How I Met My Husband

“We should drink tea together sometime. Like make a whole pot of tea and just sit around and drink it together. We could even have little tea cakes and sandwiches to go with the tea.”

“Are you trying to trick me into having a tea party with you?”

This is all you need to know about my relationship with my husband.

Tyler and I wrote this together in tandem for our wedding day. This is the Story of Us.

It began at a coffee shop on Green street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Little Amps Coffee Roasters is well-known in the city of Harrisburg for its superior coffee, but to me, it’s the place I fell in love. I had to work at a Christmas party that night for my internship. It was an Ugly Christmas Sweater party for the neighborhood, and my job was simply to help set up and mingle.

I just got back from the barbershop and I remembered that there was an ugly Christmas sweater party going on at the coffee shop across the street.  It was getting a little late but Matt and Ashley had just given me a trash bag full of Goodwill sweaters so I figured I’d throw one on and head over for a few minutes. I never had too much luck at those types of events, I’d usually show up, say hi to an acquaintance or two, get bored, and leave. That’s about how the sweater party was going and I was probably about to leave when I started talking to Brigette.

It was a wonderful evening filled with laughter, drinks, ugly Christmas sweaters, and games. I took a break to eat, standing at the counter with my sandwich. Then a boy appeared beside me and I said hello. I swear our conversation froze time, because the next thing I knew, my boss was politely interrupting us because she needed me to help her clean up.

I can’t remember who started talking to who, but I remember feeling a connection as soon as we got talking. She complimented me on my sweater, I started rambling about comics. I couldn’t believe she was still listening to me as I rambled on about whatever I was reading at the time and then she told me she was writing a book of her own. We were talking for over half an hour or so when I realized I didn’t get her name so I told her a story with my name in it, and she did the same. I was having a wonderful time talking to her.

I got home that night and laid on my roommates’ floor, telling them about this charming boy I had just met. I told them that I really hoped I would run into him again.

Eventually she had to get back to work since it was her employer throwing the party. I remember stepping outside and feeling like something big just happened to me. There was no way I could keep this to myself, I had to talk to someone so I called Ben to tell him about Brigette and figured out that I had to cancel all the lame Okcupid dates, any and all prior engagements and get this girl out on a date as soon as possible. I hung up and called my Mom and had the same exact conversation, and then I called someone else right after.

That was Thursday, December 19, 2013, and we had our first date at a nice restaurant the following Monday. She’s had my heart ever since!

 It was only a few days later that he asked me to dinner. We met at Home 231 on North street and talked for hours over dinner. One date became two, and two became four, until January 17th, 2014 when he asked me to be his girlfriend. Three and a half years later he asked me to be his wife. And today, before all of our closest friends and family, we say I Do.

A Letter to My Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

You have no idea what your friendship has meant to me. I remember how we met in 5th grade when you let me borrow your orange lead pencil with the white gripper. I remember how we’d play with that water wiggler toy and make dirty jokes with it. Do you remember our paper clothes business we started during indoor recess? Or sitting down reciting Linkin Park lyrics to each other, wishing we could see them live in concert? The Clarks were our first concert we saw together when we turned 16.

I remember how smart you were in school and how you taught me the parts of a cell by turning it into a mini school. If I remember correctly, the mitochondria were the janitors. That’s all I remember. We always teased you for being in the gifted program because you got to go to a special class and play fun games while we had to stay in our normal, boring class.

Do you remember when we made those funny videos together? One video was of you eating a block of cheese and of me dancing on stage with a Christmas tree, singing “Oh Christmas Tree.” We imagined and created together. I remember our summers at band camp and marching at the football games. I think my favorite time with you was always when we’d goof off in the back of the band room during rehearsals. And I can’t forget how much fun we had every morning working the music and cameras for the morning announcements.

Our bond was so strong that it probably was a little unhealthy, but I don’t know how I would’ve survived school without you. You helped shape the person I am today. We spent some time growing apart, but we always found each other in the end. Now you’re an incredible mom of 3 and married to the man of your dreams. I don’t visit as often as I should, but I know that we’ll be best friends forever just like we said we’d be back in 5th grade.

 I’ll never forget the “invisible circle” or singing Sweeney Todd at the top of our lungs, watching Spongebob and quoting it to each other, and walking around your town making weird and random videos on your parents’ camcorder. You showed me that it’s impossible to not smile when riding on a quad, and that hate has no place in our society.

