For the Love of LOVE

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^^ In honor of the official wedding pictures coming out in a month, here is a photo of me hugging Marnie the dog. ^^

During my last trip home, I had the honor of watching one of my favorite college friends tie the knot with her boo bear (Is that what hip people are calling life partners?). It was absolutely perfect; small, intimate, with each invited guest playing a special role in the big day. We danced, ate cake, reminisced, and basked in the fact that one of the most selfless, deserving people had married someone who knew how truly special she was.

And I loved every cheesy, personal, adorable minute of it. What can I say? I love Love.

Seriously, I was the girl in the back row with tears streaming down her face as my friend walked down the aisle — or more aptly did her sassy Tiffanie glide. She was perfect, vans peeking out from under her dress, making vows to save her husband the last chip in every bag and love him forever. I first met Tiff while teaching sexual assault prevention at UC Irvine. She was the coordinator who saw something in me; I was the girl in awe of her passion and determination to revamp how institutions addressed sexual violence. For two years, lucky enough to be in the same city, we took on the bars of Newport, celebrated birthdays, and hosted workshops around campus. It was easy to fall for Tiffanie, her mischievous adventures, and contagious giggle — and five years later, I still feel lucky enough to have her as a dear penguin friend.

Directly after college, the Army snatched up Tiff to run their sexual assault response programs, training every rank on how to respond to sexual violence and creating programs on how to train allies. In total, she’s a complete badass.

Going in to the big day, I was shocked to realize this was my first friend-my-age wedding. Having this wedding invitation find me all the way in Brooklyn, I felt single. Like transparently single with a twin bed and more writing deadlines than dates in the last month. But sitting in those plastic chair waiting for Tiff to make her grand entrance, I realized how lucky I was to be a witness to Love — the kind with a capital L that moves across the country to support their partners through sickness, health, and the inevitable bad hangover. That is the kind of love worth waiting for and reminded me that gratitude was a much better plus one than anxiety.

To Tiffanie, the most beautiful bride, thank you for always inspiring me. Years later, you’re still the girl who I end every description of you saying, “Damn, I get to be that girl’s friend!”

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