It’s strange to be able to say these next few things, journal, since I started writing here when I was a baby teen and I’ve grown so much in these 7 years. At least I think it’s been 7. Too lazy to spend 10 seconds going back to check.
(Okay fine, I checked and what the actual fuck it’s been nearly 8 years.)
As I was saying!
I made it through high school.
I fell in love with a boy.
I completed a bachelor’s degree at a wonderful school that completely changed my life.
I learned to navigate around chronic mental illnesses and now understand myself so much better because of it.
I maintained relationships with dear friends who scattered around the world after graduation.
I returned to my high school for our 5-year reunion.
I just finished my master’s degree.
And I’m not supposed to tell people this next thing because of complications that I’ll further explain, but…
I’m getting married.
Holy shit, right? That little baby child who started this journal all those years ago is now engaged!!
I am very tired of school from my 19 straight years of education so I would rather not talk about my time in grad school right now. This also explains my long absences from here because I really only had school to talk about and I did not have the energy for that.
I wanna talk about the proposal now!!
“I’m getting married” is a bit of a lie because we are responsible adults and thus the wedding won’t be for like 3 years when we’re more financially secure but aaahhhHH I can’t stop the feelings~~ I can’t help but grin stupidly whenever I replay the day’s events in my head.
Being engaged shouldn’t change anything, but surprisingly it does. I feel giddier. And I want to hold his hand more.
In short, I am disgusting.
Hopefully this reemergence of honeymoon phase-like feelings is just… a phase. I always figured I wouldn’t feel any new emotions from a proposal because Manny (yes, that guy! we’re still together!) and I always casually talked about weddings and marriage. We even talked about how he’d propose to me. I firmly believe that proposals should never be a surprise, and by that I mean the couple should have discussed their future together before either of them even thinks of proposing. The topic of weddings often came up in the past few months because his sister had just gotten engaged — her engagement party was exactly one week before my own engagement!
Several months earlier I had actually picked out the very engagement ring he got me when he was asking me “hypothetically” which design I liked.
Here’s the only picture I have of me wearing it:
I don’t have the ring with me for a more flattering photo of it on my chub fingers, though. Again, will later explain the complications. The 3-stone design with a simple band is nothing too wild, but because I am a special snowflake hipster chick I also wanted a nontraditional twist by having the two accent stones be sapphire.
Though I only wore it for a few hours, I really really really love it and would totally not mind wearing it for years to come. Aside from the whole engagement ring industry not sitting well with me thing, I have hated wearing rings for as long as I can remember because they got in the way of me trying to do ordinary life things (I despise bracelets for this same reason), but I never wanted to take this one off. Maybe that’s just the difference between crappy Forever 21 rings and the single most expensive thing I’ve put on my body? It somehow fit perfectly despite the jewelry store giving him the default sizing. Anyway, I freaking love that it’s not at all chunky because I cannot deal with a ring that gets caught in everything, like that classic single stone design would seem to do.
I was so delighted that the colors of the ring perfectly and coincidentally matched the blue and white dress I was wearing that day.
ALSO IT SPARKLES SO PRETTILY IN THE SUNLIGHT UGH MY GLITTER LOVING SOUL IS PLEASED
As for how he proposed… he was fairly good at being not suspicious, although in retrospect there were a number of moments that I thought were odd but brushed them off.
Then again, I am kind of an idiot.
We still live with our respective families so I only see him once a week, and that Saturday was going to be nothing out of the ordinary, other than a visit to my undergrad alma mater. The cover-up story was that we were going Pokemon hunting around the lake at my old college campus. Manny said he took his aunt and uncle (who were visiting the US for vacation) there earlier that week for a tour and found loads of rarer water Pokemon on campus. We’d been really into Pokemon Go since its release and have gone out catching Pokemon together every week, so I suspected nothing. I was just really excited to add to my Pokedex.
(Aside: I am on Team Mystic and of fucking course this walking stereotype chose Team Valor because his arrogant asshole dudebro self saw “valor,” which he associated with STRONG and POWER and the emblem is red and fire is also red and fire BURNS ALL THE THINGS. If you can’t tell, we have a bit of a rivalry going on. Mystic and Valor are forever competing and I feel like our choices of teams accurately reflect our actual relationship of each of us constantly trying to one-up the other.)
I later found out that he did indeed walk around the 2.5 mile perimeter of the lake and caught Pokemon… but he was actually with a friend instead scoping for a good proposal spot.
So, Suspicious Thing #1 happened several days before the Saturday: His mom called me out of the blue and asked me if my family was free to go out for dinner on August 5th (hey, that’s today!). I said yes, and she proceeded to ask if my grandparents and extended family live nearby. She wanted to invite all of them, and I’m very confused now, because I figured this dinner was a going-home party for her sister’s family, which would soon be returning to Pakistan. My extended family doesn’t know them. The call lasted just under a minute.
And then! She called again early that Saturday morning, waking me up. She asked if Manny had picked me up yet and if I had told my parents about the dinner yet. I said no to both questions. She asked if she should call my dad to ask him about the dinner. I said um no, I can tell him myself. She said okay and hung up. My puzzlement left me wide awake.
