Nearly a year ago, everyone wore their cowboy boots and danced to Ocean Front Property. It was my cousin’s birthday and we were out to celebrate; as usual, everyone introduces themselves and their friends. When Alex introduced his friends and Lily, Neto asked, “Is that his girlfriend?” Little did anyone know, but he ended the night with her number. He wanted to reassure she would get home safe, so he asked her to text him when she got home. The next day, what appeared like a concerned citizen, turned out to be a boy wanting to get to know this amazing girl he fell for the night before.
Natalie and Eric met in Politics class, while he slept through the class, and she listened attentively to her worst subject. To make up for the lack of interest in that subject, she put together a study group. Well, it turns out that everyone to attend the study group cancelled, except Eric. Next time around, Eric approached Natalie to inquire about the next study group, unfortunately, she had not read the material and did not want to hold him back. Eric, on the other hand, didn’t even own the book! After two months and a plethora of study groups, Eric finally had it in him to ask Natalie for a date to the Poetry Lounge.
And here we are. With the help of some great friends, we put together this amazing group of people who put their hearts into this shoot.
Many, many thanks to this talented group of people who made this shoot possible.
Venue: The Gallery
Styling: Carolyn Mills of Sweet Tea and Linen
Floral Design: Holly of A Different Bloom
Paper Design: Yvonne Lopez
Hair and Makeup: Marlyn Carrillo
Nails: Colour Nail Bar
Dress and Accessories: The Princess Bridal
Models (and in love): Eric Belt and Natalie Zuniga
At this moment in our relationship, there was nothing more I wanted than to go to school. I studied hard for everything and anything that the world wanted to throw at me. I wanted to go to school that would cost me approximately ten thousand dollars a year and a two hour drive a day, I wanted a house that would cost me five thousand dollars in a down payment and any additional monthly cost, therefore I needed a better position and more summer jobs.
Neto watched me daily dive into my college books and my pharmacy books. He would yell out brand drug names to me. Sometimes I yelled back generic names and sometimes I cried. My schedule just got harder and harder and booking alone time with me became impossible with piles of books, flashcards, and two jobs.
In the summers, “our” schedules looked like this:
4:00 am Wake up
5:00 am Be at work
1:00 pm Off of work
2:00 pm At other job
10:30 pm Off of work
11:00 pm study, eat dinner
1:00 am bedtime
Through the anguish, the tears, and the rage, he encouraged me. I questioned my hard work. I questioned why others get life handed to them. I questioned why me. He encouraged me and took the negative attitude and turned it into love.
I became the most out of date twenty two year old. I wanted to stay up late but not with my books.
I sacrificed everything for what I wanted. At some point in time, I had to take responsibility for my own destiny. My point came earlier than most.
For every moment he walked away, I picked up a book. For any moment he encouraged fun, I declined. For every moment he brought me lunch, made me late night dinners, and gave me encouraging kisses, I later embraced and thank him for being apart of my dreams.
It all starts with the best friend approval, but let’s back up a little further. I use to work late nights at Walgreens and normally get off at midnight. One night, while I was still at work, I received a text, “Can I stop by and see you?” I was wearing my favorite, pink, button up shirt. That night, we stayed up talking and he had to go to work the next day. He drove me home the next morning, and I vividly remember that one moment in the car at a green light; he wore a yellow, polo shirt and turned to me and smiled.
Yesterday, I began to question, “what is my purpose?” My daily task are mundane. I wake up, I work out, research how to be a better photographer, practice shooting, I come to the office, answer phones, go home, make dinner, clean my house, take Frank for a walk, watch an hour of television until someone gets home, shower, read a book, and go to bed. My day is very simple and to the point. I use to complain about how busy I was, but once you get rid of all the insignificant things in your life, life does become less stressful and less busy. This is what I have been fighting for, simplicity. Then, I began comparing myself to others. Once I start doing that, it makes me ungrateful for what I have, but I am not going to let someone else determine my happiness. God has a purpose for everyone, and my purpose is far different than what people think my life should be.
I took Frankie on a walk today. On our walk, I had time to reflect upon my life. About a week ago, I thought, I am going in so many directions; I have to choose one. At first, I thought I had to go on a mission trip, help people, and explore the world with my camera, but there is so much work to do in my own community, so I decided to start here. Right now, I am in a good spot; I have a loving man, my best friend is minutes away, great friends, and my family. I just have to focus on my dreams and stop listening to the people who are not in it for me.
There is no amount of monetary value that could buy my happiness or make me trade in my dreams. I am fighting against all the odds, the toxic people, the nay sayers, the non-believers, and the dream crushers.
To longer walks and exploring our dreams.