Eighteen months ago, I found my voice through blogging. It helped me heal, it allowed to me express what my mouth couldn’t and it brought more support than I ever intended. I was originally hosted solely by other platforms, but have decided it’s time to begin my own website to house my content. I’ll be transferring over my old articles and then using this space to publish new ones. Thank you for reading, and coming on this journey with me.
A year ago I was in a different place. Physically, mentally, emotionally and in every other sense of the word. Looking back, it’s almost like I don’t recognize that girl. Or maybe I don’t want to acknowledge that I’m responsible for her choices and her struggles even though I want to take credit for her growth. She became me, or I became her and somewhere along the way there was a shift. Her insecurities are still there, but my confidence shines through them. I went through hell, but I came out the other side. If I could go back and see her a year ago, this is what I’d say:
1. Trust your instincts. It doesn’t matter how mundane something feels, how irrelevant it seems or how much you imagine it will impact your life. At the end of the day, if something or someone doesn’t feel right, go with your gut. No one knows your needs better than you, and if you don’t know what you need, you owe it to yourself to go find out.
2. Don’t hold back. Putting yourself out there, in any sense, means you’re being set up for failure, humiliation, pain and a host of other things. But all that happens if you hold back is you wonder what would have happened. Life’s too short. Always say what is on your mind, no matter what.
3. Sing in the car every day. It sounds silly, but a jam-sesh on the way to work or a sing along on route to the grocery store does wonders for your mood. Turn the music up loud, put the windows down and belt it out. No one is listening, and that’s the whole point.
4. You are stronger than you know. All those people you look up to. The ones who have overcome something, or gotten out of a bad situation, or found themselves and their passion. You are about to become one of them. People in your life, those close to you and those only tangentially connected will tell you how much you inspire them. Let that soak in, and let it feel good.
5. You’ll still have bad days. Being happy isn’t a constant state of contentment. It’s also not the absence of unhappiness. Being happy can mean still having bad days. But they are few and far between, and positive thoughts make them bearable. It’s not that happy people don’t struggle, but they know how to swim, and can avoid drowning.
6. Everything happens for a reason. The job you didn’t get. The person who distanced themselves. The pain you caused. The words you said or heard that can’t be taken back. There are thousands of threads that lead you to where you are in this moment and at this place in your life. Don’t look back and wish something had happened differently. You have no idea where you would have ended up.
7. You can’t turn off your feelings. You’ll wake up in a cold sweat from a dream that felt more like a nightmare and wonder why your subconscious is feelings things that your conscious mind hasn’t experienced in months. You’ll hear that song, or smell that scent, or hear that name and be transported to a place you swore you’d never revisit. And that’s okay. You’ve done an incredible job of distancing yourself, and of healing, but you can’t turn off the feelings. Acknowledge them, forgive yourself, and move on.
8. Not everyone will understand. In a perfect world every person in your life will be supportive, attentive and want to share your new experiences with you. But some may struggle to keep up. It doesn’t mean you’ll lose them for good, or that you should stop trying, but use the opportunity to take a step back. When you find each other again you may be stronger than before.
9. You’re just getting started. Being in your mid-twenties is strange. You’ve been an adult for a handful of years, you’ve seen and done so much and it’s easy to feel like you’re required to have it all figured out by now. But you’re simultaneously so young and still so naïve to what you want and how to get it. Which isn’t an insult. There is absolutely no reason to freak out that you don’t know which way is up, or to compare yourself to your friends who seem to be on track. I bet if you asked them, they’re just as scared as you are.
10. It will all work out. It seems absurd that you can jump into a new life, chase after a new sense of self and leave everything you know behind and trust it to fall into place. But it will. So close your eyes, leap, and know that nothing will ever be the same. And that’s a beautiful thing.
For a long time, you put everyone else first.
In your mind, the demands of friendships, relationships, family and responsibilities were always more important than your own needs.
You didn’t hate yourself, but you didn’t love yourself either.
You may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment it changed, but now that you’ve learned to truly love yourself, everything is different.
You don’t need outside validation. It’s always nice to hear someone else comment on your success, give you some extra comfort or tell you you look damn good. But these days, you’re perfectly capable of giving yourself any props you need. Everything else is just an added bonus.
Rainy days aren’t overwhelming. During the days of self-doubt and identity crisis, a day stuck inside with nothing but your thoughts was horrifying. You’d do anything to go out and interact with someone, anyone, rather than sit alone at home. Now, you revel in the time to yourself to unwind, relax, and think.
You can trust your decisions. With confidence in yourself and respect for your experiences and what they’ve taught you, making hard decisions no longer involves second and third guessing. Instead you’re able to feel good about choices and move forward.
Your standards for how you should be treated are higher. Back when you didn’t think very highly of yourself, it set a low threshold of which behaviors you found acceptable. Now that you know how amazing you are, and know what you deserve, you have a much better sense of what you need from others.
