The Beginning of Things

Prve-RandeI never thought of myself as someone afraid to fall in love. I’d like to think of myself as fearless in all matters, unabashed by my emotions and diving head first into the murky waters of relationships. I’m a strong, confident woman who has never been embarrassed to admit her feelings, something that has been the driving force behind my writing, because being open and vulnerable in front of people I don’t know is kind of my thing.

At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the past year, as I cycled through first dates in hopes of finding someone I actually had a connection with. I always knew that things could turn out badly and admittedly prepared myself for the worst knowing that regardless of the outcome, I’m a self satisfied individual with nothing to lose because I love myself and am happy with my life.

That’s what all my blogs have been about this year so far, being happy with being alone. Because alone is easy, I spent most of the past year learning not to be afraid of being alone after rebuilding myself from a traumatizing relationship. So, of course, its at that point where you meet someone and that someone turns from a great first date, to an even better second date and a spectacular 3rd date and on and on and on, and before you know it you’re at the beginning of something and it’s honestly scary and exciting and new all at once.

On one hand I’m in all the feels, a spring in my step, a smile on my face. I have this desire to memorize every little thing; our first date, our first kiss, our first day together because the beginning is the best part, the part where when things get hard you flash back on fondly. The butterflies, the endless flirting, the, “I can’t wait to spend more time moments” that you forget to appreciate in the moment that I find myself playing over and over in my head.

…and on the other hand I’m terrified, remembering what it’s like to have my heart broken, recalling the work and the effort being in a relationship brings. I wonder if I remember how to do this, if I’ll mess it up, if it’ll fizzle before it even begins. I call it overthinking or brush it off as my anxiety talking but in talking with my friends they tell me that’s just part of the deal – the being scared a little part.

The beginnings are all of the things mixed into one. I can’t tell if the butterflies in my stomach every time I see him are the good kind or the bad kind and that feels new and vaguely familiar to me. … and then there’s this, this blog, this giant diary of truths and admissions of intimate moments throughout the past 4 years of my life. I’ve never been worried about living my life out loud, about what other people might think about these experiences we all have, the ones you don’t talk about that just beg to be related to. If it wasn’t all here, laid out in black and white, in writing, in poetry, I would still be nervous to reveal those parts of myself and I am, more so than I’ve ever been before.

So what do I do in those moments? What do I do when I realize that being open to the beginning of things means being brave, and exposed, and just plain scared. In this moment when it feels so new and so great I feel like I’m carrying a piece of china I’m afraid will fall and break, what then?

… and when I’m done, worrying and freaking myself out,I remember once more that this is normal, this is how it’s suppose to feel. And that’s when I go back to savoring every moment, every smile, every stolen glance and tentative admission of feeling because this is the beginning, and this is the best part.

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The Exercise of Being Single

Female-Workout-Exercises.jpgI’ve been wanting to write this piece about being single for almost a month now. To those of you who read my blog you’re pretty aware of this fact that I am single (single af as the kids would say). This month marked a year of being officially single and I’ve gone through a lot of interesting phases in my being singleness. Because my last relationship ended so toxically, my being single at first was filled with a lot of not looking for anything. I didn’t want to be single because I wanted to be with him, I was still tied up in him and thus being single just meant, “without him”.

Then came, for lack of a better term, my slutty phase, which is a phase that everyone goes through at some point shortly after becoming single. For a while this fluctuated between being the best way to take advantage of being single in my youth and a miserably unfulfilling adventure in loneliness (just incase you thought I wasn’t already being dramatic). But in all honesty this part really was filled with everything from an incredible feeling of exploration to just this emotional space of sadness. People don’t talk about that. People in our generation are always encouraged and encouraging of “getting back on the horse” or “just having fun” as the way to epitomizes being newly single. And to a point I think that’s true, but I have never met a person in this stage that feels 100% okay about being single; because casually hooking up with people is sometimes is lonely and unfulfilling, and humans are wired to at some point want an emotional connection with someone.

