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Friday, May 12, 2017

A Tribute to Crystal, My Wife

One of us still looks this good...and she's on the right.
In the environment in which I grew up, dating was a sin akin only to murder, worse if the person being dated went to a DIFFERENT CHURCH. As I reached my 20's, I started to believe I would be single forever. Then I met Crystal.
I can't even begin to express my appreciation for her. However, as we approach our 11th anniversary, and upon the eve of her eighth Mother's Day, here are 15 things I love about my wife. I started with a basic top ten list, and soon realized how impossibly unquantifiable the things I love about her are, then realized that if I didn't stop at fifteen, this list wouldn't be ready before Christmas.

Her Eyes: How's this for a pickup line: "I miss the whites of your eyes." Yes, that's what yours truly used in an attempt to first hint my attraction to the love of my life. Crystal has bright, beautiful, black coffee eyes. From the autumn of 2003, to the end of 2004, Crystal and I were student workers together at LSU's Accounting Services, and this is where her gorgeous eyes first came to my attention. One afternoon, she was sitting in a chair, and when I walked by, our eyes happened to meet. For me, the moment froze in time, those hypnotic brown orbs gazing up, white filling in beneath them. I thought about them for the rest of the day...and for most of the night...and for most of the time after that. In 2005, when our paths separated for a time, they were all I could think about. Jesus Christ states in Matthew 6:22 that, "The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes." If Crystal had been alive 2000 years ago during this teaching, I could easily see him calling her up and using her as His illustration.

Her Intelligence: That blazing light is not only beautiful, but expresses her amazing intellect. Crystal not only skipped a year of grade school...she graduated college in three years. In fact, when the Vice President of the United States gave the commencement speech at her LSU graduation, he mentioned that the youngest graduate in the class was only 20...yes, even the Vice President was aware of my wife's genius. She tested into my fifth semester of Spanish as a 17-year old freshman (yes, this cradle-robber was fortunate enough to have Crystal Ramezanzadeh fall into his life in two separate places at the same time. We could walk from class to work!) As someone who certainly has an inflated sense of his own intelligence, it is certainly humbling to live with someone who not only understands the obtuse things I try to say, but can generally tell me what I "meant" to say ;) I've always loved smart girls, but Crystal takes it to another level...and thankfully, hers is not a cold, robotic intelligence...

Her Empathy: You know the scary vagrants who hang out at the front of grocery stores and ask you for money? I am ashamed to admit, when I am alone, I often don't even look their way. My wife, however, will bring them into the store and buy them food. Every day, she shows a care for "the least of these" that makes me want to be a better man. She is currently working on her Masters in Mental Health Counseling, and she is going to be a great help to many. She has inspired me to become a better listener in conversations, as well, as every time I have a friend over, by the end of the night, they end up lying on the couch, talking to her about their problems. The hurt and care she feels for anyone who is left out or marginalized could be qualified as a superpower.

Her Sense of Style: Speaking of superpowers...I might be a nerd...okay, I am definitely a nerd, but I have always been attracted to a well-put together woman. By this, I mean that I like to wear Zelda t-shirts and I don't understand the basic geometry of my own hair, but I like women who are awesome at applying makeup, fixing their hair, and who wear cool clothes. My wife, whose face is beautiful without any makeup whatsoever applied, is a makeup ninja, can not only fix her own hair to look as awesome as possible, but has her cosmetology license (which she uses to make me look far better than I have any right to), and dresses cooler than anyone I've ever met (and I learn more every year that it is wiser to let her pick out my clothes, as well), even though the bacon I bring home is more John Morrell than Hormel Black Label. And speaking of cool...

She Is the Coolest Person I've Ever Met: From the way she dresses, to the way she effortlessly carries herself, to the way she can evolve a shallow conversation into a deep one, to her taste in art (music, TV, movies, general aesthetics), I've never met anyone as intriguingly cool as her.  Her soul is as deep as a well in the desert. I try to express this to her at times, and I am not sure if I make my meaning clear enough--coolness is a nearly intangible thing, but I think more than anything, hers flows as someone unafraid to be and express exactly who she really is. Speaking of expressing...

The Way She Expresses Her Emotions: I hate the silent treatment. I hate when people bottle up their emotions and then blow up on you when you least expect it. For better or worse, my wife does not do this. When she has feelings, she lets me know just what those feelings are. I love this. There is nothing hotter than a woman who speaks her mind.

Her Patience and Resilience: I am going to let you, gentle reader, in on a little secret about myself you may not have picked up on from the tens of thousands of rambling, seemingly incoherent and selfishly pointless run-on sentences I have contributed to The Nicsperiment over the last twelve years: I am not the easiest person to be with. I space out into my own world, I don't communicate clearly, I get confused about and by basic human behavior, and normal everyday activities sometimes seem to me like learning Greek while piloting a space shuttle blindfolded. This woman still sleeps in the same bed as me. But leaving me out of this discussion entirely, my wife has undergone several disappointing life developments, rejections, and heartbreaks, yet she is still hopeful for each new day, and she is still reaching for and achieving her dreams. I admire and hope to emulate the way she wakes up each morning with such a sense of purpose, even on days it is not so clear what that purpose might be.

