come back and it was for the best. That would be a very awkward confrontation today. At the time though, these were my EXACT feelings. 

I wish you would come back,
Wish I never hung up the phone like I did.
And I wish you knew that I'll never forget you as long as I live. 

It may seem silly to you, but this was a cathartic experience for me. I finally felt like someone was expressing what I had been feeling so long ago and didn't know how to express except by trying to spy on boyfriends with my girlfriends and throw ice cream at their stupid cars. That was cathartic too, but not quite as "healthy," one might say.  

And this is what I did while trying to be Tay: