A Step Back In Time
To start this story, let’s go back 14 years when I just started college. I was a guy with a dream, a dream to become a famous musician. I was doing college with an education that focussed on the arts. From music to acting to painting. I was in a class with a lot of same minded people.
Pretty fast the school noticed that I was working hard to become a musician, having my guitar on my back every single day to be playing with class mates any time we could. So the school asked if I could do a three-day gig at their promotional gathering to find new students. I thought that would be fun so I said yes.
With my new-found drummer we practised some instrumental stuff and we decided we’d just wing it and see what would happen when we get there.
We heard that there would be 3 other acts performing around the same time as us and I don’t remember the 2 others, but one stood out so much.
It was a girl and a guy singing: “A whole new world” by Aladdin. As you might know by now, I’m a huge Disney fan, so I was intrigued!
I dragged my drummer to them went they went to perform and I told him: “I like her! We need to make music with her!” But to me there was more, her voice, I was captivated, I liked her.
Even though I was used to be in the center of attention because of my gigs, I was still a very shy guy. A real introvert who learned to be on stage. So talking to them was really terrifying to me, but I grew some balls and I told them how I loved their voices, how I loved their chemistry and how I wanted to make music with them!
I learned that her name was Anne, that she was from Amsterdam just like me and that she loved Disney and music aswell. I developed a very fast crush on this blonde girl with a voice like an angel.
From then on out we all became friends and we started making music at school.
Fast Forward 2 Years
We weren’t in the same class so we didn’t see each other that much, but we did stay in contact often and made music whenever we could.
I enrolled into a course at the university of music (the Dutch Julliard) a year earlier and this year they asked us if we knew some talent that could be in their new class while we went on to the next year of courses. I told them I could talk to some musician friends and I did. First I talked to a very talented guitarist I knew from another band and he was excited, but then I knew that Anne would be a great fit aswell! So I told her that she should enroll and just have fun with it!
I really wanted her to be in my class for that course, but that wasn’t possible unfortunately, but I would check in on them every time I could.
That same year we went on a camp with our school and we had to fill our bungalows with people we liked. So me and my drummer wanted to have a Rock n Roll party bungalow, so we wanted people who would fit there.
I opted for Anne to be with us and as if the heavens wanted us to be together, she didn’t have a bungalow yet!
We went on and got a lot of booze and on the first night we already got extremely drunk! It was a lot of fun to be drinking with my friends, and having the girl who I had a crush on for 2 years now was a good bonus!
My drummer and another friend were tired and went to bed leaving me on the couch with Anne. We drank some more and I became so drunk that my introvercy was amplified. I couldn’t speak anymore than yes and no and some nodding. But Anne had a waterfall of words to say and couldn’t help but speak the whole night trough.
While she was speaking I got in my head that I really wanted to kiss her. I recently told her that and she asked: “Why didn’t you do it, it would have been ok!”. I didn’t know that she liked me too, we never discussed any of that, I was too busy trying to be a rock star, but from the inside I was still an insecure boy who didn’t want to ruin a friendship.
We have a good laugh about it now, but back then I was so scared to ruin a good thing.
We both dropped out of college because the school was lying to us what we would achieve with our degree and how they forced us to complete two years into one.
But we didn’t lose any contact after that, we would see each other less, but with the magic of MSN (yes I am that old!) we would stay in contact.
We did grow apart a bit. I started working at a museum as an actor and she started working at an amusement park, two different worlds at the opposite side of the country.
My dream to become a famous musician went never away and I started a bad drinking habit and because of that become very isolated in my dream.
But we were always on each others mind.
We even hooked up once at new years day after we both got drunk and dared each other to hook up. Stuff happened, and not everything went well. We both became a bit embarrassed of what had happened and that’s where we really grew apart.
A year after that happened she found her new boyfriend, I started dating a couple of girls trough the museum that I worked at and even dated another girl named Anne. Funny enough while dating Anne number 2 I always had to think: “what if I dated original Anne?”. But being in two completely different worlds, I thought it would be impossible and I didn’t want to stand between her and happiness.
A couple of years later I discovered that she got married to the guy she was dating. I was really happy for her that she found love, but at the same time it felt like I missed the boat and she became my white whale. (The story of Moby-Dick) The one that got away.
Not much later I thought I had found my true love. An American girl called Julia. Sweetest little thing. Just got out of a breakup and she wanted me. I thought I felt true happiness for the first time. After a year of dating I would go with her to the US to meet her family and we were talking about getting married some day and moving to the US.
A week before I would fly to the US she told me she was back with her ex. I was completely devastated. My believe of true love was out of the window. I was a broken man, didn’t think I was made for love, and my drinking got a lot worse.
I don’t remember much from that time, only that I spend most of my time with my bands and in bars. I had reached rock bottom.
Like in most stories you first have to hit rock bottom before anything gets better. For me my rock bottom was a time period of 6 years. The darkest time in my life where I made a lot of bad decisions and became very depressed.
Anne and I didn’t have much contact during these years, maybe once a year a birthday message or just a: “hey! how are you doing” message.
She invited me to a Harry Potter themed party and it was a really cool idea, but I knew her husband would be there aswell. I couldn’t bear to learn that he could be this great guy that she loved so much that she married him. What if I liked him? What if my dream of her was crushed by meeting him?
I declined her invitation with an excuse that I couldn’t come.
Turning another page
Now let’s not make this a very depressing story, because in every story there is also a turn point where everything does get better.
I decided to stop drinking, stop being a musician and work on getting my life in a better place. It felt good to be sober, to see everything clear again.
Part of that life lesson that I was learning was being the person I wanted to be, I wanted to be the geek that I was. No judgement, no more lying about who I was.
Meeting In Person Again
We reconnected trough a game of Dungeons and Dragons that I invited her to and we got to talk a lot again. We talked so much that it seemed like we were catching up 10 years in just 2 weeks. It was so much fun to talk to each other again. But there was still half the country between us.
So one day she was in the neighbourhood and her best friend said that she should visit me and see me in person again and see what would happen. We decided to take a little stroll in the forest here to just walk and talk.
I noticed that she had changed a lot, the carefree Anne that I knew wasn’t in her anymore. A lot of stress and frustration came out of her. She wasn’t my Anniej at that moment, I got worried for her. That’s how she became my damsel in distress.
Helping a friend
I didn’t mean to interfere with her marriage at all, but I could she that she was unhappy with her life. She needed change, but she had a child with the man whom she married. It’s not an easy step to do, but I wanted to be there for her. Show her my world. A world of Disney again. A world of dreams!
She decided to take the biggest step in her life. Leaving her husband and divorcing him. Taking her child with her to her parents and live there. I was there for her every step of the way. Helping her in any way I could, she was my damsel.
We started dating right after that and I tried to show her the world trough my eyes, the romance that she had missed in her life, the music that she missed in her life. We started singing together, all the romantic Disney songs we could think of. We made a list of movies we both wanted to watch and made it our goal to see them all together.
She slowly became my beloved friend Anniej again, my beautiful Disney Princess that I’ve crushed on for 14 years. She is still the one that I met the day I heard her sing, still the one I got so drunk with that I couldn’t talk. We are still the same, yet we learned from life, we learned from our mistakes and now we learn from the mistakes we do together.
A Disney relationship isn’t without its ups and downs, you won’t have a walk in the park. But we’ve learned that from the stories and movies. Not everything will be given on a silver platter and you will have to work for it.
But in the end it is all worth it. the heartache, the love, the craziness and everything that comes with a relationship based on Disney storytelling.