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Purpose

Love Lessons

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs, that just because he may not answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care. ‘Cause some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

_ Garth Brooks

Three Great Loves

There’s a saying that has been around for a while that you get three great loves in your life. The first one is the fairy tale romance usually when we’re younger and not sure what we’re really looking for yet. The second being the tough love. The relationship that teaches us all the lessons, what works and what doesn’t. Then there is the third love, the one that lasts. Well in my life, I have had four loves. Apparently I needed two tough loves to teach me different lessons.

My High School Love

As a teen who often felt invisible and misunderstood it would only make sense that my first boyfriend would be cut from the same cloth. First friends in Junior High to then reconnecting at a Halloween party senior year. It took months of AOL instant messaging before I agreed to date him. I learned we both felt alone in our own homes and bonded instantly. Once together we each felt like no else saw us the way we saw each other. He was all of my firsts. My door into the dating world.

We got to a point where we figured this is it, we found the one. Until my defense mechanisms started to develop I kept second guessing myself and our relationship. I did things unconsciously to push him away to see if he really could take it. A few weeks before leaving for my freshman year of college, he ended it. I cried a lot but deep down knew it was the right thing to do. I didn’t know how to handle the feeling of not being wanted.

That breakup led to many of the hooking up and partying that started off my college career. I didn’t know who or what I was looking for. I had never had that kind of freedom and now that I tasted what it was like to date someone, it was all I wanted.

The Best Friend

Between my first boyfriend and my next there were a few guys that filled the spot but none were as significant as this one. We actually had dated once in high school for about a month but all we did was go for walks and talk about the Chicago Cubs. I ended it thinking this isn’t what I was looking for. A few years went by but I always kept my eyes on him. He went away to be a Marine while I went away to college. Finally in my junior year of college I reached out. He said he was coming home on leave soon and we continued to talk until he came home. When he finally came home and we went on a date it turned into one of the best nights of life. We walked the streets of Chicago from sundown to sunup.

He was the best friend I never even knew was there all along. Our connection was instant. We dated for a few great months but then my mind started to creep in again. Is this really what you want? Are you sure you really like him? The thoughts got the best of me and I broke up with him. Two years went by and we still kept in touch everyday. He was the guy I would run to for everything. My voice of reason. When I felt alone I would always call him when I needed a friendly voice. I finished college and we started dating again. This time it was the real deal, no more messing around. I waited over a year for him to finally come home for good. I went to California and he came to Illinois every few months throughout the year.

Not A Happy Ending

I was so excited when he finally came home. Until we realized we just didn’t know how to be in the same state. So you can guess it, we broke up AGAIN! Then in good sequence we got back together four months later. Everyone knows a relationship that is that on and off can’t be right. I kept thinking he’s everything I have ever wanted but something is missing. I was awful to him while trying to figure out what I wanted or how I really felt. Pushing him away just to drag him back in. When he finally had enough he found someone else and I was devastated. How unfair of me to think he would pine after me forever. I blew up his phone and yelled and cried. Finally he deleted me from his life.

Years after I kept thinking of him as the one that got away. The one I used and abused. I kept searching my brain for what I did wrong. What was missing from the relationship? So to try and find what was missing I got into a relationship that was all about the infatuation and not the friendship.

The One That Taught Me All the Lessons

My last relationship before entering my most recent one was with someone totally out of character for me. He was a bad boy, a crush I had from early college that I rekindled with over a dating app. I never thought in a million years HE would like ME. After reconnecting our relationship took off fast. His friends instantly accepted me into their group. I was starting a whole new chapter of my life with him. I had a good job, I was happy and I was dating a guy I had crushed on for years. Everything was dandy until I started feeling a lot more than he did. I was falling hard.

Christmas of 2018 he broke up with me because he just didn’t love me or feel the same way I felt. It shocked me to my very core. I was determined that it wasn’t over. I loved him and he just needed someone to show him that love. Sure enough we were at the same New Years Eve party and he confessed that he made a mistake. He loved me and he didn’t want to lose me. Now the hopeless romantic that was inside me loved it but the girl that was smarter, hesitated. I made the decision to take him back. Things were much better this time, I even ended up moving in with him. It had happened sooner than we both thought but if he was “the one” then it didn’t matter.

