old feelings.

Is it so wrong that I miss you? That I miss our friendship? Our talks? Our closeness? Is it wrong that I still yearn for things to be different between us? Is it wrong that I still think about you…a lot…

I feel guilty for cutting you out of my life and not letting you know. But you have to also understand that I needed to do what was best for me at that time. I felt like I didn’t owe an explanation. I just needed to do what I needed to do. So I shouldn’t still feel this guilt, right? I mean, it’s been over two years now.

I still think back to when we first met. Strangers. Just a couple of shy, awkward adolescents. We didn’t know anything about each other. We didn’t know the journey we were about to embark on. The ups and downs. Unsaid feelings. Miscommunication. The night you worked up the courage to finally ask me out.

We both knew we weren’t the best fit for each other, yet, we somehow made it work. We were different, but I think in many ways we were the same. I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about all of this so much. Especially lately. Maybe it’s because we’ve recently reconnected and are speaking to each other again. Or maybe I miss those feelings. Either way, there’s no denying that I miss my best friend.

I don’t know where our journey will take us next. With my poor track record, this is the point where we start drifting apart. No longer friends, merely acquaintances…to strangers who share a history together. I wish you nothing but happiness, even if it means I’m not in the picture. I just want you to be happy. I wish I could be a part of that happiness, but life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.

Honestly, I don’t know how you’d react if I ever said any of this to you, but you won’t have to worry about that because you’ll never know. We had our chance. I blew it by walking out prematurely, but you have to admit that things weren’t getting better.

I’ve always believed that if something is meant to be, it will happen. If we’re meant to stay in each other’s lives, even if it’s just as friends, only time will tell.

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no more regrets.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been back home visiting my parents. Feeling frustrated with no leads for jobs, I decided to enlist their help because obviously, there’s something I’m not doing right. They took a look at my resume and helped me polish it, as well as help me with interview role play.

They bought me an interview handbook filled with various types of questions one could be asked during a job interview. One of them stood out to me in particular…

“If you could start college all over again what would you do differently?”

According to the guide, the best way to answer that question is to say that you wouldn’t change a thing. Saying you have no regrets shows the interviewer that you’re sure of yourself when making a commitment.

For me personally, this is something I’ve been struggling with since I left college? Did I make the right choices? Would I have been more successful if I had chosen a different major? Honestly, none of this even matters because I’ll never know anyway. So what’s the point?

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but there have been many times I’ve regretted the choices I made in school. I thought that my major wasn’t something I was truly passionate about…that I chose it just to choose something and have a path.

But something in the last two weeks has changed that thought process. If I could start college all over again, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I wouldn’t have met the people I did, I wouldn’t have formed the friendships that I did. I still graduated with honors, so what more could I have asked for?

The truth is that everyone, at some point, goes through that period of uncertainty…where they don’t know what they want to do in life. Maybe they’re at a crossroads and don’t know where to go next. Maybe they want a career change. We don’t go through life knowing exactly what we want every single day because life is constantly changing. The future is unknown. You can set long-term goals, but those could change. I’m not saying don’t plan, because ambition is a great thing. My point is that we all feel lost at some point in our lives, whether we’re 25 or 45.

I have to believe that I’m going to be okay. I’ve wasted so many nights having mental breakdowns because I don’t know what to do and I’m tired and done with feeling frustrated. Having my parents help me did give me a little more confidence. When I go back home, I know exactly what I need to do, and all I can do is hope that something will work out. It may not be my “dream job,” but at this point, I just need something to get myself on my feet.

Without pain or suffering, we cannot appreciate happiness. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. It just depends on how you look at the situation. I am thankful to my parents for providing me with an opportunity to get a college education. That within itself is a fortune. I’m thankful for the sacrifices they’ve made so that I can have a better life than they did. Now it’s time to show them my gratitude. No more wasting time and energy on petty things. I am stronger than this and I will find my way. And one day, I’ll be able to look back on these struggles and growing pains and count my blessings. Everything happens for a reason, even when we’re not entirely sure of that reason.

beautifuldarkmystery

proceed with caution.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss him anymore. The truth is that I will always miss him, what we had, what we were…but it doesn’t necessarily mean I want any of it back. Learning to distinguish between the two has been the most difficult part of the process for me. For the longest time, I didn’t know if it was him I wanted or the memories.

There’s still not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and wonder how he’s doing. There’s a part of me that wonders if he feels the same. We haven’t talked or interacted at all since we met up a couple of months ago. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I don’t know why he wanted to reconnect and maybe that’s not for me to know or understand.

