Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Austin: The First Time

I'm packing for Texas. Headed to SXSW via Chicago early tomorrow morning. Austin holds a special place in my heart. It's where The Surge and I fell in love. I'm excited to go back. If you've read Mormon To Married In Manhattan, you know the story. Short version: after meeting The Surge during a gig in Salt Lake City, I drove over 20 hours to meet up with him in Austin. The trip sealed the deal.. and our love.. and the rest of our lives... As I'm a chronic journaler, here then, are those entries from Austin:

August 26, 2004

Wow... Wow! Wow! Wow! Here I sit at a little coffee joint on a main thoroughfare in Austin, Texas. This is the life for me. Free... Meeting interesting people...Seeing new things.. EVERY DAY. I can never go back. Serge. He is it for me. He is so beautiful. His mind is so fantastic. So vivid, so imaginitive, intelligent, funny. I love being with him. My system is somewhat shut down. It's all a bit much for me... So my soul just goes on autopilot. It pretends like I am used to all this happening to me. It's hot. A wet heat. Unlike the dry desert from whence I came.. Sorry - I've been reading Dickens and it seeps into my vocabulary. But if anybody else's words are seeping into my vocab - I'm glad it's Dickens. I can't talk about Serge much. I know I should, but it's too hard. He is in the midst of things with Catherine. He doesn't know what to do. I know that she is not for him. I know this. But in the meantime it is hard. But I am quite calm. And not jealous because I am so certain we are supposed to be together. Jesus. I look around myself.. and there are so many fantastic people sitting around me. Nothing like Salt Lake. I can't wait for my trip to New York. It's so strange. I feel like I've lived in the fog until now. Then. The switch was flipped and I woke up. To the real me. I'm all over the place. I know. I am finally me! And it will only get better. Everything makes sense to me. I have a higher level of understanding. I look back and it all comes to now. This point of jumping off.. and never going back. I am finally me...

August 28, 2004

Serge called me from Texas

I have died and gone to heaven. My heart is hammering, am having trouble breathing. My beautiful Serge.. Holy christ. This is it. It's almost to much to write, but I know that I have to. I have met the man of my dreams. This passionate, beautiful boy loves me back. And life makes sense. I am completely, utterly wordless. I don't know what to say. . Just the facts ma'am. Okay. Serge called tonight. He says he loves me. And wants to be with me. And that's the way it is. This is so important. Oh my god, it scares me how important it all is.. Everything I have done in life was in preparation for Serge Christopher Bielanko. I don't feel a bit silly writing about him.. as I have in the past about others. August 28th. The official start of the greatest thing I will ever do in my life. This beautiful love story. Serge, read this when we are old and remember all the heart stopping things you said to me tonight. Remember, you taking a wild leap and letting yourself fall. It's the best thing you've ever done, or will do. I love everything you've been, everything you are and everything you will become, with me by your side.

Reader Comments (28)

travel safe. enjoy the shows.
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
Wow, wow, wow!
What a beautiful love story. I find myself feeling sorry for myself because this hasn't happened for me. I came close once and felt all the things you describe, but it ended in heartbreak, for me, for both of us probably, but for me. It's really hard to know your soulmate is out there and you can't be with him. It's complicated and I shouldn't be making this about me. This is your story, and boy oh boy, what a story it is.
To Monica & Serge ... and to love ... for all.
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Take lots of pictures and video! I'm jealous.
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Monica, this may sound weird, but one way I think you know love someone has to do with driving. How far will you drive for that person? Where? How long? Twenty hours to see him - that is true love. I bet you still remember that feeling in the car; all of those feelings in the car. The best of feelings.

Mine involved sitting on the f-king Cross Bronx Expressway in traffic at 3pm on a weekday in the summer en route up to area code 845 and getting lost finding a hospital, then getting lost en route home and eating Oreos in the car because I had nothing else to eat. That was my dinner: oreos. True love to me is eating oreos for dinner...
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy K
Monica, have a great time.

Laura, Amy K, go to the Your Stories section and let's hear em!
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
That's a great idea EDW. I want to hear everyone's loves stories. Sadly, I don't have one even half as good as Monica's. I'm getting more cynical with each boy I plow through. Wondering if true love really exists and bawling my eyes out at old eighties Molly Ringwald movies.
March 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Hi everyone. I've been reading for awhile and haven't commented. But this post made me cry and I always like when a discussion ensues after a one of Monica's amazing stories. I wonder - do you all believe in soul mates? That one person in the world you were meant to be with? Or are there many people out there? I have yet to have that feeling. I thought I did once, but he didn't feel the same way. I was shocked that I could feel so strongly for someone who didn't feel the same way back.