I Was Wrong

Everything was fine for a few months. We bought our dog Duke together. I also worked on relocating my job to the southwest suburbs. However, the job search was far more challenging that I had anticipated. I wanted a job in my dream field and I figured with me moving this was a great time to try. He was fine with the idea until it took longer than planned. Finally after months of beating around the bush and being afraid of his response I brought up how I felt. I knew the answer deep down was that he didn’t love me anymore and he finally admitted it. Right as I found a job, right as I felt like I was getting myself back, he changed my whole life again.

When this relationship first ended I looked at it as one of the worst things that ever happened to me. But now seeing how far I have come, it was one of the best things. It helped me move out of my parents house. It got me in the right location to find the amazing company I work for now. I learned what sort of man I didn’t want in my life. It gave me my puppy who was my sole purpose for living for many months. I think the best thing it gave me was allowing me to find myself. It left me high and dry and there was nothing I could do except rise and figure out who I really was.

What I Learned

I know this was a long post. I’m impressed you made it through the whole thing. I felt that each of these relationships deserved the proper explanation in order for you to understand what I have learned.

All of this leads to my fourth love. If I hadn’t been in that first relationship I would have never had the confidence to continue to date. Without the feeling of missing something in my second relationship I wouldn’t have been trying to find it. If it wasn’t for the life changing relationship I wouldn’t be who I am today. Each one of these built me up or tore me down in all the right ways. I am broken and I have finally found someone who takes the time to understand how to appreciate me for me. He doesn’t try to change me or fix me, he just simply loves me for who I am.

Without those relationships I wouldn’t appreciate him as much as I do. I wouldn’t know how to show how much I really care about him. All those relationships that I wanted so badly to work didn’t so that this one could. I know I have hurt people along the way and from the bottom of my heart I am sorry. I hope you have found happiness and have found what I have. We all deserve the person that loves us for who we are.

After reading this blog be sure to check out Maggie’s post about the lessons she’s learned from her dating life

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Purpose

Dating in a World Built for Failure

“Tell me what you hate about me. Whatever it is, I’m sorry. I know I can be dramatic but everybody said we had it”

– Illenium and Jon Bellion

Hollywood Depictions

I used to sit out on the roof of my house looking at the stars wishing for a magical movie moment to happen. In the movies you see couples that have an instant connection and everything ends happily ever after. However, love rarely goes that way in real life. We are given false images of what we should be looking for in our relationships. These movies have set many of us up for failure, including myself.

I used to think it was my fault none of my relationships worked. I went into every relationship with the hopes that he could be “the one”. Everyone says love happens when you least expect it. Even in the movies, the main character falls in love with someone they never thought they could love. So in my life I was always expecting it. Looking at every person I dated as an opportunity for a relationship.

Looking back I realize this was the reason for the end of many of my relationships and even why some never evolved. I never wanted to pass up an opportunity, just in case that guy was the one. I jumped into many relationships when I definitely wasn’t ready, or didn’t even really want to be in one. Now I know that many of the failures were on my end, but many of the failures came down to the horribleness that is dating in the 21st century.

Lessons I’ve Learned From Dating

Don’t be in a relationship if you really aren’t happy with yourself. I entered a few relationships at times in my life when I still felt unfinished. In next week’s blog I’ll go more into detail about my more serious relationships, but this week is all about the ones that never stood a chance. I went into one particular relationship simply because the guy was kind. Before him, I had dated guys who just seemed to feel indifferent about me.

This guy was a breath of fresh air. Until it got more serious and I realized I wasn’t happy where I was in my own life. I was on the hunt for my dream career, and it was something I wanted to achieve on my own. I figured I can’t be there for someone else if I’m not happy with who I am. So when he asked me to go on an all inclusive free trip to Italy, I kindly declined. I could not let someone take me on a free vacation when I knew he wasn’t the person for me. In today’s dating world many people would have gone on that trip and broke up with them after. It would have been easy to just walk away and never look back.