And then comes the rebound stage, which some would argue isn’t being single at all, but from my personal experience, this is also a version of being single. Why, you ask (literally no one is asking)? Because a rebound is never labeled as a “boyfriend or girlfriend”, a rebound is somehow always referred to as “the person I’ve been seeing for a while” where a while means less than months. It’s always the point in being single where you really think you’re ready to be in relationship again, which in some cases works. I’ve heard many a story of people getting into a serious relationship or marrying the person they thought was their rebound , but those people really were ready and not just saying it. For me my rebound was exactly like the ex I had just gotten over. He opened up old wounds and made me feel the exact amount of .. smallness I think is the right word, I had felt for 10 months with my ex. I was scared of being single. I was afraid of being alone. I was missing the rhythm and the cadence that being in a relationship brings. I missed the lockstepness of being so familiar with someone that you just always feel comfortable around, not having that after a certain point was hard for me. I just wanted not to be single anymore and anyone who could make that happen was a step up from only wanting to one off flings.

Which is exactly what I went back to after the rebound and I fizzled into nothing, but this time around there wasn’t the same amount of bright side that the first go around brought me. It was all dark, it was all lonely, it was like I was trying to run away from being not just single, but alone, and I was not running in the right direction. I actually didn’t even know which way I was going period, not just relationship wise.

So, with the aid of having a new job I needed to focus on, I took some time off from dating completely. I didn’t make a conscience decision too I just wasn’t that focused on it for a while. I still went on the random first dates with guys that I quickly decided I wasn’t into before we even got to to a second date. It was at that point that being single just felt like a default. I was single, I wasn’t looking but I wasn’t not looking I just had my job to focus on, I had my getting my head back on to focus on, I had long day and short nights and not much time to be the fun or the sad kind of single.
This surprisingly lasted way longer than I thought and in that amount of time I was able to redefine the type of guy and type of relationship I wanted moving forward. The type of guy I was into, the deal breakers, the qualities I found most attractive all became super clear every time I went on a 1st date. It was this feeling of neither hating nor loving the fact that I was single, and spending the time learning from it.

That’s when I decided I wanted to really date again. I no longer was in the mood for just anything, I knew what I wanted and I wanted to explore that, see where it took me. I wanted to go in with an open mind and hopefully come out with someone who I wanted to spend more time with. IT sounds simple right? It’s this place in being single that most people get to as they inch closer and closer to 30. It’s the “I’m not ready to get married but shit most of my friends are better stop fucking around” phase that happens after you’ve had some stuff under your belt, some stories, and findings, and better grip on your life outside of romantic love. It was a phase I was pretty damn sure I was ready for but ended up being a false start.

Que three different guys, all a month apart from each other and all with seemingly great potential for, I don’t know…something? Each made me laugh endlessly on our first date, was definitely my type to an extent, and had as good a time as I was having. Suffice to say, I left each first dates with promises of more to come. And then for some odd excuse reason or another they fell apart somewhere between date two and four. There was this initial excitement, seemingly mutually, and then a sudden hesitancy, as if the brakes of a just moving train had suddenly been put on. Because I had enough time being single that I was keenly aware of the what I did and did not want a relationship to feel like, I always bailed the minute I felt those brakes because that was the beginning of a story I knew the ending to way too well. I’m not about that life anymore.

The 3rd guy out of this trio took the cake. He was funny and smart and interesting. If I typed out the checklist of things I want in my next relationship he would have gotten an easy 90%. Right away, 1st date, we both knew a second date was a no brainer. Because I feel like this will just stay between us (and all the readers of my blog, which I hope assume is not that many) I remember texting my friends “Fuck, this guy is dope! *oh no emoji*. Second date, even better. You know that weird feeling you get when you realize you vibe with someone enough that you immediately do way too much so you don’t fuck it up? On a good day I like to blame the behavior we both exhibited after the 2nd date on that feeling when it backfires. Long story made somewhat less long, I spent a good week pinching myself for the opportunity I lost by acting like a lunatic (jury’s still out on that, I’m still 50% sure I was in the right to behave as such).

All of that, literally all of the above nine paragraphs (honestly if you’ve read far down, bless you) to say….