Suspicious Thing #2 also started before that day: Manny was telling me what to wear. Earlier in that week while informing me of Saturday plans, he suggested that I wear a dress. He said it really casually, in that “Oh btw we’re going out to dinner so dress more nicely” kind of way. I usually dress like a nub since I just hang around his house and often nap there as well, so I always appreciate him giving me a heads up. But looking back, it doesn’t make sense why I ought to look more put together while walking around a lake.
Also, Manny seemed way too into the kind of shoes I’d be wearing when he never cared before. My feet form blisters and calluses ridiculously easily, so I mostly wear sneakers. But that morning when he arrived to pick me up, he helped me search for shoes that wouldn’t shred my feet while not clashing horribly with my dress. We settled on these super cheap foam pink flip flops that I wore around the house. He didn’t seem very pleased with the choice but I had nothing better. If I wasn’t under the belief that I’d be walking around a lake for an hour, I would have worn prettier sandals or something.
But ugh, he was so dedicated to keeping me clueless that HE was dressed like a nub that day in gym shorts and dirty sneakers. What the hell, dude, you knew that you’d be photographed that day! His friend took some photos of us on campus that I’m sure didn’t look as nice because of his clothes.
As you can see in the picture, it was a beautifully sunny Saturday morning when we got there. In fact, it was far too sunny, and I complained of the heat every two minutes we were in direct sunlight. I brought paper towels to blot away the sweat that kept sliding down my face because, remember, I just have to look at a picture of the sun to break a sweat.
He actually did want to seriously catch Pokemon because after parking, he led me away from the lake for a bit to hit all the nearby Pokestops. Then we curved around to finally get to the lake path.
The path was very woodsy, and was either made of wood chips or sand. It stretched on like that for like 15 minutes — and I remember because I activated an incense in Pokemon Go, the benefits of which I would never get to fully enjoy because, you know, I got interrupted by the proposal. We crossed a few small bridges too, and saw several fellow lake goers on a jog or bike ride or just lounging on beach chairs to the side of the path.
Eventually the trees started to clear and we got a nice view of the lake. Up ahead I spotted a white railing/fence thing (that thing behind us in the picture). But there was also something else.
Suspicious Thing #3: The bouquet of roses on the white railing. I saw that from a distance and for some reason, I figured that someone had left it there as a memorial for a friend or relative who had died or killed themselves at that spot.
Yeah, I don’t even know what my brain was doing there.
When we reached the clearing with the white railing to the right, there were a bunch of pretty, tall coniferous trees/bushes (I have now learned that it is a topiary garden!) to the left of the path. Behind those bushes, there was some kind of fancy estate atop a long flight of stone steps. Manny stops here and tells me he needs to pee. In public. Behind the bushes. I briefly yell at him for ruining my beautiful campus before sighing and agreeing to keep watch for people strolling by.
I now wonder if he actually needed to pee or he went back there to retrieve the ring box from his backpack. I should ask him. It was probably both.
Now, here are some back-to-back Suspicious Things, because I am very dumb and these Things were actually all part of the proposal but I didn’t realize what was happening until he got down on one knee.
Suspicious Thing #4: A little bit up ahead, a figure ran into the trees. I jumped a bit in panic when I first noticed the movement, worried that they’d catch Manny pissing in public. But whoever it was just retreated to the woods and stayed there, partly visible to me. Since I had seen people lounging and enjoying the lake view along my walk, I told myself that was what this creeper was doing too. When Manny finished his deed, I whispered to him that there was someone in the trees over there and they might have seen him.
Suspicious Thing #5: He had a backpack with him and he walked over to the white railing, dropped the backpack to the dirt ground, and walked away from it, toward the opposite end of the railing. I now understand it as him getting that bag out of the camera frame, but I think it might have also served to distract me? Because it definitely did. I stared at it very puzzledly, asking him wtf he was doing without taking my eyes off it.
Also — and of course it’s at the exact moment a random couple walks by — I then expressed my concern that people are going to think there’s a bomb in there so please put it back on.
Hey, the Boston Marathon bombing happened just a few cities over and he’s brown and my campus is situated in the middle of a, er, slightly racist town, so this is a very valid fear of mine.
(Aside: I don’t want my future husband to be the victim of a senseless hate crime just because of the way he looks so FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DON’T LET TRUMP BE PRESIDENT AND INCREASE THE CHANCES OF THIS HAPPENING)
These next few events happened in a matter of seconds, but my brain was working rapidly to churn out rationalizations for everything that was out of the ordinary.
While still looking at his backpack with confusion, I heard him say, “Excuse me.” I turned around only because I wanted to see who he was talking to, because it certainly couldn’t have been me. Manny, who regularly insults me and I’d fire back with some of my own, would never use such a sweet, polite tone to address me.
When I turned around, his head was facing the direction of the creeper in the bushes, but only for a split second. The split-second glance was enough for my brain to connect the dropped backpack and the “excuse me~” and the creeper in the trees, telling me that Manny is just asking a stranger to photograph us in front of the lake and he wanted his backpack out of the photo.