Another piece of advice, don’t spend years hoping your friends will one day fall in love with you. I wasted years waiting for my guy friends to finally wake up and realize I was the one for them. I would hear them talk about wanting a girlfriend and I was like “hellloooooo” but it was just wasted time. If a guy wants you, he will show it. You won’t have to beg for his attention. Don’t waste your days waiting for someone who most likely does not feel that way about you because if they did, it would have happened already.

Problems with Dating Now

Dating in the 21st century is the worst! No one texts back, everyone ghosts and after one fight people move on to the next. There’s been buzz lately around how social media changes our brains and the way we look at the world, and this has leaked into online dating. When we have so many options and only interact with people through a phone it makes it easier to not get attached to emotions because you don’t see them up close and in your face. This can lead to terrible heartbreak.

I was dating a guy in college for a few months who worked in the cafeteria in my dorm. Everything seemed to be going really well until, radio silence. One day he just stopped responding to me. After a few days of nothing I finally confronted him at work and he said he would come up and talk when he got done. Instead he just never came and I never heard from him again. He completely ignored me and acted like we hadn’t been in a relationship. He never apologized when I would see him on campus. Just boom, done.

It’s easy to just move on these days without even a glance back. With this convenience comes destruction. During winter break of my junior year of college I went to a party with a lot of people from high school including a guy I had a huge crush on. My friend somehow hooked it up and we were headed back to his place. After a lot of effort on his end, we hooked up and when it was over he asked, “So is your friend coming back to get you?” I just stood there shocked. I called her tons of times but no answer. He made it pretty clear I couldn’t stay there so instead I made the awful walk of shame home. I felt degraded and unwanted walking back into my parents house after being clearly used for one thing.

This Needs to Change

We have put ourselves into this never ending cycle of disrespect. Men find it unattractive if a girl doesn’t have high self-esteem but then treats us like our feelings don’t matter. They expect us to just move on and get over it. However, each time a guy ghosts us, he only hooks up with us but won’t date us, or breaks up with us without warning, our self-esteem plummets. I have spent my whole adult life trying to build myself back up. I let too many guys make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Many boyfriends left me because it’s “so much work” dating a girl who constantly needs to feel reassurance.

I told myself I will not be in a relationship until I feel happy with where I am and who I am. Now I feel far more confident. It took years of damage control and self discovery. Even though I am better I still feel negative self talk float in. Luckily now I have a boyfriend who is there for me every step of the way. We will always have self doubt but we need to change the way people look at dating to help decrease it.

Next time you’re on your dating app and you start talking to someone, really think about what you want and be up front with them about it. If you just want to sleep around, hey do your thing, but don’t do it with someone you know truly likes you. If you want a relationship but the other person just wants to hook up, don’t lie to yourself that it’s okay. We need to be true to ourselves and true to others in order to help get rid of the broken hearts.

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Purpose

Shedding Light On Dark Thoughts

” When your day is long. And the night, the night is yours alone. When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life. Well hang on. Don’t let yourself go. ‘Cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes.”

– R.E.M

Heavy Topics

Last week I wrote about a pretty personal topic, but this week and next are about to get even more personal. It’s easier for me to write about what someone did to me, but it’s harder to write about what actually goes on in my head. This month is Suicide Prevention Month, and I felt like with this year being what it has been, I should shed some light on the topic. I will be breaking this topic into two parts as I feel it requires some more attention to detail.

Struggling Everyday

Every single person has been touched with something challenging over the last 7 months. Whether you’ve lost your job, you’re learning to manage working at home while your kids are E-Learning, or your social life has been majorly hindered. No matter what your challenge has been, I think we can all agree, none of us have any idea what we’re supposed to be focused on. I think we can take comfort in the fact that no one has the slightest idea on how to move forward.

