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Trusting Yourself

All my life, I’ve been searching for answers.

Like most little kids, my favorite question was “Why?” I’d ask my mom about everything and anything, wanting to know why people did the things they did, how things worked, and what my mom thought about them.

As a teenager, I explored different experiences to find who I was and who I wasn’t. I tried being the over-achiever, the slacker, the arty kid, the theater kid, the choir kid, the daredevil, the music snob, the loner, and the social butterfly (at least as much as I could manage it).

Now, I’m a young adult. I’ve got an idea of how the world works and who I am. But like most young adults, I’ve struggled with another big question: what do I want in life?

For the past few months, this question has been interrupting my life almost every waking moment. It all started with my ex Jessie telling me that all of his relationships have fallen apart because he’s still in love with me. While this wasn’t exactly a shocking revelation, it still threw me off guard and left me thinking, “What am I supposed to do with this information?” That got me looking at my current relationship with my boyfriend Fred. Would our relationship allow me to pursue my dreams of traveling in the future? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. And then I started thinking about the other big black hole in my future: my degree and my career. I thought I knew what I wanted, but the hoops I have to jump through to get there sound miserable. So, all day everyday I have been thinking, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?”

The more I realized I hadn’t thought things out, the more questions seemed to be hurdled at me: do I want to get a Ph.D? Do I want to be in a relationship with Jessie? Am I willing to give up on travel? What type of job should I pursue if I don’t get my Ph.D? Would I be willing to let Jessie go? Would I be willing to let Fred go? Should I just be on my own? Should I start traveling now? What do I do if I take a year off? How did I not think about all of this before now?

The trouble with happiness (as weird as it sounds) is that you quit questioning things. The way that sadness makes you hyper-analyze your life, happiness makes you under-analyze your life. After all, if you’re happy, why should things change? Isn’t that the goal, to be happy?

When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to change peoples’ lives. Probably not in a fancy way, like being president or discovering a planet, but changing them in a small, meaningful way. That’s why I chose to pursue psychology, so I could help people manage their everyday lives. I also knew I wanted to travel, to see every continent (except maybe Antarctica) and discover how other people live, and how different life could be. I held these two goals close to my heart and promised myself that no matter how far away they seemed, that I would do them because that is just who I am…I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have these goals.

Now, I’m in my early twenties, and I feel as though every decision I make right now will influence whether or not those goals will become accomplished. I’m terrified of waking up in ten years, stuck, and wishing I had done something different. I’m terrified of choosing wrong, and being unable to make it right.

So I had to make a choice. It all happened in one night, when I sat down with my mom and told her everything I had been thinking. I didn’t exactly want her to tell me what I should do, more like her perspective. What did she want when she was my age? Did she get what she wanted? What about the things she didn’t get—does she regret the decisions that stopped her from getting them? What happened? What changed?

Basically, that conversation with her reminded me of every other moment of doubt in my life. Time after time, I’d feel so lost and helpless…and what did I do? I did what I had to. I chose a college, I chose a degree, I chose to drop out, I chose to go to therapy and get medication, I chose to go back to school. I’ve always done what I had to, and when I found myself lost again I made a change. No matter what has happened, when I’ve had no other choice than to trust myself, I’ve ended up happy and content in the end.

So I chose to make it work with my boyfriend, and try to let Jessie go. I chose to pick a career within psychology that would get me a job easily, so I could have the money to go back to school later if I didn’t like it. I chose to make a choice—to suck it up, pick a direction, and trust that I’d take myself where I needed to go.

Weeks later, I’m more or less the same. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to get into grad school, and I’m still working on letting go of Jessie, despite not talking to him for weeks. But I feel better, I feel confident in a weird way. I may still be a little lost, but I know it won’t last forever. Eventually I’ll move on to different problems, circumstances in my life will change, and I’ll still be the one calling the shots. The problems I’m stuck on now will seem smaller; the insecurities I face will have faded. Life goes on.

So maybe down the road I’ll change my grad school plans. Maybe I’ll decide to travel on my own. Maybe it won’t work out with Fred, maybe it will be too late with Jessie. No matter how scary it gets, no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay. I’ve kept myself safe thus far, and I know I’ll do it again.

Self-Transformation, etc.

The best way to make a change in your life and how you feel about it is to start trying new things. Everybody knows this, but we all sort of get busy with our lives and push new ideas aside because it’s so much easier to stick with our old routine. Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to go ahead and put on your big girl panties, suck it up and put yourself out there.