After the 3rd great guy poofed into dust I had a crisis of faith in dating. I was at the point of being single where you’re just like, “well maybe it’s me”. I had felt a lot of emotions about being single but being completely happy was not one of them. There were times when it wasn’t so bad, there were times when it was actually fun, but there were not times where I consciences decided to be a single person and be okay with that. So 4 weeks ago I made a pack with myself to practice the exercise of being single.

Perhaps this came out of my new recommitment to doing yoga a few times a week, but the concept of working at something you weren’t always thrilled about in aim to better yourself just stuck. I decided no more dating apps, no more first dates, no more complaining about being single, I was going to do the work and practice being more independent, less focused on finding someone, and in the meantime spend some quality time with myself. I always think about how, at some point in the future I’ll have a husband, I’ll have kids, I’l have a life where the moments I’m just by myself doing my own thing becomes rarer and rarer. This time that I have now is precious and fleeting and also not just about having fun and going out with friend but spending time on yourself, by yourself.

And it’s hard work! The first few weekends I had to cheerlead myself up out of bed and enjoy beautiful days with lots of happy couple around (including 99% of my friends who I call my Mon – Fri friends because I never see them on the weekend) alone. I’ve had to find the things I love to do and do them alone. Each week I find myself more and more in tune with who I am, with what I want, and what I need to be a more whole and emotionally available person. Of course this is in hopes to finally get to the point where there’s potential to have a serious relationship again, but I’m being patient, I’m doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do and wanted to do more of and I’m doing them on my own. Just like exercising I can feel myself working my muscles, learning to live without the swiping and the constant talking about one guy or another.

I’ve learned a lot about what it feels like to completely dive into being single and not dating at all. First off I’m boring. At first I was self conscience about it and now I just accept it and embrace the drama freeness it supplies. I’m boring because the bulk of conversations, for women at least, surrounds around their love lives. It’s hard to admit as a feminist who has tons of other topics she can intelligently speak upon, but sadly, my conversations with the females in my life center 40% on other shit and 60% on dating/boyfriend/girlfriend shit. So yeah, the first week all I had to talk about was how I wasn’t really doing anything and how much sleep I was getting. The second week I was desperate to find something to talk and think about. For months I’ve been contemplating actually taking steps to go back to school and with no other distractions I was able to finally take those first steps and then graduate programs were a conversation I got to have a lot. The following week I realized I wanted to change my look. I spent an enormous amount of time looking and talking about hairstyles and my idea for a makeover. The third week I started going to yoga and just being more mindful in general, both of which I talked about a great deal. After spending a few years hating God and religion in general I started climbing slowly back into the spiritual realm, creating a whole other dimension to my outlook on life and conversations in general.

It took practice. I had to retrain my brain not to crave validation and attention from someone. This sounds like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many people lie to themselves that that’s what dating has become about. I had to strive a little more everyday with being okay in the silence, allowing my thoughts to wonder, thinking about my life and the patterns I’ve made in relationships. I’m changing, being consciously single has changed me and I can feel it radiating out in every aspect of my life.

In a few more weeks I may go back to actively dating but for some reason this time out, this 6-8 weeks of being single and fully happy feel likes a triumph to me. This exercise of being single is something most people give up on easily, like every exercise resolutions people who aren’t committed do (no judgement, I’m a frequent quitter of resolutions). But when I hear my friends in relationships ask me how I’m doing it, apart of me feels stronger inside because I am doing it, I’m not just trying to practice being single I’m in the game now folks, and it’s not that hard at all.

Let’s Just Take A Second to Get Our Shit Together

37EABE1E00000578-3773883-image-a-22_1473049934501 At a certain age you’re suppose to have your shit together. When that is and what that means is up for debate; but I think the general consensus is at some point, in your life, you should probably have most of your shit fairly together.

I think we can also all agree that, that point in your life will not happen in your twenties. Oh I know, some of you will say, “well that may be true in your case…” to which I will counter with, “sure, for me and the vast majority of twenty-somethings in the world right now-  but you are definitely entitled to the facts in your own life.”

In your early twenties you don’t even know what shit is. You scramble from problem to problem, making poor choices with literally no regard for the long term consequences, and you shouldn’t! Without this vital period in your life where bad decision run rampant you wouldn’t know what good decision look like, and I’m pretty sure that’s the main ingredient in having said shit togetherness.

