First off, I would like to thank Laura for the amazing opportunity to contribute to this blog. Reading her posts is a wonderful way to feel connected to her and Jay, as well as other couples who are living a very similar lifestyle as myself, and discussing how we deal with the emotional ups and downs of being away from our significant other for such long periods of time.
Okay, a little about myself…my name is Dana, and I am finishing up my BFA in photography, with minors in visual communication design and music, media, & enterprise (whew!), from The Ohio State University. I currently work at Substream Music Press and Hot Topic and have been holding various jobs in music since I was 17.
My boyfriend, Chris, and I met briefly on Warped Tour in 2010, while I was out running everything for Substream and he was working for Bridge 9 Records. I had a rather large crush on him that summer, but since I am a very reserved person, so I did not have the guts to tell him how I felt. A year passed, and in May of 2011 I landed a job on the production team for Krazy Fest, an amazing weekend music festival with a lot of history in Louisville. We reconnected there, hit it off instantly, and the rest is history.
I guess you could say we are in an interesting situation with our relationship because both of us tour. My touring stints are usually limited to the summer months, since school is my number one priority, but being on the same tour together is a very rare stroke of luck that we fell into more than once. Being able to wake up in a new city every day, hop off the bus, and see the love of your life is something I never thought I would be able to do. Most people know what Warped Tour is, but most don’t realize how grueling it can be, both physically and mentally. You are always hot, always sweaty, always stressed, always tired, and always around a million people, all the time. Having someone to turn to and completely understand what you are going through while dealing with the frustrations of two months of hell makes it that much easier to go through.
I think my background in touring made it easier for us to deal with distance so well and still maintain a healthy and strong relationship with each other. When we first started dating last year, Chris was still living in Boston with Laura and Jay while working full-time for Bridge 9, and I was still here in Columbus, so right off the bat we knew what we had to do to make it work. Technology plays a huge role in keeping us connected and involved in one another’s lives. When we are apart, we video chat, text, and call each other throughout the day. When Chris was on tour and I was home, he would turn on skype while he was at the merch table, and I would leave mine on in my apartment, and although we could not really talk while it was on because of the noise, it was so comforting just being able to see each other’s faces and instant message each other back and forth with goofy things. We also made it a point to write each other letters while on the road. Texts and phone calls are nice, but there is just something about opening your mailbox and finding a letter for you in it. It is something to hold on to, to feel, and to know that someone else is thinking about you. I have all the ones he has sent me on a shelf next to my bed, and when I’m feeling lonely or upset, it is comforting being able to read through all of them and know that we still feel the same way about each other now that we did the day we met.
After Chris left Bridge 9 last winter, he moved back to Indianapolis, which was only 3 hours away from me. I got spoiled by having him that close to me, and I think I started to take for granted how much I got to see him after that. When he was offered a great job in LA with Kings Road Merch and moved out there at the end of January, it was like starting all over again with the distance, multiplied by 100 this time though. I’m not going to lie…I was heartbroken. I did not know when I was going to see him again, and that killed me inside. I think I cried for a few days after he told me it was official. At the same time though, I was not about to hold him back from something this big for my own stupid selfish reasons. We quickly got back into the swing of things, and I couldn’t be happier for him. He has a lot of old friends there, and I am glad he is doing so well at his new job and loves LA so much. I cannot wait to join him!
This summer will be different from the last two for us, since I will be on tour for 2 months while he is home. I am excited to spend my summer with so many old friends, but it just won’t feel the same without Chris with me. I am sure I will be posting more about that once tour starts.
I think the best way of coping with the distance is just to find productive ways of keeping your day busy and interesting. I am a very creative person, and I love working with my hands, so art is my biggest outlet for dealing with loneliness. Photography, glass making, printmaking, bookmaking, painting, drawing, ceramics, and sculpture have helped me throughout my whole life in dealing with problems and providing a sort of escape from reality for a short time. I am also an avid reader, xbox addict, and snowboarder, all of which help release stress. Communication and sharing are absolutely vital as well. We make sure to include the other in our everyday life and share everything, from what we did that day, to how work was, to what we ate, etc. Even if it is something as goofy as something weird we saw while on our way to work or a cute dog that we saw, it is worth sharing. Trying to make a long-distance relationship work off of one word texts and phone calls along the lines of:
“What did you do today?”
will not survive. If you have a horrible memory like me, you might find it worthwhile to jot little things down throughout the day so you remember to share it with them later. Being a photographer, I always find myself taking pictures to remember events by as well. Sharing little things keeps you from feeling left out of the other person’s life while they are away.
Another important way of keeping your sanity while apart is just simply by surrounding yourself with good people. If you are sitting by yourself all day, your thoughts will get the better of you. Even if I spend the entire day with friends, I can still find myself getting bummed out and lonely when I am trying to sleep, but sometimes that is unavoidable. Of course you are going to miss the person and be sad that they are gone, but this is where that communication is key. That loneliness and lack of communication will lead you to distrust your significant other, and a relationship without trust is doomed to failure.
It will be interesting being the main one touring now, though, since Chris is back to working full-time. Regardless, if I am with someone that can make me feel like the luckiest person in the world, even though we are traveling and living thousands of miles apart, I am willing to do whatever it takes to make it work, because it is absolutely worth it. Distance is not forever. Whatever hardships we may face, we take them head-on, because we love each other.
I’m sure I left a lot of stuff out, but if you guys want to know any more, feel free to ask me and I will do my best to cover everything. Thanks for reading, and thank you, Laura!