My favorite person

I met my best friend in middle school. She was quiet but when she spoke I knew there was more to her than she led on. We bonded over everything; we both didn’t have any siblings, we both loved music, we were both obsessed over everything the nearby outlet had to offer. She was my entire childhood and adolescence. As time went by, she slowly came out of her shell. She transformed into the person I always knew she could be. To most she became known as “talkative” a term that I had proudly been the champion of, but now gladly shared.

I felt like I had finally had the sister I always wanted. Society tells you that your soulmate is the person you are physically attracted to, but it’s not true. Your soulmate can be anyone, and to me it was her. She was the person I confided in for everything. I wanted us to be the most unstoppable force on this earth. Successful. Beautiful. Witty. Ambitious. I wanted us to be the dynamic duo.

Of course no friendship is perfect, but I early on decided that I would ignore all the small stuff that weren’t perfect. I told myself that they didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. We were going to grow up together, take on the world, and give absolutely no fucks. But I’m not here to divulge the greatest friendship the world has ever known, I am here to let you know that sometimes it’s okay to let go of a friendship you have spent a lifetime working on.

I had been friends with her for 10 years. A decade of long conversations over a bagel and a smoothie. A decade of advice. A decade of bonding over all the homework school bestowed upon us. A decade of ignoring every sign that she did not have my best interest at heart.

It was not until I met my current best friend that I realized what type of friendship I had with my ex-best friend. It was a jealous, selfish, and fake friendship. How many times did I have to pull a “Gretchen and Karen” and suppress my feelings and stay friends with her because it was better than not being her friend at all? How many times did I have to ignore the fact that she wasn’t happy for me when I received or achieved something? How many times did I cry because she put others above me? How many times did I have to remind her not to talk to a certain person because that person was bullying me? How many times did I have to swallow my pride and reach out to her because I knew she would never reach out to me?

There are too many stories to support every question I am posing, but I know that a friendship is 50-50. So I know I have been wrong at times too. In high school, I was the “boyfriend girl.” I remember wanting to spend every waking moment with whatever high school boyfriend I had. I know that she must have felt like I didn’t care anymore. But of course, once I realized this, I became the friend she wanted and the friend I wanted her to be. I started focusing more on our friendship and hoped she would too.

I can be jealous, selfish, and fake too. I am not a perfect person. But I can tell you with completely certainty that I would never walk away from her without knowing why. At this very moment, my ex best friend has no idea why I stopped talking to her. She has no idea why I got mad and walked away. Honestly, this isn’t even about why I walked away because if it was a petty reason than so be it, but no true best friend would let a friendship die and not even know why. She has.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time she has been willing to let go for no reason. The first time, she called it “growing apart.” I immediately told her I didn’t accept it, and that we should just get together and work on our friendship. Why didn’t I see that as a clear sign that she did not want to be my best friend?

I can remember countless summers where out of nowhere she would stop talking to me. I would see her hanging out with our mutual friends but I was never invited. I had to fight back my tears and reach out. I didn’t care about all my other friends throwing me away because to me, she was the only one that mattered. I don’t go around throwing the “best friend” term around. As an only child, I know what it means to have someone in your corner. I know what it means to be lonely. I thrive when I’m alone, but being lonely? That’s very different.

She’s not a bad person, and she will be amazing in her adult life. She will be what we said we would always be: Dynamic. But to me she will always be a lesson learned. No one should ever stay friends with someone who does not put in the same work. No one should be friends with someone who cannot revel in your achievements. No one should be friends with someone who can’t even ask a simple question: What’s wrong?

She is my favorite person, but I know that I never was and can never be hers.

 

 

Happier.

I remember before walking on stage to receive my degree I couldn’t wait to go back home. Everything at the university was a reminder of what I chose instead of fighting for my relationship. I know how stupid that sounds, but at the time I truly believed that if I had not gone away for college me and my high school sweetheart would still be together. I also believed that academic success was never going to make me happy.

Before I go on and you agree with everything I just said, it is not true. Happiness is not what society has conditioned you to believe. Happiness is not only an evolution it is unique for everyone.

So, back to my graduation, I did not enjoy it the way I thought I would have. Especially since right before going on stage I got a text from my ex wishing me a happy graduation. HOW. DID. HE. KNOW. I certainly didn’t tell him. So for the entire walk I thought about all the ways in which he could’ve found out. Most obvious: he looked it up on the college website. Whatever the case, it made me rethink “the happiest day of my life since getting my acceptance letter.”