Other people are drawn to you. People feed off other positive energy, and this new you is exploding with it. You notice new connections popping up without even trying, and it’s amazing.
Your existing relationships get stronger. It’s incredible how much more you can give and receive from the people in your life now that you’re in touch with your own self-love. Whether personal or professional, being authentic will come naturally.
Disappointments are easier to stomach. Picking yourself off the floor after a wrong step used to feel impossible when you were your own worst critic. Once you’ve learned to accept your mistakes and learn from them, each closed door really does open another.
Love is easier to give. It sounds cliche, but you really do need to put yourself first. And learning to love yourself makes you infinitely better at loving others.
The future isn’t so scary. When you’re content with who are you and where you’re at, nothing can stop you. Even if you’re in a rough patch, you know success is around the corner if you just keep at it.
Let’s get something straight – leaving you was the best decision I’ve ever made.
And even though I made clear it was my final goodbye, and kept my word of walking out of your life for good, you remain completely incapable of accepting that reality.
Instead you pop in, every few months, to remind me that you are sorry. To beg for me to give you another chance. To tell me how much you still miss me.
But the girl you think you miss is long gone.
You’re remembering the girl who would cower at your every word. The girl who knew better than to disagree. The girl who did what she thought you wanted.
The girl who would bend over backward just to make you happy.
And what you clearly don’t understand, is that she hasn’t existed for a while now.
In her place, is a woman who knows what she’s worth.
A woman who will never again let someone treat her as anything less than incredible. A woman who feels sorry for you, because you are too stuck in the past to have learned a single thing.
A woman who knows that you were meant to tear her down, so she could build herself back up, stronger.
Every time you say you miss me, you prove that you’re still that boy. Every time you plead with me to reconsider, you remind me that you’ll never be a real man.
And every time you attempt to crawl back into my story, you create more and more distance between me and that chapter.
For all I know, you’ll spend the rest of your life drowning in the past and missing the person you thought you knew.
But the truth is, it won’t matter.
I’m done. I’ve changed for the better. I’m living my life. And while she will always be a part of me, I don’t miss her like you do.
So you’re free to live in the past all you want, but you sure as hell won’t drag me with you.
Why we still subject ourselves to this torture or how we can stand to watch TV anymore is a mystery. Maybe it’s because we secretly love getting our souls crushed when our favorite character is killed.
Despite there being plenty of ways to write an actor off of a show, death seems to be the most common. These examples are just some of the reasons we have commitment issues…
*Warning: contains spoilers*
- Keith (One Tree Hill). I can tell you exactly where I was sitting when I watched Dan murder his brother in cold blood in the hallway of the damn high school. I low-key lost faith in humanity and cried for like an hour…
- Finn (Glee) The only thing more depressing than our favorite show choir losing Finn to suicide was the fact that the real actor Corey Monteith died of a drug overdose. All the feels!!!!!
- Shay (Chicago Fire) We knew watching gorgeous men and woman run into burning buildings every week was slightly dangerous but really?! Gabby’s best friend?!
- Wren (Pretty Little Liars) Not only did Spencer’s psychotic twin kill the British heart throb but she decided to wear his ashes in a pendant around her neck…till death do us part officially got a new meaning, and the females of Rosewood suffered a serious loss.
- Jason (Designated Survivor) It may be one of TVs newer shows, but the moment they killed Jason, and the moment Hannah realizes it’s happened are enough to make anyone tear up.
- Angelo (Switched At Birth) Naturally when the family is finally happy and well adjusted they have to get rid of him in a car crash. Haven’t the girls already been through enough?
- Melissa (OC) Is there anything more gut wrenching than Ryan carrying her out of the burning car? Like seriously.
- Rayna (Nashville) The queen of country’s sudden death after surviving multiple life threatening situations felt like someone stole our first born. But her family crowded by her bedside singing, “Life That’s Good” in perfect harmony was just plain cruel.
- Michael (Jane the Virgin) When her husband got shot we were led to believe he would be fine. But JK, he dies a few months later…#ugh.
- Jon (Game of Thrones) Watching fellow members of the Night’s Watch stab him after tricking him into coming outside was the ultimate betrayal. Can we trust no one?
- Zoe (Hour of Cards) As if death by train isn’t bad enough, she had to be pushed in front of it. We can’t decide if it was a brilliant or awful way to start a new season.
- William (This Is Us) The moment we realized the father son road trip was a final goodbye, our hearts broke. Cancer blows, even on screen.
- EVERYONE (Grey’s Anatomy) It’s no secret that killing off fan favorites is Shonda Rhimes number one hobby, but getting rid of half the cast (literally) is just plain wrong. Don’t even get us started on Derek…
The saying you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone describes you perfectly.
You were so good at taking me for granted that you somehow managed to miss what was right in front of you. And by the time you figured it out, I was long gone.
You can claim that you want me until you’re blue in the face, but when we were together, I was never enough. It’s funny how years of being talked down to and criticized can make you feel worthless.