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As a person who has a lot of anxiety about interacting with people, this is no easy task for me. Sometimes hanging out with my own friends can be tiring and nerve-racking, so making new ones is not something I’m especially good at or used to. But after weeks of talking about it with my therapist, I’ve finally found some motivation to take the plunge and actually try.

So what am I trying? Well, it’s just baby steps for now, but I’ve been focusing on: a) Cutting back on people-pleasing so damn much and actually doing what’s right for me, b) Making more of an effort to socialize with my roommates and in general, and c) Trying things that I am interested in instead of just letting opportunities slip by. How I’ve been doing this is: a) I told my roommates I want to live somewhere else this fall. I just can’t live with pets anymore without some sort of allergic reaction, and even though that’s not my fault, I was really dreading the idea of telling them I want to move out. I didn’t want them to think I was being unreasonable or hurt their feelings, so I really considered just staying where I’m at, but in the long run I know moving out is the better choice for me. b) On Monday nights I set aside time to watch The Bachelor with my roommates. Honestly, I think the show is super sexist and ridiculous, but it’s something they enjoy, and I like watching it with them because we all add our own commentary. It’s a good bonding activity, especially when we break out the wine. c) I’ve been searching for a club to join this semester that fits in with my schedule and is something I maybe won’t get the opportunity to do after college. So next week I’m going to a Tango Club meeting, because I suck at dancing and I’d like to be better at it. I’m not setting up any high expectations—I’ll go, and if I like it I’ll keep going. If I don’t like it, I won’t go, and I’ll probably try to find some sort of craft club to join. My therapist used an interesting metaphor for this; she said that it was sort of like gardening, where right now is the time to just try to plant a bunch of seeds. Some of them won’t grow into anything, but others hopefully will, and after time they can turn into something great that I can pick and make into jam or some shit. So basically, I’ve got to try some new things, find what I like, stick to the ones I enjoy the most, and eventually it will bring me a sense of purpose or some friends or at least a fun way to spend a Wednesday night. (For all of you non-therapy goers, metaphors always turn up eventually, even though it’s so stereotypical, and they are almost always something strange that sound stupid in any other situation.) Anyway, I’m planting my seeds, readers. Hopefully something will grow.

In other news, I’ve also had some good changes with Jessie, my ex-partner living in Central America. Since allowing each other to see other people, we’ve become more honest with another and more realistic about our relationship. Now that I feel less pressure to tie my future to his*, I actually feel more inclined to. But I’m not making any sort of promises still, because there’s more work I need to do about figuring out how I want my life to be. In a strange way, I think we are sort of better than ever at this point.

Being honest means I’ve fessed up to seeing someone else in the past few weeks. Now, by “seeing someone” I just mean hanging out and intimacy—it is not a relationship with labels and I intend to keep it that way. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed spending time with this guy (who will be anonymous for now) and it has taught me a lot about the kind of person I am looking for. After looking back at some of my old relationships I now see them in a different light; where I once thought I had serious, adult love I recognize that it was young, foolish love that was based on a naïve dream. Now I know that while it is fun to spend time with people who are free spirits and idealists in your 20’s, the person I want to marry one day is someone I could count on, who is responsible and reliable. And that’s not to say that free spirits and idealists aren’t great people…I just know now that I’m going to need someone who I can both dream with, and conquer reality with.

I had a funny sort of inspiration for all of these realizations lately. Yesterday I was sitting in my car outside my therapist’s office, looking out the window, and thinking about what it would be like if I were pregnant. Mind you, I have no desire to be a mother any time soon, but  since I’ve lost track of my periods I was a little concerned about this at the time. (Just for the record, though, I’m not pregnant.) Anyway, I sat there picturing myself with a little boy who was mine and I suddenly saw this attainable version of myself that I’d like to be someday. I was independent, and I trusted my instincts though I was sometimes scared, and I stuck to important values that I wanted to pass on to my kid. Values like being honest instead of proud, being kind and fair,  especially when you don’t agree with someone, and learning about the things you don’t understand instead of dismissing them. I know it sounds sort of silly, but when you think of the life you’d like to give to someone you love with all of your heart, it becomes clear what you think people deserve. And I think if you can take that idea of life, and apply it to yourself instead, you realize that maybe you deserve that too.

So this is my journey in becoming someone I can admire and aspire to. It’s not going to be easy (in fact, it will most likely be pretty uncomfortable as I push myself to do new things), and it’s going to take time and work, but I’m trying because at the end of the day if I tried, at least I did something different.