The main reason you can’t have it all together during this stage in your life is also because you don’t realize how much you don’t know. In your mind there’s nothing too big too handle, too confusing to unwind and too expensive to not purchase. You may have experienced hard things but you haven’t experienced real shit and thus your life still exist in extremes, an all or nothing mentality that refuses to see shades of grey.

In your mid twenties you don’t even know where to put all the shit you  need to get together. You still think you’re working off a checklist that announces when you are done but no matter how much you check off it all still settles unevenly. Can pay own bills on time- check. Finally making decent money – check? Living in a place you can barely afford but is your home – check & check! Doesn’t matter that nothing makes sense and you just seem to be accumulating more and more emotional baggage every time you walk out the door. You finally realize you have to get it all together (mind & body) in order to feel your head pop up from beneath the water and stuff just can’t do that.

I hear your late twenties and early thirties is all about balancing your shit so that at random moments it appears and feels as if it’s all together. You don’t actually have any of it figured out, but you somehow become a master at pretending you do and having just enough figured out to sustain a regular existence. That’s at least what I hear, which is why I’m trying to take all my literally shit and all my emotional shit and start digging.

Because I’m a millennial, a scorpio, an extrovert, as well as a self proclaimed “Type A” person I want all my shit together NOW (well not now, yesterday preferably). I want not to feel like things are constantly slipping out of my control and , quite frankly, if they are to not care so much. I want the grey area to stop feeling so grey and if I’m being honest, I want it not to feel as intense as it does right now.

The faking it and figuring it all out is easy, but the doing the work, the actual mental, emotional, and physical work that makes managing all the shit in your life somewhat feasible – we’ll that’s something else entirely. Yet so many of us don’t want to take a second, a beat, a pause, and slow down and do the work so that it does come easily. Our relationships aren’t working out because we don’t want to be alone. Our professional life isn’t growing because we don’t know how to play the game. Our friendships are harder because we don’t want to have a long enough conversations to actually check-in with the people we care about. And don’t even get me started on family drama, I’m starting to realize that shit may never find it’s place on the “together” shelf.

We have to stop thinking it’s a checklist and start seeing it as a map to a better self, because having your shit together could mean a lot of things but most importantly it means seeing your life as whole because you are whole.

So let’s just take a second and get on that.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Freak Out

now_panic_and_freak_out__by_jweinstock-d3hvgozI’m a naturally anxious person. Though I don’t talk about it often, as someone with diagnosed anxiety it doesn’t take much to get me to freak out at even the slightest thing. Big changes, stressful situations, vague and unanswered questions always pose threats to my anxiety levels but, for the most part, I am lucky to have tools and resources that make life’s inevitable anxieties feel like passing moments. With help, I can take something anxiety worthy and stay above water – maybe even two or three things, but lately I find myself always on the edge, seemingly just a few breaths away from flipping the fuck out.

I’ve noticed myself becoming irritated easier, feeing my heart rate skyrocket over slow curve balls thrown my way. I find myself pouring over thoughts trying to process emotions with seemingly no success. People with anxiety when over thinking tend to become human transitive property aficionados – meaning they work solely off of information they know the answer to and then use that to extract the closest logical answer to something they do not yet know the answer to.

But as much as I’d like to believe that it’s just me, just my anxiety allowing situations to get the better of me causing an overreaction; I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who’s spinning out of control with all the unknowns. As I wrote about before – we’re living in a post-Obama world with a President that is as unpredictably dangerous as anyone I’ve ever lived under in my lifetime. The pending sense of doom, the heightened awareness of what’s going on around us, the fear of what could happen is causing everyone to have anxiety. It’s not just me, it’s a society coming to terms with the most exhausting possibility – that we may not know what’s in front of us for a long time to come. Our President plays on everyones worst fear and while most of us are gearing up for a necessary political fight, we can’t ignore that big changes, stressful situations and vague unanswered questions are the new norm.

Our lives are playing in the backdrop to something much bigger now and we’d be silly to think that everything around us is happening completely detached from our currentpersonal landscape. The illusion that any of us are in control of what’s happening next is gone, and those who fluent in the “everything is going to be okay world” may find themselves with a shorter fuse for out of control circumstances.