Here’s to the mini screenplays we wrote, the conversations we had in AOL chat rooms (pretending to be other people), the secret code we wrote in our notes so other people couldn’t read them, and the squeak of a janitor’s cart in a deadly silent library.

A Letter to an Addict

Dear Addict,

I miss the person you used to be. I remember the moment I realized that you were gone. You stood there talking to me, but I could tell it wasn’t you. It was like a foggy version of you. I cried that day, mom and dad not understanding why. But I knew you were gone. That was 12 years ago, a lifetime ago. Where did my brother go?

I haven’t seen you in over 8 years. To be honest, I’ve lost count of the exact time. I think about you every so often and wonder where you are and what you’re doing. I hope you are okay. I hope you are healthy.  It’s been so long since we’ve spoken, you are a stranger to me now. I don’t know anything about you anymore. I wonder why I haven’t heard from you in over a year. I hope I hear from you.  I hope you come back to me.

You died today. They gave me the news when I came home from work. This can’t be real. I feel as though I’ve mourned the loss of you those 12 years ago, but now I’ve lost my hope. It’s died along with you. I wish you could’ve made it to your 30th birthday. I wish you would’ve come home to me. I wish I could’ve said goodbye.

I’ve been with you since the day you were born. I’ve grown up with you; Climbed trees and hills with you, “ice-skated” on the kitchen floor with you, played karaoke in our rooms together where you, me, and our stuffed animals would judge our singing abilities. I remember the imaginary towns we’d create with our matchbox cars and plastic mats, the battles we’d engage in with our army men, and watching Little Bear and The Busy World of Richard Scary as we ate lunch on our ABC plastic placemats on the living room floor.

We were so creative together. We’d play “garbage man” to get you to clean your room, take on our spy personas “Airlo and Jdog” to take down imaginary crime, play “garage sale” in our rooms, where neither of us made any money because we’d spend the same amount on each other’s stuff.

I know you weren’t strong enough to fight your addiction. I know some of the demons you carried, because I carry them as well. I wish I could’ve fought with you. Been with you. But I promise I will never forget the person you were before he started chipping away. He is the innocent one. He is the one who was funny, brave, and full of love. I love you so much, and I’ll keep these memories with me forever. You are my brother always, and I know I’ll see you again someday in Heaven.

Signed Book Bundles

I am happy to announce that my signed book bundles are now up for sale on Etsy! My original plan was to sell them at a handmade market, but I think for now online sale is best. We’ll see how things go with the virus, but I hope to eventually sell them in person in the community where I live.

These book bundles includes a signed copy of Bellow, plus a handmade dream/art journal and 3 fun buttons! I created these to fully immerse you into Tori’s journey throughout the book. Each piece ties into the story, leaving you with tangible reminders to inspire you on your own life journey.

These make great gifts for the YA book lover in your life. Each handmade journal was inspired by the book and will help you get creative. Visit my Etsy shop to get your very own bundle now!

Here’s the link to my shop, Pretty Obsessed.

Artist Spotlight

I am excited to introduce you to the artist who designed the cover of Bellow, Kayla Bryer. I’m so grateful for all of the work she did for me, including the formatting of the inside of the book. I love how her cover reveals little clues to the book’s message. I think it’s super fun and I love the art style. Let’s meet her.

Hey there, my name is Kayla Bryer, a friend of Brigette Harris and a professional graphic designer and illustrator. I’ve been a creative my entire life and I discovered my passion for graphic design when I began studying communication design in college and have loved it since. I’ve been specializing in package design full time for the last several years and do freelance work in my free time that includes branding, illustration, package design, and more. You can find some of my award-winning work in publications like GDUSA and see some of my personal work featured in beloved local businesses like Tröegs Brewing Company.

I’m currently living in the Lancaster City area and have been here for several years as I adore it so much and the great community. A mother of far too many plants (that includes a giant monstera) and two usually sweet chinchillas, I’m also an avid craft beer lover and textile artist. I enjoy practicing embroidery and other fabric arts in my spare time in addition to drawing for fun on my iPad or sketchbook. I also enjoy being outdoors and am a recreational runner. On any given day there’s a good chance my outfit is mostly corduroy or coverall of some sort.

I typically share most all of my creative work on my Instagram account @among.the.wild.flowers and have current professional work on my website www.kaylabryer.com if you’d like to give me a follow or check out some of my work