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*In the past, I’ve used she/her or they/them pronouns for Jessie (or tried just avoiding using pronouns altogether), however recently I learned that Jessie’s correct pronouns are he/him, so that’s what I’m going to start using!

“What Now?”

Happy New Year 2016

I began the new year watching The Aristocats with my partner all cuddled up in bed. Two and a half hours later, we were putting her suitcase into my car and left for the airport. Two hours from that, we entered the terminal together. And then fifteen or so minutes later I watched her enter gate 82 with tears streaming down my face. I left the terminal alone.

It happened so much faster than I thought it would. One second she was there and the next she was gone. Just like that, a giant hole of uncertainty appeared in my life. After months of disappearing into my classes and my partner, I finally came out the other side—uncertain and scared as ever.

My first thought was “Don’t go!”, of ‘course. But even in the midst of heartbreak I knew that sort of selfishness wasn’t what was right. My second thought was “I wish I could be getting on a plane right now.” I envied my partner’s freedom to start a new life when I was stuck in my old one. I wished I could be as brave as her so I might be able to one day leave behind my family, friends, and lover in order to achieve my dreams. But here I remain with my insecurities; there’s still work to be done.

What now? If only I knew. After bouts of sobbing, I decided to distract myself with sleep and binge-watching Girls. The productive moments of my day were talking on the phone with my friend Polly and skyping my partner after she settled in her new, temporary home. As for tomorrow and the next few months, who knows. I have ideas about painting, lifting weights, finishing the book I’m reading and trying to connect with friends. But ideas are flimsy and motivation can be hard to find—I pray I can be strong enough to fulfill my wishes to be self-relying, self-improving….that I can bat away ideas of self-destruction (a.k.a. bad distractions) and use my time wisely.

Something that’s been on my mind lately is my partner’s willingness to commit and talk about our future together. I see her hopefulness and it reminds me of the same kind of home that left me so broken-hearted this past year. I have a lot of fear about saying too many “One day…”‘s “When we [do this]…”‘s and “Someday”‘s. But I look at the way she treats me and it makes me want to shake out all of my fear, because who could ever love me or care for me better than her? However, I remain hesitant.

I’ve decided to quit worrying about planning my future extensively and  what I’m “supposed” to be doing. This year I want to focus on the now, and the things that will make me happy now. So, what makes me happy now is planning to visit my partner in Central America during spring break. I don’t care that there’s a lot of time in between now and then, and that other people may try to steal both of our hearts in the mean time. I don’t want my heart stolen; I don’t want to waste time on “what if”‘s. I’m not going to let these insecurities stop me…just because I may not have a plan for my career or my love life or my friendships doesn’t mean I should stop living.

There are bound to be screw-ups in 2016. And while I’m scared of making the same mistakes I did in 2015, I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try to take a chance on dreams, love, and inspiration this year… If I don’t keep opening myself up to experiences, I’ll stay this way forever.

A Blue Christmas, A Self-Righteous Resolution

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/hope you’re having a nice day everyone. I’ve officially survived a week of being at my parents’ house, and I am so ready to pack up and go home tomorrow. If I have to hear my dad complain about one more thing I might just ask him who shoved the candy cane up his ass this holiday season.

This is a tough time for me, readers. The holiday season this year combines all of my non-favorite things: bonding time with my family who is constantly judging me for not being straight, the impending doom of my partner moving to another country January 1st, and the fact that everything about the holidays reminds me of Fred. I’m kind of glad this Christmas is just about over, honestly.

Since I’ve discussed the first two grievances of the holiday season already (my family’s issues, and the worries about my partner leaving), I’m just going to dive into the third because I feel like I can’t talk about it in the real world anymore. I’ve been avoiding Fred-talk for about a month now, and I’ve been happy with that…until earlier this week.

I don’t know what I was thinking, attempting to talk to Miranda. I should have known that nothing good ever seems to come out of contacting her. But I was so bored stuck in my house, so I thought maybe getting out would be good for me. Well, what happened was that my partner didn’t want me to hang out with Miranda, so I didn’t, and after I messaged Miranda telling her that, she starts messaging me about Fred and his personal life. Mainly, that he’s dating someone else. Someone he made a big deal out of telling me he wasn’t dating last time we spoke. And I’ll be damned if my stomach didn’t drop when I heard it.

Part of me wasn’t surprised. It seemed like almost everything Fred told me after we broke up last spring has been later contradicted by his behavior. But another part of me, a bigger part, just didn’t want to hear it. So I told Miranda I just that, and quit messaging her. After all, Fred’s personal life is none of my business anymore, and the less I hear about it, the less sad I seem to be. Even though I get curious about his life from time to time I refuse to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong. I’m determined to keep my word about not even giving myself the option to reach out until April.