Now I’m stronger than ever. And you’re alone.
I’m not sure where you got the idea that you get to sail through a relationship without effort. We were so volatile and so toxic that the only thing more intense than our highs were our lows. But when it got tough, you never wanted to talk about it.
Maybe you could have kept me if you weren’t afraid to open up, but that doesn’t mean I should give you another chance. You were given plenty.
You acted as though no matter what you did, I would never have the guts to walk away. But the truth is, our future was never a guarantee.
Maybe in another universe you would have been right, and I would have settled. But I finally realized what I was worth, and now the future you thought you were entitled too is out of reach.
When you had me you treated me like garbage. But now that you don’t, you insist you would be the ultimate gentleman. The perfect partner. The best companion.
But past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, and that doesn’t bode well for you. Quit pretending you’re a saint, we both know that’s far from true.
I realize this was so hard because you’re spoiled. That’s why you went off the deep end when I left, because no one has ever told you “no”. I know you’re used to getting what you want, but this time, you can’t have it.
The list of things that tore us apart is a mile long, but your double standards make the top 10. You could brag about your dating history and catcall any girl you wanted, but the idea of me being with someone else killed you.
That’s probably why it’s so hard for you to accept that I left. Because now you get to spend your nights picturing me in someone else’s arms.
I truly believe the only reason you’re desperate to have me back is because you know I’m out of reach. It’s ironic that when you had me by your side couldn’t care less, but all of a sudden you’ve changed course.
Now that I’m gone, you’ve decided you want to be a better guy. You say you’re sure that what we had was enough. But I can promise you our story was never meant for a happy ending.
You can waste your energy blaming everyone and everything, but at the end of the day, we were never going to make each other happy.
I know you’re willing to do anything in your power to get me back, but I mean it when I say that it’s too late.
That ship has sailed, and there’s no room for you on it.
Our generation seems to have mastered the “almost relationship”. You know, that 4-6 month period after you’ve gotten to know someone new when you’re unable or unwilling to call him your boyfriend, but you still play house like you’re a real couple.
No matter how on the same page you are at the start, a shit storm eventually breaks out when one or both of you decide you don’t want to commit.
These one foot in, one foot out flings are easy to spot thanks to the awkward moments that are bound to come up. If you’re not sure if your “relationship” qualifies, see if any of these sound familiar…
The ten minute debate about the good morning/good night text. It’s common in most serious relationships for your partner to be the first person you talk to every morning and the last each night.
When you’re texting all day and super up to date on each others lives, but not officially dating, it’s hard to know if the sweet dreams text is expected or excessive.
To be safe, you settle for once or twice a week instead of everyday.
Not knowing what the heck to call them in stories. First of all, the fact that you’re telling your friends about a guy you’re not seriously dating already says something. But it’s even more obvious you’re in an almost relationship when you have no clue how to refer to the guy.
You can’t say boyfriend, but you also can’t say friend….help!
When you’re unsure whether or not you can flirt with other dudes. It’s up to you and whoever you’re seeing if you’ve talked about dating other people, but it can feel so freaking awkward to pass out your number at the bar when you’re 99% sure you’re heading to his place later.
If you’ve given each other permission to see other people, and you still feel weird about actually doing it, you’re definitely caught in an almost relationship.
Wondering if in sickness and in health is a thing. Even if you’re not exclusively dating someone, chances are if you’re acting like you’re dating, you genuinely care about them. That probably means when they’re sick you’re going to want to take care of them, and when you’re sick you’re going to want to give them a call.
But bringing over chicken noodle soup or having him hold your disgusting and snotty self on the couch are both serious violations of a casual fling. If your first thought when you’re sick is “I want him here”, you’re further in than you think.
Figuring out what to do about PDA. When two people are officially dating, no one thinks twice about holding hands in public or a quick kiss in front of friends. It’s also totally irrelevant with casual hook ups, since you typically don’t leave the confines of the bedroom.
Almost relationships make the PDA question confusing as hell. Is holding hands too coupley? Is being careful not to brush up against his leg too friend zone? Will everyone we’re with get the wrong idea? What on earth do we do!?
Trying to low-key keep a few pics on your phone. Chances are you haven’t taken any pictures together yet (and if you have, you’ve gone past almost relationship into commitment land) but you’re going to want to show friends what he looks like.
Instead, you settle for saving some of his best shots from facebook and instagram. Just make sure he doesn’t find himself in your camera roll “favorites”, or you’ll have some awkward explaining to do.
Talking about your feelings is testy waters. It’s hard in an almost relationship to know how much to share and how much to keep to yourself. Obviously if you’re still hanging out, you’re both somewhat into each other, but no person wants to be the one to bring up the “I really like you” conversation.
If you’ve been seeing someone a while and want to move things to the next level, take the leap of faith and let them know. Worst case, they won’t agree, but who knows, maybe you’re both ready for something real.