Some of us haven’t even fully accepted the pieces COVID has left us with. Some days I’m overwhelmed by how drastically everything has changed for me. At the end of 2019, I had recently come out of a serious relationship that left me broken. I was working at a wedding decor warehouse putting seat covers on seat cushions for 8 hours a day. My one saving grace was working at an unpaid event planning internship. I was struggling every. single. day. Some nights I laid in bed and cried myself to sleep. I thought 2020 was going to be my fresh, clean start…

My 2020 Vision

After a few months of feeling devastated and fed up, I finally sat down and did the work. I applied to every job in my field, even if they were out of my league. Just before the start of the new year, I got a call for an interview for my dream job. All my years of random jobs and struggling to find my passion were finally over. Everything I ever worked for was mine! The sun was starting to come up on my life. I moved out of my friend’s house and finally signed a lease for my very own apartment. I had always pictured myself with a job I loved, in a little apartment, with my dog. It was all coming together. Things were starting to look up! Then, March 2020 hit.

At first, I remember being kind of happy. Right before wedding season, I wouldn’t mind a two week break. Until two weeks became two months and then it became forever. In July I had to make the awful trip to the office to clear out my desk. I cried the whole way home. I had worked so hard to get to this point and it was all taken away in one swing. I was feeling anger, confusion and defeat all at the same time.

Familiar Feelings of Defeat

I have always struggled getting my ducks in a row. Figuring out what I really wanted and achieving it was my biggest accomplishment. To see that taken away crushed me. There’s some days I still just sit and cry, and I mean really cry, because I still can’t wrap my brain around what happened. Why does this keep happening to me? When will it be my turn to live a normal life? There have been a few times in my life where I just wanted to disappear. However, this time around I just felt full defeat.

Moving forward everyday is hard. Some days I catch glimpses of who I really am. Other days I feel like I’m made of glass, like I could fall apart at any moment. I will say with time I have tried to embrace this downfall to really find myself. It has led me to this blog and it has led me on a whole new journey of self discovery.

How Do We Move Forward?

This year has been a challenge to say the least. In order for us to get through it, we need to focus on what makes us happy. We have witnessed that our jobs can be taken away in the blink of an eye, so what do you have when that is gone?

I am someone who loves fall decorations! So, I put my fall decorations up the second September hit because it brings me joy. I started taking more bubble baths, going on longer walks, reading more books and appreciating being alive. I opened myself up enough to finally find someone who has brought out a side of me I didn’t know I could show someone else. There are positive moments in every single day. Paying attention to those small, positive things will keep you getting up in the morning and showing up for your life. Some days appreciating we’re alive is the best thing we can do.

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Purpose

Memoir for the Everyday People

“Sometimes I’m right, and I can be wrong. My own beliefs are in my song”

– Sly & The Family Stone

How Did I Get Here?

So I’m here, writing this blog. All the times I’ve thought to myself, “Damn, this moment would be a good chapter in a book”. I never thought I would actually be sitting down, creating a blog, to one day turn it into a book. I had a unique childhood that could be its own book entirely. There were also some questionable decisions that I made in college. Then there are the years of figuring out life as an adult. Everyone has those moments in their life that would make great stories. Well, unless you lived under a rock then maybe you wouldn’t have so many stories to tell, but honestly, even that book, I’d want to read.

Why Am I Doing This?

Our stories make us who we are. We can tell these stories just for fun or we can use them to help other people who may have similar experiences. We can use our memories to unite, to know we’re not alone. That is the reason I want to share my story with whoever will read it. I don’t have an audience in mind. There’s no theme of an underdog or the end set in stone. I am not someone who has accomplished all my goals or has everything figured out and that’s why I wanted to write. There are so many self-help books and memoirs that show someones turning point in life or when they finally reached their goals. But, what about the people who are still working everyday to reach that big goal? Or the little goals that are reached everyday? What about people who just keep pushing through everyday because that’s what you’re supposed to do? I want to write a book for those “just keep going” people! I’ll teach some lessons along the way that I have learned, but my main focus is to make sure people know they’re not alone. You put your pants on today? Cool, me too! You didn’t get up from your couch today? Yeah, I did that yesterday. We need more books for the everyday person and hopefully I can be the person to help with that.