Earlier this year, my girlfriend and I celebrated 3 years together. So I’m going to tell you the story of how I found the love of my life on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. [CW–Very brief mention of self-harm.]
Our story starts during my summer break between my first and second year of college, summer of 2014. But first, an honest character description for the 2014 versions of ourselves.
Jesse—Super nerd, kind of lost, says “rad” too much, cries all the time, shit eyebrows, wants to fit in somewhere, has 1 friend, 0 makeup skills, would rather be on Tumblr than anywhere else.
Jas – Extra mental, attached to everything she looks at, never happy, too many demons, also shit eyebrows, hippy hair, Tumblr queen, fandom nerd, still uses cheap windows laptops.
Prologue. The Tumblr Power Struggle.
I knew Jas long before she knew me. 2014-me spent 85% of my time on Tumblr, neck-deep into Orphan Black fandom culture, where I ran in the same cyber-circles with Jas. Back then, she was betchilds, and I was koalatygirl, a name that I still carry with me. Certain things became very visible after being in the same digital space for hours on the daily. Things like knowing which groups of popular bloggers formed a pyramid of hierarchal power in the OB fandom. And while I’d been building my follower count into the six hundreds, it was a measly gathering of bystanders compared to Jas’ 6,000+ count.
Along with Jas, I followed all the top-tier OB bloggers. If I could just get one of them to follow me back, it would boost my reputation and probably my follower count. These things had been oh-so-important then, and the majority of them weren’t nice people, in that forced-nice kind of way. The “I’m friends with everyone” but only friends with people as important as they are, kind of way. They often brushed off interactions from other bloggers, if they acknowledged them at all.
Only a few nice bloggers had spots in the top of that pyramid. Betchilds was one of them. She organized a cloneclub calendar, and tracked everyone in the fandom’s birthdays so long as they just messaged her and told her what it was. On their birthday, she wished them a good day. In April, I got my first message from her, but that wasn’t how we met.
I read her personal posts whenever they appeared on my dashboard. I learned about her in fragments. Struggles with mental illness of some kind. Depression? Identifies as bisexual. We’re the same! Has self-harmed before. I wonder if she’s okay. Always helping anonymous advice-seekers, especially those also struggling with mental health. British. Drinks lots of tea. Very gentle. Soft smile. Long hair. Beautiful. Just in the way all girls are beautiful, obviously. Yet, she became the only OB blogger I hoped would follow me back.
Sometime that summer it happened. Betchilds followed me back. As I sometimes did with high-power follow-backs, I screenshot the notification and posted it. This time, I tagged her in it, said something like “can’t believe this cutie followed me,” then embarrassed myself even further by tagging the post with “#you’re so rad #SO RAD” and to this very day, Jasmin STILL describes things as “SO RAD” and smirks at me while my eyes shoot daggers in her direction. However, this is also not how we met.