I second Aimee, tell us your love stories.
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
Or tell us heartbreak stories
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
Speaking of video, the new video is unbelievable. That guy is amazing! So we have a whole Charlie series to look forward to? "Conversations with Charlie: World Peace?" Cool.
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
1. Monica...nice to chat with you the other night @ Maxwells. Looking forward to more in the future.

2. You've even gotten to my cynical bitter jaded heart with this one. It's refreshing to read/hear of two people so in love.

3. I sat in the cross bronx expwy traffic for a boy way too many times. At the time I thought it was worth it, now not so much.

4. I expect to hear all about how Marah kicked everyones ass all over SXSW. Wish I was there!

March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBillieJo
I want that to happen to me!

It happened once, on a high school trip to Europe that my Grandmother paid for. The gal was some kind of beauty contest winner from Baptist country, Rome Georgia. We met on a boat to Amsterdam. From then on for 4 days we were inseparable. No girl that sweet and beautiful had ever given shy me the time of day.

No sex. It was totally innocent but it was a blurry, bewildering fever, much like Monica described.

Of course we got to have the obligatory last plane ride home, and tender, tearful, farewell in La Guardia. The bus ride home and next few weeks were so horribly sad.

We wrote love-letters back and forth for the next month or so; reliving every moment and feeling.

Of course I drove the 20 hours to Georgia, unannounced the day after I graduated from high school with a dope-smoking buddy of mine, who had also been smitten on that trip. Upon our arrival, it was clear that this was a tragic mistake.

I ran into my gal at the Dairy Cream, type place that she worked, and although all the feeling's came back, she had neglected to tell me that she had a long-time boyfriend who she had resumed seeing. I met him and he was a very nice chap. She clearly had described me as a wonderful friend that she had met, and he treated me like an old friend; clearly not aware of the depth of our mutual feeling's

So...I did the honorable thing. Me and my buddy took our dope and beer and went to Atlanta.

I continued to stay in touch with that gal for several years afterwords. She eventually married that guy and the letters stopped coming.

I don't mean for this to sound like some corny romance novel, and I know all about that young love thing. I've grown cynical over the years and have been hurt, and I have hurt other's in the complicated web of relationship's.

I guess I relate (again) to the tale Monica spun, and Amy did mention the 20 hour drive.

Ah well..back to my poor dog's diahrrea disaster.

BTW, y'all should feel honored, I've never put that story on a page for anyone else to read; anyone but Miss Pepperil County, Georgia, that is.
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
hoo hoo! you are so lucky to have those early feelings, emotions and words documented! Have a wonderful trip down memory lane this wknd!
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPLD
That's such a beautiful story Monika. Awesome that you and the Surge were ready to be so trusting in your love for each other. I can completely relate to being so intensely in love. That's how I ended up in Vienna and why I'm still here in this strange place. ( Would have left LONG ago otherwise, believe me!) Will write about my meeting with my other half when I get a chance some time. Was definately my destiny and thank God my Dad taught me to always go with the flow.
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen
About soulmates.....the brilliant astrologist Linda Goodman believed that they are rare and wrote "It sometimes happens that a man and a woman meet and instantly recognise the other half of themselves behind the eyes of each other. Even their voices are familiar to each other's ears, like a remembered chord of music. These are two who immediately sense the unalterable fact that they have been - are - and must always be ONE; even though they might have fought against their fate for centuries and struggled in vain to escape their linked destiny. Almost from the first moment they meet and gaze upon each other, their spirits rush together in joyful recognition, ignoring all convention and custom, all social rules of behaviour, driven by an inner knowing too overwhelming to be denied. Inexplicably, often without a word being spoken, they know that only through each other can they hope to find Wholeness - only when they're together can they both be Complete in every way."

Just the kind of stuff feminists hate, but when it happens there's no denying it.
March 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen
Hey oh..drunk.. ordering pizza. Dave. The Surge. Donnie. Have wireless internet.. Saw a guy from The Strokes. blah. blah. blah. Love stories. Do you believe in love at first sight? I do? But it's all chemicals.. The real thing can't happen until way later. You never know if someone is your true love until the end right?
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
i believe in some sort of "connection" maybe at first sight. then again, like you said, it's all chemicals at that point. love takes work, and you can't put that kind of work in at first sight.

