One of my absolute least favorite things to do is drive, especially long distances. Which is funny because one of Blake's absolute favorite things to do was drive, especially long distances.
Against my better judgment, I decided to take this summer to drive from where I was living in San Jose, to LA, to Orange County, to Arizona, then back to LA, back to the Bay Area, and then finally down to San Diego where I am moving. So basically, my whole summer is going to be a series of road trips in my car. And unfortunately these trips are just me, alone with my thoughts.
At first I was very, very worried about this. First of all, I hate driving. Second of all, I think being alone with myself too long has proven to be kind of dangerous for me because I end up making myself too sad or thinking incessantly about things.
But actually, during this particular five hour drive I just did today to Arizona, I was thinking a lot about how good this is for me. Because driving was something Blake and I did a lot together, it's actually brought up really wonderful memories of the two of us doing that. Anytime I flew into Arizona, we would have to make the two hour drive up to Prescott and then eventually the two hour drive back to the airport, and we spent my entire spring break doing a road trip up and down the coast of California. Clearly we spent a lot of time together on the road and made a lot of memories that way.
During my drive today, I thought of one specific memory that really just encapsulates Blake as a person and how being in a relationship with him always made me feel:
Something that was really important to me when I was growing up in elementary school and middle school was singing. I was in choir, I did a lot of plays, had a lot of solos, so that was part of my identity. I really identified as a good singer. But over the years I kind of lost that. I had different priorities and got interested in different things. After I stopped being specifically involved in that activity, I guess I decided it was easier not to try to sing. No one I met from that point on ever knew I was a good singer or I ever had that tallent that meant so much to me when I was younger. It was always weird to me that something that was so fundamentally who I was and what made me me, was just gone. And I just let it go because I was too embarrassed to ever try once I felt I lost it. So it was easier for me to just pretend I was a bad singer.
Blake and I were in the car and it was my turn to drive so he was in the passenger seat resting. I took this as an opportunity to listen to some of "my music." We would always argue over that because he liked pretty atrocious music, in my opinion, but we decided to trade off because gangster rap made him happy. Whatever.
After I turned on my music, I started to sing. I sang very quietly. I wasn't really doing it for him or for me, it just sort of came out. I didn't really think Blake was paying any attention because it was his turn to rest, but he sat up and looked at me and said, "Briana, why didn't you tell me that you have the most beautiful voice?" I immediately got really embarrassed, stopped singing, and explained "Oh I don't. I used to sing, but I don't anymore." And he turned down the music and grabbed my hand and said, "Why would you ever try to hide or downplay that? It's so lucky that you have a tallent like that."
I started to tear up because he was right. Not about me having a beautiful voice (I'm sure he was being overly generous with his compliments because he loved me) but for calling me out for ever trying to put myself down or make myself less than I knew I was. And that's how Blake always was, always building people up. He was always building me up and making me feel like I could do anything.
Blake told me from that point on whenever we were in the car I had to sing for him. After that, all of our road trips were filled with us singing to each other, which sounds silly, but it was so special to me. He saw that tallent in me and made me feel like I didn't have to be embarrassed of it (or the faded aspect of it) anymore and I could own it again. Blake made me feel like I could be completely myself when we were together because he loved every part of me.