I was standing at the beer tub, probably dressed as classy as you can imagine. My life was in total shambles at this point, I had no direction, no plans and worst of all, no hope. I hate to admit it but most people knew I didn’t care how tomorrow looked for me. Or three months from then. A year from then, I just really didn’t care. I was just kind of doing life to stay alive but a super sad part of me wasn’t really even worried about that…staying alive. I was so depressed and just a girl who started college at 17, wasn’t prepared for real life and then tried to survive being virtually broke and forced to find a job while carless for $5.15 an hour (yep, that was minimum wage then!) and then went through some traumatic things that this day still paralyze me if I think about them or get reminded. I mean – it was bad. Sure I looked cute and shouldn’t have knocked that rockin’ college body I had then (no really, I look back like you tan little skinny thing! HAHA!) but my confidence didn’t exist and my heart was just lacking any sort of goodness.

And then you walked in the bar.

Because love CAN be found in a bar 🙂

Maybe one of the first guys that was ultra polite and I felt no ulterior motive from. Not polite because you thought I was hot polite, just polite for the sake of being kind. It was so different. Sure, you looked a little nerdy to me but I kind of loved nerds. I was looking for the wrong guy all along and what I should have always been looking for was the guy who is kind across the board to EVERY single person he meets, not just selectively. I had a boyfriend at the time, but you stayed in my mind. Back then Facebook was still kind of new and a big deal so we became friends a few months later. But still…I had the boyfriend, so only friends on Facebook it was. We didn’t pay too much attention to each other but you would comment and post occasionally and there was something really easy about talking to you. You didn’t annoying tease or act sarcastic (yes, I’m a sarcasm hater…I can’t help it! I grew up around some people who were perpetually sarcastic and completely ruined it for me, lol) and you were just sweet, funny and on the same level of silly as me. I kept you in mind while I miserably stayed in that relationship.

Then, it ended after 203823028 breakups in two years, lol. This time it was really over and I needed someone who didn’t know my ex to hang out with me and let me vent and let it all out. I messaged you, and we had some shots together at that same bar we met at. WOW. Who knew?!

In a world where we’re all judging at face value…what did you see? Sure you were a college boy, and I was a tan little hottie tottie, but why me? The girl who invited you out so you could console me on my ex issues and breakup…and you listened. In fact, we started up an amazing thing that night and had no idea it would turn out that way. Laughing, being so open and honest and you admitting how much you loved the movie Love Actually – soooo many extra points there 🙂

When our love ignited and we started dating, I was waiting for it…what we would be the fallout? There is no way this would be easy. It’s too good to be true, something will be off and I just know it. I waited, waited, waited. Things stayed so good for a while until it finally happened…someone who you had grown up with called me trashy. It was meant to hurt and boy it did. The worst part is that it left me so burned I was prone to hurt others out of those painful feelings of my own hurt, isn’t that how the cycle goes? I was just left a really bitter person for a while after that and worst of all – I felt torn because why would I want to stay in a relationship where people who know the person I love don’t want me around? So here Mike Hedgepeth is, the happiest he has EVER been, glowing with joy. Coming out of his shell, more social and with a level of self confidence he admits he had never known. But… I’m bad for him? Considering I had experienced a tough time in my middle and high school years with alcoholism in my home (something children of any age should never see), a traumatic experience within the first three months of college and just being a girl completely on my own having to work for her own car, life expenses, etc…it’s hard to hear that from someone who has a way shinier life.

The thing I felt the worst about was that Mike had grown into this incredibly confident and joyful individual just over the course of us dating and watching him experience this made me sad. He was hurt, too – but we learned a lesson from this that I will say we’re not realizing until years later we got through by simply remembering one very, very simple fact.

The only thing that mattered was what we saw in each other. I mean really, WHO OR WHAT ELSE MATTERED?! Mike didn’t look at me and say wow, she’s a mess and she’s no good for me. I didn’t look at him and say wow this guy is a nerd with no dating experience, lol. We just loved each other. Like really really loved each other! When we are together there is something I can’t even describe that lights my soul up and it is inspiring and romantic and life-giving. Life giving. Yeah, I wanted to live again and not just live to live…but live a really, really, really good, fulfilling, meaningful life with this man.

So what did you see in this beer tub girl? Mike answers: What did I see? I saw a beautiful, funny (downright hysterical), sweet, caring, loving, happy person that I just loved spending every day with. I had never found that before. Just knowing that that’s what I would get with her every day, all those qualities just for me and knowing that I would have done anything for that girl, and still would. Watching her go from the beer tub girl to an extremely successful business owner and mother of three has just been such an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. Watching and being here for everything that’s going on now makes me know that she was most definitely the only one for me.

Maybe you are in love and you’re going through the same thing. Maybe you’ve had it easy and you’re so loved and it’s not like that at all. Maybe you’re in a way worse situation than I was and it’s very Romeo and Juliet for you … but I do encourage you to remember one important thing regardless of your situation. Family and friends opinions matter on some level, but if you are HAPPY, the relationship is kind and healthy and you are being treated well and you are treating that person well… that’s all that matters. I have seen friends get eaten alive by the opinion of the family that doesn’t love them or “approve” and watch two people who had the best thing going on start to fall apart because they can’t take the pressure. I’ve seen people have to stop talking to family and friends who won’t accept a relationship because they were given the ultimatum to choose. I have seen people continually force themselves into uncomfortable social situations for the sake of pleasing others when they knew they were around people who weren’t fans of their relationship.

If you choose love, you can’t lose. We are the best we’ve ever been because we choose each other every single day. Just a beer tub girl who thought she had nothing to live for now a proud mom of three little girls, entrepreneur, wedding and portrait photographer who gets to do life with her best friend every single day. I am so thankful for you Mike Hedgepeth…let’s keep working so hard for these little girls to give them the life the deserve!

^Katelyn James when we were babies in 2010!

Posted by:amandahedgepeth

Hey there! We're a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.

One thought on “To The Boy Who Loved a Beer Tub Girl | Life By The Sea

  1. Oh my goodness I love this!!! If I could ever get the nerve to blog my crazy very non traditional love story I will send it to you first. Mike is very lucky to have you, you smile beams when you were talking about him a few weeks ago and I can see your big smiles you had while you wrote this blog. Always choose love….

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