“Part of me thinks I’ve always known I was bisexual. I had suspicions from super early on. When I would think about sex, I wouldn’t exclusively think about men 一 but I also didn’t realize that meant I would date women. But, when I was 19, the only lesbian I knew at the time asked me on a date, and I was OUT of the closet 一 fast. From that point on, I started dating women. However, when that relationship ended, I didn’t date another woman seriously until Sumaya, four years later. It’s strange: even though I knew full-well that my sexuality wasn’t a phase, I still just assumed I would end up with a man. Little did I know, the love of my life was just waiting for me where I least expected her to be.
Sumaya and I don’t make a ton of first-impression sense together, or at least we didn’t. We weren’t even really friends; we only had one overlapping class in all our time at school. She’s always been super reserved, while I’m forward and immediately want to open up and connect. We actually originally met during the first weekend of school, heading to a Moon Festival in Seattle’s International District. The first thing I said to her was, ‘I like you!’ #embarrassing! That was the last time we spoke for years, until our only class together: Contact Improvisation.
The class relied heavily on physical touch, partnering, and completely trusting another person to support you while dancing. Easy for her, since she was a Dance major. But, as a Theatre major, this was not my forte. One time, we were partnered for an exercise where I had to keep my eyes closed while she moved her body with mine. I actively thought, ‘This feels pretty gay…’ But class ended and we moved on with our day, no second thought. At least until Sumaya asked me to be a part of a dance project she was working on, since she needed a non-dance major. We spent a couple weeks rehearsing one on one.
The moment we got into a rehearsal together, sparks were flying. I remember the first time she touched me, to make a small correction. I felt literal electricity flying through my body (and she says she felt it, too). We both reference that moment a lot now. Absolute confirmation: something was happening. Another huge sign this was something more than friendship was when she put on music for the dance. The first song that came on was one we both completely love: ‘Threnody’ by Goldmund. The song is completely magical, and I had never met anyone who knew the song before 一 and yet, here she was, playing it for us.
After rehearsal, I ran to my best friend’s dorm, a complete mess of ‘wtf-just-happened?!’ I had been attracted to women, but I had never been gushy over one. This was the first time I actually said, ‘Oh my God… I think I have a crush on SUMAYA!’
During the rehearsal process, I had to play it cool. I care a lot about artistic boundaries and keeping things professional, so I didn’t want to mess up her class project by asking her out during the creative process. Still, we kept talking and getting to know each other better. Every time we talked, it was like we’d known each other for a long time, even though we’d just met. We shared so much in common: both transfer students who’d been miserable at our former schools, both passionate about politics and standing up for our beliefs. Even our comedic taste was strangely similar! We’d text outside of class, and even make excuses to hang out with mutual friends just to see each other.
When our project ended, I was freaking terrified: I had to ask her out, but I’d literally never done that before. Not with a woman. I had a friend of mine do some recon to help me find out if she was even interested. She had gone on a date with someone else, so I had kind of surrendered to the fact we weren’t going to happen. But my friend was adamant that she was interested in me, so I did it. I took the leap, swallowed the fear, and asked her out on a date. To a place three hours away, because my brain broke. But she said YES, and I was beaming.
Our first date was total magic; still something we gush about regularly. We spent hours getting ice cream, walking through the park, going to a bookstore, giggling and talking about everything under the sun. After that, it was like everything fell into place. Sumaya asked me to be her girlfriend about 6 weeks into dating, when we went on a winter-themed, ice-skating date. We said ‘I love you’ to each other just one month after when Sumaya came to visit my family in Southern California. Since then, we’ve graduated college, moved in together, moved across the country, and even adopted a little kitty.
It’s wild to think how much has happened since we first moved in together. We’ve worked really hard to cultivate a feeling of home within each other. I think the biggest shift happened to us in June 2019. My dad went into a sudden coma the day after my birthday, and then died 10 days later. Sumaya was in the room with all of us, as my dad passed away before our eyes. It was, and continues to be, beyond devastating. Through this experience, we have had to face the reality of how grief manifests in a relationship. My parents were also true soulmates, and being across the country from my mom during this experience has been incredibly painful for me. Sumaya had to support me in completely new ways, and it changed our relationship. How could it not? But I think we’d both agree that it hasn’t pulled us further, but instead brought us closer. We each go to therapy, openly communicate about our needs, and actively work to hold the weight with each other when we can.
Honestly, I knew from the moment we had our first date that Sumaya and I were truly twin flames. Even though I’ve always been a believer in the magic of the Universe, I’d honestly given up on finding my soulmate. I had committed to the idea that I would have a lifetime of temporary loves, but never a permanent person, until I met Sumaya. I have always thought she was miles out of my league 一 the most perfect person alive.
The way we make our relationship sustainable and stronger over time is by committing to growing together. We like to say that we’ll never be stuck in one place, but rather we want to be changing and growing and leveling up every moment. Our passion and dedication to that growth mindset has really shaped our relationship. We have monthly money dates, manifestation chats, etc. We love to dream alongside each other, building our perfect life everyday. Throughout the course of our relationship, we’ve always joked that things just seem to fall into place when we’re with each other. Just another reminder that we’re exactly where we’re meant to be.
We’ve really only received hate a handful of times, and only once or twice in person. Typically, it’s framed from a ‘we want to save you’ perspective, which is always incredibly condescending. Recently, however, we did receive a violent message, which was pretty scary, hurtful, and triggering for me. That being said, something I’m really grateful for is the online community I’ve cultivated. I am really transparent about sharing my highs and my lows, so when I shared this incident with them, they were incredibly supportive. 99% of the time, people are really kind toward Sumaya and me. We’re super gushy in person, so it encourages others to gush with us.
Sumaya and I aren’t a special case, even if we like to think we are. You can absolutely have your dreamiest, most beautiful life, whether you’re dating someone or not. We know we will stay together for our entire lives, because we actively choose to every day. It’s never our default: it’s a decision we make through open communication, understanding each other’s love language, and practicing major romantic gratitude. These are things we can all pay attention to in ourselves, setting up a foundation of self-love first. When you treat yourself with this level of devotion and adoration, you become magnetic, pulling in the exact right people for you. Sumaya and I have learned to give each other a Love that’s a verb 一 an active, moving thing. We all deserve love, and we can all have it, in relationships with others, and ourselves.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sara Falaro and Sumaya Mulla-Carrillo of Manhattan, New York. You can follow Sara’s journey on Instagram. You can follow Sumaya’s journey on Instagram, too. Follow their journey on their websites here and here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter!
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