Today we’ve been married for four years. It doesn’t seem real! I’ve loved John for 2818 days and been his wife now for 1461. It seems like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye! At the same time, so much has happened since our wedding day…I left my full time job to run this business full time, we survived a flood, John started photographing with me, I broke my first bone, ran a marathon, and went to Las Vegas three times. With each day that passes, it gets harder and harder to remember ever not being John’s wife. It seems like that’s who I was always meant to be. Even saying my maiden name out loud seems so weird now and I think I know why.
Photo by Jodi Miller Photography
For a lot of my life I found it really hard to accept love and especially to love myself. But being with John has changed me in a lot of ways. I feel like I’m braver because of him. More outgoing. More kind. And of course, much more knowledgeable about exercise. John is the first person who met me, actually got to know me as a person and still chose to give me unconditional love in a way that I still feel like I don’t deserve. The pure, honest way in which he loves me inspires me every day. I can’t always see in myself what he sees in me, but I try very hard to live up to it and to make him proud of me.
I think I was always meant to be Katie Nesbitt. It’s been as Katie Nesbitt that I finally grew to love myself even just a little bit. It was as Katie Nesbitt that I learned to swim, started running, and jumped into doing whatever my heart led me to do. They say that your twenties are for growing and changing as a person. So much of it is like puberty, except for your mind. I believe that!
I didn’t live a lot or have a lot of life experiences before I met John at 19. But John has always given me the space to grow, to explore, and to be whatever I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do and has never asked for anything in return. That’s unconditional love to me. People asked me when I went to Italy with my friend earlier this year “Isn’t John mad you are going without him?” John could never be angry with me for experiencing something I’ve wanted my whole life. He doesn’t get upset if an incredible opportunity like that comes my way, he’s happy for me. He supports whatever crazy thing I want to do (including traveling to a foreign country with a friend I didn’t know super well, leaving my day job to pursue something where I wasn’t yet making money, keeping this fat orange cat who came to our door with dirty paws, etc) and never doubts me the way I doubt myself. It’s been in him loving me so freely and without reservations that I finally came to understand what love really is so that I could give that back to myself and in turn, to others.
When we were first married, I wasn’t sure if I would change my name or not. I’ve been a feminist since I knew what the word meant, and couldn’t decide if I really wanted to or not. I eventually decided to change it, which obviously you already knew, since you’re here on this blog. But I made my decision based on John asking me to do so. I know that REALLY doesn’t sound very feminist at all, but he said to me, “I’m the only one in my family that is a Nesbitt and I don’t want to be the only one anymore”. Being someone who relates to feeling alone, I couldn’t say no to that. Who could? How heartless would that be? I look back and I’m glad I took John’s last name. I look at it as a privilege and an honor that he chose me to have it. He is the best person I know…he’s the kindest, most generous, hard working, person I’ve ever met. He’s also frustratingly good at pretty much everything. It’s an honor to share a last name with him. Looking back, I also can’t say that I ever felt more like ME as “Katie Hill”. It wasn’t until I became Katie Nesbitt that I really started to find my true self.
So on our fourth anniversary, it’s John I want to thank. For being by my side, for sharing his name, his friendship, love, and support, and for always believing in me, even when I don’t know how to.