For the last four and a half years that I’ve know him, he is the one person who’s always found his way back into my life. It didn’t matter how many times I cut him out or said I needed space. I thought 2015 was it…everything was done and we were never going to speak to each other again. And just when I think I’ll never hear from him again, he pops back into my life. I guess life will always work in mysterious ways, and the people who are meant to be in your life will always be there.

I don’t know what the future holds for us. I don’t ever expect us to get back together again. I don’t even expect us to be close friends again. With everything that’s happened, there’s just no way. But I still find it funny that out of everyone I became friends with in college, the one person I had the most dysfunctional friendship/relationship with was the one who ended up moving near me. Weird how life works, right?

I firmly believe that whatever’s meant to happen will happen. Who knows? Maybe next year, we’ll rekindle our friendship again and actually be okay and be able to tolerate being around each other without feelings getting in the way or ruining things. That’s the thing about the future…you just never know. Just like I was 99% sure I would never see or speak to him ever again, there’s always that 1%.

I feel like I’m finally at that place where we can be friends again if time and life allow it. I will never close the door to our friendship, but I will always proceed with caution. There’s a saying, “Don’t run back to what broke you.” I know I need to be careful. There’s no way I’ll allow myself to retreat back to that dark place after we broke up. The most beautiful thing that can ever come from a break up is that you learn more about yourself. What you did right, what you did wrong, what you want in a relationship and what you don’t want, what you’ll compromise and where you’ll draw the line.

We may have only dated for two months, but it was two and a half years in the making. The feelings were there and we both knew it. But it doesn’t matter how long it lasted. I would have much rather gotten out sooner rather than later if I strongly felt like we weren’t going to make it. Does it suck that I didn’t have much trust and faith in the relationship from the beginning? Of course it does. But I would have rather known than to continue living life always wondering what could have been, especially since this relationship was the one thing I wanted most at the time.

I’m glad I can look back on how far I’ve come and know that I am okay. There are no more feelings of anger or resentment…..regret, especially. Everything happens for a reason. It’ll be interesting to see what the future has in store for us. Whether we ever rekindle our friendship or continue living life as nothing more than acquaintances. One of the weirdest parts about this journey has been that transition to being “strangers” again. When we hung out last month, I literally felt like I was sitting across from someone I didn’t know. It was awkward like the first-time-meeting kind of awkward. Yet, we share this past that cannot be erased, no matter how hard he or I try to block those memories out of our minds. Simply put, we’re strangers with history. And I’m okay with that.

If there’s anything I would want him to know, it’s that no matter what’s happened between us in the past and no matter where we stand today, if he ever truly needed a friend, I will always be there for him. I know I’m probably not the first person he would run to, but I will always be a friend. Last August we had a brief conversation through text and he said there were moments he was struggling and having a difficult time and wanted to reach out to me. I never said this to him, but it was nice to hear. To know that he still needed me and wanted that friendship meant something to me.

But anyway, I’ve gone on long enough. I’ll end with this. I firmly believe that you meet people for a reason, and the ones who are meant to be in your life will always find their way back, no matter how far they wander. It’ll be interesting to see where life takes us a year from now, five years from now…but you can guarantee I’ll have something to say about it when the time comes.

beautifuldarkmystery

misconceptions.

You don’t drink alcohol, so you must be boring and don’t know how to have fun.
You don’t smoke or do drugs, so you must think you’re better than everyone.
You don’t talk much, so you must be arrogant.

We’ve all been there before. Maybe it was a bad first impression. Maybe it was one bad choice. No matter what we’ve said or done, I’ll bet at one point in time (at the very least), we’ve been judged. Some people don’t care and are completely comfortable with being their complete selves. On the other hand, others like myself take things to heart a little more.

I don’t drink alcohol, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never tried it before. I choose not to drink primarily for health reasons. I am also highly sensitive to alcohol so even if I have a little bit, I start to feel dizzy, my head hurts, and I don’t feel well. Also, I just can’t acquire the taste. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t know how to have fun and it doesn’t mean I judge people who DO drink! My friends drink all the time but that doesn’t change my perception of them. They’re responsible when they do drink and if any of them go past their limits, I’m happy to drive them home if it means they get there safely. Being around alcohol does not make me feel uncomfortable. Yes, sure…sometimes being the only one at the party who doesn’t drink makes it a little weird for me, but I always try to find a way to have fun regardless of the situation.

I have never experimented with a drug or ever smoked, but that doesn’t mean I think I’m better than everyone else. Just because I may be straight-edge doesn’t mean that I should be defined by that label. We all have the freedom of choice. I choose not to do drugs or smoke because it’s just my personal preference and that’s it. But never once, have I ever thought I was better than anyone else because of the choices I made.

