Earlier this week, I posted a photo of a little Twitter themed pen container and shared that I met my husband on Twitter. I received several comments – “What?” “How?” and decided that I’d write a blog about it. It’s my favorite story that I never tire of telling…
The year was 2009. I was a High School English Teacher. Married (to the man that would quickly become my ex-husband). I spent a lot of time on social media at the time. Twitter was super popular but was relatively new in my world. Lots of people that I knew and respected were on the platform. At the time my handle was @engteacher. One of my favorite people to follow was @rhymefest, who would play this game every day called the “Vs.” Game. He would ask a series of 4 – 5 questions and people would have to anwer the questions. He’d engage with everyone and retweet or share his favorite responses. For example, “would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf” “would you rather be blind or deaf.” I was also in grad school at the time, and enjoyed playing the game before my classes started. I also wondered about the brain behind the game. The questions were always so interesting and sparked great debate.
One night I was on Twitter, and @rhymefest started tweet-ranting:
“I’m tired of being owned by corporations.” He proceeded to talking about wanting to be free of debt and he wanted to do something. I agreed. He then invited those who wanted to do something about it to direct message him. I sent him my phone number. He called me during my lunch break the next day. We started putting a plan together. We would create an organization called “N.F.F.M” which stood for “New Found Freedom Movement.” We talked about building a community together. We wrote a mission statement. We started writing bi-laws. I started researching grants. We planned to put this community in Atlanta. Our conversations started out very innocent. We would get chunks of work done on our phone calls. At the time he was living in New York City with his girlfriend. I was unhappily married. Our 2 – 3 hour conversations would turn into 5 – 6 hour conversations. We were getting so much done.
Before you knew it, we started talking about more personal things. He told me about his children that were living in Chicago. He confided in me about his music career. I told him about my life as a teacher… and I started to complain about my marriage. He interrupted me… “I’m sorry but unless you’re going to actually do something about your situation, I don’t really want to hear about it.” I was shocked that he would say that, I felt a little anger. At this point we had been on the phone for about a month. After thinking about what he said, I realized that he was right. If I wasn’t happy, I did not have to stay. I was in control of my life. I had gotten married for the first time at 18 years old. I was way too young… I didn’t get married for the first time under the right circumstances… All of that swirled around my head. Little did he know, he was saving my life – as I was in an abusive marriage.
My then-husband and I weren’t on speaking terms. Things had been pretty weird for a year prior to my meeting Che. His mother and I didn’t get along. It was pretty much a mess and I had thrown myself into work (I had perfect attendance at the time, sponsored several clubs and did whatever I could to be out of the house). One day, my then husband asked me if I wanted to go to the movies. I said “no.” He then came back about 15 minutes later and asked if I wanted to go out to eat. I said “no.” He then left and came back 10 minutes later and asked if I still loved him. His way of dealing with things was to not deal with them… until that moment. I thought about what he asked me and I said, “I do love you, I’ll always love you but I’m not in love with you.” He then asked another few series of questions that I gave difficult but honest answers to. An hour later I found myself at Starbucks, speaking to my mom about what happened. I then decided that I needed to move out, and called my best friend Kristie who was there no questions asked, tennis shoes on, ponytail tied, earrings out, she was ready lol.
About two weeks later, Che came to visit Chicago in person for the first time. By this time we had been talking on the phone for 2 whole months. We were like teenagers. We would talk and text every free moment that we had, about NFFM, about our lives, about our hopes and dreams. We would often fall asleep on the phone and then wake up and speak before we started our day. The weekend Che came to visit for the first time, we went to see the Watchmen (which came out 3/6/09) during opening weekend. When I picked him up from Midway Airport and he came down the escalator, he gave me the biggest hug. He actually picked me up and spun me around. No one knew that was our first time being in the same space face-to-face. He smelled so good. After that first weekend Che went back to NYC. Shortly after that visit, I moved into my own apartment. Che came back to Chicago, and we moved in together. My friends thought I was crazy… until they saw us together. When I met his family, they all loved me, and before we knew it, in October of that year we started talking about marriage. I officially got divorced in the Summer of 2009 – I believe it was sometime in June or July. Che and I tied the knot on 2/24/10. We didn’t pick the date to be something special. We just went to the Courthouse. We later found out that our wedding anniversary was the exact date, five years earlier that he got divorced from his ex wife. Just thinking about that gave me goosebumps because it was a total coincidence.
We both were married to other people for 5 years. In Che’s case, he said he’d “never get married” after his ex-wife. My first marriage had also left a bad taste in my mouth about the institution of marriage, but we found ourselves saying “I Do” less than a year after we started officially dating. Here is what I do know:
(1) We found love when neither of us were actively looking for love.
(2) Our foundation was truly built on friendship. Because we were in two different cities, we didn’t have the distraction of sex and being physically together during those first few critical months of a relationship.
(3) Our failures at our previous relationships made it easier to navigate all challenges that came up. We were better communicators because we had both experienced what happens in a relationship when you don’t communicate and you allow resentment to build.
(4) The very thing that initially attracted us to each other was this desire to build. Our honeymoon was Che’s City Council Campaign. Donda’s House is a manifestation of our dreams. Our marriage is just the icing on the cake. We believe that our marriage was divinely ordained. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.
(5) When two people want each other, there is nothing or no one that can stop them from being together. We both took a huge risk, but ultimately we allowed our hearts to lead the way.
Next year we will celebrate our 8 year Wedding Anniversary and 9 years of being together. We’ve already started talking about what we want to do for our 10 year anniversary in 2020. If you have questions about dating online, or about our courtship please let me know. I’m happy to share whatever I can. Thanks for reading!
Writing has always been my way of processing things. Check out some of my posts about marriage:
What I Know About Marriage – Part 1: https://donnienicole.com/2010/04/22/what-i-know-about-marriage-part-1/
What I Know About Marriage – Part 2: https://donnienicole.com/2010/04/22/what-i-know-about-marriage-part-2/
What I Know About Marriage – Part 3: https://donnienicole.com/2010/04/22/what-i-know-about-marriage-part-3/
What I Know About Marriage – Part 4: https://donnienicole.com/2010/04/22/what-i-know-about-marriage-part-4/
You’re Unhappy? Now What: https://donnienicole.com/2014/05/07/youre-unhappy-now-what/
If you’d like to read more of my pieces on relationships, click here.