And then he turns back to look at me and gives me a huge smile and drops down to one knee and holds out a black box and I blink a hundred times.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a crouched figure dart over to where the topiary garden was. Even as I was stunned by what was happening in front of me, my brain had time to stupidly think, “o hey this completely random stranger photographer just happened upon a great photo opportunity, how lucky for him!”
I reacted as if I just found out I’d been Punk’d: I exclaimed “No!” three times in disbelief, in a holy shit I can’t believe this is happening kind of way. I really thought it was a prank after gaping and staring with wide eyes for a second. Manny’s friend, the photographer, later told us he thought I was saying no to the proposal.
There was no speech — even though last year he was telling me about how he’d prepare this extravagant, romantic speech that would make me sob. After giving me a good 20 seconds to get all the shock and disbelief and profanity out of me, he simply asked if I would marry him, to which I said:
“Yes, of course!!”
(Psst, what you don’t see in the photo above? The balled-up, damp paper towel that I had been using as my sweat rag. Also, my flushed sweaty face. My left arm was moving to stuff the paper towel in my bag.)
Oh, I also noticed that his legs were trembling as he was kneeling. I remembered mentally scoffing at his weak legs and thinking he should do more lunges at the gym. Turns out it hurts a lot to kneel on the ground with bare knees. Whoops <3
His friend walked up to congratulate us, and the friend’s girlfriend (the creeper I saw earlier) emerged from the trees, where she was recording the whole thing. A random couple, who had seen the scene from afar, approached us tentatively and hoped there were good news. I held up my newly adorned hand and beamed.
And that’s a wrap! That was how it happened.
He said he’d been seriously thinking about proposing for a year and actually was planning it for several months, of which I was skeptical because he is pretty impulsive. But he swore that he consulted with someone at the jewelry store not long after we looked at rings online together.
I will say, though, even if he’s not impulsive, he IS impatient. Too impatient to wait until the wedding date is closer, because now I have to stay engaged at least until the ripe ol’ age of 26.
Anyway, I am so, SO pleased with the proposal and how he kept it a complete surprise. As documented above, I was the most clueless thing. I always thought that if he ever proposed, I would see it coming and I’d have to fake my reaction.
Still laughing at myself though for all of my clueless thoughts toward every suspicious thing leading up to the proposal, and even as it was happening.
So, now for the reason why I’m not supposed to talk about it yet.
Apparently Manny had never heard of asking for the girl’s parents’ blessings before proposing. So he asked me before he asked them.
Yeah. They’re not cool with it — but not for the reasons you might think.
One, Manny’s mom called my dad after the proposal and blabbed everything in the worst way possible because these adults all suck at communicating clearly. Basically, as soon as he picked up, she said, “yah my son got the ring and the engagement party will be on August 5th (that “dinner” she was mysteriously calling me about earlier).” Without any other information, naturally my dad went “wtf, no.”
Manny was suuuuper pissed and needed to do damage control later. We quickly devised a plan. We decided to return the ring to the ring box and pretend the proposal never happened and that my dad’s phone convo with his mom was a huge misunderstanding. Then, with me in a separate room, he would talk about his intent to propose to me and ask for my parents’ blessing.
He did all of that, the conversation with my parents lasting a good half an hour, and he reported the details to me after.
GOOD NEWS: He got the greenlight to propose! They even showed him wedding videos and took out their old wedding album to show him the customs of our ceremony. He said my mom was tearing up a little too.
BAD NEWS: It’s on one condition. I need to be employed first.
Without going into the long story of the silent strife between me and my parents, essentially they seriously think I am a little girl who can’t do anything. Yes, as someone who suffers from chronic depression, whose brain already tells her that she’s useless on a daily basis, thanks for that, parents.
So now I have a huge incentive to get a job. Not that I haven’t been looking. My options are severely limited by the fact that don’t have the proper clinical licensure AND I don’t have a car, so I don’t bother applying to places that I can’t get to by train/require going to clients’ homes. I once applied to one place without knowing the position provides home-based services and the interviewer was just like “…” when I told her I don’t have a car. All the other potential places of employment are just…
The best hospitals in the country (that are also Harvard-affiliated)!
Entry-level but needs 5 years of experience!
or, my favorite slap to the face,
Bachelor’s degrees only (no graduate degrees, please)!
I just want to wear that pretty sparkly ring.
I’ll get a job eventually. I haven’t considered it before during my job search, but I might apply to work at psychiatric institutions. The pay is low, the work is hard, but it’s very necessary experience that I should have gotten during a gap year before going for my master’s. I just gotta prepare for my parents giving me shit for the salary first. Although, I’ll just retort that they were ones who forced me into this master’s program in the first place when I wanted to get that lower-level work experience out of the way.
Also, apparently my parents must think I’m dumb as a rock because they keep talking about their conversation with him without trying very hard to keep me from eavesdropping. If Manny hadn’t already proposed, I would definitely know about his plans by now.
I know I’m shit at writing in this journal consistently — this post took two weeks to write! — but I’ll try to update more now that I’m out of school possibly forever and I don’t have academic writing to fatigue my writer’s brain anymore.
So yeah! How’s that extra long cutesy post to make up for my extended absence?
Until next time,