Emily and Nadia’s relationship hasn’t come easily. It’s mostly been a rollercoaster of toxic relationships, closets and living in fear of rejection of both family and the church. However, their love is meant to be. Emily planned a perfect proposal, and has the photographs to prove it.
Words by Nadia
Our story is a wild one. One where you hear about how everything fell into place and how many obstacles we overcame and think- “wow, those two were meant to love each other.”
I was closeted for most of my life. About 24 years. Knowing fully that I was a lesbian. I am Persian, and being gay is typically not acceptable in our culture. So, I continued to date guys and be in extremely toxic relationships full of emotional abuse. There was only one friend of mine that knew that I was gay. Aside from that, no one had any idea.
When Emily and I met, I was dating a guy, and she was dating another girl- but only family and a few friends knew that she was gay. She was heavily involved in her childhood church, and was worried about what that friend group would think of her. When we met, we talked for weeks on Instagram and instantly clicked. I’ve never talked to anyone on social media and felt a pull- a need and desire to be with them. After some time, we met at a coffee shop and I swear I was in love right away. She does too. I tried to deny it and push her away. My greatest efforts to keep her at a distance didn’t work, and I didn’t want them to.
We both knew. It was an unspoken thing.
And, then once I was ready, I admitted to Emily that I wanted to pursue her. We both ended the relationships that weren’t right for us, and were together. She asked me to be her girlfriend on a chilly fall day by the water after walking around a farmers market. I asked her back with a Halloween themed date night with tacos and margaritas.
Our relationship hasn’t been easy. We dealt with my family’s negative reactions, Emily essentially being kicked out of her church for being gay, and losing friends. It was really hard and painful, but both of us would always say, “You are worth it, and I would choose you a million times.”
Emily and I have always talked about wanting to foster and adopt kids. I’m a new social work graduate, and she’s in school for social work- so we both see how many children are in the system and how desperately they need loving homes. We always talked about doing it in our favorite city- Ann Arbor. We found our affirming church there- a place filled with acceptance and love. And, we also had our first date there. So Emily surprised me on June 26th with an Ann Arbor staycation. She got us the cutest Airbnb close to downtown! That Friday and early Saturday morning-afternoon, we walked around downtown, got food and coffee, and just enjoyed each other.
We also got so much good news!
On that Friday, I formally accepted a job offer as a hospital social worker. FINALLY! after the pandemic and how it halted my job search, it was a beautiful thing.
Then on Saturday, June 27th, we got approved for our dream apartment. Later that night, Emily decorated the entire porch with twinkle lights, banners, and candles. I got ready inside because I thought we were just getting dinner. When I went outside to see what Emily was doing (after I was ready), there she was. The most beautiful girl on the planet. My home. My angel- standing there, sweating in the heat and smiling while our two photographer friends surrounded us. After nervous laughing for about 5 minutes, she promised to always love me, date me, protect me, and eat three dinners with me.
It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of- just like her. After we did the photoshoot in the cutest house- we went to dinner downtown. Then we got hamburgers and fries and ate them in bed (our second dinner!).
I wish I could go back and relive it all- but I’m so excited for what our future holds.
Photography by Alexis Backus