My friends and family are all at my graduation wishing me well and I am just thinking about my ex. How fucking disappointing…

The only thing that made me happy was knowing that I was coming home. Coming home meant there’s a greater chance of bumping into him at the mall, or at a party, or at a bar. Coming home meant there was a chance he might want me back. Pathetic as fuck. 

Now, a year after graduating I can tell you that life really is a bitch. Life can be sarcastic and ironic, without considering your feelings for one second. However, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It toughened me up. I do not think that my ex and I are meant to be, like I desperately thought before. I don’t even think of him that way anymore. Instead, I think about him as an idea, not a person. He represents my past, my adolescence, my mistakes, my lessons learned, and finally, my first true love.

That last one sounds like I think he is “the one” because he was “true love,” but that’s not what I mean. He was a true love because in the moment I truly loved him, not because all my friends encouraged me to date him (my friends didn’t even know who he was), not because I had heard that he was a catch (he really was a catch), and definitely not because he was the most handsome (not to say he was less than handsome, just not the most handsome). I dated him because I loved who he was. I admired all of his attributes. And most of all, I loved that our conversations were always fast-paced and interesting.

While I take nothing away from his greatness, he is in my past. And you have no idea how long I’ve wanted to say that and actually mean it. I am happy now because of me. Every decision I make is for my benefit. Sounds selfish, but that’s fucking great too. I’m 24. This is the time to be selfish and really think about what kind of person you want to be, not what kind of wife or mother you want to be. (Disclaimer: if that’s all you, then DO YOU. I am just talking about my experience.) I was happy when I was with him, but now, I am happier.

“I used to walk in the shade

with my blues on parade

but now I’m not afraid it’s over.”

A realist with a touch of optimism

I know I have been sounding like a sad sack but I promise there is more to me. My inspiration tends to come more from sadness rather than happiness, but I promised myself I would become better at solidifying my happiness by writing it down.

For starters, I have been offered a job that fits perfectly with who I actually want to be. There are still a lot of decisions to be made. In a year I have to decide what masters program I want to apply to. I want to be an educator, but I don’t know what side I want to stand on. Should I be the teacher in high school that helps students believe in their ability to go to college? Should I be the college professor that helps students believe in their ability to graduate? Should I be more on the administrative side and help educators become a better support system? There are too many opportunities, which is the greatest privilege I have ever had, to settle on just one. Could I do it all?

Secondly, my heart is racing. I am finally starting to understand myself more and more. I have walked away from so much this last year that for a moment there, I couldn’t recognize myself. I walked away from things, ideas, and people that I believed made me who I was. I now know that I can be myself in every environment. Yes, sometimes it’s not popular to be politically correct, but it’s who I am. I don’t want to hang around people that can’t understand, or better yet won’t understand, how damaging words can be.

The hardest was walking away from the idea that in order to be happy I needed a significant other. I now know I have more to offer than romance. (This sounds like a crazy desperate person, but I swear I’m not. Believe it or not, at some point whether consciously or subconsciously you have thought this too. Society, man.)

Third, my dreams are not far fetched. Yes, I tend to dream big, but then I automatically downsize them because I want to be practical or realistic. But I am here to tell you that no dream is too big. If you want to become a singer, a CEO, the president, etc., it is 100% possible. It really is up to you. The barriers you face will be overwhelming at times, but if you persist you can make your dreams come true. It’s a cliche for a reason. Now, to clarify, being “famous” is not a dream; that’s just wishful thinking. But if through your dream you become famous then how wonderful that your work is being recognized in such a big way.

Anyway, I’m excited because I have no idea where my life is going to take me. Sure, I have made plans, but I’ve come to realize that plans are always subject to change. TBD, really. All I can say is dream big and go with the flow.

50-50: A Post Break-Up Experience

You know the expression, “It takes two to tango”? I know it has many connotations, but lately I have been applying it to my last relationship. My last relationship was such a failure. When it was good it was everything I thought I wanted out of life, but when it was bad it was insane (largely on my part). He would go left and I defiantly wanted to go right. I don’t think I ever tried to compromise. I wanted to to “wear the pants” in the relationship. And I did.

