As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Elease and Ra's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
They say love comes unexpectedly...well that saying doesn't suffice when summarizing the love story of my fiancee Ra and I. 'Unexpectedly' doesn't even begin to describe the journey of our union. Here's a story of how I found everything I needed, in the most unexpected person.
Meeting An Unknown Lover
Ra and I met during a weekend trip to Atlanta. She came with our mutual friend, who is also my line sister, and a group of others as I was visiting Atlanta with my best friend and a few of her friends. One drunken night led to me arriving at their Airbnb, briefly meeting Ra, and eventually ending the night at the ever-famous Waffle House with friends. We each returned home with no further thoughts, other than a great time and plenty of laughs. We never thought romantically of each other at this time, so I resumed working and casually dating.
Ra went back to Nashville working and still entangled in a previous relationship.
At the time, she had been involved in same-sex relationships for the greater part of her adult life and I, on the other hand, had zero experiences. I grew up a preacher's kid and full Southern Baptist. No other explanation needed there, however, I had my own thoughts and feelings in regards to same-sex unions. I had tons of friends near and dear who identify as LGBTQ and I supported them in all ways.
A year passed and our friends planned an adventure-filled weekend in Nashville, including hiking to a waterfall and renting a boat for a day party. Unbeknownst to me, this was also Ra's birthday weekend. The most contact we had during the weekend was Ra, at my request, taking a picture of me near the Titan Stadium Bridge. It was at that point numbers were exchanged, with zero romantic notions. I was just a girl wanting a picture on the newest iPhone to post on her feed.
While in Nashville, Ra played a song that I loved but I could not pinpoint the title. Days later, I thought to text her to find out the title of this mystery song. "God is a Woman" by Ariana Grande turned out to be the title. From that text sparked a routine of daily conversations about music. After a few weeks, music conversations shifted to life in general.
Bonding over music unlocked in me the ability to see Ra for simply who she is; a soul. Her gender did not matter to me.
Even though this was foreign to me, the smile I got when her messages came in and the anticipation that grew to meet in person, it all overshadowed any doubt and fear on embarking on this journey of discovery with her. Eventually, I admitted to Ra that I enjoyed where this is going but I couldn't understand it. All of my previous relationships have all been heterosexual and had lasted years--what was happening? Ultimately, I quit caring, and we decided to begin dating exclusively.
Life In An Unfamiliar Territory
Our relationship was beautiful, we were inseparable. But unfortunately, we were also long-distance. I began to slow down how fast I was falling for her for my own protection.
A straight girl, out of the blue, dating a woman and being genuinely all in? This in itself was worth apprehension. She asked for time to sort things out and we did just that.
When the holidays arrived, we had our annual friend gathering for Christmas. After exchanging gifts and playing games, Ra got down on one knee, to the surprise of everyone, and asked me to be her girlfriend. She presented me with a promise ring and it was official. We continued long-distance, burning the highway up back and forth, until I decided to move to Nashville and move in with Ra.
And we've been together ever since.
Lessons And Blessings
Listen ladies, I have no coming out story to share. I've never been romantically attracted to women or have had an secret rendezvous, and growing up, I had witnessed a lot in the marriage of my parents and the breakdown of their relationship. But I didn't care. I was happy and welcomed people to share in my joy. I was fully transparent with no qualms. Some people may think, oh that's something you had to have considered or repressed, but it honestly was not.
I even remember having internal battles with myself in regards to my relationship with God. There was a minute where it felt like everything that could go wrong with my life, job and finances were going wrong. I questioned if this was due to my relationship with Ra.
Was I being punished?
But ultimately, it takes more than love. Love is a solid foundation but it cannot sustain a relationship alone.
Ra does not belong to me, she's simply chosen to share her life with me and I have chosen to share my life with her. We maintain our happiness by respecting what makes us unique with freedom to be open, honest and by genuinely enjoying each other's company.
We are not perfect nor do we try to portray ourselves to be but what we are is real. The acceptance of the public didn't matter.
Who cares what they think, you know? Who cares?
Two years and a dog later, here we are: engaged and in love. Has the journey been perfect? Absolutely not. But has it been worth it? 100 percent. Find someone who accepts that and is still willing to go on the journey with you. You won't always get it right but love, respect, and friendship will get you through it all. I cannot wait to see our journey continue to unfold. Give that girl a try sis, she may be everything you want and need.
The future Mrs. Dozier
Elease and Ra have a YouTube channel where you can keep up with their adventures. You may also follow them on Instagram at @icametoslay and @radigha.
Featured image courtesy of Elease and Ra