Caitlyn and Rachel have had their challenges, despite an instant connection. They’ve been able to get through it all with strong communication.
Tell us about the first time you saw one another.
C: We met at a photo shoot for a local artist shot at the salon that Rachel worked for. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to talk that evening, but we had unknowingly caught each other’s eye. For myself, I remember going in to work the next day, bursting to find out more about the girl I had seen the night before that was drop-dead gorgeous and had an intriguing and almost intoxicating confident demeanor. I needed to know her!
We were in a group message from the shoot, and she slid into my dm’s about a week later. Under the facade of being “interested in boxing” (something I had been doing recently), we chatted a bit, and I invited her to join a class with me. She bailed a few times, and I was desperate to meet her! This mystery woman who I had been drawn to.
One night we ran into each other out in downtown Tucson, and it was electric. We had an immediate connection. She was so interesting, and we talked for what seemed like hours. She asked me on a date a few days later, and the intensity of our human connection sparked even more.
Tell us about your favorite memory together.
R: My favorite memory was actually of that first night we finally ran into each other when we got to talking. At one point, I was basically laying halfway across the table to be closer to her and get past the other people we were with. It was as if everyone and everything had faded into the background, and our souls were physically drawing us together!
C: My favorite memory with Rachel is a hard one. There are so many! As of this moment, my favorite would have to be lying on the floor of a local bookstore together. After wandering around the store for a bit, poking through books together, I convinced Rachel to lay on the floor with me. She was reading something from some book that I can’t remember now because all I could think about was how much this person meant to me and how I wanted to know all there could be about her. She was reading aloud, and I couldn’t even hear the words because I had just realized that her voice felt like a song I’d known my whole life.
Laying there with her on the dirty floor of a bookstore felt like finally coming home.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome together?
We have had to overcome some significant challenges over our time together. We went through everything from dating a girl for the first time and some family pushback to a bipolar diagnosis. We have been through IT. But what we always did so well was fight for our love and each other.
We used our communication to get through every challenging situation. We never left anything unsaid or unfinished. And in that approach, we grew stronger together and in ourselves.
My family came to see that this wasn’t just a “phase” and that I was serious about Caitlyn, and they have welcomed her and accepted us both. Caitlyn trusted me and those trying to help her, receiving her diagnosis and taking steps to help her with that. So we push and challenge each other to be the best and most authentic versions of ourselves, and that is what I think is the key to our success in overcoming life’s challenges.
Tell us your favorite thing about one another.
R: Her kindness, empathy, and her good pure heart. When I look at her, I see goodness, which is the most important thing to me when looking at another human. Are they kind? Are they good? And even though when I met her, she tried to put out a rough exterior and hard shell, I immediately saw through all of that. Her heart was too big to hide, and it is my absolute favorite thing about her.
C: My favorite thing about Rachel is that she is kind and compassionate beyond measure. I have never known someone with so much love and understanding for others. She gives everyone more patience and compassion than I have ever witnessed. And she truly only ever has good intentions for everyone she has come across. She gives them nothing but her time and care to ensure they are happy and feel loved, valued, and seen. She’s also hilarious, maybe the funniest person I know but don’t tell her that. She’ll get a big head about it.
What’s in the future for you both?
Everything! Life, love, travel, lazy days, busy days, good days, bad days, great days- all the days we have together. We are building a life together that we are excited for and work towards every day while staying present in our time. The future will be whatever we make it to be together.
Photography by Julia Lea Photography