Written by Dinea C. Elliot-Collins
The moment Chanel looked at me and her lips spread into the widest, most beautiful smile I’d ever seen, I wanted to know her and lover her immediately. We became close friends that very day and spoke every day after that one.
We were both in college at Delaware State University, living in the same dorm, on the same floor and in the same wing.
Our First Date
Little did we know that when we went on our first date–dinner and a tour of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania to see their holiday display–that it was the beginning of an eight-year-love affair.
I requested she dress nicely and accompany me out for the evening. The holiday display is always so gorgeous and romantic.
After I Gained The Happy Weight
We fell in love with each other’s beauty, loyalty, humility, sensuality, patience, humor, fearlessness, and mystery. We know each other so intimately but are still intrigued by what’s left to learn about one another.
Chanel loved me for who I am, not who I was gonna be. I didn’t think she’d stick around cause ain’t no way she expected to be pushin’ this much cushion but, to my surprise our love only grew deeper. She still accepted me, repped me, respected me, complimented me, made love to me and uplifted me.
Even after I gained all this “happy weight” she still wanted to marry me! I would ask her, are you sure? What about fat jokes? Can you deal with people jeering at the love of your life constantly? How is 320 pounds of sexy not too much for you? You do know you’re a size 4 right?
I’ve since lost the weight, but Chanel taught me that when love is true love, it’s always unconditional and never superficial. It was such a beautiful and needed lesson. To anyone on a weight loss journey, you can do it, but be sure to do it for yourself.
The people that are really for you are going to stand behind you at any size.
Our Wedding Day
We made it official on May 13, 2009 and got married three years later. Marriage was imperative for us because we wanted our family to have equal rights and protection under the law and we aspire to raise children who have two parents in their home that are in love and supporting one another every day. We both come from divorced homes, we wanted to take a real whack at doing better than the examples set for us.
I married Chanel in a DSU sweatshirt! We went to the courthouse with only our two best friends and our two God babies in tow and got it done.
Four days later, we had a wedding dinner to celebrate with our families, but the most memorable part of the day that we exchanged vows was returning home from the courthouse to see Barack Obama on TV making history by affirming his support for marriage equality and the LGBT community. It was so moving, almost like our president was giving us his blessing personally.
Making Us Last
After eight years, we’ve had a bunch of challenges. Seems like the ones that were the most difficult involved other people. Certain members of both of our families made it difficult for us to stay in a state of bliss and caused us to question our compatibility.
There were plenty of harsh words and criticism from people we’d loved that had raised us our whole lives so it was definitely an uphill battle.
We made the mistake of letting it come between us initially but ultimately learned that the feelings of no one else, kin or otherwise could ever matter more than how we felt about each other. We got past those hardships by committing ourselves to always putting each other first.