It Took Twenty-Six

Chelsea T. Johnson


My experience of dating my way through the alphabet by the time I was twenty-four-years- old has taught me a lot about boys, men, and especially myself. It gave me the opportunity to learn about and learn from a variety of people from different backgrounds, both similar and vastly different from my own. I illustrate my journey of self-discovery through dating, while exploring the major issues I struggled with throughout this time. I explore themes of abuse, love, lust, pain, insecurity, commitment, spirituality, and self-discovery in my thesis.

I aim to answer the following questions within the memoir: How has my dating life/journey mirrored my spiritual journey? In my quest to find love and “the one,” what did I really find? What obstacles did I have to overcome throughout this journey, and how did I do that? How have my experiences affected the manner in which I now form and hold relationships?

This thesis is in the form of memoir. It is an exploration of how I looked for love in all the wrong places before I realized that I had to love myself first. I tell the stories of twenty-six relationships I had with boys and men over the years in my quest to find love. I will explore the manner in which I overcame the pain and loss that I encountered in some relationships and how I used others as a means to mask this pain or prove something to myself. Aside from telling the stories about the relationships, the arc over the entire work will be my journey towards finding true love of self. I will also address how my spiritual journey with God was affected by the experiences I had and the people I allowed into my life.