All Grown Up

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I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with this amazing young man. He’s smart, funny, attractive, a phenomenal actor, producer, and writer. This guy’s got it all going on. Not only that, but he just got into his dream college, Biola University! Congrats, Paul. This kid is going on to big and great things.

A little backstory…so I originally met Paul when he was…5? 6? I don’t know. I actually met his brother when I was 9 and in 5th grade. It feels like forever ago but at the same time it doesn’t. Anyways, I remember this kid as the little bratty baby brother of my friend Nick. When my grade was practicing a performance for a play that our school was going to put on, Paul was crawling all over the floors; under, over and around the pews. Regardless, this is how I always saw him: Nick’s little brother.

Of course he was annoying, he was the little brother! We heard horror stories of battles between the two as we were growing up. Nick and I went to school together from 5th grade on through graduating high school. We had quite a love/hate relationship but in the end, we were friends and would do whatever the other person needed it. We didn’t exactly admit this, but it was understood.

Time went on and Nick went away to college. I saw him on holidays and breaks and whenever our group of friends got together. We had a lot of good times. Nick was there during my first real drinking experience and was sweet enough to, along with our other friend Karter, clean up the house as our other friend, Bryce, was taking care of me. Ah yes, sweet sweet memories.

Unfortunately, a tragic event occurred at the beginning of 2013, which would prove to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through. Nick crashed his motorcycle and abruptly ended his life. His young, sweet, newly started life. He was about to finish his last semester of college. He was about to start his “real” life as an adult with a “big kid” job. He had so much ahead of him, or so we thought.

We can never change what is meant to be. God had a plan for Nick which called him home when he was 21. Nick wasn’t meant to completely graduate and wasn’t meant to get his “big kid” job. However, his short life that he lived touched mine and countless other’s lives during his time here on Earth. He taught me that it’s okay to be stubborn and argue for what you believe in, and that just because you’re mad doesn’t mean that you stop caring. He taught me to get over things when they don’t go my way and to never give up on someone, because people really do truly change. I learned this because we both changed and matured over the years. Him being in my life was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. As far as I’m concerned, he’ll always be in my life and a part of my life. He’s influenced me in so many different ways, and he continues to. I think about him often and smile at all the good (and bad) times we had. Because through it all, we always came back to each other and were friends…or at the very least tolerated being in the same room as each other.

Now that you know that, this is what makes my shoot with Paul so special. Paul is 100% his own person and is an amazing individual. However, during his shoot, there were so many times when I looked through that lens and could have sworn that I saw Nick smiling back at me. This was such a wonderful experience for me and was really fun too. It was great to laugh with Paul and tell him stories that I don’t think he had ever heard before. We had such a good time and the photos turned out great! Take a look…

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Thank you Paul for doing this photo shoot with me. You are such an awesome person and I’m so excited to see where life takes you! Hope to see you on the big stage someday. You’re going to go far, I just know it!

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