And yet, sometimes you don’t even need contact with a person for you to hold back tears at the dinner table. Christmas time was the time Fred and I started dating, and watching my brother and his girlfriend together this Christmas was a constant reminder of who was with our family last Christmas, but no longer. Fred was my lifeboat during a lot of awful family get-togethers, and since my current partner is banned from family events (due to the fact that my dad is a homophobic asshole) and also leaving the country soon, I’m left to weather the storm alone. I was never supposed to be alone again…Fred was supposed to be there…it was supposed to be 2 years going on many, many more years to come. But now it’s just a big ol’ hole in the holiday traditions reminding me that I chose to invest in someone who ended up being wrong for me.

I’ll be real with you, readers. So many people of this past year will not be in my life for 2016. My partner is leaving, my best friend Ashley has given up on our friendship, and the person I kissed on 12am last New Years will most likely be kissing someone else this year. No one seems to give a flying fuck about being there for each other except a few close friends that remain. I’m entering this new year as a nomad, and while I’m trying my hardest to remain positive about it, it gets pretty damn hard not to throw myself a pity party. Because I miss Fred and Ashley; I miss who they were and what they meant to me. All of those strong relationships I had seem to be going down the shitter, and it’s hard not to look at them and think that it’s all my fault and that I somehow messed up.

But…there is some hope alive. I’m determined to make this extra room in my life full with self-improvement this year. And not any of those bullshit resolutions, either. I want to find things that inspire me, things I’m interested in, and do them! I will be less caught up in my stupid love life this year and more concerned with my future, who I want to be, and how I’m going to get there.

2015 may be trying to fuck me over all through the holidays, but the second it’s 2016 the game will change. I’m not backing down.

“Good Enough?”, Goals, and Getting There

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Life is a constant struggle between being yourself and wanting to be your ideal “you”. We love to prove to ourselves that we can be smarter, beautiful, successful, accomplished, talented, in amazing shape, likable, and anything else that we desire. We want to have quality relationships, we want to have financial stability and flexibility, we want to rise through the ranks in our professions. We want it all, but we are also plagued by mediocrity. And as much as you can resent yourself for not being a superhero, it’s just not productive. So we must balance reality and expectations. Not a simple task.

I used to be that driven kid. In middle school I was on student council, art club, the school newspaper, choir, National Junior Honor Society, and I was also an aspiring writer, guitar player, and artist. All of that was in addition to a schedule stuffed with advanced classes, and a new stack of books I read for fun each week. And all of that was to impress colleges who didn’t even know I existed.

Then in high school I changed. I started out on the same track: choir, National Honor Society, drama club, speech club, renaissance club, and more advanced classes. But then I traded hobbies for friends, got a job at 16, and after a terrible semester in junior year I snapped. I couldn’t do it all, I wasn’t perfect like I wanted to be, and it was exhausting trying to look pretty every day after a nights of furiously trying to finish homework on break at work. Most of the classes I took that year were for college credit, and trying to balance being a student, an employee, and a soon-to-be girlfriend in my first relationship wasn’t working. So I snapped. I admitted to being depressed and began medication, I quit my job, and school took a backseat to happiness. My new philosophy was “Fuck it!” and I blocked out everything that challenged me.

Now, after a year (almost a year and a half!) of college, my philosophy has changed again. I focus on what makes me happy, but I’ve also started to push myself from time to time to be that ideal version of myself. The ideal “me” runs everyday, completes all of her assignments days before they are due, volunteers, is an active part of the university feminist group, eats healthy, hangs out with her friends a lot, writes her aspiring novel, draws and reads in her spare time, and maintains a wonderful relationship with her boyfriend and friends back home. But I’m not this girl. I run sporadically, complete my assignments, is trying to volunteer a bit, hardly attends the feminist meetings anymore, “tries” to eat healthy, hangs out with her friends at school and back home, reads sometimes but not enough, hardly draws or writes, and maintains the healthy relationship with my boyfriend. I’m not doing terribly, but I’m not super close to the ideal “me”. And sometimes that bothers me, and sometimes it doesn’t.

We all want to be in control of our lives, to control our destiny and be the best, but life isn’t a to-do list you can make. Sometimes things get in the way, sometimes our ambition is second-priority to our emotions. So how do we not get stuck in our laziness for fear of stress (but also not get burnt out on trying too hard)? The balance. Trying to balance your life is always the goal that comes back to haunt you, because nine times out of ten your conflicts derive from a lack of balance (i.e. not spending enough time with loved ones because of work, getting behind at school because of your social life, one partner in a relationship picking up too much slack because the other partner is not doing their share, etc.). But balancing our lives is much easier said than done. So how do you do it?