Which is why I spent most of my morning  on Friday in my bosses office surely but steadily losing my shit and listing off a litany of concerns to something that hasn’t even happened yet. I could feel myself being the worst version of my personality – worried, fearful, dreading the idea of possible failure or worse, that literally something worse than failure could happen. Of course, I am beyond blessed to have someone in charge who realizes I’m becoming unhinged and politely figures out a way to calm most of my overthinking while making me feel as if most my concerns are valid. Ditto my family, and my support system. They validate that things may not be okay whilst offering me some encouragement and lifting the unneeded pressure I put on myself.

“We don’t know what we don’t know”, was what my boss told me. My least favorite phrase in the entire known universe but one that I am constantly reminded of now more than ever. You can chose to do a lot of things with that knowledge. You can prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You can go were things lead you and figure out how to solve it once you get there. You can dance in the uncertainty, scream in the insanity, and enjoy the fall while it’s happening. You can feel a bunch of emotions and still….persist…

But whatever you do you can’t freak out. Not now – too much relies on us making it work now.

 

 

It’s Everything

0519-1002-1710-2138_seal_of_the_president_of_the_united_states_presidential_seal_oI wrote this piece 3 days before Donald Trump’s Inauguration and, like the rest of this post, I had so many feelings that it was hard for me to actually finish it. In the coming months this will continue to be something I struggle with while working on my writing, but I love this blog and want to continue to write so the struggle will be mine to bare.

I haven’t written anything all year. No New Years blog, no end of year rant, it’s all just been nothing. Granted the year just started but I’m not suffering from a prolonged bout of writers block, something I’ve experienced before, but rather an inability to process the vast array of emotions going through my head in conjunction with the myriad of things going on in my personal life.

Of course I’m talking about President Elect Donald Trump. Every time I think I can write about something without commenting on the giant orange cloud looming above the American people I am reminded that everything ties back to it, and even the little triumphs in my personal life are minuscule to how big everything else feels right now.

I’ve even tried writing a whole blog post just about my feelings surrounding Trump and the Obama shaped hole left in my heart after the election. I tried, and I failed, to summarize in 2000 words or less what it has all meant for me being a young, black woman watching this all go down from behind the lens of someone our future President cares nothing about. I sit here and try to write and my brain stops, and just short circuits while an image of Donald Trump pops into the forefront of my mind with the words, “cannot compute” in bright bold SnapChat sized letters. It is the background noise to everything and I honestly can’t hear or make sense of anything beyond it.

Because I want to sit here and talk about moving my life into the city. I want to write about the sweet sweet lemonade I’ve made myself after the crazy disastrous lemons life handed me last year. I want to write about the insane commute and my attempts to start dating and cooking and writing again, but I can’t because all I, or anyone else, can think about is how close we are to pending doom and if that doesn’t suck the life right out of you than I don’t know what does.

I’ve wanted to be sensitive to the fact that there is just so much out there in regards to the emotion behind this election on both sides. While I’m a stanch Democrat, I don’t hate republicans, I don’t blame the people who voted for Trump and I can’t begin to understand the frame of mind one would have to be at to think putting DJT in charge of a whole country was a GOOD idea. I didn’t want to write about my disbelief or my shock or my anger because reiterating other peoples emotions is not a relief for me the way writing is suppose to be.

But really, what is there to say when you have so much to say? What is there to write when so much has already been written? All I do all day is think about how I can use my voice to speak up, but I’m at a loss for words and I’m just as emotionally drained as everyone else in the world right now.

And there are moments when I feel defiant and powerful and want to push through the noise and create real change; which is where my personal life somewhat intersects in all this. The foundation that defines who I am and where I want to go is so clear and so sturdy. I feel strong as a person but weak as an individual. I find myself crying intermittently throughout my week as I let the gravity of what’s happening wash over me. I keep thinking that the political landscape is playing in the background of my personal life when in reality, my personal life is playing in the background of something much much bigger, and I can’t ignore that.

And I want to so badly. I want to be that twenty something who just comments casually on the state of the world and gets fired up talking to distant relatives about the importance of Obamacare and then dives back into her phone world swiping away and taking Snapchats of myself with varying animal themed filters. That’s the world I intended to write about when I started this blog, and it’s also the one I’m still currently living in within a world seemingly going to hell.

