I enjoyed the "Choose your own adventure" books as a kid. Me being me I would read all the possibilities. I began thinking of where I am now and how I got here. Which pivotal point in my past brought me to where I am today?
Aside from the fact that I was born and where my parents moved (I had no choice in the matter), the pivotal point that I can think of occurred in 8 th grade.
I was VERY introverted prior to going to college. Outside of school I spent a lot of time in front a computer alone. I was happy even though it sounds sad. Anyways in 8th grade I met a girl named Beth Dusesoi. She wasn't "popular" because she looked "different". She was very thin, pale and had some kind of physical issue with her eyes (slightly cross-eyed). She was nice and we got along great.
Through Beth Dusesoi I met Khristi Hinton and Katy Fernie. I didn't talk to them much though. In 9th grade Beth and I were really good friends and I talked to Katy and Khristi a little more. In 10th grade Katy became Editor in Chief of the Cypress Falls High School newspaper. The school was brand new and only started with 9th and 10th grade students. My dad had a really nice Canon SLR (Single Lens Reflex....AKA not a point and shoot) camera. Katy asked if I wanted to be a photographer...I agreed. I became the Chief Photographer of the paper and held that title throughout High School. Katy and I would grow to become best friends and my friendship with Beth became distant. Beth would later drop out of school.
We shared a room with the yearbook staff. A girl named Katrina Brown was the Chief Photographer and Emily Wallwin was the Editor in Chief. Katrina and I spent a good amount of time together as we were both covering similar events and were in charge of our publications pictures. She was one year behind me in 9th grade. I had known of Emily prior to joining the newspaper staff. She was in the same grade and went to the same schools I did since Junior High....I think even since Elementary.
My interest in Photography was just as high as my interest in computers. I had an awesome Newspaper teacher named Mrs. Nancy Easterling. She was a teacher and a mentor. She really helped me out during my high school years. I admired her so much I decided I wanted to be a Yearbook/Newspaper teacher as well.
As high school came to a close I applied to only one college, Texas Tech University. The reason being Katy was going there and she was my best friend. I got accepted. Emily applied and was accepted to Stephen F. Austin State University.
My first year in college was interesting. I had a great time. I majored in Photojournalism. My friendship with Katy waned. Emily and I started talking more (still don't remember how it started). After my first year I decided to leave Texas Tech and transfer to Stephen F. Austin (SFA). The summer prior Emily and I started dating.
Emily was a resident assistant at SFA. I applied to be one as well. I didn't know many people besides Emily. During training to be a resident assistant a very large guy named Larry Campbell talked to me about his Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu. I never thought I would be a "frat guy". I ended up pledging and joining his Fraternity.
Being in Fraternity really brought me out of my shell. I had an awesome pledge class. I still regularly talk to one of my pledge brothers today. I see most of my brothers once a year at a wedding or an event.
My relationship with Emily waned toward the end of the second semester. At the end of the relationship (the first time) there were police involved. We had a "discussion" in my dorm room. No need to go into details, but lets just stay she had to buy me some new stuff for my dorm room.
I went home that summer and hung out with Katrina. She would end up coming to SFA the following Fall. We hung out quite a bit. That fall I spent a lot of time at the Fraternity house. One night I met a woman fresh off the farm. She was 18 and it was her first time away from home. Her name was Stephanie Holcomb. We started dating and moved in together soon after.
Over the next 3 1/2 years we dated and had a great time. Stephanie didn't care for me having a woman best friend (Katrina). I made the mistake of letting her control who my friends were and ended my friendship with Katrina. Stephanie and I almost got married prior to being engaged. While in Las Vegas on vacation with my mom we wanted to get married. The only thing that stopped us was we didn't have enough money for the license and rings. We would later get engaged for real in early 2000.
I graduated in May 2000 with a BA in Photojournalism (with a double major in Sociology and most of the credits required to be a teacher). After college I moved to Houston into one of the houses my mom owned. The date was July 3, 2000. While driving to the house, Stephanie and I passed my mom who was driving the other direction. It was the last time I would see my mom alive, she died later that night.
Stephanie graduated in August (it took her just 3 years and one summer) and moved in with me. I had a very high paying job at Time Warner Cable in the high speed Internet department. We had both planned on working for my mom after college. Instead we had to get our own jobs. The relationship began going down hill. By the end of 2000 we were barely hanging on.
March 2001 was the end. Stephanie's mom never really liked me (I wasn't the "right' skin color). Throughout our relationship she hinted and pressured Stephanie to leave. In the middle of March her mom came down and moved her daughter back to the Dallas area. A month later I would end up getting a job in the Dallas area as well. My "plan" was to move up to the Dallas area and try to rebuild our relationship. It never worked.
I found Katrina was also in the Dallas area. We became friends again. One day I told her to find me a girlfriend (she had been in the Dallas area for about a year at the time). One day she kept calling me and asking these odd questions. Finally she called and told me she set up a Match.com ad for me. I didn't get the password right away; she was going to screen women for me.
Eventually I got the password. I emailed one woman a few times before meeting up for dinner. It was our first time meeting anyone online. She was nice....but not for me. After that meeting another woman contacted me. After a few emails we agreed to meet for dinner and then go out.
I remember sitting and waiting for her to arrive. From her photo she looked REALLY young. When she arrived I got worried. Here was this short, blonde lady wearing a pink t-shirt, tan shorts, sandals wearing her hair in a ponytail. She looked 15 years old. Not good.
While talking the topic of age came up. I asked again if she was really 23. She said yes. I asked to see her ID. She didn't have one. Her story was she just moved from California and the state took her California drivers license. She then lost the temporary paper license. Nice.
This woman of course is Kelli. This June will mark our 7th year together. The best I can trace back we only met due to me being friends with Beth Dusesoi. I have only seen Beth Dusesoi one time since high school. While at a club one summer I passed her on my way out. We talked for a few minutes and she gave me her phone number. I lost it by accident. No word or sighting since.
Of course there were thousands of choices I made between 8th grade and now that could have altered the course of my life. One big choose your own adventure. Unlike the books I used to read, I have no desire to go back and change anything I have done.