How We Met (Part One: HER)

Honestly ya’ll, it all started with instagram.

So before I go into the pretty words and describing how this all unfolded in all my enneagram four poetic and romantic tendencies, I want to start by saying that it started on instagram. An app that I have come to know and love but sometimes dislike, a space that I have invested in and been invested back into, gave me one of the sweetest gifts I could have asked for, John Corfee.


I tend to take note of everyone who follows me or at least try to. If you watch my stories then most likely I’ve gone to your page, commented on a photo or tried to engage back with you in someway. I don’t believe that our social spaces only hold numbers but people and stories that all so desperately want to be connected in someway. Over the summer, I noticed a certain name continuously pop up in my story views and so obviously I went to his page to find out more and noticed that he had “full time poet” written in his bio. After he commented on one of my posts about writing, I decided to shoot him a message. YUP you read that right, I slid into his DMS first. SAY WHAAAA?!

I think that the conversation of initiating and the conversation of pursuit gets miscommunicated all the time. Just because you spark a conversation or a peak of interest in someone does not automatically mean that you’re pursuing them or that they’re pursuing you. So honey if you want to slide, then go ahead and slide, Ruth laid at Boaz's feet— that's all I’m going to say about that for now.

I reached out to him to come perform poetry at my open mic and after expressing that he wasn’t really “into performing” but did want to find more spaces to connect artistically, I sent him a whole bunch of information on open mics and creative spaces in the area. After that, I genuinely thought the conversation was over but alas he continued to ask questions and kept it going and going. A week later, he invited me to a concert that I was already attending (I’ll let him talk more about that) and we first met at a house concert for a poet by the name of Levi (thanks for the first meeting feels Levi).

After seeing my friend and I enter, John sent me a DM telling me that he was already there and I looked up to find a man with a beanie waving at me. I confidently got up to go say hello and instantly was washed over by the most nervousness I have ever felt before. My confidence faded and before I could get past the couch in his direction, I turned around and did a loop in the kitchen trying to hide and take deep breaths to get myself to stop freaking out and keep my cool and then proceeded to sit back down in my seat pretending I didn’t see him. Smooth Arie, real smooth. Eventually (after some loving coaxing from my friend aka “Girl you’re crazy, go over there”) I made it over to him and in this small little house of strangers, I met a tall, blue eyed, tattooed human being in a pink shirt and instantly my heart melted.

Once I had a moment to turn away, I sent a text to my friend who had known of him before me saying, “Oh my gosh, he’s so much cuter in person.” she responded back with an, “Oh Lord...” and those were my sentiments exactly. I knew that this person was about to to shift something in my life and I couldn’t tell if I was ready for it or absolutely terrified, I think now it was definitely a mix of both. When we left the concert he messaged me on instagram and asked if I had made it home safely and if I had seen the moon, which I soon learned was something he deeply loved. I am more a sunset kind of girl but something about how fascinated he was with the moon made him seem different and I love different (spoken like a true enneagram four). Five months later and I have not looked at the moon the same.

A week after that, he told me that he was at a coffee shop working on homework before the open mic if I wanted to join him and obviously I did. During that first coffee, I noticed how easy it was to talk to him. I was still pretty freaking nervous, shaking, probably rambling too much at some points but for the most part there was such an ease in being there with him that startled me but also was so refreshing at the same time. We talked about music (which I found out was another deep love of his) and enneagram types, we talked about church and faith and all the unique places in which we find God. The hours flew by and then it was time for the open mic, which he not only attended but stayed the whole time and afterwards to help me clean and set the space back (which won him major points).  As he walked me to my car, he asked for my number and if I wanted to attend a Childish Gambino concert with him. There was something so old school about his approach that I appreciated and realized I was quite nostalgic for. I am obviously very much so a hopeless romantic and there were things that I have longed for in a significant other that I was starting to believe didn’t exist anymore but they did and they existed within John Corfee.

Flash forward… three weeks later.

Childish Gambino gets injured and his concert gets postponed to a later date. “Well, I guess a new adventure awaits us” John says to me after sending me a screenshot of the concert email. Instantly I’’m thinking, “what the heck does that even mean?!” and boy was I so NOT prepared for the adventure that would await us that next evening.

He picked me up from my house in Pasadena and the youngest of the four kids that I live with goes and hugs his legs like he has known him forever which just made me think, “oh yea, I’m definitely in trouble” ( the good kind). When I get to his car, he opens the door (what a dream) and there’s a note with my name on it and a single rose on the seat. I stared at it, completely stunned and again the talking to myself via thoughts occured and I wondered what Nicholas Sparks movie I had just walked into or if Ashton was going to pop out of somewhere because clearly I was being punked, there was no way this guy was real.