I’m a very quiet person. Until you get to know me, it’s difficult to pull me out of my shell. I’ve asked my friends what their first impression of me was and they all said I came across as either arrogant or mean/rude. I may not talk a lot, but it doesn’t mean I have anything to say. The truth is that I struggle in social situations. I DO have lots to say, but I can’t get myself to say it. I’m an observer. I prefer watching people interact with each other than engage, which is something I’m trying hard to work on. This is probably the misconception about myself that gets to me the most because what I display on the outside is completely different from the person inside. When I’m with my close friends, I can be goofy, I can be witty, I can be the one who makes people laugh…but if you’re an acquaintance or I just met you, you’d never know that.

The point I’m trying to get at is that you should never judge a book by its cover. Get to know the person first. In one of my classes in college, I met this one girl and right off the bat, I didn’t like her. The worst part was that I couldn’t exactly pinpoint what it was that annoyed me so much. I never thought we would be friends. But as I got to know her, my perception of her began to change. By our senior year, we became pretty good friends!

One summer, a group of my friends from college came down to visit me right after I moved. There was an event in Los Angeles we were attending. During the second night of the event, there was an after party at this place called Jillian’s. I think this was the first time my friends really truly saw me come out of my shell. Typically in social settings, I like to blend in with everyone else and people usually forget I’m even there. But that night, for whatever reason, it was like I flipped this switch and I became this extremely outgoing person (and that was all without a drop of alcohol in my system). I was talking to people I had just met like I had known them for years. It was a completely different side of me. I have no idea what got into me, but all I remember is that I couldn’t remember the last time I had that much fun. Instead of being my usual uptight self, I let loose a little and had some fun.

My quietness will always be a part of my innate personality and it’s always going to be a part of who I am. But I think the more I challenge myself to be a little more outgoing and push myself outside of my comfort zone, I think it could benefit me in the long run. I will never do it to please people. I’ll never do it to win the acceptance of others in social settings. When you want change, you should do it because it’s what you want, not at the expense of others’ wants. For all my quiet/shy people out there wanting to become a little more outgoing, I encourage you to push yourself. Something I constantly have to remind myself is that people are not paying as close attention to what I say and do as much as I think they are. In psychology, this is called the spotlight effect. The spotlight effect is a phenomenon in which people tend to believe they are noticed more than they really are.

The last thing I have to say about this is, don’t ever let people’s misconceptions about you define your life. Do you and live your life. If people don’t have anything nice to say, pay no attention to them. This is your journey and do what makes you happy.

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value in friendships.

 

I had a conversation about this with a good friend not too long ago and he told me how he sometimes gets paranoid over how he thinks certain friends value him. For example, with some people, he feels like he’s the one who puts more effort into the friendships, or he’s the one always reaching out. It makes him question whether some people really want to be friends or not. I can totally relate to him because I’ve found myself in that situation many times.

I’ll be honest, from the time I was a kid and all throughout high school, I believed in having one best friend. And when it wasn’t reciprocated, I would always get jealous. As I got older, however, I began to realize that just because someone may not like me as much as I like them, it doesn’t mean they value me any less. Some people are very vocal about the “best friend” label, while with some, it’s more like an unspoken understanding.

There’s no harm in evaluating your friendships every once in a while, especially if you’re beginning to notice drastic changes in the dynamic. If you feel like you’re beginning to question your friendships, consider this:

  1. Pull back. If you feel like you’re the one one initiating contact, pull back and see if the other person initiates contact first. If they don’t, then you’ll kind of know where you stand. As life goes on, we all become busier and priorities will change, but if you’re important to someone, they’ll always find a way. This leads me to my second tip.
  2. last resort. I had a friend from home who moved closer to me for work. He was one of my good friends in college, but as soon as he moved, he made little to no effort to see me. It suddenly became all about his new friends and he only contacted me as a last resort. Don’t get me wrong though. I was happy he was meeting new people and making new friends, but he would start contacting me at the very last minute, which I didn’t like. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spontaneity. I realize that sometimes it’s easier to just do things on the fly. But for me personally, I like finding a time that’s convenient for both of us, even if it means having to wait a couple of weeks.
  3. finding a way or making an excuse. Do they find a way to hang out with you and see you, or are they constantly making excuses as to why they can’t get together with you? If you find yourself in the latter category, you might want to re-evaluate the friendship. That’s not to say you have to stop being friends with the person all together, but don’t put them so high on your priority list if they’re not going to treat you the same way. I’ll be honest and say I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve been the one who’s reached out to people with no luck, but I’ve also been the person making the excuses because I don’t want to hang out. It’s a part of life. At one point or another, we’ve ALL been on the giving/receiving end of this circumstance. If you feel like someone’s always making some sort of excuse not to hang out, maybe it’s time to stop making attempts.