And it’s all sad, and lonely, and happy, and exciting, and exhilarating, and disappointing, and infuriating, and inspiring, and hopeful, and hopeless, and everything in between. It’s heartbreaking, but filled with growth and promise but also terrifying and unstable with so many unknowns. It’s everything.

So that’s why I haven’t written in a while, and you know what, I may not for a long time. I will try to, of course, I will always try to be the honest and open me that I have always been when writing about my life in the context of LIFE. There will be stories of small personal victories along with big societal setbacks and it will be as described through my eyes, in this skin, in this time in my life.

 

The Not So Helpful Guide To Surviving the Holidays Single

ways-to-overcome-sadness-during-christmas-seasonAbout a week ago I wanted to write a piece about how a single girl navigates the holiday. Having been semi-single around this time of year last year (for the first time in my adult life) I somehow felt like the premiere expert in the whole “single during the holidays” situation.

For the record I was trying to be positive about my current relationship status. While the rest of my friends travel, get married, and having babies I am trying to embrace these (hopefully) last years of my late twenties enjoying things married couples and parents don’t. There are things like long hot showers, extended naps during the weekends and the general not having to confer with anyone about my plans or purchases that just feels good. I don’t mind being single, it has it’s benefits and moments where I feel uniquely empowered by the strong, independent female I have become over time.

… then the holiday season comes and it’s like the volume of being single amps up. Cue lights, cue music, cue cute couples ice skating and kissing under mistletoe. Holiday parties with offers of a +1 and family get together’s where someone is bound to ask why you haven’t settled down. Of course there are ways to survive this, there are undoubtedly articles outlining how a single person can make it through the dreaded holiday’s and into the New Year where the promise of eventually finding love always shines brightest. I wanted to be one of those people who writes those articles, declaring boldly that I am single and I can totally make it through cuffing season – no problem!

But that would be a lie. For me to sit here and pretend that getting through the unbearable festivities that constitute the holidays while being single is a breeze, would be a gross misrepresentation of the truth. I want to be proudly single, but honestly in this moment it sucks.

I keep thinking it’s just me, but I know it’s not. I don’t want to think that I’m the only one who hates being single during this time of year, and worse, that I care at all about my singleness. But I do and this time of year it becomes even more obvious and down right lonely.

I should say that personally I am probably more lonely due to the fact that my life literally consist of work, commuting, sleep, and then more work. If you call that a “life” than yes, I am pretty busy. And yes, the time to focus solely on my career is the best part of being single but during the most romantic part of the year it feels hallow without anyone to share it with. The good days aren’t made any better when there’s no one to cheer you on and the bad days aren’t any better when there’s no one to cheer you up.

I tried to make the best of things. I hung up Christmas lights around my room and treated myself to a fairly pricey new pair of flannel Christmas sheets, adding a tree scented candle and a tiny live tree on my night stand I found from Trader Joes. Even reading it back now it sounds like a desperate attempt at making a lonely situation marginally easier. You know what does help? Eating my feeling in the form of pastries, pies, and cookies that happen to be so plentiful through the myriad of office gatherings and potlucks. I shovel down as many frosted holiday treats down my throat as possible, taking solace in ever carb and ignoring my expanding waistline because hey – who cares right?

And the engagements…. don’t get me started on the engagements. Photo after photo of hashtags and ring pictures give me so much anxiety I’ve decided this year to just stay off social media, which instead of making me feel better has made me feel even more disconnected from the happiness I’ve convinced myself everyone else is feeling.

The truth is there is no survival guide for making it through the holidays for anyone. The pressure and the stress of getting through December without losing your shit isn’t just a #singlegirlproblem it is a everyone problem. I am constantly reminded of how hard these holidays tend to be for people who have lost a loved one. Even though my grandmothers passed away 13 & 11 years ago respectively, the impact of how much their presence would mean to me in my life right now fills me with a deep longing and sadness.