I’m no expert, but so far this semester I’ve had success with balancing ideal “me” expectations, and realistic probability of achieving those tasks. Here’s what I did:

  1. Stop beating yourself up. You’re never going to accomplish anything if you are too busy telling yourself that you suck. You can’t do everything, but you can do more than nothing. Believe that you can do this, and remember all of the times you accomplished something and was proud of yourself. Start of by treating yourself to something nice that you normally don’t do, maybe buy yourself that dress you’ve been eyeing for weeks, or that new album from your favorite band. Show yourself you can accomplish something if you want it.
  2. Now make a realistic list of stuff you want to do. Keep it small, maybe the top five things you want to accomplish in the next month/four months. Don’t go thinking about the whole year, because you’ll forget about your goals or put it off if you have too much time. Now set some sort of timeline for your goals. Try to do one thing at a time, so you aren’t taking on too much.
  3. Do the first thing. Don’t feel discouraged if it takes longer than you thought or you feel like an amateur while doing it. As long as you are CONSISTENTLY trying, you are being successful! Promise yourself you’ll do something fun after you accomplish it!
  4. Don’t feel like a terrible person if you give up for a while. Sometimes we aren’t ready to do something because you have four exams that week, or you are going through a fight with your friend. Life happens, it’s okay, but vow to try again as soon as things calm down.
  5. Recognize when you do something good. After you complete a task, even if it is as simple as taking out the trash, remember you have one less thing to do! If you forgot something to do that day, think of all the things you remembered to do. It’s important to be positive throughout the process of productiveness. Just try your best, and remember you are only human! Also, try not to compare yourself to other people, because everyone has their own life and their own unique set of problems.
  6. Always make time for happiness and relaxation. You are not a machine, and it is vital to release stress in order to keep on track. Just remember to put a time limit on your Netflixing or naps. For every episode write another paragraph of your paper due on Friday, or plan to be productive after dinner, then do it! Keep your promises to yourself, because the more you break them, the harder it will be to convince yourself to get to work. Remember that these goals are in your best interest and why you want to achieve them.

I hope that helps, to whoever is interested in finding their balance between their ideal self and where they are at now. Before you go into making these goals, though, I think it is important to appreciate who you are now, and how far you’ve come. We all want to be better, but in order to do that we must find our strengths and count our blessings. (You could always be worse off!) Anyway, feel free to let me know how you’re doing with your goals or if you have a suggestion for others about what helps you get stuff done! 🙂 Good job to all who are trying, and good luck to all who want to try sometime soon!

And the Pieces Fall Together…

Today I felt great about my life. My boyfriend showed so much support, consideration, and compassion, proving yet again how lucky I am to have him. My family made me realize how hard I am willing to work to have an adult life surrounded in warmth and generosity. My long car ride back to school was filled with happy pop songs that inspired me to make a positive change in my life, and how attainable that goal really is. The people you love really do come through for you sometimes, and when they do you understand that with the right amount of love and support, you can grow into the person you’ve always wanted to be–that version of yourself you’ve dreamt about, who makes you ache from reaching out so hard.

I know that might not make much sense, but it sometimes is just as simple as facing yourself in the mirror and saying, “I AM going to do this. I have to do this.” So with that motto in mind, I went on a run today for the first time in a long time. It was very hard to push through, and before I even walked out the door, my heart was racing from nerves. But I did it! And I felt a power inside of me, pushing me that much forward toward the next block, the next stop sign…It made me feel less helpless, and more control of my life in a positive way. And I probably would have never gone on that run if I had decided to cry as I left my boyfriend in a different city, if I had decided to turn on the same music I always listen to. But as stupid as it sounds, the radio was playing the top 100 songs from the early 2000’s, and it made me feel silly and carefree. I suddenly remembered that I shouldn’t take my life so seriously, and that in order to move forward I need to pursue what makes me happy, nothing more or less.

Happiness is what I need. It’s all anyone wants for and craves. It’s what makes this world turn, and success is meaningless without it. And while we can’t always be happy, because life will always deal us a certain amount of blows, the ability to adapt is what keeps us strong. This strength makes us brave enough to reach for more, even at the risk of getting hurt. And so we reach and find happiness yet again, usually where we least expect it.