Friends will come and go. Always trust your gut, but also pay attention to their behavior. It’s not something you have to do every single day, but definitely pay attention to how they treat you. You may need to cut some strings, and that’s perfectly fine! It’s important to surround yourself with people that lift you up and get just as excited to see you as you are to see them!

beautifuldarkmystery

different this time.

I’m one of those people that tend to be very introspective and I can spend hours analyzing and dissecting my thoughts and feelings. It’s a blessing and a curse, in my opinion.

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I reconnected with an old friend who also happens to be an ex. I feel like I’ve explained our story/situation many times in previous posts, so I’ll spare you the pain. In short, we reconnected for the first time after not seeing or speaking to each other in nearly a year.

When we initially reconnected, I told him that I was thinking about asking if he wanted too hang out, but wasn’t sure how he would feel about it given our circumstances. He said he would be completely down, but that I would have to wait a couple of weeks because he was short on money. So I told him to let me know.

One week goes by, then two. Here I am again, waiting like an idiot for a message I’m never going to get. Pretty soon, nearly a whole month goes by and by this point, I just assume he doesn’t want to hang out. I see multiple check-ins on Facebook so I know he’s going out with friends and clearly has the money to do so. At this point, I was just going to let it go. It wasn’t worth getting into an argument. We’re not even really friends anymore, so what does it matter, right?

Well, one night,  I was sitting at my computer and something compelled me to go on Facebook and send a thoughtful message to each of my closest friends. I truly believe it was because just a couple of weeks earlier, Christina Grimmie was shot to death and then there was the Pulse shooting. Most of the victims were around my age and it it really affected me…that their lives were taken away in an instant, just like that. I know I shouldn’t need a reason to do this, but life is just too short and precious. I like to constantly remind my friends how much they mean to me and how important they are to me.

So I began sending out one message at a time. I had no problems writing from the heart and clicking that send button. But then, I got to him…as I sat there and contemplated whether I should send a message, the better half of me won and I basically told myself, it doesn’t matter what’s happened between us. If he meant anything to me, I would write him a message. It didn’t matter if he felt the same way or not. It didn’t matter that I had a fear of being rejected once again, even though there wasn’t any reason for me to feel any sort of rejection.

Within a few minutes, he messaged me back and said it was sweet. He then apologized for not getting back to me about lunch and I said it was fine. Then he asked me if I was available on Tuesday and I said yes and he said we’ll go to lunch then. Now I just felt awkward, because if I had never sent that message, he wouldn’t have brought it up. I got the feeling that he felt obligated to make plans with me, which didn’t make me feel all that great, but I wasn’t going to argue. I really had nothing to lose at this point.

Before I know it, Tuesday rolls around and I am having so many mixed feelings. I fixed my hair and did my makeup without going too over the top. I had to consciously remind myself that I wasn’t going to try and impress him. I didn’t even dress up either. I was pretty casual. My biggest fear about going into this whole thing was that the moment I saw him, all those feelings would come flooding back and I would be back to where I started. The reason why I cut him out of my life was because I needed to move on, and as long as he was still in the picture, that was never going to happen. My feelings were too strong. So before I left, I told myself to be strong and not take everything he says with a grain of salt. I anticipated it was going to be really awkward anyway, so I just told myself to do my best.

When I saw him for the first time, it was a little weird at first, just because it’d been nearly a whole year since we hung out just the two of us. He gave me a hug and I said it was good to see him. And then the moment I was waiting for never happened. I felt nothing. No butterflies (not even from nerves, I was pretty calm surprisingly), all those feelings he once gave me when we were together, gone.

As we started to talk more, it became a little more comfortable like old times, but I still felt like I was the one initiating everything. If I didn’t, we would have been sitting there in complete silence. Honestly, at one point, I was thinking to myself that I wanted to get out of there because it was just too weird. A part of me wishes I would have been more upfront with him, cut the chitter chatter, and asked what his deal was. But, of course, being the person I am, I wasn’t going to be confrontational.

When lunch was over and we were walking to our cars, I told him that if he ever wanted to hang out, just let me know. I already know it’s not going to happen but I at least made the offer. My problem has been that I’m too nice. I let people take advantage of me. I make myself available to the others at their convenience when it’s not reciprocated. I was relieved it was over, but was still left with unanswered questions.

