How we went from “FriendZone to Forever”

The Grad Party 

IMG_4301.jpgYep. This tweet actually happened 😂. This was 4 days before I would actually call in “sick” to attend Monica’s (my now wife) college graduation party. Here’s the catch, we both had no idea what that graduation party would mean for us & how it would change our lives forever.
I had known Monica for quite some time. We went to middle and high school together. I even went to pick her up at 1 A.M. about 2 years prior, because she called me stranded at a Chicago train station. I’ve always asked those close to her to “put in the word” for me because in my eyes she was always so damn beautiful, inside and out. Although I had a “thing” for her, she’s always been a wonderful friend. When I got the invite to her party, there was no doubt in my mind that I would go.  Not only to support and congratulate her for the amazing accomplishment, I honestly just wanted to see her!

June 9, 2012.  My plan was to simply go to her party (who the hell doesn’t want free BBQ), then hang with my friends for the night. I called my manager, gave him the best hookie speech of all time, and went to Monica’s house for the party.  Once it ended, a group of 4-5 of us decided we would head downtown for a night out. Bars close, and we stop back at my apartment, which was in walking distance. Exhausted (and drunk), Monica & I somehow fell asleep on my couch.  I remember dropping her off at home the next morning (didn’t even have a car, I stole my friend’s he literally bought the day before) and coming back to tell my friends “I want her bad”. Since then, Monica and I have either seen or spoken to each other every single day, in one way or another. But, it’s not how you think 🤦🏾‍♂️.

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June 9, 2012

She actually FriendZoned me for the next 6 months.  We spent an unhealthy amount of time together. We went to see movies, dinners, lunch dates, I met some of her family, but I was still just “her friend”.  We had conversations about dating, but for me I wasn’t where I wanted to be at this point in my life, and vice versa.  We both had personal things going on, I had recently survived a failed move attempt to Atlanta and as I mentioned previously I didn’t even have a car. Actually, I borrowed my mom’s car so much, Monica thought it was mine! I knew I wanted to be with her, I knew we were compatible, but she had me so deep into the FriendZone I almost gave up. And that’s when the story get’s juicy..

Thanksgiving 2012 

November 22, 2012.  This is literally the most awkward way two people could start dating. No joke. It’s Thanksgiving Day, 2012.  We had been hanging out for about 6 months now, but still hadn’t made the move to something deeper. She invited me to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner… as “her friend”.  No issues, right? I’ve done it this long, why not? Besides, free food again? I AM THERE. I walk in, greet her and her sister and say hello to her mom whom I’ve already known. Then, Monica introduces me to the rest of the family.

– “Hey everyone, this is my boyfriend Jermell.”

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Nov. 22 2012. Thanksgiving Day

I’m pretty sure my face was exactly what people envision when they use the term “deer in the headlights”. Honestly, I wish I could have seen my own damn face! I remember locking eyes with her mom who was literally looking dead at me. It was so awkward, because I had to smile and pretend like I knew that was coming.  To make EVERYTHING more awkward, her grandmother (whom I now love dearly by the way) had real tears rolling down her face.  And I don’t mean she shed a “thug tear” of joy, she was damn near sobbing. It was the most terrifying experience in my life. I vividly recall her mom asking me “That happened just now, didn’t it?” Yep. It sure did. Although it was beyond awkward, it was what I wanted and I knew we were in it for the long run. Of course, 5 years later, we tied the knot.

Welcome to Love & Luggage Tags

I tell this story to people for many reasons. One, to show people that love is both patient & persistent. I’ve been knowing my wife since the 6th grade. If we were to walk into McKinley Middle School in Racine, Wisconsin right now, I could still point her locker out. I never thought in a million years that her and I would not only date, but end up so happy, married, and in love. There’s no timetable, there’s no formula, or hidden secrets, and true love will always be tested along the way. Society has a way of rushing through life. You have to graduate from college, get a job, get married, and have a baby all in the same damn year. False. Be patient, be persistent and the rest will fall into place. Whenever my wife and I fall into a mindset where we are impatient with our goals and visions we always remind each other to “run our own race”.   Secondly, I share this so people understand to keep an open-mind about love and dating. Often times, people will start an endless search for true love; meanwhile, their soulmate is someone who has been around and that you least expect. Also, be aware that you do not always have to have it “together” in order to date someone else. I too, made this mistake early on. Of course, you need to know yourself and what values you are looking for; however, this myth of being successful and having it all “together” is bullshit. The day Monica and I started dating, I noticed she elevated me. I instantly became much more mature, honest, inspired and responsible. She held me accountable more than anyone ever has and that was a major indication that we were meant to be. I knew I needed her in order to have it all “together”. She completed me in ways I didn’t even know I was broken.

cropped-the_stills_july_2017_15672.jpgLastly, I share our story so everyone can get a small sample for who we really are. This picture is 100% us. Crazy, genuine, goofy, but extremely spontaneous and HILARIOUS. People boast about the single life being so much “fun”, but these last 5 years have been the most fun I’ve ever had. As you follow our NoStandSTILLS journey, I want people to understand our personality. Our blog isn’t to brag or boast on our relationship. It’s to share our story on how we were able to grow together and how our challenges brought us closer together.  Finding love in the social media and “savage” era is difficult. We wanted to develop a platform to be an example of what love looks like and share our experiences to create a balance and develop optimism amongst our peers. Our “Love & Luggage Tags” blog will do just that. We will be shedding light on love, recapping our travels, providing relationship tips & MUCH more.

So, stay tuned! There is a lot in store and a lot to share. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @nostandstills!

– JLS

7 comments

  • Beautiful nephew 3-liter getting soft (old age) Many biessings to you both

  • I really enjoyed this, Jermell! Thank you for sharing yours and Mo’s (Monica) story with us. I look forward to reading more! I too am always waiting to see what you two are up to next! I’m never disappointed! You two keep doing YOU! Following the mold can be boring at times and you two have never seemed to fit boring very well!
    I’m glad you went back to your passion of writing. Now we get to benefit from your renewed excitement. Love you both!
    Tia Elida❤️

  • Wow son you always find a way to reaffirm what I’ve known from day 1, my daughter has definitely been blessed with her forever soulmate!!!
    You too always keep me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what your up to next, continue to do great things!!
    I’m 1 of your many #1 Fans

  • Absolutely beautiful….made me tear up because you two are truly made for each other….and to read how it all started is so sweet. Love you both!

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