I think I’m brave enough now to reach for happiness again, even at the risk of getting hurt. I know I have love and support, even if it may be far, and as long as I remember that I will believe in my own strength. Now it is the time to create a new life here at college, the life I truly deserve.

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Sleepless/A Conversation

It’s after three in the morning and I can’t sleep. After organizing my stuff to pack up for if-you-cant-sleep-playlist-art-4024school, I decided to lay down and close my eyes. That was around 2am, and here I am an hour later after listening to my brain come up with my schedule for the rest of the week, the route I’m going to take to get to my dorm Saturday morning, possible ideas of what to do with my grandparents when I visit them tomorrow (besides just sitting there flipping through magazines after an hour of twenty questions), something me and my mom can do together before I leave, and a fleeting idea of taking swimming lessons at school to conquer my long-time fear of water. It’s a mess. I also can’t help thinking that I should really be trying to go to bed sooner so when the first week of classes hits I can actually wake up sometime before noon.

For some reason it makes me want to talk to Charles. He always knew what to say to shut me up about my anxieties, mostly so we could focus on his problems, but there’d also be rare moments when he’d make me see something about them that I couldn’t before. I could imagine our conversation going something like this:

“Hey. I’m sorry to wake you up at three-thirty in the morning but I can’t sleep no matter how hard I try because I just can’t stop thinking about school starting next Monday and moving in on Saturday.”

“(heavy sigh) You realize you owe me for this, don’t you? I was having a dream about [some outrageous nonsense that he will go into great detail over] and you just woke me up from it.”

“What?! I’ve listened to you plenty, and even though I feel bad about waking you up, I don’t owe you squat.”

[then we’d argue for a few minutes, pointing out specific instances of us putting up with the other person’s crap]

“Alright, I’m too tired for this. Just tell me about school so I can go back to bed.”

“Well…I’m just nervous, okay? I don’t want to screw it up and be like last year.”

“And why was last year bad?”

“I didn’t make a lot of friends and I missed my boyfriend all the time and… It was like everyone else was having the time of their lives, and I was just getting through day-by-day. I just holed up in my room and watched Netflix a lot and I didn’t really do anything that made a difference. I didn’t explore the town that much and I quit running and spent most of my time wishing I was with my boyfriend.”

“Then don’t do that.”

“You say that like it’s simple. I knew I was isolating myself and felt really bad about it, but I didn’t know how to make friends after everyone seemed to stop looking for new ones. I was insecure, and my self-esteem was crappy, and I was scared to try to fill up my schedule at the risk of becoming super stressed out.”

“Look, if you want to make this year different then you will. You will find reasons to try rather than reasons not to, and if you don’t then that’s your own fault and you’ll have another crappy year. Do something about it, and stop worrying. If you want to be with your boyfriend then you’re going to just have to accept the fact that you’re going to miss him all the time, and not have the closeness other people have. If you want more friends then go find them, and quit expecting them to show up at your doorstep. You’ll be fine, you always are.”

“…..You’re right. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now I’m going to bed, because I’ve got stuff to do tomorrow and can’t sleep in, unlike some people.”

“[eye roll, which he wouldn’t have seen anyway, but still completely relevant] Okay, sorry…So, I can do this?”

“You can do this.”

“Okay…Thanks again, Charles. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

Even though it’s pretty silly of me to type out this imaginary conversation, it makes me feel a lot better now. Almost as if it really happened. I guess what this all boils down to is believing in myself, something Charles has always done (even if he’s been snarky about it) and I’ve had trouble with. Even though we aren’t friends anymore, and might not ever be again, something about him always makes me want to prove to myself that I am strong. Maybe it is the tough-love friends, not the sympathizers, that I need to be searching for this year. People to push me out of my comfort zone, to do my best. Anyway, my subconscious’ advice is right: if I want to make a difference this year, then I will. I know what not to do this time, and the worst is over. Now is the time to be brave and embrace the change.

Tuesday Night Reflections

It’s a Tuesday night, about 50 minutes after I usually go to bed (that’s 11 o’clock for all of you who don’t have an 8am class). My roommate just left and so I am left with the room to myself, a comfort you don’t realize until it’s gone. It’s almost shocking how much people modify their own behavior in the presence of others. But alone… you aren’t ashamed to take goofy snap chats of yourself, to play your music no matter how loud or embarrassing it is, or to let your eyes wander without fear of meeting a stranger’s eyes on accident. That’s one thing I will cherish when I have my own place—freedom. Even back home, the only place I really felt comfortable was my room unless no one else was there.