Her Love for Music: I grew up in a small town, where most people listened to whatever pop or country crap was on the radio. However, I think it is important to note that just hating things because they are popular is kind of a drag.My wife's love of both catchy, dance-inciting tunes, and more emotional, personal fare is a huge turn on. When we met in the fall of 2003, during our first class-to-work walk, I realized how ridiculously cool this girl was, and how awesome her taste in music must be. As a DJ at the campus radio station, about to lose my co-host to graduation, I didn't hesitate to ask Crystal to be my new co-host for the spring semester. She then, over the next year on-air, made me seem so much cooler than I really was. We've shared a bond of music ever since. I love the fact that I recently downloaded Warpaint and Foxing albums for her, and yet she can easily alternate that with...whatever it is the kids are listening to these days.

Her Voices: Since I was a small child, I have made ridiculous cartoon voices for every pet I have ever owned. I grew up in the country, so I had a lot of them. I feel like few people would understand this compulsion...but I think Crystal gets it--not only that, but she is an incredible cartoon voice-maker herself. In fact, I have never told her this, but my dream job for us as a couple would be to voice-act an entire Nicktoon of our own. I mean, we already have experience sharing a mic! Okay, maybe not, and I know that's a strange thing to appreciate, but I does our son. Speaking of him...

The Way She Is a Mother to Our Son: Being a father didn't immediately come naturally to me (truthfully, I don't think it comes naturally to anyone), but it has been a joy learning to parent our son together. There isn't any one I would rather do it with. Crystal has such a nurturing love for him, and I appreciate how anytime she hears me speak negatively toward him (I don't mean disciplining, I mean using negative language that is more harmful than helpful), she gently takes me aside and suggests words I could use in the future. Even though I suspect our son's more introverted nature (and his love for video games!) comes from me, I know he is learning empathy and inclusiveness from Crystal.

Her Beauty: I mean, have you seen her? I've long called Crystal my Iranian Marilyn Monroe, a seemingly impossible amalgamation of  every physical trait I've ever found attractive. However, rather inexplicably, while I continue to suffer the effects of aging, she somehow grows more beautiful every day. I can't begin to explain how I fill with pride when we are out and someone comments on her indelibly gorgeous physical appearance, or gives her a double take--I fill with pride any of the many times someone points out how awesome she is in all ways, not just the physical...but the physical...wowsa. Yeah, I just said wowsa. I don't care if spellcheck doesn't like it!

Her Unexpectedly Adventurous Side: Six months into our marriage, Crystal and I took a fun trip to Tennessee. The Crystal I had known up to that point seemed scared of the outdoors and adventure. "Can we go whitewater rafting?" she asked two days into the trip. We did, and I think she had an even better time than I did. I love traveling with Crystal--her inquisitive and surprisingly adventurous spirit always makes things more exciting. I'll always remember with joy a moment from our recent anniversary trip to Austin, running together from the Alamo Theater to the car after seeing Star Wars, laughing with surprise and glee at the shockingly below freezing temperatures. Austin, Texas isn't supposed to reach the teens, but I wouldn't have wanted to run through that cold with anyone else--it wouldn't have been nearly as fun!

She Is My Catfish: The fact that my wife loves prestige drama like FX's The Americans and Legion, yet also loves reality TV like My 600-Pound Life and Catfish, shows how cool she is far more than my nonsense paragraph above. However, this has also taught me a vital illustration about our relationship I have to be brutally honest about--Catfish got its name because of this concept: "...when live cod were shipped to Asia from North America, the fish's inactivity in their tanks resulted in only mushy flesh reaching the destination. However, fishermen found that putting catfish in the tanks with the cod kept them active, and thus ensured the quality of the fish." On my own, I would be an unfocused, diffident lump. Crystal drives me to be a better man. I simply cannot remain stagnant when she is swimming around my life. She is my catfish.

Her Faith: I don't explicitly talk about religion on the Nicsperiment, but I don't hide it, either. Numerous people have read this blog, intuited it, and asked me about it in private. In a world where faith seems to lose its importance just a bit more every day, to share my life with someone who shares my faith is an incredible godsend, and I am blessed to share my faith journey with her every day.

This Very Blog Exists in its Current Form Because of Her: After Crystal and I got engaged, I stopped blogging. I didn't see a use for it anymore. However, several years later, and especially getting into 2011, I realized something: my life was so much richer with Crystal in it, and I had grown so much because of my relationship with her, a newly revitalized The Nicsperiment could be a 1000x better than the old one. So, in complete honesty, The Nicsperiment of the last six years, which has featured the writing of an increasingly honest,  increasingly interesting, facade-free version of myself, would simply not exist without the presence of Crystal in my life.

I love you, Babe.

Look at those eyes! Jeez!


Neal (BFS) said...

What's wrong with Zelda shirts? They're quite stylish, come on! I have like... six or something! :/

That's all I got, otherwise. Es una blog muy muy romantico (for some reason that just is doable to say in Spanish but not English for this Swedish guy). Crystal should break this one out whenever she's feeling a little down and blue. :)

Nicholas said...

Haha, me too!

I feel like every romantic thing you say to Jess from now on should be in Spanish, but with an inexplicable (semi-explicable) Swedish accent!

Neal GR said...

My brain... can't even compute that. Like Swedish Chef + Spanish just puts all the accents and rhythms in the wrong place!

I do have Spanish nicknames for her, though. Hurrah for multi-lingual love language!

And both of us here have to say that Ramezanzadeh is a wicked awesome name. :)