Y'all our first date lasted EIGHT HOURS and it was the most dreamiest eight hours of my life, I kid you not.

It was all things magical: picnic dinner at the park, conversations until we couldn't see each others faces just hear our voices, moon and star gazing at Griffith observatory, conversation after conversation and more conversation and reading books on park benches while listening to the echoes of a nearby concert. I found myself half way through the date getting fairly quiet and reserved because often times when I’m in new places or environments, I tend to be pretty introverted because that is my way of soaking up all the goodness of it and not missing any moments. I didn’t want to miss any part of that time with him, I was lost in it but also so afraid it was going to end too soon.

After those eight magical hours with a human being that I was pretty sure just walked out of a story book or maybe straight out of my twelve year old journal pages-- I found myself dazed and in awe with what just happened. Who is this guy?! Is he for real?! Is THIS for real?! He really likes ME?!

I kid you not, he was something that I dreamed of and prayed for. I was that girl who instead of having Chris Brown or Usher posters on my wall, had Jesse Mccartney, Ashton Kutcher and Zac Efron, and blue eyed boys were my JAM and here was this real life blue eyed man staring at me endearingly and I was truly- SHOOK.

“Here we go…”

this is the beginning of something

and I don’t know what but I know I hope it stays for awhile.

In spring of 2018, I attended an immersion with Lululemon which essentially is a yoga retreat where a lot of self reflection happens as well. I wrote about it here. At that retreat is where I learned to wrestle and attempt to break my tendency to not believe that when beautiful, intentional and glorious opportunities are part of my story that they are there specifically for me and not by accident. It is at that retreat where I had to allow myself to trust that when beautiful moments occurred in my life, it was because God had intentionally sewn them into my story as a gift and testament of his goodness. I did not know then that I wasn’t just being prepared for professional glorious opportunities, I was being prepared for glorious moments for my heart too.

To try and process just the first month of our meeting, the day after that first date I wrote this:

I have grown familiar with the feeling

of holding out my hands

with both the expectation and grief,

that I will pull them away empty

Of making a catastrophe in every moment,

that instead of shooting stars,

atomic bombs will end up falling in their place

So afraid that the solar eclipse automatically implies that there will be only darkness

and not notice that the light always comes first

I have this bad habit of believing that all good things that happen to me

are not actually for me

That somehow they dodged

the person they were meant for

And wound up in my lap by happenstance

I once attended a retreat where they asked us if the glass was half full or half empty

And I said both but it doesn’t matter anyway because it’s not my glass to begin with

I told them that even though glorious opportunities happen to me, they did not have my name on them

Someone else dropped them and I so happened to be the next one passing by to pick them up

She asked me, So what does that mean I need to learn to accept?

I said, “I guess it means I need to believe that I am deserving of glorious opportunities”

“I am deserving of glorious opportunities” she repeated “say that with me”

“I am deserving of glorious opportunities”

“Now say it with your hands out,

like you’re receiving”

I stood there with my hands open and tears falling down my face

See, I am strongly aware

of the fact that I am both human and flawed

that the mediocrity of my humanity

often shadows the still hint of sparkle in my dust

It often blocks the fact

that I am human, grace filled and swimming with purpose

That there is nothing happenstance

about my existence or the things that happen to me

That my story is weaved with intention

even when I think it is not

Lately, I want to expect more shooting stars than atomic bombs,

be in awe of the change that comes after

a solar eclipse and learn to sit in the darkness when it arrives

Take in the moment, wear it like the warmest blanket I’ve ever worn

And then find the light again

Because the light will always be there

I want to look at the glass and

know that no matter how much is inside of it—

it’s purpose is to hold things

So it doesn’t matter if it’s half full or half empty,

It’s doing what it was made to

I want to hold out my hands,

grasp the glorious parts of life

as if I were holding onto raindrops

Watch them bounce off my palms

and still find them marvelous

even if they disappear

Because even if they aren’t mine to hold forever

at one point, they were still mine and they were glorious

I wish I could tell you that the whole, “it's worth the wait” or “it’ll happen when you least expect” and all the other really annoying, cringe worthy things we are told were all wrong. I wish I could stand somewhere in the park yelling like a crazy person, “they were all WRONG!!! THIS is how to REALLY find someone to love you ….” but alas I can’t.  As much as it pains me to say, it IS worth the wait and I can’t tell you how long your wait will be and I can’t tell you what your wait should entail but I will tell you that at the end of this season of waiting and even amongst it, your love story is being written and it will be beautiful.

It is crazy to say but only five months in and this is by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever been part of. John makes all the sad songs and longing poems so worth writing and has so far given me new inspiration and perspective above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

I may not know the ending to this story but I hope it’s only the beginning.

Arielle Estoria