Brandy, you may not want to read this.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I decided to write about something I have long wanted to share with everyone.
My wife is the best.
Let me explain.
This is my wife, Brandy Noel Steel (circa 2009. A year before she chose me).
We were both attending Valley Forge Christian College.
I was getting my degree with relative ease while spending most of my time at the theater, playing World of Warcraft, and generally making some of the poorer decisions of my life.
She was working on two bachelor’s degree, three minors, working as a TA, and also making time to act, stage manage, and build sets for the theater.
Just to be clear, I didn’t even learn how to do my own make-up because
1. I liked attention, 2. I was lazy, and 3. I really only had an interest in acting.
That will give you an idea of the disparity of our work ethics and priorities.
Regardless of this difference, we became very good friends over the course of that year (mostly because of the theatre) working together on The Diary of Anne Frank, Mousetrap, and Tartuffe.
During Mousetrap, I caught some feelings…but decided not to pursue her because I thought she was too good for me.
[FUN FACT: She was/is/will always be]
Okay. It’s 2010 now. I’ve made some more bad decisions. Admitted those bad decisions and nearly lost her interest (that I didn’t know I had), and now we’re working on…
I was assistant directing because I was acting in the other show.
Friendship grew more.
She confessed feelings.
I had an emotional weekend.
I confessed feelings.
We started dating – Nov. 2010.
We got engaged – March 2011.
We got married – August 2011.
I realize that may seem fast to some of you…but I knew what I had…And plus…
This was a thing at the time.
She was a scholar.
404: Photo before 2014 not found
A world traveler.
In Greece I think. Maybe Israel. I have no idea. I’m not the traveler.
That’s me as Tartuffe. Her as Dorine. She pwned all the n00bs.
And then there was me.
Thank you, Dan “The Sexy Beast” Graham for enduring so much.
Who wouldn’t learn make-up because I was lazy and didn’t think I could learn how to be good at it.
But regardless, despite being infinitely more interesting than me, she fell in love with me.
“Carving the cake” 😉 😉
Because of her, I worked harder. Partly out of a healthy competition, but also because I wanted to prove to myself I was worth her interest. My gpa (which wasn’t horrible at 3.2) jumped to a 3.9 over those semesters.
A year after marriage, I got into a MFA in Acting program despite only having a minor in drama under my belt. I got freakin good at makeup.
This isn’t actually makeup. Those are real metal plates in my skull.
And now, 5.5 years later…she continues to out do me.
While I earned my Master’s degree, she earned hers, worked full-time (at the RU Writing Center), and had a baby (Jacob) at the same time as writing her thesis (picture above).
During our 1 year layover between Virginia and Michigan when we couldn’t find jobs in our fields, she had switched roles and was a stay at home mom and had a second baby (Kaeden) while I worked construction.
Then she landed a job at Baker Academic Publishing House. So now she works full time in her dream job while I stay at home with the boys. At night, I’m able to audition and work in the theater. I’ve written another novel (which she edits). This amazing life I have now, I owe to her. She chose me when I was close to being the worst. And because of her, I’m the best me.
I’m not saying I didn’t contribute to her life too.
She’s much more chill now than when she was single. She’s wittier too (I made a joke about this at rehearsal for Much Ado and no one understood). She’s able to work her dream job because I’m the homemaker. I’m not deluded or unaware of my contributions. I just want to draw attention to how amazing she is, and how immeasurably blessed I am by this woman.
I don’t know is she knows how great she really is..
But I do hope she knows how much I love and appreciate her.
She’s the best.