Doesn’t that suck? The idea that you have to wait to be yourself until you’re in your early to mid-twenties, and even then it is just at your home. One thing I always liked about the country is that you can be alone outside, with just mountains, valleys, or endless plains to judge you. But why do I have to wait until I have my own place, or to possibly move out to the country? Why is it so hard to be myself, by myself, in front of others? Almost every teenager can attest to the ease you feel around your true friends—almost as if the rest of the world isn’t there. I just need to figure out how to be comfortable being myself around people who haven’t known me for years.

This first year at college is rapidly drawing to a close and I’ve begun to reflect on what I need to do different next year. Number 1: Make more friends. Number 2: Be a tad more involved in what’s going on around me. Number 3: Work on my self-esteem. As much as I’ve enjoyed my time here, I haven’t. I haven’t explored, I haven’t embraced anything outside my comfort zone. And as much as I wish I wasn’t so timid, I accept that I was this year. But next year will be different. I’ll know what to expect, and I’ll be more decisive with what I want out of the school year. And as easy as it is for me to say all of this now, I’m committed to putting in the effort next fall to making these resolutions come true.

But for now, I’ll keep working on my feminism page for this blog, keep fighting off the urge to skip my classes each morning when I wake up, keep being thankful for what I have, and keep trying to figure out  what I want out of this life. It’s all very uncertain right now, but I’m content to see where the road takes me.

Oh god, that sounds really cheesy, doesn’t it?

“I Think I Can, I Think I Can…”

Here I am, world, lying in my bed typing out this silly thing, while the man I love lies asleep next to me at thirteen minutes past midnight. It’s like I’m already some ambitious 40 year-old who writes on a blog at the wee hours in the morning in semi-secret when she isn’t working some mediocre job and raising a couple of mangy kids.

While it may sound like that, I assure you that I’m still in college, and because I’m ambitious I have no mangy kids and no desire to be the person I just described 20 years from now.  If anything, I’m going to do this soul-searching bullshit now, so later in life I can write about less self-oriented things and start writing novels like I used to. But, here I am, listening to my boyfriend breathe deeply (slightly on the verge of snoring sometimes, but it’s more cute than bothersome) and trying to write something about my life that will be both meaningful (ha!) and something people actually read (double ha!).

On a side note, I really do miss writing stories like I used to. My last one was getting sort of good actually, and for the longest time I was so excited about it… But it’s not good enough. I always wanted to write a story that impressed people, but I think next time I should just try to write what I think people need to hear. After all, the books I love aren’t necessarily highly intellectual pieces of poetry, just stuff that I can relate to that sometimes makes me cry, fall in love with fictional people, and spend hours in curled up reading positions that make my entire body one giant foot cramp.

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So in my last post I had that to-do list. I’m making more progress than I thought I would!! I’ve done 8 of the 14 things, and started to do at least 2 other things. One of the things I’ll have to wait until I get to school to do, and another isn’t possible for me to do either. I’ve also been doing other productive things that weren’t on the list like spending time with my mom, figuring out what I’m going to give my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day (because let’s face it, once that swings around I’ll be totally focused on participating in the Vagina Monologues), getting my car looked at before I make the two hour drive back to school, and spending time with my friends before they go back to school. It’s been a wee bit stressing, but actually more fulfilling than I had imagined. More than ever, I feel hopeful and positive about this new semester at school. There’s a lot of changes since last semester, such as:

  1. My dorm is now on the opposite part of campus that I never went to because it is completely out of the way…but it is also closer to downtown, so hopefully that will inspire me to go exploring!
  2. My best friend at college, Caitlin, is now no longer two floors above me and is in a different dorm on the opposite part of campus…looks like I’ll be getting a lot of exercise going to see her.
  3. My work hours have changed…get to meet more co-workers!
  4. My classes are all in the morning/early afternoon…at least I won’t be having my two o’clock nap in class anymore.

It’s a major disrupt to my comfort zone at school, these changes, but I know I’ll get into a new routine in no time. Plus, this semester I’m focusing more on branching out and trying new things, so what better way than with a brand new space and some brand new people! I’m really proud of myself for putting it in those positive terms, by the way. Whenever I first got my new dorm assignment, I believe my words to describe it was, “I’m not fucking living in that hell-hole!” So as you can see, I’ve adopted a more zen approach to this semester.

