I’ve been sitting on this podcast since January of 2014. It was originally intended to be the first episode of my podcast, and was intended to be the first of a multi-part conversation, but the other parts never happened (for good reasons – we were too busy living life to sit down and talk about it on tape), and this first hour got shoved to a distant back burner – until now.
I feel like I need to explain a few things in order to clarify my feelings about this particular episode. Denali and I met in October of 2013 at a Chuck Palahniuk book reading, and became fast friends. Over the next month or so, as we spent more and more time together, that friendship developed into a relationship. I’m not sure when Denali officially became my girlfriend, but she did, and it was wonderful. She moved in with me in July of 2014, and in August, decided to move back to her home state of California. This had always been her plan – a plan that had actually been delayed by her relationship with me. There was a lot of talk about me possibly moving with her, but I wasn’t ready to uproot. We weren’t quite sure what to do with our relationship after that, and it flowed through various states of ambiguity until around November, I think. I, at this point, had shifted gears completely. I wanted to move. I’d now been without Denali for a couple of months, and I wasn’t a fan of it. Denali, though, had also changed, and decided that being in a relationship wasn’t something she wanted at that time. It was hard for me to take, and I admittedly got pretty emotional about it. A series of very emotional conversations led to our deciding to not speak for a month – to cool down, and let some wounds heal. That month turned into two, and then three. Aside from a couple of short conversations in February, mostly revolving around her birthday, Denali and I still aren’t speaking. This is a very painful thing for me, as you might imagine.
Looking back, I know we both had our reasons for doing what we did, and though I now sometimes wish I’d moved when the invitation was still open, I know I made the most honest decision I could at that point, knowing what I knew and feeling what I felt. By the time those feelings changed, hers had as well. I don’t think either of us did anything wrong at all – we were both following our hearts. They just happened to lead us in different directions. I still love Denali, and always will. She’s one of the sweetest, kindest, most talented, and most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege to know, and I’m thankful for the time we spent as friends, and the time we spent in love. It was so, so beautiful.
This, friends, is why I’ve been hesitant to make this episode public. It’s still not easy for me to listen to… but, it’s really, really good. Denali’s story, on the podcast, is woefully incomplete, but what parts of it I have are beautiful, and full of so many interesting and sincere moments and tidbits. This portion of the story really stands on its own. If you’d like to read Denali’s blog about her world travels, you can find it HERE. Keep in mind, it hasn’t been updated in some time. You can also follow her musical journey HERE, and HERE, and I highly recommend you do so. Her YouTube page, HERE, is a goldmine as well.
Without further ado, Denali Gillaspie: