Together, We Rise


Over this past weekend I had the chance to live out a Disney fantasy. I traveled with my best friends up to the Mojave desert to the Rise Lantern Festival. For those who don’t know, it’s basically stepping into the movie Tangled. Thousands of people meet up, and we release floating lanterns with written notes and dedications, up into the sky. It is absolutely breathtaking, and the whole experience is so overwhelming that you can’t help but shed a tear.

This was the type of event I wish I could have had the opportunity to share with someone I was in love with. Everything about the evening was romantic. The atmosphere and night sky, the lanterns used to light our lights, the lanterns floating through the sky, and the vibe of unity felt with everyone there.

Someone I loved once told me, that feeling like you fit in with the world, is romantic. And until this night, I never truly felt that, and I never understood what he meant.

As I watched the lanterns fly and float around me, I kept thinking about everyone I have ever loved. I thought of Corbit, and how hurt I felt knowing he wasn’t choosing me. I thought about Mo, the first boy I ever loved. And I thought about someone I probably have never met yet, and how one day I would be spending my life with him in love. I kept thinking of romance, but I was ignoring the fact that I was here with my closest friends.

And then it hit me. I was there with the people I was meant to be with, and I shouldn’t feel pain for those who chose to no longer be a part of my life. I felt almost guilty dedicating my lantern to “love” when my best friends were dedicating their’s to something that bore more meaning. My best friend Kayla dedicated hers to her recently deceased grandma, and my best friend Dan dedicated his to his father who died many years ago. They were missing people who were actual icons of love, and I was missing stupid boys who didn’t choose or miss me.

Friendship, recently, has been my strongest and most loyal sense of love and romance. Kayla has been there for me for every break up, every happy moment, and every time I tried to take a new shot at love. She is my most loyal friend, and although she drives me nuts, she is a shining example of love.

Dan has become a very close friend very quickly. Although we started out thinking there could be some romance between us, I quickly learned that friendship was better than any of that.

It’s not bad to miss those we once loved, but often I think we forget to give love to those who truly deserve it. I am an awful friend sometimes, and I treat shitty boys with more respect and care than I have some of my closet friends. I don’t know why I do that, and it’s so stupid to give up those who truly care, for those who don’t. This is one thing I know I personally need to work on.

I focus on romance too much, but lately maybe God has been trying to tell me to focus on my friends and family. Because they were the ones there with me that night. They are the ones who picked my head back up when I cried. They are the ones who support me in all I do, whether good or bad. And they are the ones who have shown me love, when I didn’t even love myself enough to know what is best for me.

And that was how I finally understood romance. I felt like I finally fit in with the world, and my friends, helped me find my place in it.



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