That night, I came across an old text he sent me years ago. It said, “Believe me when I say this. Unless you tell me to stop, I will always try to be a part of your life.” At the end of the day, it’s not my job to get all these questions I have answered. The truth is that I won’t know the answer to everything. Sometimes, I just have to let things be and take them for what they are. I’ll never know the real reason he wanted to reconnect. Maybe he still wants to be friends. Maybe he “just wants to keep tabs on me” without having to directly ask me. Or maybe he wants to try and rekindle our friendship/relationship again (although, that’s a bit of a stretch and highly unlikely). Whatever the reason, I’m just glad that we’re at a point where there are no residual feelings of anger or resentment towards each other. We both learned a lot from this, but if we can somehow be in each other’s lives going forward without feelings getting in the way, I am totally fine with that.

The most important thing is that I stayed strong and today was the day I realized that this situation no longer had control over me. I can finally rid myself of these demons and move on once and for all. I’m glad I did this because if I didn’t get all my questions answered, I still got closure. I know he’s going to find someone who will make him happy and that relationship will work in all the ways we didn’t. The same goes for me. I believe there’s someone out there who’d love what I have to offer. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

beautifuldarkmystery

beneath your beautiful.

For whatever reason, the song “Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth popped into my head. It’s actually one of my favorite songs and it’s basically about letting your guard down and allowing someone to see past everything on the surface.

I know I touched on this in my last post, but in this one, I want to share a story about insecurity. I’m going to try and keep this short and to the point as possible. So here it goes.

As someone who’s trying to overcome insecurities of her own, I feel it’s important to let other people know they are not alone. Overcoming your insecurities is not a process that happens overnight or with the snap of the fingers. It could take months, maybe even years, but requires conscious effort.

I’ll be honest and say that I truly believe my insecurity was one of the contributing factors that ended my last relationship. I never felt completely uncomfortable around my boyfriend (at the time), and I was always super conscious of how I looked. He would always tell me how beautiful and sexy I was and how he thought I was perfect. My relationship became this vicious cycle of constantly seeking affirmation from someone else that I was beautiful. I became addicted. I needed to hear these words. I needed validation. That should have been a huge red flag, but of course, when you’re in love, you’re oblivious to many things.

Jealousy is an ugly trait to possess, and I am guilty of this. In my last relationship, I would secretly get jealous whenever he “liked” photos of other girls on Facebook. I would go so far as to go to those girls’ profiles and look at their pictures. Every single one of them was gorgeous, which infuriated me. Looking bad, I can’t believe how disgustingly jealous I was, and it really affected me. I would constantly update my profile picture in the hopes he would “like” it, because to me, again, it was affirmation that I was beautiful. It made me feel validated. But it was a self-destructive cycle I had fallen into and didn’t know how to get out of.

It wasn’t until the relationship was over and I gave myself a year without him in my life for me to even begin to see what was really happening. I couldn’t believe I became one of those girls jealous of other girls. I felt disgusted. I felt ashamed of myself. And that’s when I decided I needed to make a change.

As much as I wanted to get back into another relationship after the breakup, doing that would only temporarily numb the pain, not solve the problem. The issue was deeply rooted within myself. It was something nothing or no one could fix but myself.

My insecurities created these barriers that he could never see past. Because I felt like I couldn’t be myself without feeling self-conscious, it created this friction in the relationship that I could never get rid of. I am currently single and I’m not afraid to admit that. I’m not actively pursuing a relationship, however, should one present itself, I feel like I’m at a place in my life where I can allow it to happen without residual feelings from my last relationship.

I’d like to say that I am a work in progress. I’m not completely there yet, but I’m on my way. I remind myself every day that I don’t need someone’s words to validate my worth. I am beautiful. The reality is that there are many girls who are prettier and smarter than me, but I need to stop the comparisons. Jealousy is essentially wasted energy. It’s not worth it, and truthfully, if I feel jealous in the relationship, then I need to take a good look and re-evaluate because the cause of jealousy is insecurity.

So to all the girls out there struggling with self-image issues, you are not alone. I know we live in a media-driven society where the idea of beauty is this singular image, but don’t let that control your life. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and we need to embrace that we’re all different. You should never have to go out of your way to try and impress someone. Be your beautiful self and the rest will fall into place. If a guy doesn’t like you because of the way you look, say goodbye and move on. It’s not worth your time and energy.

Most importantly, you must believe in yourself. I know it’s difficult to do, but when you wake up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror tell yourself you’re beautiful. Here’s the challenge. Don’t just think the words, say them out loud. Trust me, this is something that’s still uncomfortable for me, but the more you do it, the easier it will become and the more you will genuinely believe it. When you learn to let go of fearing what other people think of you, it’s one of the most empowering feelings in the world. Remember that we were all created differently and we’re all beautifully unique in our own ways.

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