One thing I’m still not all chipper about is the knowledge that my wonderful boyfriend and I will be parted once more. Long-distance relationships suck you-know-what, and I highly recommend not falling in love with someone who doesn’t live at most an hour away. The worst part is, a part for the distance itself, is that every time I try to talk to him about it I end up crying. I hate crying!! I feel like he’s watched me cry like five times over the duration of Christmas break and the last thing I want to be is a giant sap-pot. If only he wasn’t so comfortable to talk to and cry on….he brings this on himself.

Anyway, all I want is to love him and be loved by him. Even though the distance is an issue, I’ve realized that I’m happier loving him than I am pretending I don’t (a prime example: our entire three week break-up). I know we won’t be able to have the same physical comfort and affection we have when we are together all the time, but if last semester taught me anything, it’s that I only want those things from him, even if they don’t come as easy. I want to be with him, to love him, maybe even for the rest of my life. But life has a funny way of taking everything familiar to you and turning it upside down.

I guess we’ll just see how it all turns out. Maybe we will get through this, maybe this semester will be the best of my life (or at least better than the last), maybe I’ll complete my entire to-do list and I won’t end up still pining after my teenage dreams while I’m forty. I don’t know if any of that will become true, but it’s what I need to believe.

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(Click below to hear what I’ve had stick in my head while writing this!)

The Story of This Blog

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Here’s the thing about having a blog–I constantly have so many ideas about things to do to make it more interesting, so many possibilities gripping me every time I see the plainness of each page (or lack thereof) that I’m constantly dissatisfied. Everything I write seems really whiny and awful too. It lacks the depth I desire….but at the same time isn’t fluffy enough to be entertaining to most. Having a blog is such an antsy process…you constantly want change, but are completely uncertain of how to go about it!

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 When I started blogging, I did not picture myself an old hippie dude sitting on an English-style toilet. And, thankfully, that’s not a completely accurate example of how I write today. But it still isn’t the stylish image society leads you to believe where I’m sitting in some indie coffee shop drinking chai tea and wearing a beret. It’s more of a sitting-in-my-sweats-on-my-bed-in-my-mess-of-a-bedroom. There’s no beret, and to be perfectly honest I’ve never drank chai tea because it sounds disgusting. I know, I know…I sound like such a terrible writer. After all, it’s a complete abomination to be a wannabe writer and not live in New York City, not wear mostly black, and to be a non-hip  coffee drinker! *cue Alfred Hitchcock sound effects* But I guess I’m a rebel that way. Wait–except I’m not a good rebel either. I don’t have a cool tattoo, I’m not some kick-ass roller derby chick, I don’t have a short, edgy haircut. If I matched the person I am in my head, I’d be that person. But instead I’m this sort of misfit, less-read and Eminem-listening-to version of Hermonine Granger from Harry Potter. Only the Hermonine from the books–not the stunning Emma Watson. Who writes a blog. About depression and the weird stuff that happens in her life. (If you’re not familiar with Hermonine, I’ve also been compared to Tina Fey in the most modest sense.)

I decided to start the blog for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I was writing these essay-type journal entries about issues I couldn’t change,blogging20requires20passion20and20authority but still wanted people to listen to and read. But I didn’t want anyone in real life to know it was me. So I decided to make an anonymous blog where I could just be myself without having the people I knew in real life picking apart each word and twisting it into something that would fit their judgements of who I am. I wanted a place to put all of this passion, this need to do something helpful in one spot where people could read and listen if they wished. Only here I am, over a year later, and all of this passion I had about the world has been pasted over with criticisms about not being funny enough, not being smart enough, not being entertaining enough, not being tech savvy….and where do these criticisms come from? From me, of course.

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There are so many times when I will come to the ‘Add New Post’ menu only to exit out, afraid that what I have to say will not be worthy enough. I live so much of my life through misplaced emotions, relationships that have gone astray, and that is what I write. But what I truly want for my life is the ability to roam, to go witness people and places and things long forgotten that once meant something—maybe even meant everything. That is what I want to share with the world, and write about for you all. But that is not the life I am living right now, and until I do, I will never be good enough for myself.

So far I have only lived a life of wanting this–when will I finally have a chance to live it? When will there come a day where I feel good, feel useful, and feel at ease with the knowledge that I am doing what I was meant for?

People write blogs for all sorts of reasons…maybe this is just proof to myself, to everyone, that I am indeed alive when I feel so stagnant where I am. 59-love-is-writing-a-blogOr maybe this was always about finding a way to love myself while time passes…While I felt alone.

There is one question I always like to ask myself when I make decisions about what I’m doing in life—“I am alive; but am I really living?” I want to start living…now.

Click here to listen to what I’ve been listening to while writing this post!

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