I think most people dream about moments in life when it’s safe to let go of the reins and let destiny have them. Having too much control over the future becomes weighty, and something in the wind whispers, carpe diem, daring you to agree to opportunity.
The difference between Christina Rollyson and most people is that she took that dare-to-be-great situation that most people blame logic for passing by. When a major television network approached Christina and asked her to go the altar with a man her parents would choose for her to marry, she said, “why not”. In the age of technology, in millennial America, with state-of-the-art cameras all around, she said yes to an old-fashioned art and a gut feeling.
I think it’s natural to look at such a leap of faith with an attitude of both fear and awe. The mind immediately bounces between this girl is nuts, and this girl is awesome. After my chance to chat with her, dear reader, I can attest to the latter.
When I first sat down with the blonde-headed, brown-eyed, reality show personality, I saw a woman with 893 things running through her mind at once. I could tell she’d been hard at work with her travel business, while thinking about our interview, while making sure she looked fantastic (which is effortless). I watched her gather herself, bring it all back to center, when she reached into her cute pink purse and pulled out a bottle of some sort of body splash. She closed her eyes and gave herself one refreshing spritz right there in Barnes & Noble before taking a deep breath and giving me her full attention. I loved it.
I began talking to Christina about why she agreed to marry a man she had never met on national television. Afterall, isn’t that where the story starts? For us, the viewers, maybe. For Christina, not so much. It didn’t take long to discover I was sitting with a woman fed up with the dating scene, lack of chivalry, and lack of magic that today’s society proudly boasts. Her story had been 34 years in the making, and conjured up a strong force housed in a dainty bombshell that was ready for a bona fide fairy tale. If I couldn’t see how real she was I’d think a Bronte sister had made up the woman who described herself as, “a Victorian, classic kind of girl.” She needed her love story to be one for the ages, and demanded it, with swords of hope and defiance. She literally hoped for her miracle while she defied what the world says is normal in this day and time…then put her parents in the driver’s seat. By doing that, she defined her story, which coincidentally is the name of her business venture, Define Your Story Travel.
However, it wasn’t always easy for the girl who believes dreams come true. She and her first suitor broke up on her wedding day, and she got terribly burnt out on the process of finding a mate. She was ready to quit when her parents finally found the witty and charismatic, Tom.
Christina tells me people admire how strong her faith was, but what she’s desperate for people to know is that she chose faith. Christina says, “I choose faith. I choose hope. I choose how to perceive.” She is adamant that though she can be a princess, she is also a realist. She knows not everything is roses and rainbows, but chooses in those dark hours to have faith even if she can’t feel it until later. She practices strength, hope, and belief regardless. I think we’ve found the moral of this story, her secret ingredient…believe through it.
Now, almost 9 months into marriage, Christina and Tom are living in Charleston, SC, going strong. Christina says marriage is, “an evolving term, that for today means team.” The two are committed to their journey and are on a path to support each other, whatever the future holds. Christina tells me, “it isn’t about wondering how this person is going to make my life better. It’s the exact opposite.”
by Lorna Hollifield