do they have decent pizza in austin? when you saw the stroke did you shout, "oh my gawd! tom verlaine!"?
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
As a feminist I don't hate what Linda Goodman wrote, but as a person living in the real world, I do. Stuff like that just sets up 99.9% of people for heartbreak. I'd rather my 14 year old daughter read Penthouse letters than that lightening bolt crap. It just doesn't happen. Yes, there can be immediate chemistry, but the love part -- that takes a lot of work and a huge leap of faith. If I'd thought more about it I wouldn't have married my husband a scant six months after I met him when I was very young and green around the gills. I had no thoughts of feeling 'complete or whole' with this man, I just thought it maybe might work over the long haul, and well, why not try it? Now, over 26 years later, it scares me to think what might have happened if I hadn't taken that leap. But through it all I've remained pretty whole and complete all by myself, and I hope we're raising our three kids to feel the same. Take a chance in life and love, but don't be expecting the arrow of cupid to decide your destiny.

March 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjls
i do not believe in love at first sight. or soulmates. relationships are hard enough without the added pressure of feeling like you have to fulfill your destiny along with it. besides, if you meet your "soulmate" and it doesn't work out, aren't you condemning yourself to being alone forever? see, i'm not cynical, i just believe in maximizing my options.
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercarey
Janet - that's pretty close to how I feel.. Yeah - my journal entries are sappy and I was "in love" the moment I met The Surge.. but like you say, had I waited even six months before marrying him - who knows if we would have gone through with it. By then we'd have learned each others terrible faults and probably been too freaked.. but now, looking back - like you said, it scares me to think what would have happened had we not taken the leap.

kasey - as for the "Stroke".. he was a bit of a too cool for school ass and the Texas pizza doesn't even rate with NY pizza..
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMonica
what Carey said. Speaking of true love - did Brangelina really do it?
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
I'm a bit of a romantic, I suppose. I would like to believe there is love at first sight. And there is a soul mate out there for me. I don't like to be too cynical even though sometimes I am.

One just never knows. The only thing I know is we are born alone and we die alone. Yeah I guess you can say that's being cynical. Oh well.
March 17, 2006 | Registered CommenterFiabug
Aw Joe. Although cynical there is a romantic that still dwells in your heart. Thanks for sharing. Too bad about the doggie diarrhea - that's the worst.
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
i've rarely found good pizza west of chicago (portland's escape from new york pizza being the exception), but i haven't been too many places in the midwest, so maybe, like, iowa has some killer pizza.

did you seek out any good bbq places yet? dry rub or sauce? i'm a sauce man, myself.

oh, the strokes. so hip. so fashion-forward. or backward. too bad their hairstyles are about 1,000 times more interesting than their records.
March 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
the food network pizza challenge told me that cleveland, ohio is considered the pizza capitol of the united states. so, the "killer pizza" is apparently in ohio, kasey.

and the strokes hairstyles are similar to their music: derivative of all the better hair that came before theirs.

March 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercarey
I cannot believe the best pizza is in Cleveland. No way! But you know, Cleveland rocks, right?

Carey, I"m with you on the Strokes. Amen.

On love...I always liked the concept of soulmates. But maybe I just watched too much Dawson's Creek. I didn't marry the man I thought was my soulmate - I choose not to, thank god! - and that was really hard. For years, even though I was happy in another relationship (and got married), I questioned my decision, but not my marriage, if that makes sense. I just didn't understand the point of this connection we had. Chemical? Maybe. But it wasn't really about that, we just loved each other and he wanted to give it go, have the happy life, and I wanted Nick (my husband). Maybe we were always supposed to be friends. Maybe we just connected to help each other through tough times in our lives. I don't have the answer, still, but I feel lucky to have known him. And I feel lucky I didn't marry him.

With Nick, I never felt he was my soulmate, I just knew he was the one for me. Everyone else paled in comparison to him. Still do.
March 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Loverly girl, I love that you posted those entries. I imagine you're having a crazy time with lots of bbq sauce. Of course I choose to move to Austin right after SXSW. Figures. I hope we get to play again before I leave.
March 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStephanieKlein
Thank you for sharing your special moment with me on our quest for smokes.

Here's to...
Monica, 10 - Austin, 1
Raise your glasses!!!!

Always remember it's the quality of the time you spend that counts the most. Make every minute the best, don't waste them with misunderstanding. Or miscommunication.
March 21, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Id Girl
Yes, Austin during SXSW is indeed a place like no else. Take a town that already swells with music and puff it out until its sides extend near to bursting, and out of the rush that is the five-day exhale, anything can happen--record deals, the discovery of a new band to love, or love itself. I have lived here since 1988 and can't imagine myself anywhere else.
March 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

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