Naturally, when my relationship failed I blamed myself. I would cry randomly throughout the day whenever I would remember something I did wrong during the relationship. I could not help myself. When I was dating him I couldn’t remember any details. I couldn’t even acknowledge when I was wrong even when I was so clearly in the wrong. I fought everyone and anyone who would try to make me see how horrible I was acting. And then, once we broke up, I remembered everything.

Your mind is a powerful thing. It’s so powerful that it can make you forget something so traumatic (of course it would still manifest itself in other ways). For me, my mind has always allowed me to forget all the times in which I have been wrong. Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to say that I forget them and continue to do the same shit over and over. That’s insane. But I would mess up, learn my lesson, and forget the part in which I was in the wrong. It’s as if I were watching a movie but the main character wasn’t me. Just because I wasn’t the one messing up did not mean I couldn’t learn by proxy.

Actually, the whole thing is probably insane.

It’s all very subconscious but I did- I suppressed every wrongdoing on my behalf. Which as you can imagine makes it nearly impossible to have a functioning relationship. He would bring things up from the past and I would roll my eyes because it was a part of my past. How do you expect to move forward if you keep bringing up the past? I was so unfair.

So like I said, I blamed myself for everything.

But then I remember one night we met up after breaking up, I was holding on like crazy and he was trying to give me some closure. He said to me, “At some point I have to believe I must have done something to make you cheat on me.” Yeah, I cheated. How did I talk myself out of thinking I was in the right on that one? I have no fucking clue, but I did. (A whole post on cheating will be posted at a later date, but for now reader, hate me if you must).

Anyway, after he said that I immediately told him he did nothing wrong and that it was all on me. You see at this point I’m trying to get this wonderful perfect man to stay with me. I am practically begging him, even though I already know that there is no such thing as convincing someone to truly stay.

I was right, for the next several months he finally completely walked away. He stopped returning my text messages which were nothing short of desperate. He was very nice throughout the whole thing. After two years he still wished me a happy birthday, but I have a feeling that’s over now. Thanks to him walking away, however, I was able to finally see everything that had been staring at me in the face for four years.

He was not perfect.

If he was so perfect, why did I cheat on him? Am I really a bad person? The answer is not simple and reader, you can come up with your own conclusions. I am just sharing what I have learned: it takes two. The whole time I had been going over everything I did wrong. I didn’t ask for any explanations as to why I even did any of that in the first place.

I had to examine the guy I cheated on him with. Why him? Once I asked myself that question the answer was clear: he admired me. He made me feel so important and smart. If I told him that math wasn’t my thing he wouldn’t believe it and most importantly he didn’t let me believe it. He found my mannerisms interesting. I would be having a conversation with a colleague and afterwards he would turn to me and say, “You have an answer for everything.” I swear that you could hear the admiration in his voice. It wasn’t accusatory, as if I was some outspoken womxn that needed to know when to shut up. He made me believe in myself. He made me feel special. It had nothing to do with him telling me how beautiful I was because, just like Christina Yang, I’m more interested in someone’s mind over their physical appearance. He made me feel good about the person I was.

I believe that a love never dies with true admiration. I am not saying that it’s the only thing you need; it’s just a separate statement. You see, I admired my ex so much that everything he did was unique, and if someone tried to tell me that other people did it too, I’d tell them that he did it better. I would go to war with anyone who tried to convince me he wasn’t all that. I would talk about him to anyone who would listen because I was sure they had never met anyone like him before, so smart but humble.

My ex never admired me the way I admired him. He didn’t talk to his friends about me often, or hardly ever. If he did it was mostly to tell them that he had plans with me, but it was never about me.

I remember the day his friend called his ex-girlfriend a whore because she had started dating someone new. This friend had previously cheated on that ex, and I believed he had no right to call anyone a whore whether he thought it were true or not. I stood up for her, because she wasn’t even there to defend herself. His friend got mad at me and told me to mind my own business. Maybe he was right, but that wasn’t the problem. My ex can’t control his friends, but he can control his reaction. My ex stayed silent, but when we were alone he told me that I was wrong. During his silence I felt so alone. He didn’t have to tell his friend off, but at least make it clear that he was on my side. I should’ve known then that he would not be standing up for me or anyone.