So how am I going to survive? How am I going to drag myself to the holiday work parties without wanting to crawl out of my own skin? Where exactly can I scream when another one of my not so close friends flashes a huge ring with the words “I said yes!” appears on my news feed? What do I think would make me feel better while freezing cold rain blurs the red & green glow of the lights and jolly music plays while couple in mittens hold hand walking through the romantic San Francisco backdrop? The answer is I don’t know, probably my car, and all the wine. That’s my survival guide, but I’m definitely open to ideas.

 

 

Dear Me: A Letter to my 25 Year Old Self

If you are a reader of my blog you know that, since the beginning, this blog has been an open diary into my life; my life that is, at times, extremely real and extremely difficult to write sometimes because of how vulnerable it makes me feel. At it’s best my blog has made a few people feel less alone in this journey that is your twenties, and at it’s worst has hurt more people then I care to remember in so many ways. It has chronicled my various heartbreaks, successes and random thoughts on the world happening around me. It has been an emotional few years for me and it has taught me how to have a stronger voice for those who do not have the words to express their own emotions. Below is my annual letter to myself and I think it’s my most important yet. We are all prone to struggle, but the theme of this letter is one of redemption, and of perseverance, and of resilience when all else is lost. 

Dear Chelsea,

I’m crying writing the to you now. Some out of sadness, some out of joy, and some disbelief that you made it even to 25. But now that you are,  I wish I could tell you everything that’s in store for you in this next year of life. But even if I could there’s no way you could even imagine it. Right now your story is just beginning;  you’re still in the ending, desperately trying to hold on to a life that just isn’t meant for you. You’ll continue to struggle, but only because you grow defiant in your misery, trying to push a boulder uphill until it rolls back and kills you.

It does, it almost does kill you. There will be many more days of darkness, nights of begging on your knees for it to get better, weeks where you just want to give up all together. But you won’t because this is where your strength comes in. It won’t feel like that’s what’s going on at the time. You will see it as survival, you will see it as an attempt to keep it all together, and it is all of those things that, at their core, define strength. I’m so sorry that you will continue feeling so much despair; you will handle more than most in terms of adversity and just all out shitiness. But it shapes you, it grows you into one of those select group of people that dealt with hard shit and came out from within it. Because not everyone does, believe me baby girl, not everyone does.

Professionally, well there really is not any professional stuff for a while. Instead you will spend most of this year getting by with one job or another. You will hate it, but you will  end up meeting people in these places that help you to stay a float. They exist so that you know you are not alone. The exists to make sure you keep your chin up because, believe it or not the biggest part of this year are the friends you surround yourself with. I know I told you last year that friendships will save you, well that doesn’t change at all in this year. You will somehow manage to make your existing friendships even stronger, even if you aren’t in the same place. You will also attract new friends, people who you just get and who just get you. These women, these strong women, will affirm what type of person you’ve become – a fighter.

Once the sunsets on the ending, well, the beginning is magnificent. The beginning will hold the strongest percentage of happiness that you’ve felt in a while. It all starts to make sense, you start seeing the whole picture and with your new found strength you find another superpower – perspective.

This perspective helps you in lots of ways. It helps you to lean into the happening of the moment. If it’s a hard time, know that it won’t last forever, if it’s a uncertain time, know that everything always workout for those who keep trying, moving, flowing with the changing tide instead of pushing against it. You will learn to take your que’s from past experiences and make different choices and it’s the thing that will make you feel the most mature.

Relationships.. well we already know you’re heart is broken, and it will stay that way until the bitter end. You will continue to get let down by men who can’t be what you need them to be. This happens in small flings here and there until it finally clicks that you need to be the person you need right now. The flings will stop, and you will process slowly that you know exactly what you want in a partner, and anyone who doesn’t fit that will fade away always. I expect that this will go on for some time, past the year of this letter.

You need this year. You need the final lessons it will teach you. You need the growth in empathy, and compassion that may have been lacking in the past. You will need the fortitude, resilience, and determination that you were forced to have in order to make it through the hard shit again. Whatever happens know that you will make it through the lows and the highs. Again, know the lows will always end and that the highs aren’t going to be void of problems. It’s a giant circle and you will learn that sometimes in a circle you just have take your foot off the gas and just glide.

Love,

Yourself