Around his family, he would become so distant. I felt like he was a different person. I remember at a family get-together his brother-in-law was incredibly sexist by telling me that my opinion on superhero movies was invalid because I am a girl. I proceeded to let him know how incredibly sexist it was, and my ex remained silent. Again, he cannot control his family, but he can control his reaction. I don’t want anyone to make a scene, but it’s important to address sexism, racism, etc. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but change always is.

I never had a relationship with the guy I cheated on my ex with, because I loved my ex. What I did was selfish and stupid, but it was a reaction, it was me reaching out to the type of relationship I wanted. I wanted to be admired in the same way I admired him.

The reason why I cheated is not simple. But at least I know the break-up was not 100% my fault. It was 50-50.

When the most special thing about me is you

special

I have been that girl for as long as I can remember. I have had a boyfriend since 6th grade. That’s over ten years of dating. Obviously not the same boyfriend throughout the years but I’ve never been truly single. The longest time I’ve spent single is 3 months and in those 3 months, time was spent pining over the one I had “lost.”

Throughout the years I have judged people on their inability to be alone. I thought if I were ever single I would fucking flourish. When you have a significant other, you can picture yourself without them and actually dong quite well. In fact at some point you think there would be nothing holding you back from doing everything you want to do when you want to do it.

That could be true.

But for someone like me? Someone who had actually never been alone, it was a strip of my identity. After me and my last boyfriend of 4 years broke up, I had no one else “lined up” like I had all throughout high school. Let’s be real here. When a couple breaks up and starts dating someone else right away, there was something going on way before that. No, not physical cheating necessarily, but something.  That had always been true for me, but this last relationship was different.

My last boyfriend was perfect (can’t wait to talk about how false this statement is in my next post). He was so patient, intelligent, and talented. I wanted to be like him. I admired him so much that I couldn’t help but bring him up in almost every conversation. So when we broke up, I had trouble keeping his name out of my mouth. If you know me, which you don’t, you know that I am a very talkative person. I always have something to say. I found myself unable to relate to topics that had nothing to do with me. For example, if they wanted to talk about engineering, I used to be able to bring up his name and his experiences because it was his major. Without him, I thought, I have nothing to contribute to conversations about math or computers or whatever else he was so damn good at.

I started to believe everything that made my life so interesting and special was him. He was so relatable to everything around me. I was like his hype-womxn. If I met someone new I knew I had to introduce him even if he wasn’t there. I felt honored to know him and wanted everyone to know how great he was and how lucky I was.

I know you’re probably thinking, Wow, how absurd!  But it’s not. Admiration is love. I was obsessed with him for all the right reasons. Not because he was so handsome, but because his actual persona is so welcoming and lovable. What is absurd about this whole thing is that he didn’t do the same for me, but like I said that’s a story for a later date.

Now, if you think I don’t know anything about love or I’m still that girl, that’s on you. The point of this post is to show you where I was and where I am now. And I understand now: he did not highlight what makes me so special, he did not give me anything special to hold on to or to let go of. I am special because I am me. In relationships, we forget that we are individuals already. It was especially hard for me to believe that because it felt like I hadn’t been an individual since the 6th grade, but that’s not true. What makes us special does not put us above anyone else, what makes us special is ours only and cannot be compared because it is that unique. You cannot lose what makes you special, it is you.

So go ahead, date someone new, pine over me and/or forget about me. Your perspective on who I am to you does not change who I am to me. I am special without trying because I am me.

24.

24. That is my age. Will that alter everything you think of me? When I discuss a topic will you blame my age for my narrow, broad, complicated, simplistic, optimistic, pessimistic, selfish, and self-less view? Probably.

I am here because this seems to be the age where everything falls apart and falls into place all at the same time. This is the age where everyone has an opinion on what your next step should be, regardless of what you say. This is the age where we win some and lose more than you can possibly imagine. This is the age where we blow everything out of proportion and simultaneously believe everything happens for a reason.

I am here because I believe it is important to talk about what “coming of age” really means. 18 is not the age we become adults because 24 is definitely not the age we become adults. I’m not really sure my parents are adults yet. So who is an adult? If you’re out there here is what I hope it means:

You understand that you know nothing

You understand that there is always more to learn.

You understand that you can always be ignorant to something (but that doesn’t mean you should stay that way).

You understand that life is random and beautiful.

You accept change.

You accept yourself.

You accept others.

You are fun.

You are working towards all of the above.

Have I contradicted myself? Probably.

24. That is my age. And I am here.